Natural and Alternative Options For Treating Infertility

A blog I thought was interesting and worth sharing.

by Dr. Georgianna Donadio on Apr 29, 2011

In 2002, the Center for Disease Control published a survey which identified 7.3 million U.S. women and their partners being affected by infertility. This represents approximately 12% the reproductive-age population in the United States.

Various biological reasons are identified as a possible cause of infertility and include:

• failure to produce and release viable eggs

• failure for the fertilized egg to implant in the uterus

• blocked fallopian tubes

• low sperm count

• vaginal Ph incompatibility

• thyroid pathology

• history of pelvic inflammatory disease

• uterine fibroids

• endometriosis

• genetic factors

 

At the US Federal Source for Women’s Health Information website the following are risks of infertility:

• age

• smoking

• excess alcohol use

• stress

• poor diet

• athletic training

• being overweight or underweight

• sexually transmitted infections

• hormonal imbalances or health problems

 

Couples experiencing infertility now have numerous medical approaches available to them to address this condition, including in vitro fertilization, hormone therapy for both men and women, as well as surgical and microsurgery procedures. There are also numerous natural or non-clinical lifestyle changes and a whole person health approach for addressing infertility.

A study conducted from 1990-1993 at the University of Surrey, in England, published in the 1993 Journal of Fertility and Sterility, recorded 367 couples with a previous history of infertility, after making changes in their lifestyle, diet and nutrition had an 81 – 83% success rate in conceiving compared to the success rate for assisted conception, which is approximately 20 percent.

The University of Surrey pioneered the study that examines the fundamentals of an individual’s health on conception. Of the study couples, 37% were infertile, 38% had experienced between one and five miscarriages, which did not include other participants with histories of low birth weight, stillbirths and/or birth defects.

After following a program that included improved dietary and nutrition changes, elimination of toxic elements, lifestyle and stress reduction counseling 81% of the previously infertile couples conceived, and 83% of the women who miscarried had a healthy birth within the three years after the trial without miscarrying again.

In addition to the Surrey study, according to Rahul Sachdev, M.D., a specialist in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey, relieving the stress associated with infertility vastly increases the change of conception. Dr. Sachdev, who recommends yoga therapy states, “Women who are infertile, especially in the long term, are extremely stressed out. One study has shown that the stress levels of an infertile woman are actually similar to those of someone just told they have HIV.” He states that he “has no doubt that stress can lead to infertility. What is controversial,” he goes on to say, “is the question of whether or not stress relief creates fertility.”

Dr. Gary Schwartz, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Yale University, finds that essential oils used in aromatherapy can affect the nervous system to reduce stress and blood pressure. Infertility problems often result in significant emotional stress. Dr Schwartz finds that aromatherapy is a recommended therapy to counter stress and enhance relaxation.

Also, in studies published in the Journal of Fertility and Sterility in 2002, noted Cornell University reproductive endocrinologist Zev Rosenwaks, MD, found a clear link between acupuncture treatments and brain hormones involved in conception. Their research identified that acupuncture increases production of endorphins, a brain chemical that plays a role in regulating the menstrual cycle and enhancing conception.

These are a few of the natural approaches available today to enhance infertility outcomes that may be helpful to the one out of ten US couples experiencing fertility problems and are having difficulty conceiving.

– Dr. Georgianna Donadio

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6 comments

  1. Very interesting. I found this statement to be particularly intriguing, “One study has shown that the stress levels of an infertile woman are actually similar to those of someone just told they have HIV.” He states that he “has no doubt that stress can lead to infertility. What is controversial,” he goes on to say, “is the question of whether or not stress relief creates fertility.””

    Love your blog by the way! 🙂 I’ve been following it for a while and have learned a lot from your perspective on infertility.

    -Amy
    http://amysjourneytohealth.wordpress.com/

    1. Thanks Amy, I love having you here with me!

      And yes, I too found that really interesting, though I suppose not too shocking. Sometimes I wonder if it isn’t the chicken and the egg conundrum. Did the infertility cause the stress, or did the stress cause the infertility? For me, I believe whole heartedly that my stress was a major factor in my hormones gone wild episode of the last two years. Yet, I believe it’s likely hard to study because every single woman’s body is different, and the opposite is true for other women.

      I suppose what may be best for all of us is to learn to listen to our own bodies and follow our intution as to what is right for us–all while being supremely informed about all the perspectives out there.

  2. This comment is actually not about today’s post, but rather a post that you left a couple of weeks ago. You mentioned that you have POF/POI and that you were able to lower your FSH 40 points. I also have POF/POI. Since I was diagnosed about 7 years ago, I have taken BC as HRT, but just a couple of months ago I decided to stop. I have been seeing a TCM Dr/acupuncturist. It may be too soon to know, but I’m not completely satisfied by it. Certainly, I need to make sone dietary changes of my own, but I just had my I FSH tested and it was 95! Unfortunately my RE’s haven’t wanted to test my FSH for the last few years because they felt that if my symptoms were under control then they didn’t need to test my FSH. Obviously I’m not very satisfied and am looking for a new RE, but right now I’m concerned about alternative methods of lowering my FSH. What did you do to lower your FSH so much?! I’d be interested in hearing any suggestions. Thank you so much!

    Gina

    1. Hi Gina,

      First off, I am really sorry to hear about the challenges you have been facing. There are many, many things I have done over the last year to heal my body–and my body is still in the process of healing. I have had a few different women ask me this same question so perhaps it is worth a more thorough reponse. Let me put my thoughts into a bit more coherent form and I will start posting about what I’ve found that works in tomorrow’s blog. And always, if you have specific questions, feel free to email me at infertilityawakening@yahoo.com.

      Hang in there, you’re not alone and there is hope!
      Shannon

  3. […] 1. Seek out an acupuncturist. I recommend an acupuncturist certified by the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine: http://www.aborm.org/practitioners/usmembers.html. If there is not one in your town, call the closest ones and ask them for referrals to people in your area. Keep looking until you find one that feels right for you http://infertilityawakening.com/2011/06/03/natural-and-alternative-options-for-treating-infertility/. […]

  4. […] Natural and Alternative Options For Treating Infertility […]

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