Infertility has become one key factor which drives couples into separation in different societies. Correspondent Sikwese Austin interviewed Dr. Silas James of Praise Sanitarium Clinic in Dar es Salaam on the subject. Excerpts:
QUESTION: Can you explain what infertility means?
Dr James: By definition infertility is when you cannot get pregnant after having unprotected and regular intercourse for six months to one year, depending on your age.
Q: But, what actually causes infertility?
A: The question of infertility in general, could be caused by a hormone problem or a problem with the structure, function of the female or male reproductive tract.
However, understanding infertility symptoms is an essential knowledge for every person to have it for the preparation of the family.
Q: Why is it so?
A: A lot of marriages break down because the couples get suspicious by not knowing the history of each other in terms fertility and their health after marriages.
By not understanding oneself body, it is always hopeful that when the man is married to a woman, there is expectation to have children. Unfortunately, the couples might live for long period without pregnancy. At long last, the environment creates the results of exchanging abuse language either from the female or males’ parents. Blaming each other in families for the issue of infertility without consulting health doctors has become a critical issue.
Q: What is the next step to be taken to avoid abusive language in families or orchestrated by such kind of conflicts?
A: It would be very essential for the societies to have critical keen understanding over what happen to a woman by not having pregnancy or male not able to give pregnancy.
Here are some explanations to give better light to understand infertility among women and men.
In brief, there are symptoms that could be seen in both female and male who are infertile. The main symptom of infertility is the inability to achieve a successful pregnancy. It might or not notice any other symptoms.
It should be noticed that men and women will have different symptoms. Female infertility is caused by the problems of ovulation. This means, without ovulation, means there are no eggs to be fertilized.
Q: What things normally could be seen in infertile women?
A: Infertility symptoms in women could be noticed in changes in the menstrual cycle. And moreover, ovulation might be a symptom of a disease related to infertility. Among the symptoms that could be observed include: abnormal periods, bleeding is heavier or lighter than usual, irregular periods.
In other ways the number of days in between each period varies each month, no periods or the female might experience had never had a period, or periods suddenly stop and abnormal ovulation.
There are also some symptoms the females must be aware of that if the ovaries do not release eggs, she cannot get pregnant. Painful periods, significant pelvic pain, back pain and cramping might also occur.
It should be learnt that, sometimes, female infertility is related to a hormonal imbalance. In this case, symptoms can also include: Skin changes, including more frequent acne (bad skin), changes in sex drive and desire, dark hair growth in man-like places (hirsutism), such as on the lips, chest, and chin, Loss of hair or thinning hair and weight gain.
This clarification does not threat any body, but is an education for everyone to be aware of, rather than living in an ignorant manner.
Q: Is it easy to notice some symptoms to the next door neighbour or someone else?
A: To learn more, master other symptoms that you can notice by yourself or looking stealthily at your next friend (s) either at working or gossip places. The exercise you can do by looking at your neighbour might reveal more other symptoms that may result from disorders linked to infertility.
For instance, some of them might like insulin resistance, milky white discharge from nipples unrelated to breastfeeding, pain during sexual intercourse, structural problem in the reproductive organs. It is found during a pelvic exam or imaging test.
Q: Apart from the symptoms you have said earlier, are others you can add?
A: Many other conditions can lead to infertility in women. Note that symptoms vary, depending on the disorder and where it affects the reproductive tract whereby the doctor can run tests to see how well your ovaries and fallopian tubes work.
According to gender sensitivity, let me drive people to see on the man’s difficulties otherwise some people might say that we are gender bias.
According to the experience, within the families, the couple commonly points a finger to each other being infertility. That indicates that men are not free from the problem. It is a problem that could affect both genders.
That means, men also face infertility in the societies. The male might be also interested to identify the causes of in fertility among them.
Actually, man taking heavy alcohol use, drugs ,environmental toxins, including pesticides and lead smoking cigarettes, health problems such as mumps, serious conditions like kidney disease or hormone problems medicines radiation treatment and chemotherapy for cancer age are among the factors.
That means a man’s sperms could be changed by overall health and lifestyle that could reduce health and sperms according to Medical Author Melissa Conrad.
I can also quote Dr Conrad who once revealed that a man’s sperm can be changed by his overall health and lifestyle that might reduce health and sperm.
For example; the mans taking heavy alcohol use, drugs, environmental toxins, including pesticides and lead smoking cigarettes ,health problems such as mumps, serious conditions like kidney disease, or hormone problems medicines radiation treatment and chemotherapy for cancer and age lead to infertility.
Q: How could a man be identified infertile in terms of symptoms?
A: Those infertility symptoms in men could be vague sometimes. They might go unnoticed until pregnancy is attempted.
But still there are some few symptoms that could be noticed in males. That include: Changes in hair growth, changes in sexual desire, low sperm count, pain in the process of the sexual exercise, lump, or swelling in the testicles, problems with sexual function (erection and ejaculation), small, firm testes. Once the male have these elements of symptoms like he is infertility.
Q: What advice would you like to give the couples?
A: It is rather not right to leave the people without giving a peace of advice .What I can say is that the doctors are available. If anybody has been trying to get pregnant without success for a year, see health care providers.
Female at the ages 35 and older should see their doctor after six months to test blood and urine. Imaging tests can be done to discover why having trouble getting pregnant.
Male should not solve infertility by divorce or abusive language among the couples. Fortunately, a sperm analysis can be done to check a man’s sperm count and the overall health of the sperm. In that way the troubled would face comfortable life and hope for future pregnancies.
The doctors might refer the case to a reproductive endocrinologist doctor specialized in infertility. The vulnerable would be asked questions about their infertility symptoms and medical history.
Another advice is that, before seeing the doctors, prepares some few key questions on the problem you face in the marriage. Make sure the clarifications before the doctor put open what you have been treated over the infertility before.
All the medications taken, including vitamins, minerals, supplements, and any other drugs bought without permission have to be explained before the doctors. The idea behind is to make the doctor treat the patient following the history of the problem.
That explanation above is not enough, but the client has to ask some question like, how often had unprotected sex and the date of the last time she tried to get pregnant, Body changes or symptoms you have noticed.
Dates of any surgeries or treatments in the past, especially those involving the reproductive tract, how much you smoke each day, any history of sexually transmitted illness, any genetic disorder or chronic illness, such as diabetes or thyroid disease, in you or your family.
Finally, before the patients consult the doctor, first listen to your body. Tell your health care provider any time you notice a symptom. Early diagnosis of an infertility problem may improve the chances of a successful pregnancy in the future.