The Life Challenge of Fertility
Fertility is something that only couples that can’t seem to get pregnant think about. Many women take fertility for granted, even going to great lengths to prevent pregnancy. But for those women who are desperate to become pregnant, the path of infertility is overwhelming, painful, expensive and often unsuccessful. But there are alternatives. Natural herbs, therapies and nutrition can provide balance to even the most challenging fertility cases in both men and women. The key is to completely and honestly evaluate all the internal and external stressors that a couple face. Disease history, unresolved infections, life stress, environmental toxicity and even electrical fields can have an effect on fertility. Let’s begin with the most common issues that can create temporary infertility. Low Libido — A chronic low libido can mean that the body does not have the ability to support the needs of reproduction. It can also indicate low sperm production in men and severe hormonal disturbance in women. My protocol for this is the herb Tribulus, large amounts of whole B vitamins and a strong blood building tonic. I like Australia’s Mediherb Fe-Max Iron Tonic which can make all the difference in the world.
Poor corpus luteum development — If the lining of the uterus does not develop sufficiently, then gestation really cannot take place. Wild Yam helps to increase the lining of the uterus, the corpus luteum. Also Chaste Tree and Blue Cohosh can help with any defective luteal function which is common when the lining has not formed adequately for quite some time. Typical symptoms of this are very light short periods.
Radiation exposure — We normally never consider radiation as affecting us, but there are many occupations and geographical locations that can subject the body to chronic radiation exposure over time. Working in television or radio, near power lines, with multiple computers, electronic machinery or even near power plants, can cause elevated toxin or radation exposure and high levels of infertility. And how many couples have a television in their bedroom? I have worked with many couples that have experienced this and there are a few things that are essential. First, if you cannot remove yourself from the environment, then you must purchase protective items that can help to deflect radiation energy, particularly from the pelvic region of the body. This can even be true on airplanes, making fertility issues more common for people who are constantly traveling for business. I also recommend a complete liver detoxification program and the herb Eleuthero which has an amazing ability to protect from radiation exposure. I provide this herb when people are going through radiation treatment for cancer and it helps to keep normal tissue healthy and strong.
Often electrical exposure goes unnoticed, but how close large power lines are to your property, or even the number of electrical devices you have in your bedroom can affect you greatly. As an example I had a couple who had both been experiencing infertility with no apparent explanation. They had already gone through numerous IVF attempts with no success. Upon discussing their sleeping environment, they casually mentioned the television, VCR, DVD, two bedside lamps, two bedside clocks, cordless phone, cell phones, beepers, microwave (don’t ask), electric blanket, blow dryer, computer, printer, scanner and an electrical weather station... all in a 10 foot square room. To cut to the chase, that was the problem.
Excessive anovulatory cycles — Working with a woman’s cycle can be very complex, but beginning with Chaste Tree, nervine tonics and Blue or Black Cohosh can often do the trick.
Viscous nature of cervical mucous — This is an essential component of fertility often overlooked by doctors. Australia’s Mediherb Wild Yam Complex and an alkaline diet can help to normalize this delicate mucous production. Celery Seed may also help to stabilize vaginal flora and alkalinize the reproductive system.
Immunological rejection of sperm — This can often happen as a result of protein recognition, where the immune system mistakes proteins in the sperm for proteins encountered with a previous infection. It is therefore essential to treat the memory of the original infection as well as providing immune-regulating herbs such as Echinacea Angustifolia and Rehmannia.
Unresolved Pelvic Inflammatory Disease — Often women assume that the severe pain before and during their period is simply PMS, when in fact it may be an undiagnosed PID. This is actually an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes and pelvic structures, often caused by STD’s such as Chlamydia or Gonorrhea. This needs to be treated with Echinacea Angustifolia, Echinacea Purpurea and Picrorrhiza with Wild Yam to support the female organs. Golden Seal is a mucous membrane tonic and Corydalis can relieve the associated pain. Many times antibiotic therapy is highly recommended to prevent scar tissue formation or immune dysregulation and especially if the infection has gone unchecked for many months.
Fibroids and Endometriosis — Addressing fibroids and endometriosis can take a number of months, and may involve surgery to address the issue, particularly if they are strongly affecting the balance of the hormonal cycle. Please see my article on Fibroids and Endometriosis for more information.
