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Category: Infertility (Page 1 of 3)

All Things Progesterone!

Progesterone Fertility Guide

article overview
  • How Progesterone Works
  • Progesterone Deficient?
  • Hormone Testing
  • Support Progesterone Levels
  • How to Use Progesterone Cream
  • Progesterone & Miscarriage
  • Progesterone & PCOS
  • Progesterone & Endometriosis
  • Progesterone During Pregnancy
  • Summary

Hormonal balance is an important factor when it comes to healthy fertility and getting pregnant as well as feeling balanced overall.  During the course of a menstrual cycle various hormones are working together in a complex symphony to trigger the various components of ovulation and menstruation.

Progesterone is one of these key hormones.  After ovulation, progesterone production is triggered by Luteinizing Hormone (LH) which stimulates the corpus luteum (remanant egg sac) in the ovary to produce progesterone.

One of the main actions of progesterone with fertility is to help support a developing embryo

If pregnancy occurs, the production of progesterone from the corpus luteum continues for about 7 weeks (it is then produced by the placenta for the duration of the pregnancy.  If pregnancy did not occur, the period begins 14 days after ovulation.  When fertilization does not occur the corpus luteum disintegrates, which causes the level of progesterone to fall and the endometrial tissue to disintegrate and shed as menstruation.

What Does Progesterone Do?

  • Progesterone maintains the lining of the uterus which makes it possible for a fertilized egg to attach and survive
  • Makes cervical mucous accessible by sperm
  • Allows the embryo to survive
  • Prevents immune rejection of the developing baby
  • Allows for full development of the fetus through pregnancy
  • Helps the body use fat for energy during pregnancy
  • Prevents secondary sexual development
  • Increases libido around ovulation
  • Activates osteoblasts to increase new bone formation
  • Protects against endometrial, breast, ovarian and prostrate cancer
  • Normalizes blood clotting

Are Your Progesterone Deficient or Estrogen Dominate?

Too much estrogen in the body

One of the main reasons women are progesterone deficient is because they have too much estrogen in the body.  Estrogen dominance can happen for many reasons:

  • Commercially raised meats and dairy contain large amounts of estrogens, and consuming them can cause hormonal imbalance
  • Pollution and stress mimic estrogen at the estrogen receptor sites.
  • Eating a large amount of processed soy products can also mimic estrogen.
  • PCOS and endometriosis can also have an estrogen dominate action.
Not enough progesterone in the body

There are many signs that may show up in the body if you do not have enough progesterone in your system during the correct times of your cycle.

You can use this checklist as a guide for determining estrogen dominance or progesterone deficiency.

Hormone Testing

There are a couple of test options.  Tests range from charting your menstrual and basal body temperature, finding out the length of your luteal phase taking a saliva or blood test to find out your progesterone levels.  The questionnaire above will help to point out signs of progesterone deficiency while tests help to confirm it.

BBT Charting

Basil Body Temperature charting can help to determine the availability of progesterone in the luteal phase.  There will be a slight rise in temperature after ovulation has occurred and progesterone has increased.

Length of luteal phase

If the date of ovulation is fewer than 11 days before your period, this could suggest luteal phase defects.  You can detect ovulation using BBT charting, OPK strips.

Saliva testing

Saliva tests are better for testing progesterone and estrogen levels.  You can order an “at home” saliva test that you will take at a certain time during your cycle and then send away to a lab for analysis.  They will mail you back the results so you can find out if you have any hormonal imbalances.

You can find more info on hormone testing here!

Contact us if you would like some help determining which tests to do and with help for deciphering your results and how to correct any imbalance.

How to Support Progesterone Levels

Reduce your exposure to xenohormones

We have become an estrogen dominate society from all the excess estrogen in our foods and environment.

Reduce your exposure by avoiding these xenohormone producers:

  • Solvents and adhesives
  • Meat from conventionally raised livestock (non-organic)
  • Car exhaust
  • Almost all plastics
  • Petochemically derived pesticides, herbicides and fungicides
  • Emulsifiers found in soaps and cosmetics

Go here for more help with reducing toxins in every day living.

