Infertility & Difficulties Conceiving

file8781234480355(1)Infertility is often defined as the inability to conceive after 12 months of sex without contraception.   Many couples do not realize that many causes of infertility can be overcome, even without resorting to assisted reproductive technologies, such as IVF.

Difficulty conceiving is becoming more common.  Approximately 1 in 6 couples face difficulties.   Advice about timing sex to coincide with ovulation can make all the difference!  The Billings Ovulation Method® teaches couples to recognize the time of maximum fertility when conception is most likely to occur.   This simple information has helped many couples conceive naturally.

Sometimes reproductive problems hinder conception.  The Billings Ovulation Method® fertility chart can be used as a diagnostic tool to help identify and correct such problems, to restore and improve fertility.

Causes of Infertility 

Stress

Stress can have a negative impact on one’s hormones, which can affect ovulation.  The difficulty in conceiving itself can be a source of stress for many couples, leading to feelings of hopelessness, guilt, anger, and sadness.  Finding creative ways to reduce stress can result in significant improvement on fertility.

Age

Biologically speaking, a woman’s most fertile years are in her 20’s.   But over the past few decades, more and more women have delayed having children until later – resulting in more difficulties in conceiving.   A woman’s fertility begins to decline in her early 30’s, with a sharp decline after age 40.

Unhealthy Lifestyle

Smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol or caffeine, and poor nutrition can all have a negative effect on fertility.    Adopting a healthful lifestyle can improve one’s hormones and fertility.

Overweight/Underweight

Achieving a healthy weight is one of the most helpful things a woman can do to improve her fertility – and also one of the most underestimated!  Being overweight can result in hormonal imbalances which affect ovulation and fertility.   Many of these imbalances can be improved with regular exercise, a healthy diet, and losing weight.  In the same breath, being underweight can also have an adverse effect on hormones and fertility.

Ovulation Problems

Ovulatory dysfunction is the absence of ovulation or abnormal ovarian activity and is a major cause of infertility.  It can be recognized when abnormal mucus patterns and irregular menstrual cycles are present.   The most common cause of ovulation disturbances is Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), often associated with insulin resistance.  Other hormonal imbalances which can result in ovulation disturbances are Hyperprolactinaemia and Hypothyroidism.   You can read more about these here.

Keeping an accurate chart of your cycles and cervical mucus patterns with the Billings Ovulation Method can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition. It can also help you recognize when you do ovulate in order to optimize your chances of conception.  An accredited Billings Ovulation Method® teacher will offer the support and practical advice you need along the way.  You will also be referred for professional medical help where appropriate.

Tubal Abnormalities

Sperm need to be able to pass through the fallopian tubes to reach the egg, in order for fertilization to occur.  When a blockage exists in a woman’s fallopian tubes, this prevents conception.  It is sometimes for possible for a doctor to correct this abnormality.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

PID is an infection of the reproductive organs, especially the fallopian tubes and is often sexually transmitted.  Up to 15% of women with PID may become infertile because of scar tissue which blocks the normal movement of the egg and sperm through the fallopian tubes.

Symptoms can include an unpleasant odour, itching, persistent back pain and soreness/burning when urinating.  Sometimes there are no symptoms.  Early detection and treatment is vital for fertility, so if you suspect you have PID  – see your doctor as soon as possible.

Endometriosis

This is a condition where the lining of the uterus (endometrium) grows outside the uterus.  It can grow in places such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, urinary organs or intestinal organs.  The cause of this condition is still unknown, but risk factors may include early onset of menstruation, allergies, obesity and genetic predisposition.

Some women with endometriosis may experience infertility because of scarring in their reproductive organs. Symptoms vary, but may include irregular and heavy menstruation, pain during sex, and pelvic pain for a few days before and during menstruation.  Familiarization with your normal patterns of cervical mucus can allow detection of this problem at an early stage.

Treatment can include hormone therapy or surgery. Having the endometriosis removed via surgery may give you a “window of opportunity” if you are trying to conceive. Adopting 5 hours a week of aerobic exercise reduces your risk of recurrence by around 50 percent. Childbearing can also reduce the risk of recurrence significantly.

 See Cycle Health for further details… 

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