(as featured in Health Wellness and Safety Magazine)
If you’re having trouble conceiving, here are some aspects of your health you must take a look at.
1. Stress levels – the stress of not conceiving yesterday, can be enough to decrease your chances of conceiving, on top of your daily stressors. Stress increases the acidity of the body, affects hormones, and actually causes the fallopian tubes to contract, hindering the follicle from releasing.
Tip: adopt a daily relaxation regime; visualization, meditation, yoga, deep breathing, etc. Try an activity in which the effects spill into your entire day.
2. Your weight – a healthy body weight is imperative. Regulating your blood sugar not only controls weight, but has a balancing impact on your hormones. The same applies to those who are underweight. Low body fat percentage will impact the regularity of your menstrual cycle, along with your estrogen levels.
Tip: Get help! Weight loss can be fun and easy when you have the proper support and accountability. Weight management is a lifestyle, including nutrition, movement, relaxation, and sleep hygiene. I recommend First Line Therapy for a medically guided weight loss program that helps shed body fat and maintains muscle.
3. Thyroid – the thyroid is the hub of all metabolic processes in the body. If it is too low, or too high, it is a signal that another gland may be dysfunctional, such as the pituitary, or adrenal glands.
Tip: your M.D. can run a simple lab test called a “thyroid panel” and can check all the markers of your thyroid. Most frequently checked is the TSH levels, which ideally should be less than 2. Many nutrients and herbs support the thyroid depending on its status, such as selenium, tyrosine, and kelp. The adrenals should also be supported, through diet, sleep, and stress management, and with herbs such as Ashwagandha, or Siberian Ginseng.
4. Menstrual Irregularities – Hormonal imbalances, scarring from infections, blockages, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, Fibroids, and Endometriosis can all impact your ability to conceive.
Tip: Have your hormones checked! While Salivary testing is best, your M.D. can test your hormones through blood work. Then, you can start balancing your hormones using foods such as phyto-estrogens, if estrogen is low, or high, to help modulate it. Also, keeping a record of your basal body temperature is an excellent indicator of what is happening with your hormones.
5. Toxicity – 10-20% of all cases of infertility are marked as “unknown cause”. One explanation may be environmental and occupational exposure to chemicals, radiation, and other pollutants, which are potentially hazardous to conception and gestation.
Tip: you may need a full body detox if you are experiencing other symptoms such as skin reactions, fatigue, irritability, headaches, joint pain, and sinus problems, to name a few. To assist your body with detoxification, ensure a low body fat content (as toxins are stored in fat cells), eat dark leafy greens everyday for fibre, trace minerals and nutrients, and liver support.
6. Male Health – Male infertility can account for approximately 40% of cases. A diet full of processed foods, smoking and alcohol consumption, stress, and high temperatures to the testes can impact sperm count and quality. Toxicity is another factor, often overlooked.
Tip: Adopt a whole-foods diet filled with vegetables, grains, deep-sea fish, legumes, and poultry. Try adding 1 ounce of walnuts to your diet. From an energetic perspective, they tonify Kidney Yang and nourish the sperm. Fish, liver, kidney, bone (in soups), and marrow are all great sources of B12, and help build “essence” from the Chinese perspective.
All these factors in order? Acupuncture is an excellent way to improve your chances of conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy. Take charge of your health and fertility!
Donata Girolamo is a Naturopathic Doctor with a special interest in Fertility. She is accepting patients at Dalhousie Health and Wellness, 289 668 5433. Live well, love life.