Vitex for hormonal balance

Vitex is one of the most powerful herbs for women’s fertility and menstrual health.  Vitex supports hormonal balance in the body by having an effect on the hypothalamic-pitituitary-ovarian axis (hormonal feedback loop), correcting the problem at the source.

Directions for use:

Capsules:  1,000 mg a day – take vitex all month except during menstruation

Vitex works slowly to normalize the body.  Maximum benefits are often achieved after 6-12 cycles with vitex.

Use Natural Progesterone Cream

Natural progesterone cream can help to supplement your body’s own progesterone levels and lead you back to a state of natural balance.

Natural progesterone cream comes from plant fats and oils called diosgenin which is extracted either from Mexican Wild Yams or soybeans.

How to Use Progesterone Cream

Application through the skin has been found to be one of the most effective ways to use natural progesterone.  It is absorbed through the skin into the underlying fat which helps to slowly allow progesterone into the blood.  This way of application helps the progesterone to be “time released” into the blood stream.  To mimic the body’s progesterone cycle, it is best to use progesterone cream twice a day.

The best areas for application are places that have capillary blood flow such as:

  • Face
  • Neck
  • Upper Chest
  • Breasts
  • Inner arms
  • Palms of hands and feet

When it comes to dosage, more is not better.  Too much progesterone can  cause hormonal imbalances, just like too little can.  General suggested dosage is 15-30 mg during the two weeks before your period.

Begin using progesterone directly after ovulation which is usually day 12 – 14 in our cycles and ending usage once menstruation begins.  Once you become pregnant, stay on the progesterone and contact your healthcare provider.

loading dose

A loading dose is useful for women who have had many months or years of anovulatory (no ovulation) cycles, which can create extreme progesterone deficiency.  Each cycle that passes without ovulation can increase estrogen dominance as progsterone stores are depleted.  Very thin women who have little body fat can become estrogen dominant very easily s there is not fat to store extra progesterone.  In either of these situations, use a higher dose of progesterone the first one to two months of progesterone cream use.  This helps to replenish the progesterone stored in the fat of the body.  After 2-3 months the dose can be lowered to the usual dosage.

Loading dose:  1/4 tsp twice a day (40mg a day) for two weeks before to your period

Regular dose:  1/8 tsp twice a day (20mg a day) for two weeks before your period

inducing ovulation using progesterone

Use natural progesterone from days 5 – to 26 in the cycle (stopping on day 26 to bring on menstruation).

Using the progesterone prior to ovulation effectively suppressed ovulation.  After a few months of this, stop progesterone use.  If you still have follicles left, they seem to respond to a few months of suppression with the successful maturation and release of an egg.

Preventing miscarriage and progesterone

Low progesterone during pregnancy can be one cause of recurrent miscarriages.  Progesterone is responsible for creating a healthy environment in the womb by maintaining the uterine lining.  It also reduces the chances of blood clots ad the immune system responding to the fetus as if it was a foreign substance.  Progesterone is one of the main pregnancy hormones

Progesterone and PCOS

Progesterone cream can help to oppose the estrogen dominance that occurs with PCOS.  By using progesterone cream you are able to mimic a natural cycle and help the body to establish its own cycle, including ovulating again.  With progesterone cream, changes in diet and exercise, PCOS could become obsolete.

There are two ways to use progesterone cream for PCOS.  The first is the suppression cycle.  To suppress the cycle one would use progesterone cream on cycle days 7-26.  If you do not have a menstrual cycle you would choose a date on your calendar and mark it as day 7.  Suppressing the cycle allows the body to rest by stopping the cycle of eggs not being released and estrogen/androgen dominance.  Use 60-100mg of progesterone cream a day during the suppression cycle and repeat this for 3-4 months for best results.

establish a cycle with progesterone cream

To help your body create a cycle including menstruation and ovulation, use progesterone cream on day 12 of your cycle and continue until day 26.  By stopping on day 26 your progesterone levels will drop, helping to start your menstrual cycle.  If your cycle does not start, just treat your cycle like you are having one and start again on day 12.  It is best to use a calendar so you can keep track of everything.  After 3 or so months it is suggested to take a break for 1 month so you can see if yur cycle has jump started itself.

