Fertility is an often overlooked but important indicator of a woman’s health. To understand how a woman’s health and fertility are connected, we first need to understand what is fertility? Fertility is basically the individual’s natural ability to conceive. Both males and females have fertility. However, this article discusses only female fertility and fertility health.
How does a women’s fertility be connected to her health? Simply put, a women’s menstrual cycle is connected to her fertility and an irregular period is indicative of many health issues or conditions. Hence, assessing your fertility can tell you a lot about your health.
To begin with, your follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels will tell you whether your pituitary is functioning well. The FSH leads to growth of the ovarian follicles which in turn produce estrogen and progesterone that impact your period. The pituitary gland is responsible for the functioning of the different glands and also for producing the very important growth hormone. Ergo, if your menstrual cycle is disrupted or your period is irregular- delayed, heavier or lighter flow than usual- then you know you need to get your hormone levels checked.
Your hormones and FSH levels can be skewed due to various reasons such as stress and being severely underweight. Simply knowing this can help you take a stock of your lifestyle and encourage you to make constructive changes such as exercising regularly and maintaining a healthier work-life balance.
Thyroid dysfunction impacts fertility women’s health. Hypothyroidism can lead to a heavier menstrual flow without ovulation, while hyperthyroidism can lead to a lighter flow or even missed periods. Both these conditions can alert the individual to problems with their thyroid. Along with other symptoms of hypothyroidism such as fatigue, memory loss, irritability, intense weight fluctuations, hair loss, the irregular period is an unfortunate but good indicator of your thyroid function.
An irregular period accompanied by excess growth of hair on the face, back and chest may indicate polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Since PCOS can also make an individual more susceptible to diabetes, heart disease and endometrial cancer, it is crucial to get a sonography and PCOS hormone panel done to check for the condition and subsequently, assess your overall health.
If you notice spotting between your periods it could point to the possibility of a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) or perhaps a yeast infection. Another serious complication that spotting could be indicative of is cervical or uterine cancer.
Lastly, let’s take a look at the highly infamous part of periods- cramps. Widely considered to be the worst thing about periods, menstrual cramps can also be indicative of something serious such as endometriosis. If you are not experiencing any relief even with pain medication or the usual hot water bag, then you should get checked for endometriosis. Cramps outside of your period can mean ovarian cysts which although are fairly common and benign can be cancerous if formed post menopause.
Whether or not you’re considering having a child, it is important to pay heed to what your fertility and menstrual cycle is telling you as it is not only about women’s health fertility problems but also about your overall physical and mental health.