The Birds and the Bees sometimes aren’t enough to cut it. In North America one in five to six couples are infertile. Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after having regular unprotected intercourse for a full year. If you have been having difficulties conceiving, natural therapies can be of help.
The first step is to figure out where the problem lies. Tests to determine the cause of infertility are imperative before treatment begins.
Are there nutritional deficiencies?
Adequate consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins are essential for fertility. Sometimes it can be as easy as reviewing dietary intake for key essential nutrients to improve the overall health and set up the right environment for pregnancy to occur. Nutritional deficiencies such as folic acid, iron, zinc, B vitamins, and iodine can cause infertility (Br J Obstet Gynacol. 1982; 89:678-80). Having your diet reviewed by a practitioner specifically trained in nutrition and having appropriate blood work performed to determine if levels of specific vitamins and nutrients are low should be one of the first steps to determine the cause of infertility.
Is there a hormone imbalance?
An under-active thyroid is a common cause for infertility. Blood work can be performed to determine thyroid function but must involve looking at the levels of the active thyroid hormones. These in-depth tests are often not performed in conventional medicine and thus a mildly under-active thyroid conditions can be missed. Blood work to determine prolactin, estrogen, progesterone, luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, testosterone, and DHEA levels also needs to also be preformed. Testing for these hormones can determine if polycystic ovarian syndrome (a condition where cysts develop on the ovaries making ovulation difficult), or amenorrhea (lack of menstration often due to hormonal disregulation) are the cause of infertility. Salivary hormone testing is an excellent tool to check hormone levels and how they vary over the woman’s complete menstrual cycle and allows for appropriate balancing of hormones for fertility using nutraceuticals, botanical medicine, and natural hormone replacements.
Is there an elevated chemical or heavy metal body load?
Eliminating heavy metals and chemicals can improve fertility in previously infertile women. One study showed that urine heavy metal excretion is linked to gynaecological conditions (uterine fibroids, miscarriages, hormonal disorders) and found that reducing heavy metal body load improved spontaneous conception changes of infertile women (J Toxicol Environ Health, 1998; 54: 593-611). Check your body burden of toxic chemicals by testing urine levels or heavy metals by provocative urine testing. Further information regarding these lab tests can be obtained at www.usbiotek.com and http://www.doctorsdata.com).
Acupuncture – The clinical evidence
Acupuncture can be very effective in helping a woman to conceive. One study showed that in 106 non-ovulating, infertile women, 41 conceived after a series of acupuncture sessions over a one-month period (Jilin Chinese Medicine & Medicinals, 5, 2004). In another study acupuncture was compared to the frequently used medication to induce ovulation – Clomiphene (Clomid). Results showed that after three menstrual cycles, acupuncture was equivalent to Clomid for inducing ovulation. Furthermore the acupuncture group showed higher rates of pregnancy than the group receiving Clomid (Zhongguo Zhen Jiu, 2008;28:21-23).
Readers should note that medical research has identified safe tests and treatment options that are effective for infertility. Education is key – seek professional health care supervision to explore appropriate treatment options to increase changes of conception. It seems that natural treatment options, proven by modern science, can help to reunite “the birds and the bees”.