Progesterone and endometriosis

If you have endometriosis, use progesterone from days 8-26 of your cycle to reduce the effects of estrogen on the body (estrogen stimulates endometrial growth).  Take a short week off to refresh your receptor sites.  Once the outbreaks of endometriosis are tolerable reduce the usage to days 12 till menstrual cycle.

Progesterone use during pregnancy

Natural progesterone is safe to use during pregnancy with the consent of your doctor or midwife and may prevent first trimester miscarriages that are due to low progesterone but should be used with caution when nursing as it may stop lactation.

In the first trimester of pregnancy progesterone is the sole responsibility of the ovaries, but they often fail to produce sufficient levels to maintain the pregnancy.  By the second trimester, the placenta itself is responsible for producing progesterone and it hikes the level of this hormone to 486% higher than the non-pregnant norm.

If you are taking progesterone and get pregnant, you must continue taking progesterone until  at least the 16th week.  Work with your practitioner; they will monitor your levels to make sure they are healthy for pregnancy.

Summary

Healthy progesterone levels are important during conception and pregnancy.  You can find out if your levels are where they should be by getting tested.  If you do find your levels are low there are many natural ways to promote healthy progesterone levels such as:

  1. Reducing Xenohormones
  2. Using Vitex
  3. Applying progesterone cream

If you become pregnant, continue to use the cream and consult with your doctor or midwife right away.

Let us know how we can help!

 

 

 

 

cinnamon

Cinnamon – Benefits PCOS, Endometriosis, Uterine Fibroids and Menorrhagia

Cinnamon is one of the world’s most beloved spices, but did you know it has useful benefits for fertility as well?  It has been used for years to curb heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia), including heavy bleeding due to endometriosis and uterine fibroids.  Over the last 10 years it has been used to aid women with insulin resistance associated with PCOS and those with type 2 diabetes.

Cinnamon for PCOS

Resistance to insulin increases the body’s insulin levels.  A pilot study showed cinnamon to greatly reduce insulin resistance in women with PCOS.  The study showed that cinnamon reduced insulin by increasing phosphaidylinositol 3-kinase activity in cell function.  Half of the women who took part in the pilot study took cinnamon extract for 8 weeks, while the half of the women took a placebo.  After the 8 weeks period, both groups of women were tested using fasting and 2-hour oral glucose tolerance tests.  The group who took the cinnamon had greatly reduced insulin resistance compared to the placebo group.

Another study showed cinnamon to improve glucose levels in type 2 diabetes patients.  The double blind study used 79 patients who normally managing their diabetes with diet, or medication like Metformin, a medication often prescribed for PCOS patients as well.  Patients were randomly assigned to take 1 capsule, 3 times a day of cinnamon (equal to 3g. or 1 tsp.), or a placebo for 4 months.  At 40 days fasting glucose levels were taken; patients taking cinnamon had a significantly reduced level of 10.3% compared to 3.4% in the placebo group.  These findings are promising to PCOS patients because of the similar insulin resistance associated with both type 2 diabetes and PCOS.

One study suggests cinnamon may also reduce insulin resistance by slowing the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine.  This slows the breakdown of carbohydrates, which is important for people with diabetes and women with PCOS.

Research at the Human Nutrition Center at Tufts found that cinnamon triples insulin’s ability to metabolize glucose (blood sugar), protecting people against diabetes, lowering hunger, lowering sugar cravings, while increasing weight loss.  Weight loss is often a difficult part of living with PCOS.  Many women find that losing weight is next to impossible when living with PCOS.  Cinnamon may be one natural way to improve weight loss in women with PCOS.

Lowering insulin resistance before PCOS turns to type 2 diabetes is important.  Cinnamon may help, along with specific diet changes for PCOS and diabetes.

why is insulin resistance a problem for women with pcos?
  • Insulin resistance affects normal ovulation by preventing he body from ovulating or limiting the maturation process of the released egg.
  • Women who are insulin resistant are also 4-5 times more likely to have a miscarriage.  Imbalanced insulin levels due to PCOS make it difficult for the embryo to attach properly to the uterus.
  • Insulin resistance may lead to type 2 diabetes

