Valentine, I hope you are keeping well. I love your columns and after reading the last two articles, I have a concern: I have been trying to conceive for the past two months (I recently got married). Since my marriage, my cycles have changed from regular 28 days to 25 to 26 day cycles. I recently started using OPKs (ovulation predictor kits) and each time get negative results. This has really worried me and I'm afraid I might not be ovulating. I do however get my periods regularly but I understand that even with regular periods some women do not ovulate. Please advise? I am 28 years old.
Pauline, from Dr Wanjiru Ndegwa and I, congratulations on your new marriage! Just off the top of my head, I would say you sound a little impatient. Two months of trying to get pregnant is hardly any time at all. It means you have only tried twice. You are young and stressing yourself out only makes it harder.
Dr Wanjiru adds, "The change in the cycle length from 28 to 25 days isn't worrying and happens often with changes in our lives like stress, weather and many other factors. Ovulation prediction kits are also not 100 per cent accurate. Make sure that you are using them on the correct days of your cycle."
The first article in this series is available at www.the-star.co.ke and it gives you an indication of when you are most likely to ovulate and thus conceive. If after six months you are still not pregnant, you can contact Dr Wanjiru at [email protected] for a scan to confirm that you are indeed ovulating.
Hi Valentine, your article on fertility was shared on facebook and thanks for the information. I am 22 years of age and I am planning to get my first child at the age of 25. I would like to get more information on fertility pills, their side effects and the advantages of using them.
Also, what are the long term side effects of P2 and what method is best to avoid pregnancy apart from condoms. Then, what causes painful period cramps?
Wah Salgit, you have many questions and they are great because they allow us to cover a lot of material.
Dr Wanjiru says: "Fertility pills work by helping you ovulate (release an egg during the cycle). They are recommended for women who have problems with egg release and are not known to give much benefit to those who have normal eggs. The side effects of the drugs are pain in the lower abdomen, and rarely nausea and vomiting. There is also an increased chance of having more than one baby.
"To avoid pregnancy a long term method would be best to avoid misuse of the emergency pill. The emergency pill can give irregular bleeding, nausea, and cramps while taking it. It may also cause some hormonal imbalance for a short period. WHO has dispelled the myths about it causing infertility despite this being widely published even in a BBC show in Kenya. Before you decide on a family planning method it would be good to see a nurse or gynaecologist and discuss what method would best suit you and your individual lifestyle.
"Painful periods may be caused by many factors and most women experience some pain at the beginning of the period. However if the pain started recently or is severe as to limit your daily activities, a gynaecological check should be carried out. Most common causes are endometriosis, where the lining of the womb is found outside of the womb; or adenomyosis where the lining of the womb is found in the muscle layer of the womb; or infections of the womb. It is important to get a proper exam to determine the cause."
Salgit, it is imperative that you protect yourself not only from pregnancy but also from sexually transmitted infections as they can impair fertility. Use condoms, especially if you are not in a monogamous relationship.
Next week we look at male fertility, so guys send you questions to [email protected]