admin/ September 30, 2015/ Dr. Danielle

Yes, the ol’ diddy that comes to light at my house every year when the dandelions show their faces. I used to think it was adorable to watch my kids pick one and subsequently belt out the little jingle. But now, well….now it just sounds like nails down a chalkboard. In fact, I am so sick of hearing it that I am trying to redirect them (and further socially isolate them as they learn one more thing kids their age just shouldn’t know) by telling them about the medicinal properties of dandelions….

Anyhow, I digress. What I really wanna talk about today is fertility. And whether or not momma’s head is really gonna pop off. J/K.

Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after 1 year of unprotected intercourse for a woman under 35 or after 6 months of unprotected intercourse for a woman older than 35. Women who have repeated miscarriages can also be diagnosed as infertile. By age 32, it is known that fertility rates start to decline. According to Statistics Canada, up to 16% of heterosexual couples, where the woman is between 18 and 44, are experiencing infertility. This is a near doubling since 1992. Now, in order for conception to occur, there are a number of things that need to be happening in both the female and male’s body. And if even one of these things is absent or malfunctioning, the sperm will not be successful in the race of all races.

So let’s consider the factors that further increase your risk of infertility.
Age. For women over 40, the failure to conceive rate approaches 90%. In the United States, one third of couples over the age of 35 have fertility problems. Yet it is important to note that as of February 2012, infertility appears to be on the rise among younger women.

Stress, poor diet, smoking, and alcohol can also stop fertilization from happening. Studies have been done looking at the sperm of men who are alcoholics and the sperm actually appear drunk under the microscope. Not only are they malformed, but they are also multi- (not uni-) directional.

TD’s can cause scarring which can block the sperm from getting to where they need to be. Being both overweight and underweight can prevent conception, and 4 + cups of coffee per day is associated with miscarriages.

So yes, there are things within our control that will increase our success at conceiving. However, there are also reasons beyond our control that may need to be addressed, if possible. Physical obstructions in the reproductive tract, hormonal imbalances, and the ever-so-helpful “unexplained infertility” are examples of these. So what can naturopathic medicine do to help??? Boy, am I ever glad I asked….harrumph….

First and foremost, and before having to seek out fertility treatments, a naturopath can help guide you as far as lifestyle and dietary choices to make in order to optimize your chances. There has also been some great research on supplements and botanicals that can also increase your chances. My first line therapy for this is acupuncture. I have helped many couples become successful at conceiving with needles. It consists of weekly treatments which change based on where you are during your cycle. There have been times where we needed more information, at which point a referral to a fertility clinic was made to try to find the root cause of the infertility so that we could really target our treatment.

In cases where IUI’s or IVF’s were performed, there are studies which support acupuncture in and around those procedures. Of which I also do. And have experienced great outcomes from this as well.

There are three instances in my practice where I get a case of MAJOR goosebumps. The first is when someone is successful at losing inches off of their waist and hips, the second is when someone achieves a daily bowel movement with ease (I know, weird), and the third is when someone tells me they are pregnant. Like, head to toe MAJOR goosebumps. Just another three reasons as to why I love what I do.

So if you, or someone you know is struggling to conceive, let them know there are other, very successful options out there. Go see a naturopath!

In signing off, remember to do something today that brings you joy. I am on my way home right now to beg one of my kids to draw on my back…..will likely have to bribe them, but whatever.

Rain, rain, go away!

Dr. D