Cinnamon Reduces Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Cinnamon has been shown to be a useful tool for women with heavy menstrual bleeding associated with endometriosis, uterine fibroids, adenomyosis and primary menorrhagia.  Cinnamon has bee used traditionally for hundreds of years to stop excessive menstrual bleeding, hemorrhage during childbirth and miscarriage and today for any fertility condition where heavy menstruation is present.  Cinnamon taken internally may curb heavy bleeding.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is when excess endometrium lining of the uterus that normally grows in preparation for implantation of the egg does not completely shed during menstruation.  It then begins to attach to other places of the body besides the uterus.  When menses comes not only does the lining in the uterus bleed, the endometriosis that has grown in other places of the body also bleeds.  Some women with endometriosis have abnormally heavy bleeding or long-term menstrual bleeding.

Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are lumps of tissue that form on the uterus or within the uterus.  They may cause excessive mentrual bleeding.

menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding)

Most women who are experiencing excessive bleeding during their menstrual cycle have ovulatory dysfunction, in other words, they are not ovulating correctly. This is most often due to hormonal imbalance.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda has used cinnamon for thousands of years to bring warmth to a cold uterus.  A cold uterus is defines as boggy, congested, poor circulation and menstrual irregularities, including PCOS, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, amenorrhea of for women with sedentary lifestyle.  The increased circulation and warming effect also may help reduce menstrual cramping.

Cinnamon may also help to prevent yeast infection.  High blood sugar levels increase the risk of chronic yeast infection (Candida overgrowth), remember that cinnamon helps to lower blood sugar.

Suggested Usage:

Daily for PCOS or type 2 Diabetes

Dried bark powder:  1 capsule, 3 times a day or 3g = 1 tsp of loose powdered cinnamon root

Tincture:  2-4 mL or 45-115 drops a day in a little water

Acutely for Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Dried bark powder:  1 heaping teaspoon in 1 cup hot water per day or 3 capsules right away, then 1 cup two more times that day.

Tincture:  115 drops right away, 3 drops two times in the day after that.

Note:  only to be used this way during heavy bleeding times.

Not to be taken at high doses long-term, may be caustic to the mucosal lining of the digestive system.

Caution:  When NOT to use Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a slight blood thinned – it is best not used by those on blood thinning medications.

If you are experiencing PCOS, endometriosis, uterine fibroids or heavy menstrual bleeding, let us know.  We can help you manage these issues.  You can schedule a complimentary consult for more information here:  

For more info on fertility and how we can help can be found here.

 

blood types ad FSH

Improving Fertility by Lowering FSH Levels

How to Lower FSH Levels and Improve Fertility

High FSH levels can be a sign of poor ovarian reserve, poor egg quality and a symptom of failure to ovulate (anovulation).

A recent study of 560 women who sought fertility treatment at the Yale University IVF program and the Montefiore Institute in New York revealed that blood type may play a factor in fertility.  According to this study women with blood type O have, on average, higher FSH levels when compared to other types (A, B and AB).  The researchers discovered that women with blood type O were twice as likely to have an elevated FSH level of above 10 (which is right on the cusp of fair to diminished ovarian reserve).  The study also found that women with blood type A were the least likely to have elevated FSH levels.  The reason suggested was that women with blood type A carry a antigen which is missing in blood type O.

How can you lower high FSH levels and produce higher quality eggs?

First and foremost is optimal nutrition with adequate intake of protein, good fats and complex carbohydrates.  Iron and vitamin E are crucial for healthy egg development and maturation.  Many women are low in iron which leads to general fatigue, pallor and heavy periods.  The herbs Shatavari, Dong Quai and Rehmannia have traditionally bee used to treat poor egg quality and are often prescribed to women in their late thirties ad early forties.

extra considerations for o blood types

Consider having a Anti-Mullerian hormone test.  This test will show  you what level of ovarian reserve you have (the amount of primordial follicles you have left).  This will indicate whether low ovarian reserve may be a cause of your elevated FSH levels.

Consider some dietary adjustments.  It has been suggested that type O’s eat a predominantly paleolithic diet, which is largely meat based, and that they avoid dairy and wheat (gluten).  Negative effects of dairy and gluten on human fertility have been well documented.  For example, the first country to country comparison study found that fertility declined with age faster in countries where women drank a lot of milk than in countries where they drank lower quantities of milk.  Similarly, women with undiagnosed intolerance to gluten are more likely to experience difficulties getting pregnant and to enter menopause earlier.