Stress — Do not underestimate stress and emotional factors in affecting fertility. From a basic perspective you have to realize that pregnancy is considered a challenge and an unnecessary one to the human body. Therefore if your systems are already handling large amounts of stress, then the hormones that are released as a result will prevent pregnancy from occurring as a safeguard for the body. These hormones act to increase the release of prolactin, which may affect reproductive function. Oviductal spasm can be one of the results of stress, treatable with Cramp Bark. It is the incredible effects of stress that often lead us to suggest a long, tranquil vacation. And if you can’t take a vacation, at least take Codonopsis, described as a Tahiti vacation in a bottle. In either case, three months of adrenal support is highly recommended to reverse this chemical cascade and its effects.
Diet & Lifestyle — This is the time when what you may or may not be eating and drinking makes all the difference in the world. Many factors in the diet can affect the body’s ability to conceive. It is not just lack of nutrition or low body weight, but clinical studies show that even 16 ounces of coffee per day can cause up to a 40% drop in fertility. Tobacco use is another problem. Smokers have more abnormal sperm are 3-4 times more likely to take more than a year to conceive. Some prescription drugs like sulphasalazine, used to treat inflammatory bowel disease can drastically reduce semen quality. Lengthy use of aspirin or NSAID’s can prevent fertility by preventing implantation of the fertilized egg leading to recurring miscarriages.
Toxicity — We often don’t realize how much toxic material we are exposed to, often because we are doing nothing different from our parents. But the world was very different in our parent’s day and pesticides and pollutants have increased exponentially. Even our drinking water carries the residue of drugs and pollutants (see the article Prescription Drugs Found in Drinking Water of 3/10/08). Approximately 70% of the air in US homes is found to contain the pesticide chlordane used in termite treatment. Chlordane causes lower sperm counts and damage to the sperm-producing part of the testicles. Even MSG, a common flavor enhancer in foods was found in tests to reduce fertility by 50%. Alcohol, household paints, marijuana, cocaine, even surgical anesthesia all leave trace amounts within the body tissues that can have a profound and sustained effect on fertility.
So cleansing is absolutely the place to begin. I recommend all couples do at least 21 days of intensive intestinal cleansing, followed by another month of good liver cleansing to remove as much toxicity from the body as possible. Therapies that I recommend along the way are FAR Infrared sauna, colonics, acupuncture, detox baths and lymphatic drainage. In this way, the body tissues can rid themselves of any toxic effects and be ready for high grade nutrition to restore balance and normal function.
Once cleansing is complete, the next step is to utilize the protocols listed above for the appropriate issues challenging the couple. At the same time improving basic nutrition becomes essential, both to restore lost nutrients from damaged tissues and to support the healing process to regain proper function and balance. All body chemicals including hormones, enzymes and essential fluids must be at an optimum level to enhance fertility and to overcome any inherent challenges that exist.
The basic nutritional protocol that I recommend is provided by my friend and colleague, Dr. Angela Hywood of www.tonicaustralia.com.au Dr. Hywood is one of the top specialists in the world in natural fertility options and this protocol has helped numerous couples to conceive and enjoy healthy children.
Standard Process products for each partner:
Catalyn — 9 per day
Organically Bound Minerals — 4 per day
Calcium Lactate — 2 per day (more if an established calcium deficiency exists)
SP Green Food — 4 per day
Zinc Liver Chelate — 2 at bedtime Symplex F/M — 2 per day
Folic Acid B12 — 2 per day
Mediherb of Australia products for each partner:
Livco — 2 per day Tribulus — 3 per day (more for the male if there is a low sperm count)
Chaste Tree — 2 first thing in the morning upon rising.
Vitanox — 2 per day
For both partners:
High quality cold water fish essential fatty acid (I recommend Pharmax cod liver oil in liquid or capsules)
This nutritional preparation with herbal protocols for individual issues should be followed for three months before attempting to conceive. But by addressing your needs individually and naturally, your chances of conceiving will be much higher than you ever imagined.
This is the result of research and experience by Dr. Angela Hywood of Sydney. You can reach her at www.tonicaustralia.com.au