How do doctors define infertility? Infertility, by definition, is the inability to conceive after having unprotected sex for a period of at least six months to a year. This doesn’t mean that just because you haven’t gotten someone pregnant in this time, that you are automatically infertile. The inability to conceive can be affected by a myriad of different factors.
For men, however, the symptoms of male infertility can largely go unnoticed. You may only start to consider the possibility of infertility after you have had unprotected sex for an extended period of time and have not been able to conceive. Realistically, it is more than just a random event. Conception is going to be more probable and possible when a woman is ovulating, for instance.
Before you talk to a specialist, consider whether any of these symptoms have arisen and whether they could be signs of possible infertility. On their own, they could just mean you are aging, your body is changing or for a number of other reasons. It’s important to remember that these symptoms should only raise a red flag when they are paired with the inability to conceive:
Changes in your hair growth
Again, a very common sign of aging, but if the changes are obvious, it doesn’t help to seek out a fertility specialist for a second opinion. Thinning or balding hair can be a sign of reduced testosterone, which has a direct connection to reproductive health.
Changes in sexual desire
This should raise a red flag if this is not a normal pattern for you. If you are someone with a high libido, a significant change in your sexual desire could signal a larger issue – not always infertility – but significant nonetheless.
Symptoms of infertility can often also affect your testicles. Don’t assume it’s from sports or working out. A pain, lump, swelling, or firmness of your testicles are signs that you should see your regular urologist, or if you are trying to conceive, a fertility specialist.
Changes in performance
If you start to experience issues around erection or see a change in pattern of your ejaculations, these could also be signs to look for if you suspect infertility. Again, this doesn’t always mean infertility, but speaking to a doctor can help identify a problem.
If any of the above symptoms are present in your life while you have been trying to conceive, your doctor will likely order a seminogram, or a semen analysis. This exam will test your overall semen health. Your urologist also might refer you to a fertility specialist.
At Ironwood Urology, we’re here to help assess your reproductive health. Our medical experts specialize in everything from prostate health to reproductive concerns. To learn more about infertility and possible symptoms affecting you, call Dr. Desi Avila at (480) 961-2323, or request an appointment online.