One large study found that following a diet high in animal protein may in fact increase your chances of ovulatory infertility.  According to a study from Harvard, the longest running study of woman’s health in America which started in 1976 and initially included over 120,000 married 35-55 year old female nurses – ovulatory  infertility was 39 percent more likely in women with the highest intake of animal protein then those with the lowest.

What should you do?

The same Harvard study found that replacing 25 grams of animal protein with 25 grams of plant protein would lower your risk of ovulatory infertility by 50%.

O blood types should consume adequate amounts of iodine or sea algae (Kelp) as it acts as a blood tonic for O blood types and as such has a medicinal effect.  What’s interesting to not is the fact that iodine, selenium and zinc (found in Kelp) are crucial for healthy thyroid function.  Ovaries have recepters for thyroid hormone thyroxine, which is required for follicle production.

For more help with egg quality and fertility issues, contact us below.

Egg Health

Could What You Are Eating Be Making Your Eggs Old?

Have you ever considered that what you are eating may be aging you faster and therefore leading to poor quality eggs and the diagnosis of “OLD EGGS”?

I have talked to so many distraught women who have been told their eggs are too old for conception.  Some of these women are in their 40’s and some are still in their 30’s while some are just in their 20’s!  Many of these women go on to conceive with their own eggs and give birth to healthy babies despite this poor outlook.  Those who do make some changes to their diet and lifestyles and followed them religiously for a minimum of a year.

One substance has been on the research radar for years.  It’s been linked to tooth decay, acne, diabetes, weight gain, poor immunity, ADD (attention deficit disorder), hyperactivity and aggression, cancer proliferation and now aging!  SUGAR!

Sugar causes you to age and lowers your egg quality

Read More

healthy sperm

Increasing Sperm Naturally!

Want to know how to increase sperm naturally?  Actually – sperm quality?

The motility (movement) and the morphology (shape) of the sperm is just as important for fertilization of the egg.  If you have been wondering if you have a ‘normal sperm count’, it may be a good idea to have a test doneHealthy Sperm for evaluation.  Your body can always use some extra help through nutritional and lifestyle choices as this can go a long way to help increase your sperm count and quality!

As part of a preconception care plan, it is always helpful to get a routine check up.  Letting your doctor know you are trying to conceive is helpful so they can discuss any relevant information you may need to know.  There are certain medical conditions that can interfere with reproductive function so these need to be ruled out, addressed or monitored.

Sperm Maturation

The spermatozoa take around three months to mature, although they are constantly being produced.  If you have had the flu, an infection or fever within the last few months, this could affect your current sperm quality.  Likewise any negative lifestyle factors can also impact your sperm cells.  How to increase sperm count?  Your body can do with some replenishment and ‘TLC’ to help restore the quality of your sperm.  Your sperm supply should be completely regenerated after around three months time.

How to Increase Sperm Count
diet

Nutrition plays a huge role for the production of healthy sperm and semen (probably more than you realize).  Keep your diet well balanced to ensure optimal fertility, and this will also help keep up energy levels.  How to increase sperm count:

  • Eat fresh organic fruits and veges – these are full of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (must be free of pesticides and other chemicals that damage sperm).
  • Proteins – eat more seafood and vegetable proteins rather than meats.
  • Organic lean meats/poultry/eggs and dairy – check packaging labels, must be “hormone free” (as these can significantly contribute towards hormonal imbalances).
  • Saturated fats (mostly from animal sources) – limit daily intake.
  • Trans fats (avoid totally) – liquid oils that are made into solid fats, often found in packaged products or fast foods (check all labels).
  • Eat unsaturated fats which include the essential fatty acids (the good fats) – these are found mostly from vegetable sources (except omega 3) – incorporate these into your diet.
  • (EFAs) Omega 3 found in oily cold water fish.
  • (EFAs) Omega 6 present in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils.
  • Minimize sugar intake.
  • Whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes/pulses – are all high fiber, protein and help keep your digestive system functioning smoothly.
  • Avoid refined foods such as white flour or white rice.
  • Also avoid processed foods and soda drinks – these are full of unhealthy preservatives, additives, sugars, excess salt and fats, so best to be avoided.
  • Filtered water – is best as normal tap water can contain traces of heavy metal and chemical residue, make sure you drink at least eight x 8-ounce glasses per day or more if exercising.

