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Infertility Symptoms Checklist

Infertility affects 1 out of 8 couples in the U.S. alone. Roughly 10% of men and women face infertility challenges based on separate factors.

For women, the most common reason for infertility comes from hormone imbalances that disrupt normal ovulation patterns. The same hormone fluctuations can negatively impact men, causing major issues with sperm production and quality. 

Aside from hormonal issues, there are several other conditions that men and women can experience, and Laurel Fertility Care wants to assist you with finding the right solution.

Below are 7 of the most common infertility conditions for men and women. After reading through each definition, go through the checklist and mark which symptoms you notice in your own body.

Once you're finished, you’ll have an organized, centralized place where you can start to visualize specific infertility issues that you may be facing. Then, you can use this information to consult with a fertility specialist and come up with a plan to help you achieve a health pregnancy. 

Keep in mind, information from this checklist should not be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It's in your best interest to seek the advice of a fertility specialist or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or any of the symptoms listed here.

7 Common Infertility Conditions for Men and Women

1. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a hormonal imbalance within the endocrine system that causes infertility in women. It's estimated that 1 out of every 10 women experience PCOS. Some genetic and environmental factors may contribute to its onset. Essentially, irregular hormone production and distribution throughout the body can disrupt menstrual periods, making it difficult to track ovulation cycles. Not to mention, egg development can suffer from PCOS, and many other physical symptoms can begin to surface. 

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, check each one that applies. When you're finished, you can use your answer(s) to discuss the possibility of PCOS with your doctor and seek necessary treatment.

Check all those that apply:

  • Abnormal or absent menstruation
  • Excess hair growth (perhaps on face, arms, back, or chest)
  • Thinning scalp hair
  • Sleep disorders, such as insomnia or poor sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Acne, skin tags, or dark patches of skin

2. Oligospermia (Low Sperm Count)

Commonly referred to as having a low sperm count, oligospermia is the name used to represent a common male fertility issue. Men who experience oligospermia typically exhibit normal sexual activity, such as having and maintaining erections and being able to ejaculate at a climax. However, the amount of sperm that is carried out through the semen is relatively low. 

It's estimated that a male should have an average sperm count above 15 million sperm per milliliter. Rates lower than this benchmark can result in a difficulty to conceive. Pinpointing the exact cause of oligospermia can be tough, but certain lifestyle factors and reproductive health issues are usually to blame. 

Check any of the symptoms below that you may be experiencing. When you're finished, you can use your answer(s) to discuss the possibility of oligospermia and seek treatment.

Check all those that apply:

  • Low sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Pain, swelling, or a lump in the testicle area
  • Decreased facial or body hair
Discussing Fertility Procedures at San Francisco Fertility Clinic

3. Irregular Ovulation

Irregular ovulation (anovulation or oligo ovulation) occurs when a woman ovulates at inconsistent times or doesn't ovulate at all during a menstrual cycle. For a healthy pregnancy to be achieved, the ovaries must release an egg that can be fertilized by sperm at a specific time, so if the ovulation process is compromised at any point, you can imagine how difficult it would be to conceive.

Irregular ovulation accounts for 30-40% female infertility cases, and PCOS is often the main cause of its presence. In addition, several lifestyle factors and hormonal dysfunctions can also lead to its onset. These causes may include being overweight or underweight, over-exercising, having a thyroid disorder, experiencing severe stress, or showing signs of premature ovarian failure.

Whatever the case may be, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, please check each one that applies. Use your answer(s) to discuss the possibility of irregular ovulation with your doctor.

Check all those that apply:

  • Negative results with home ovulation predictor kit
  • Inconsistent results with home ovulation predictor kit
  • Irregular or absent periods

4. Varicocele

Men who experience oligospermia may also encounter a fertility issues known as varicocele. Within the testicles, there are many arteries and veins that help the reproductive glands function. Over time, a vein may start to develop abnormally, causing it to swell or enlarge. Once the abnormal growth takes place, it can disrupt the quantity, quality, and motility of sperm cells, which leads to infertility. 

Varicocele is one of the most common causes of male infertility, affecting 15% of the male population worldwide. Although the exact cause of varicocele is unknown, identifying its presence and alleviating it can lead to major fertility improvements.

If you’ve experienced some of the below symptoms, talk to your doctor about the possibility of varicocele. 

Check all those that apply:

  • Lump in either testicle
  • Enlarged or twisted veins in the scrotum
  • Pain or discomfort in the scrotum
  • Testicular swelling

5. Endometriosis

Women who experience endometriosis will develop tissue (endometrium) on the outside of their uterus, rather than on the inside—where it's supposed to form. Pain is often associated with this disorder, and the abnormal growth can affect the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, and pelvic tissues. 

The reason why endometriosis causes infertility is because the tissue growth on the outside continues to behave the same way as it would inside the uterus. The lining thickens and breaks down with each menstrual cycle, which causes bleeding to occur, along with the formation of scar tissue surrounding the reproductive organs. Over time, this repetitive sequence leads to constant discomfort and severe pain.

Check each symptom you’re experiencing, and talk with your doctor about the possibility of endometriosis if you have more than a few:

Check all those that apply:

  • Pain with intercourse
  • Excessive bleeding during or between periods
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea
  • Pain with bowel movements or urination
  • Painful periods
Talking to In Vitro Fertilization Doctor

6. Blocked/Damaged Fallopian Tubes

A mature egg within the ovaries must be transferred to the uterus through a fallopian tube (on either side) in order for a pregnancy to occur. However, if that pathway is stifled or blocked, infertility can develop as a result. In addition to irregular ovulation, blocked/damaged fallopian tubes make up 40% of infertility cases among women. 

Unfortunately, there are hardly any symptoms that can notify the body of such an obstruction. Most women will conclude that as long as their periods remain consistent, an issue with fertility doesn't exist, but this way of thinking can lead to other issues. With this in mind, certain types of blockages (hydrosalpinx) can cause identifiable symptoms if you're aware of them. 

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, please check each one that applies. When you're finished, discuss the possibility of blocked/damaged fallopian tubes and seek treatment with your doctor if you have at least a few possible symptoms:

Check all those that apply:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during intercourse
  • History of chlamydia or gonorrhea
  • History of ruptured appendix
  • History of pelvic surgery

7. Uterine Fibroids

Initially, uterine fibroids are sometimes seen as representative of other health concerns, but these growths are noncancerous in nature, and will typically never develop into such a form. On the other hand, the presence of uterine fibroids can influence the odds of getting pregnant or the success of maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

Certain factors, such as race, genetics, environmental causes, and hormone production are believed to have a strong influence on the growth of fibroids. Once they begin to grow, they have the ability to disrupt menstrual cycles, take up significant space within the uterus and cause infertility.

Although they can produce serious issues, it's important to remember that uterine fibroids are typically not an immediate threat. Nonetheless, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, check each one that applies. Discuss the possibility of uterine fibroids with your doctor and seek treatment if you experience multiple symptoms.

Check all those that apply:

  • Frequent urination
  • Menstrual periods lasting more than one week
  • Constipation
  • Back or leg pains
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding