For most women, starting a family is one of the most joyous times in life. For some women, however the pain of infertility can turn one of life’s greatest joys into an emotional and heart-wrenching endeavor.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Survey of Family Growth, an estimated 7.3 million women have used infertility services[1]. This number is staggering. Some may believe that these women are just unfortunately unlucky. However, if we look into infertility in more detail we may find that women can reduce their chances of infertility through a number of methods, many of which are naturopathic in nature.

Birth Control and Infertility

From pills to patches and shots to IUDs, the variety of birth control currently available to women has grown. In addition, approximately 62% of women of reproductive age are using one form of birth control or another[2]. Most studies will tell you that birth control does not affect fertility, however when we alter the natural way our bodies were made to function, there is always a risk that something may go wrong.

Most birth control releases hormones into the body. When birth control is used for long periods of time and then discontinued once a woman is ready to have children, hormonal imbalance may result in the body.

Hormonal imbalance is one of the leading causes of female infertility. Symptoms that one may experience as a result of hormonal imbalance include irregular menstrual cycles, excessive or little bleeding, the absence of menstrual periods for long periods of time, pelvic cramps and excessive weight gain or weight loss.

If you are considering the use of birth control, non-hormonal options are a safer bet if fertility may be a concern in the future. If you suspect that you might be suffering from a hormonal imbalance and in turn are experiencing infertility issues, Balanced Care can help. We can first run a thorough examination to determine your exact issues and once identified, provide natural remedies to balance your hormones, with the goal of increasing your fertility.

PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, PCOS, infertility

Polycystic Ovaries

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, better known as PCOS, is a health detriment that many women experience. PCOS occurs when cysts grow on the ovaries. As a result of this growth, hormonal balance and menstruation are disrupted, making it hard to get pregnant.

The cause of PCOS is not well known, but your risk of PCOS can increase if you are overweight or if PCOS runs in your family. PCOS causes infertility problems because it can interfere with your ovulation cycle. Some women with PCOS will ovulate occasionally, while others don’t ovulate at all.

PCOS symptoms include irregular menstrual cycles, excessive hair growth, acne and obesity, although women who are of normal weight can have PCOS too. If you are having infertility issues and can identify with the symptoms of PCOS, you may benefit from getting tested. Once diagnosed, we can help you determine the treatment for PCOS that will be most beneficial to you. We do everything we can to use natural remedies for PCOS treatment.

Secondary Infertility

What often gets overlooked when discussing infertility is the fact that some women who are facing infertility are already moms. When infertility strikes while attempting to conceive a second or third child, this is known as secondary infertility. Women undergoing secondary infertility did not have fertility issues when conceiving their previous children.

Although secondary infertility can be correlated with age, sometimes there are bigger issues that go undiagnosed. To determine whether you’re suffering from the ticking of the biological clock or whether you’re facing a more serious health concern, consult your naturopathic physician if you are still unable to get pregnant. The idea of secondary infertility is often not discussed and sometimes it may be hard to believe that infertility can strike after the successful birth of previous children.

In addition to getting pregnant, women experiencing secondary infertility may also have trouble carrying a baby to term. Both of these issues are hard to deal with. After having successfully birthed children, some women may be in a denial with regard to their fertility issues. However, like any health issue, it’s best to not wait too long to seek treatment.

The Emotions of Infertility

Whether you are experiencing infertility in your attempt to conceive your first child, or whether you are confronting fertility in the hopes of adding more children to your family, the emotional toll that infertility can take on a family can be distressing.

At Balanced Care we do everything we can to use natural medicine to increase your fertility. Our goal is not only to provide you with natural healing remedies, but to also relieve some of the stress and frustration you may have endured as a result of your infertility struggles. Don’t wait to get started on a natural journey to fertility.

 

Dr. Katie CorazzoNaturopathic Doctor, Edina, Minneapolis, Bloomington, Minnetonka

Dr. Katie and Dr. Rachel are Naturopathic Doctors practicing in Edina and Woodbury, MN. Their goal is to address the underlying cause using natural medicines and nutrition. Call to schedule 612-564-2218.

 

 

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/infertility.htm

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr060.pdf

Ovulation is the only time in your cycle that you can get pregnant, so it is crucial to know when you are ovulating if you are trying to conceive. This one small bit of information can drastically boost your odds of conceiving in any given cycle. Conception is a very complex process, so you will want to do everything you can to help it along. First, let us discuss what happens during ovulation.

Fertility, holistic, naturopathic, herbs, ovulation

What is Ovulation?

In simple terms, ovulation occurs when the female body releases a mature egg for fertilization. This normally happens every cycle, regardless of whether the woman has had intercourse. If you have had sex within your fertile window, there is a chance that one very resilient sperm will make its way to fertilize the egg. This is not a given, though. The sperm’s journey is long and arduous, and there are no guarantees that they will make it. This is why it can take more than one cycle for any healthy, fertile couple to conceive. Regardless of whether sperm were present during the fertile window. If the egg is not fertilized within 12-24 hours, it will degenerate and another cycle will begin about two weeks later.

 

Ovulation normally occurs every cycle, but its appearance may change depending on the woman’s cycle. Most women ovulate about 15 days before the beginning of their next cycle (next menstrual period). If you have a 28-day cycle, this means you will ovulate around day 14. If you have a 30-day cycle, you may ovulate around day 16. These are not hard and fast numbers, though. Even with a 28-day cycle, you may ovulate on day 12 or 16. This is why it is good to know the signs of ovulation. Being just a few days off can really make a big difference for your chances of conception. Learn more about ovulation here.

 

Signs of Ovulation

There are some common signs of ovulation that every woman experiences. All you need to know is how to look for them. Then there are some other ovulation symptoms that only some women experience. It is good to know about these because if you are one of those women, it can be another indication that you are ovulating.

Infertility, PCOS, alternative, natural doctor

Cervical Mucus Changes – When you are ovulating, your body is preparing for that egg to be fertilized. A once hostile environment for sperm must become friendly. One way this happens is with cervical mucus changes. Hormones that control your cycle also change your cervical mucus. After your period you may not notice any cervical mucus (dry days). As you start entering your fertile window, cervical mucus increases and changes texture. At first, it will be sticky. Then it will be creamy. Then, when you are at your most fertile, there will be an increase of mucus that resembles the texture of raw egg whites.

 

Cervical Position Changes – As your body rolls out the welcome mat for any sperm that may enter during this time, it continues changing. The cervix sits higher in the vagina. It also softens and is wet with that EWCM (Egg White Cervical Mucus). At this time, the cervix, which used to be closed off, opens to allow sperm into the uterus. You should be able to feel for these changes, but it is a good idea to feel at various times in your cycle, so you can notice the difference.

 

Basal Body Temperature Changes – After ovulation, you may notice a temperature rise, your body temperature will increase by about one degree Fahrenheit. You may notice that your body temperature fluctuates throughout the day anyway, so the only way to notice such a change is to take your temperature first thing in the morning before you roll out of bed. Keep a pencil and paper at your bedside along with a thermometer. Chart these early morning readings and it should be easy to see when your temperature spikes.

 

Positive OPK Result – Ovulation predictor kits can tell you when your body is preparing to ovulate by detecting increased levels of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) in your urine. You can buy these tests over the counter at most pharmacies.

 

Saliva Ferning – When you are ovulating, your saliva changes. It’s not something you can see with the naked eye, though. You must use a microscope to look for a ferning (or snowflake) pattern.

 

There are other signs of ovulation that some women experience every cycle. These include:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Cramping pain
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Heightened sex drive
  • Sharper senses
  • Light spotting
  • Headaches and/or nausea

 

Once you can identify these signs, it’ll make it much easier to know when you are ovulating and get the timing right.

 

Philip Druce - Founder Of Ovulation CalculatorAuthor Bio: Phil Druce founded Ovulation Calculator in 2014 with the goal of providing easy to understand, science backed knowledge and tools to couples trying to conceive. He was inspired to do this after his own fertility battle.

 

Do you have stress in your life? I think it would be fair to say that we are stressed at varying levels. But how does stress and insulin affect your energy, weight, cravings, or fat distribution? I talk about this with my patients all. the. time. Let me break this down.

Depression, PMS, mood, naturopathic doctor, woodbury

First, lets talk about insulin. Insulin is famous for its relationship with glucose. As a hormone, it shuttles glucose into fat, muscle and the liver to be stored for use at a later time. We eat various forms of sugar and carbohydrates → increased blood sugar → pancreas secretes insulin → insulin directs glucose into cells → blood sugar levels decrease. → Make sense ← Check out this 1 minute video for a visual:

 

Fat production is increased by insulin while burning fat is inhibited.Health, exercise, holistic, Naturopathic

Insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes develop from a diet rich in processed foods and sugar. Eventually, if left unregulated, the pancreas will struggle to make enough insulin. This is prevented and treated with a proper diet and regular exercise. It really is that simple…Or is it?

Enter cortisol, insulin’s bestie. Remember that little thing called stress? Working too much, not getting enough sleep, life, kids, a marriage, bills to pay, a car to fix, a sick parent – we all have it. As you try to balance life, cortisol is there to help. Cortisol is released from the adrenal glands during times of stress to help you “survive”. The adrenals are part of the ‘fight or flight response’.

Chronic stress can cause a kink in the system. The adrenals start sending out too much or too little cortisol and at the wrong times of the day, resulting in adrenal fatigue. The consequence? Fatigue, sleep issues, weight gain (especially abdominal), and cravings.

Stress, fatigue, naturopathic, naturopathic doctor

THE CONNECTION – if cortisol increases, so does insulin. A study looked at 766 Chinese men and women to see if cortisol and insulin are related. The study showed that the men and women who reported having “demands” and “insecurity” at work had higher levels of cortisol AND insulin resistance. The results “showed that chronic stress was associated with insulin resistance and may contribute to the development of insulin resistance.”

The reverse can cause problems too – when insulin is around cortisol triglycerides accumulate in the abdomen resulting in abdominal obesity.

Even if you are of normal weight or maybe a little over weight, but do not have insulin resistance, cortisol will still behave the same way for you.

Follow these simple tips to make the cortisol and insulin work FOR you and not AGAINST you:

1. Eat 3 meals per day with 1 optional snack ONLY. Snacking or eating several times throughout the day causes more spikes in your glucose and insulin throughout the day. Your metabolism will be A-OK with eating only 4x per day.

Anxiety, exercise, weight loss2. Find effective coping techniques to relieve stress – this will help reduce your cortisol and protect your adrenals. A bath, bike ride, meditation, walk, yoga, reading, painting or drawing are just a few ideas.

Organic, nutrition, naturopathic doctor, naturopath, edina, woodbury3. Stop eating so much sugar. Just stop! It is in everything so even if you think you aren’t eating it, you probably are. Indulge once in a while, but make sure it is very limited in your regular diet. Remember sugar spikes your insulin.

4. Eat balanced meals: tons of veggies, 4-5 ounces of meat or 20 grams of protein, and healthy fats.

Healthy Child5. Have 5-9 servings of veggies daily!
Sleep, insomnia, 3 AM, Adrenal, cortisol, fatigue6. Sleep! Your adrenals need sleep to repair and recover from stress. A study showed that for every 1 hour of sleep lost per day there is an increase of .35 in body mass index (BMI). This is about 2 pounds in a 35-year-old female who is 5’4” and 160 lbs. Sleep duration may also be a predictor of weight gain, insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

 

 

Dr. Katie Corazzo, Naturopathic Doctor, natural medicine, holistic, adrenal, fatigue, diabetes, insulin, sleep, insomniaIf you are looking to dig deeper into this issue, please contact me for an appointment – I would love to help. I use saliva hormone testing to help evaluate metabolic function. I have seen dramatic changes in patients energy, food cravings, weight, blood sugar, and overall healthy by addressing adrenal fatigue and blood sugar issues. I hope to hear from you soon! To schedule visits, including complimentary 15 minute in-person or phone visits at my Edina or Woodbury locations, visit this link.