A fertility diet is highly recommended as it can help re-balance the hormones that are necessary for reproductive health.  We can help with what is helpful for a fertility diet.  Contact us below and we would be happy to give you some guidance.

Supplements

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Treating Thyroid Problems Naturally

Thyroid Function Must Be Controlled Before You Get Pregnant

Treating thyroid problems right away is important if you are wanting to have a baby.  Preconception planning is essential to a healthy pregnancy for women with thyroid problems.  Women with untreated or neglected thyroid problems may affect their baby’s growth and brain development.  Untreated thyroid problems may also lead to infertility, miscarriage or a baby born with birth defects.

It’s important to see a doctor bout thyroid issues.  Make a plan with your doctor.  If you desire natural treatments it is important to speak with your doctor to see if that is a possibility for you.  Here I will present some ways to supplement and support proper thyroid function.  If you are interested in any of these, talk to your doctor – we can help with a plan of action to help.

Iodine Rich food sources

A diet rich in whole foods should always be the first way to support overall health, including thyroid health.  Poor diet and nutritional deficiency is one of the top reasons for thyroid problems.  Choose organic foods when possible, as the thyroid is very sensitive to environmental toxins.  Too much iodine can also cause goiter, so do not go overboard.  More is not always better.  It is about balance.  It is important to get a balanced amount of iodine in the diet.  People with hypothyroidism due to iodine deficiency may benefit from increasing the recommended daily allowance of iodine rich foods.

  • Raw cranberry
  • Whole-fat yogurt
  • Raw dairy products
  • Navy beans
  • Strawberries
  • Potatoes with skin left on
  • Himalayan Crystal Salt

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Why Thyroid Problems Should be Resolved Before Conception

Is Your Thyroid Impacting Your Fertility?

YES!  Solving thyroid problems before conceiving is more important than you think!  The thyroid is a very important gland for fertility.  Hormonal imbalance can act as a trigger for thyroid problems.

Let’s review how the thyroid functions and learn the different ways thyroid issues may affect your fertility.

The thyroid is a small butterfly shaped gland.  It is located just below the larynx, in the lower part of the neck.  The purpose of the thyroid gland is to take iodine from the foods we consume and convert them into thyroid hormones:  thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).  Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine.  The thyroid combines iodine and the amino acid tryosine to make T4 and T3.  T4 and T3, once released into the blood stream control our metabolism.  They thyroid is also responsible for proper growth, development and repair of the body.  It is extremely important for the development of the central nervous system.  The metabolism of every single cell in our body is dependent on thyroid hormones.  The thyroid produces about 80% T4 and 20% T3, but T3 has four times the strength of T4.

Our thyroid is controlled by the pituitary gland.  The pituitary gland is controlled by the hypothalamus.  When thyroid hormones drop too low, the pituitary gland releases Thyroid Stimulation Hormone (TSH).  The release of TSH stimulates th thyroid to release more T3 and T4.  Healthy regulatory release of T3 and T4 signal the pituitary to decrease the release of TSH.  The hypothalamus stimulates the pituitary gland to release TSH through the release of TSH Releasing Hormone (TRH).  This can be so confusing.  To break it down, the hypothalamus is like you – a person who can control the thermostat in your home.  The thermostat is the pituitary and the heat is thyroid hormones.  As the heat rises (thyroid hormones), it signals the thermostat (pituitary) to shut off.  As the heat decreases, it signals the thermostat to run again.  The control person (hypothalamus) sets the thrmostat (pituitary) to a regulate the heat (thyroid).

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Coming off Hormonal Birth Control – Part II – Natural Remedies for Bringing Back a Healthy Cycle

What is your goal after coming off hormonal birth control?  Is it a healthy menstrual cycle or wanting to try to conceive?  Either way, nourishing and supporting the entire hormonal feedback loop, egg health, cervical mucous and uterine health is the goal.

How can we do that?

