health

The 3 signs it might be easy for you to fall pregnant.

On Tuesday, research was published which found that Australians fundamentally misunderstand fertility.

According to Professor Kelton Tremellen, a co-author of the paper, we’re seriously underestimating the impact of age on fertility, which leaves approximately 10 per cent of the female population without any good quality eggs by their mid-thirties.

But most interestingly, the study found that many women are living with premature ageing of the ovaries, and have no idea until they start trying to fall pregnant. By that point, it might already be too late.

We spoke to Dr Joseph Sgroi, a highly experienced obstetrician, fertility specialist and gynaecologist, about the signs that you probably won’t have any problems – as well as the symptoms you should look out for.

You’re having regular sex that isn’t painful

Having regular sex is probably a good start when it comes to getting pregnant.

But interestingly, Dr Sgroi says pain during intercourse could be an indication of a health condition that might affect fertility.

“Pain during sex could be a symptom of endometriosis,” Dr Sgroi said.

Endometriosis, which affects one in 10 women, can cause damage to the reproductive system, making it significantly more difficult for some to fall pregnant.

Inflammatory changes brought on by the endometriosis can create what Monash IVF call a “hostile” environment for the egg, sperm and embryo.

According to a 2017 study in Reproductive Sciencestwo out of three women with endometriosis will experience some sort of sexual dysfunction. Some women describe the pain during intercourse as mild, while other feel a sharp, stabbing pain that can last for hours or even days after sex.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and fibroids can also be the source of painful intercourse, both of which can affect fertility.

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Your period is regular and you don’t suffer from period pain

“It’s not usual for women to have painful periods,” Dr Sgroi said.

“Particularly if it’s impacting adversely on your quality of life, that isn’t normal.”

Again, often times painful periods come down to endometriosis.

“If you’re unable to conceive over the period of one year… the likelihood that you’ve got endometriosis is approximately 30 per cent,” Dr Sgroi explained.

If your period is irregular or particularly heavy, this could indicate PCOS.

Other symptoms of PCOS include acne, hair loss or excess hair, depression, anxiety and obesity. Often, women don’t know they’ve been living with PCOS until they encounter difficulty conceiving.

You don’t have a sexually transmitted infection

According to Dr Sgroi, not having had an infection increases your chances of fertility.

If left untreated gonorrhea and chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which has the potential to block the fallopian tubes.

If sperm can’t travel through the fallopian tubes, then the egg cannot be fertilised.

The symptoms of both infections are very similar, including vaginal discharge that might have an odour, abdominal pain, bleeding between periods, pain when having sex, pain when urinating and burning or itching around the vagina.

Between 30 – 40 per cent of women with untreated chlamydia or gonorrhea will develop pelvic inflammatory disease.

Of course, fertility is also informed by lifestyle factors like eating well, exercising and whether or not one smokes.

If you have any concerns about painful sex, painful or heavy periods, or a sexually transmitted infection, then contact your local GP and have it investigated.

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