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Infertility

fearing infertility

06/08/2011

Question:

I`m a 23 year old female. I started my menstral cycle at approx. 11 yrs old. I have never consulted a physician with respect to this issue; although I`m well aware that I should. Anyway, this is my question: For several years now my menstrual cycle has been extremely irregular, or should I say absent for sometimes several months (4-5 months straight). My periods become regular for a few months and then become irregular again, but now the situation has worsened and from may 2010 to now i have not got period regularly for a single month. In october they came after 5 months, and since then are coming after every two months. When I do have my period, bleeding is normal, and i have pain in abdomen and legs. It last for approx. 8 days Sometimes, it would only results in spotting and after spotting of 1 or 2 days normal flow starts. Given that I am not sexually active,I am certain pregnancy is not the issue. This is not something that just occurred, this has been an issue for several years now; I don`t think stress,change in diet,change in physical activity level, or anything in that nature is the cause considering that there has not been any drastic changes ever since. Stress, I do get occasionally; however, nothing extreme.My weight has always been normal and have no abnormal hair growth I don`t think this runs in my immediate family; I`m not certain about my extended family,however.I`ve avoided the examination (I know that is irresponsible of me) I guess I`m just a bit afraid of what I would hear. But, I`ve made up my mind and I will consult with my physician once I receive a response from you. I will consult with a physician either way. Could this be symptoms of infertility or a disease? Please advise.

Answer:

It is not considered infertility until you have failed at achieving pregnancy after trying regularly for 12 months. You most likely are not ovulating regularly (anovulation) which can lead to infertility, but is not infertility in and of itself.

Anovulation leads to infertility, not the other way around. There are several medical causes that lead to infertility such as thyroid dysfunction or an overactive pituitary gland. For some women there are "yet to be defined" hormonal causes that make ovulation more difficult.

For those women, you have to induce ovulation to achieve pregnancy, and if pregnancy is not desired, you induce menstruation every month. It is important that you have a period every month to make sure that the entire layer of lining is removed and no abnormal areas remain month after month.

For more information:

Go to the Infertility health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Thomas  A deHoop, MD Thomas A deHoop, MD
Formerly Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology
Director, Medical Student Education
No longer associated