Step 1:  Nourish and Cleanse

Natural Fertility Diet

Eating a whole food, nutrient dense fertility diet has been shown to increase the chances of pregnancy and helping to bring hormonal balance to your cycle.  Because hormones in birth control may affect our metabolism, digestion and nutritional levels, eating properly is going to be very important when on birth control as well afterward to replenish depleted nutritional levels.

Use of birth control containing hormones effects the levels of folic acid, riboflavin (vitaming B2), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc.  It would be wise to take a good whole food multivitamin during and after birth control use to prevent nutritional deficiency and restore already depleted levels. Women using birth control consistently for 6 months or longer have been shown to have significant lower levels of tryptophan.  Vitamin B6 supplements can help normalize tryptophan metabolism.

Prolonged use of hormone containing birth control may also lead to anemia so you may also want to consider taking a whole food iron supplement.  Birth control also changes the pH levels in the vagina which may lead to yeast infection.  Taking a good probiotic supplement Lactobacillus may support the body in maintaining healthy vaginal flora.

Prolonged use of progestin has been shown to thin the bones so be sure you are eating adequate amounts of calcium rich foods like dark leafy greens, sesame seeds, seaweed, almonds, quinoa, and chia.

Fertility cleansing for liver, hormonal and uterine support

The body may greatly benefit from some gentle cleansing of the liver and uterus when coming off birth control.  The liver has to metabolize synthetic hormones and becomes overloaded and taxed during birth control use.  When a woman has not had a regular menstrual cycle for some time because of birth control use, it may need some herbal support.  Because progestin has been linked to thinning of the uterine lining, the uterus may really benefit from uterine tonic herbs.  These herbs also support hormonal balance and healthy cervical mucous.  For help with cleansing after hormonal birth control use – contact us below.  We can guide you on what herbs to use and how to start with a clean slate within the body that will help your body to respond and utilize other natural remedies better.

Step 2:  Herbal Support for Restoring Hormonal Balance and Promoting Ovulation

If you have tried to change your diet, are taking a whole food multivitamin and you still do not have a menstrual cycle yet, you may want to learn how herbs for fertility can help to promote hormonal balance, restore ovulation and bring back a normal menstrual cycle.  Restoring a natural menstrual cycle is also important for egg health.  Hormonal birth control prevents ovulation which can decrease egg health.  Our follicles require a normalized release of our natural hormones and adequate nutritional levels.  Synthetic hormones disrupt these which may impact egg health.

Once you have stopped using hormonal birth control, your body may be confused and in shock.  One day your body was receiving hormones and then suddenly it was not.  On top of that, your liver may still contain some of those synthetic hormones which may confuse the body further.

The following may help:

Tribulus terrestris

If you know you are not ovulating and you are struggling to get your cycle back, learning about this South Asian herb may help.  One study showed that 67% of women who were not ovulating began ovulating after using Tribulus.  This herb has been found to stimulate ovulation.  Tribulus has been used traditionally for hundreds of years to promote healthy fertility in both women and men.

Vitex

Vitex supports the hormonal feedback loop.  This herb also promotes and has been shown to regulate ovulation.  It has the ability to adapt to the individual hormonal needs of each woman.  Because Vitex has proven effective for a variety of menstrual issues, it may be a great choice to start off on the right foot to restoring a healthy natural menstrual cycle.  It has been shown most effective when used for 6 – 12 months consistently. Vitex is a remedy that has been shown to be very effective, but requires patience.  It can take some time to achieve desired results, especially when  coming off birth control.  This herb is specific to regulating menstruation.

Dong Quai

Dong Quai (angelica sinensis) is one of the most powerful female tonic and fertility herb.  Dong Quai tonifies and strengthes the uterus by regulating hormonal control, improving uterine tone, and improving the timing of the menstrual cycle.

Dong Quai works by promoting blood flow to the pelvis where it will stimulate an absent or scanty period. It also nourishes the blood, treats iron deficiency and anemia.  One of the best uses is it helps women who are not menstruating to invite their menstruation back.  The increased circulation also helps to strengthen and balance the uterus.

