Improve fertility – Naturally!
A question heard by most couples after they get married is “When are you going to have a baby?”
For some, the answer can be clear but many couples who are looking to conceive find it easier said then done – and learning about fertility can be a daunting task.
It can be frustrating for those who want to conceive and cannot, especially when they try to watch their diets and lifestyles to stay healthy. Then there are others with poor habits (ie drinking, smoking and eating poorly) who get pregnant on the notorious “first try”. When couples get frustrated, they will often reach out to visit their doctor only to find a one-size-fits-all pill made from synthetic hormones. Not only does it often not answer their fertility issues, it can disrupt the natural rhythm of our bodies.
There are many things to consider when tackling fertility issues.
Dr. Chris Bjorndal believes that most conditions that relate to our menstrual cycles are hormone imbalances. These imbalances can be regulated by balancing and supporting our neuroendocrine system.
This consists of our hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal glands, thyroid gland and ovaries. Each of these glands produce hormones that affect the other. It is the intricate dance of balance between our “master glands” (ie pituitary and hypothalamus), adrenal hormones (cortisol and DHEA), “female” hormones (FSH, LH, the estrogens and progesterone) and our thyroid gland that affect whether we will conceive or not.
The other key organs that need to be supported in order to be hormonally healthy are the primary organs of detoxification (ie liver, kidneys, colon, lungs and skin). This is especially important in recent years with the increase of chemical, emotional and physical stress bombarding our bodies. These influences are contributing to declining fertility rates and need to be addressed in couples.
A Naturopathic approach to fertility is based on the principle of bringing a couple’s health back in balance.
With naturopathic care, your entire health history is assessed. Dr. Chris Bjorndal help my patients get in tune with their body and menstrual cycle. It is amazing how many patients aren’t sure if they ovulate and/or don’t even know the length of their menstrual cycle. In Naturopathic Medicine, the philosophy to treat the cause, to figure out what is going on, and correct any underlying hormonal imbalances.
From there the healing powers of nature is used to balance the body by optimizing nutrition, eliminating stressors in one’s lifestyle, learning about your cycle and treating underlying health conditions.
Some basic tips to enhance fertility are:
1. GET IN TUNE WITH YOUR BODY.
Find out when you are ovulating. Many women think this is on Day 14 (with Day 1 being the first day of flow); however, often it is not. Depending on the length of your cycle it could be much sooner or much later. Watch cervical flow to be like egg whites, this is when you are the most fertile. Check your body temperature for a slight elevation (a.k.a. basal body temperature), and pay attention to cramping.
2. HEALTHY DIET AND LIFESTYLE.
Eat a healthy diet consisting of 5 vegetable servings, 2-3 servings of fruit, nuts and seeds, and adequate protein for your weight. Avoid alcohol, sugar, fried food and junk food. Get lots of sleep and deal with stress. Practice healthy lifestyle techniques such as exercise, yoga, relaxation exercises, deep breathing etc.
3. USE PROFESSIONAL QUALITY SUPPLEMENTS.
It is important to be on a good quality prenatal vitamin with folic acid and essential fatty acids. It is best to seek a professional opinion, as there are many poor quality products on the market.
4. BE ASSESSED FOR A HORMONAL BALANCE.
I always run hormone testing on patients if they have been trying for over 3 months. Conventional blood work (estrogen and LH: FSH ratio on Day 3 and progesterone on Day 21) is combined with salivary hormone testing. If levels are low, I use diet, herbs, supplements, acupuncture and homeopathic remedies to balance the levels. It is also important to assess the basics in women’s health such as: folic acid, B12, thyroid function, and vitamin/ mineral status in iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, iodine and selenium.
For the “other half”: SPERM QUALITY & QUANTITY.
Sperm quality is essential – zinc, coenzyme Q10 and a good quality fish oil is key. Keep these guys cool, so avoid hot tubs and laptops on your lap!
Whether you have been “labeled” with endometriosis, PCOS, low sperm counts, hormonal imbalances, irregular menstrual cycles, and other unexplained fertility concerns, Naturopathic Medicine can help you.Patients who are preparing for IVF, IUI or other fertility treatments are encouraged to combine naturopathic support for increased success.