Many women may not realize different aspects of their health or lifestyle can have a significant impact on their fertility or birth control. Understanding this information can help you foster better relationships with your healthcare providers and improve your chances of conception if you are starting a family.
A common reproductive concern is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Some women with PCOS may notice something is unusual about their reproductive health because they started their menstrual period much later than other girls or they have abruptly stopped having a period. In other cases, their menstrual period may have a seemingly normal onset and they have their periods regularly, which makes a diagnosis of PCOS later in life puzzling. Not all overweight women have PCOS, but excess body weight, especially around the abdomen, is common with PCOS. Some women may not had a weight problem, but suddenly gain a significant amount of weight and have a hard time shedding the pounds, for no known reason.
The medications you take, both over-the-counter and prescription can potentially affect hormonal birth control, and in some cases, an unborn child. If you are taking hormonal birth control, it is imperative the prescriber is aware of all the medications you take. It is increasingly easier to avoid being honest about your medications if you are using a family planning or online service for your birth control, since they do not have your medical records.
Some medications you may take for acute or chronic problems can make your birth control less effective. While you are taking these medications, you will need to use additional forms of birth control, such as a barrier method. Another consideration is some medications, such as those for autoimmune diseases, may harm your unborn child or lead to a spontaneous abortion. You must use backup forms of birth control while taking these medications. If you decide you want to start a family, you must wait until you have stopped the medication and the appropriate tests have been done to determine the medication has been eliminated from your system.
Excess body weight, especially if you are significantly overweight, can have drastic effects on your fertility. Some women may find their cycles become erratic if they begin to gain weight, even without any reproductive health concerns. Similarly, women who have lost a significant amount of weight may notice more regularity of their cycles and increased fertility. If you are planning to start a family, shedding excess weight may help with the process and lead to a healthier pregnancy. For women who have used birth control inconsistently or not at all and did not experience an unplanned pregnancy, simply losing weight could cause a dramatic shift in your fertility.
Whether you want to start a family or want to avoid an unplanned pregnancy, you must realize simple lifestyle and health aspects can affect both. Having honest discussions with healthcare providers like Healthcare for Women Only can make you feel confident about your reproductive health.