Maca

Maca is one of the best supportive tonics for our endocrine system; which controls and produces many of our hormones.  This root is very nourishing.  Maca root supports overall hormonal balance and may greatly support our bodies through times of stress.  An important factor when dealing with stopping synthetic hormones is the stress factor.  It is extremely stressful on our bodies to take synthetic hormones and then abruptly stop them.  Maca may help to restore hormonal harmony once again.

Step 3:  Restore Healthy Cervical Mucous

Once the menstrual cycle is restored, healthy cervical mucous production should be restored as well.  If you find you are still struggling with lack of cervical mucous, you may want to consider supplements that have been shown to help promote healthy Cervical Mucous production.

Cervical mucous production may be altered for some time as well since the hormones in birth control thicken cervical mucous for some time.  Supplements that have proven results for restoring healthy Cervical Mucous are Evening of Primrose Oil, Borage Oil, and L-Arginine.  Be sure to drink plenty of water daily.  Using a sperm friendly lubricant until your natural healthy cervical mucous is restored may be helpful.

Step 4:  Self Fertility Massage

This at home natural therapy is one of the most supportive ways you can heal a wide variety of fertility issues, while promoting healthy function of the entire reproductive system.  Self Fertility Massage promotes ovulation, supports communication with the endocrine system, improves circulation to the uterus and ovaries which strengthens the uterus and promotes healthy eggs.  It also supports the body in ridding of those excess toxins and hormones.  This type of massage is a great way to be directly connected to healing your fertility and menstrual cycle.

Be patient; be gentle with yourself!

The body goes through a lot of confusion and stress when coming off of hormonal birth control.  Be patient with your body and give it time to adjust to the intense hormonal shifts that have to take place.  Expect that you may feel sad, angry, depressed and simply “off”.  This is normal when any hormonal adjusting is taking place.  Be gentle with yourself and how you are feeling.  Know that you can work toward restoring your natural hormonal state and can move on to working toward a balanced menstrual cycle and/or toward trying to conceive through proper nutritional, herbal and natural therapy support.

If you would like help coming off hormonal birth control and with balancing your menstrual cycle, contact us below.  We can help with dietary, herbal and fertility massage as well as other techniques and protocols to regain a a healthy cycle.

Can You Treat Inflammation Holistically?

Smoking and inflammation

It’s pretty common knowledge that smoking is bad for your health and contributes to the development and exacerbation of a slew of diseases.  Researchers have recently developed a theory as to why smoking is so closely related to so many inflammatory conditions.  Apparently nicotine is able to activate a specific kind of white blood cell called a neutrophil, and while normally neutrophils work to protect the body, they are also responsible for tissue damage due to excessive inflammation.  So one way to decrease inflammation is to quit smoking.

Conventional treatments for inflammation
Non-sterodial anti-inflammatory drugs (NASIDs)

As you might know, the most common over-the-counter treatment for inflammation is a drug called ibuprofen, or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID).  These can be amazing drugs for the occasional ache or pain, but they are not designed to be taken regularly and do not treat the underlying cause of inflammation.  Symptoms of NSADIS include stomach ulcers, hypertension and rashes.  Taken long-term or too often, they can be dangerous, linked to heart attacks, strokes and stomach bleeds.

Corticosteriods

Another common type of anti-inflammatory medication are corticosteroids.  These drugs work by suppressing inflammation-causes genes.  They often come in the form of cortisone injections, and can be very effective at decreasing inflammation.  They also come with a lot of side-effects and the body can also start to build up a tolerance.

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Allergies and Inflammation

Allergies are another common sign of chronic inflammation.  If you suffer from seasonal or year-round allergies, you have probably wondered why they seem to affect you but not some of your friends or members of your family.  It’s because people wit allergies have an immune system that is launching an immune response to harmless substances (like pollen), as if they are a threat to the body.  This activates an immune response and causes that annoying persistent sneezing, mucus, and inflammation.  The immune systems of your fortunate allergy-free friends is simply not perceiving those substances as harmful.

The body will provide a tone of subtle signs when someone starts to develop chronic inflammation, and this is where conventional medicine can sometimes fall short.  Your doctor will be well aware of inflammation caused by infection or injury and fully recognize autoimmunity and autoimmune disease, but they don’t seem to pay much mind to the subtle signs of chronic inflammation.  And if they do, they will prescribe a medication that will treat the symptoms and not the root cause.

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