Naturopathic Fertility Treatment
Naturopathic Fertility treatment is an innovative, non-invasive approach to infertility, which utilizes alternative therapies in order to treat individuals and improve hormonal balance in the body. It is a unique program that addresses the organs and systems that are vital to reproduction. Often there are underlying causes that are undiagnosed in individuals seeking infertility treatment. Naturopathic medicine is a holistic care model that investigates the underlying causes of disease to assure that treatment is complete.
When planning to start a family, it is ideal to take 3-6 months before trying to actively conceive in order to build your health, as well as your partner’s health. Taking the time to undergo preconception planning will help to identify health concerns and any possible issues that keep you and your partner from being at your healthiest. Naturopathic Fertility care is a unique and individualized treatment plan that brings balance back to the systems involved in healthy reproduction.
There are a number of health concerns in woman that can affect fertility such as PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis and thyroid disease, to name a few, and the lifestyle choices that a woman makes prior to conception can also impact her fertility ability. Smoking, recreational drug use, oral contraceptive use and exposure to toxic chemicals such as pesticides, food additives and heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium, solvents) can all have a negative impact on hormone balance and ultimately the ability to conceive. A Naturopathic doctor can aid in helping to address these concerns and provide a detoxification protocol in order to decrease your toxic load.
Men’s health is also a vital piece in a healthy pregnancy. Factor’s such as low sperm count can make conception much more difficult. Lifestyle factors such as smoking and poor diet play a huge role on the health of sperm. It has been shown that males who smoke are far more likely to have a lower sperm count and higher rates of sperm abnormalities, compared to males who do not. Additionally, the partners of males who smoke are more likely to experience difficulty becoming pregnant and are at an increased risk of miscarriage. However through changes to diet focusing on key nutrients, men can increase their sperm counts.
Naturopathic fertility treatment is an effective treatment for enhancing fertility in both men and women. This can be done as a treatment option on its own or can be done in conjunction with assisted reproductive technology (ART). Acupuncture is a tool that is often used to aid in fostering the ground work for successful conception. The benefit of this treatment option is that it is very safe and can be effective used alone or to enhance ART and increase the chance of a successful pregnancy. A study in the journal of Fertility and Sterility showed the use of acupuncture during IVF treatment resulted in almost a doubling in the rates of pregnancy compared to the control group. Acupuncture will aid to decrease stress levels and help improve hormone balance in the body.
There are also a number of botanical medicines and nutritional supplements that have been shown to improve sperm counts in men and improve ovarian reserve and egg quality in women. These therapies can be utilized to improve the thickness of the endometrial lining, treate problems in the follicular phase or luteal phase of a woman’s cycle and as an aid to balance hormones in the body.
The female menstrual cycle is complex and there are a number of factors that can disrupt the fine hormonal balance in the body. The balance of estrogen and progesterone is imperative in order for ovulation to occur. In addition to ovulation, the endometrium must thicken appropriately in order for implantation of the embryo to occur. Even if a sperm comes into contact with the egg, fertilization will not occur unless it is able to implant into the endometrium. To aid in tracking a woman’s fertility, Naturopathic fertility treatment involves having patients chart their basal body temperature, cervical fluid (presence, absence, quality), PMS symptoms, menstruation (duration, consistency, colour of flow) and timing of intercourse. All of these signs are important to determine when ovulation is occurring and the potential of a successful pregnancy. It is also used to guide acupuncture protocols and will aid in determining the points that will be utilized.
Diet can also play a huge role on fertility and is part of the basic treatment guidelines for any Naturopathic fertility treatment plan. The results on fertility from the landmark Nurses Health Study, showed that if women followed a combination of 5 or more lifestyle factors, they experienced an 80% reduction in infertility compared to women that did not. The women with the highest fertility scores consumed more protein from vegetables versus meat, ate higher amounts of fiber, limited sugar from carbohydrates, ate less trans fats, had a lower body mass index and exercised regularly. Whether you are at the beginning of your journey into conception, experiencing issues with infertility or undergoing ART, employing the knowledge and skillset of a naturopath who is experienced in treating fertility and hormone imbalance can be valuable to improve your chances of a successful pregnancy.