Hormones and Infertility

Birth control, family planning, infertility, PCOS

Hormones, infertility, PCOS, ovulation, fertility, IVF, IUI

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

Birth control, family planning, infertility, PCOS

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 or fertility issues, Balanced Care can help. We will run a thorough hormone panel to help determine any imbalances. Once identified, natural remedies will be recommended to balance your hormones and improve fertility.

PCOS

PCOS, infertility

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. 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 the cause, consult your naturopathic physician if you are still unable to get pregnant.

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

Struggling with fertility issues is incredibly emotional. The disappointment and sadness can be very intense.

At Balanced Care we do everything we can to use natural medicine to increase your fertility. Our goal is to provide you with natural healing remedies and help relieve some of the stress and frustration you are feeling. Get started on your natural fertility journey today.

 

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopath

Dr. Katie is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing in Edina and Woodbury, MN. The 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

Metabolic Syndrome: Risk Factors & Prevention

A background on Metabolic Syndrome: Heart disease, stroke and diabetes are three of the leading causes of death in the U.S. When death results from these situations it often feels like the incident occurred out of nowhere, which can leave family members wondering what could have been done to save their loved ones.

Although death from heart attacks, strokes and diabetes are almost always unexpected, there are often a group of risk factors that show up as warning signs far before the sometimes fatal events occur. Some of these risk factors include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, elevated cholesterol, and excess body fat especially around the waistline. Together, these conditions are referred to as metabolic syndrome. Having a combination of these conditions increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Causes of Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is usually the result of several causes including overweight, obesity, inactivity and a poor diet which ultimately leads to inflammation throughout the body.

If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, your body has become insulin resistant, another culprit of metabolic syndrome. When you eat carbohydrates, the body turns the carbs into sugar or glucose after the food has been digested. Insulin is a hormone that allows your body to use this glucose as energy or to store the glucose for future use. When your body becomes insulin resistant your cells cannot efficiently use blood sugar or glucose for energy. Whenever insulin is elevated it send the body into a “fat storage mode” which makes weight loss very difficult. When this happens you continuously have high blood sugar levels, which can lead to type 2 diabetes if a dietary change is not made.

Metabolic Syndrome
Source: Elite Healthcare

Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome 

As stated earlier, metabolic syndrome is the result of a number of conditions such as high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Often these conditions have very few signs or symptoms. Some individuals with high blood pressure may face headaches and dizzy spells, while those with high blood sugar can experience increased thirst, urination and headaches. On the other hand, some individuals show no signs or symptoms at all.

A visible sign that someone may be suffering from metabolic syndrome is a large waistline. Having extra fat in the belly area, as opposed to other areas of the body, has been linked to an increase risk of metabolic syndrome. For those of us with a more visual mind, if your body shape looks more like an apple instead of a pear, this could be a visual cue that you are suffering a health condition.

Get Tested

Because of the often few and sometimes non-existent symptoms of metabolic syndrome, it can be very hard to determine whether you are suffering from the condition. The best thing you can do if you suspect that you may have metabolic syndrome is to consult a physician.

If you have been looking to find a naturopathic doctor or if you are interested in exploring naturopathic remedies for health, Balanced Care is the right place for you. At Balanced Care we can complete a physical exam and run a number of tests to confirm whether you are suffering from metabolic syndrome. These tests will measure your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and inflammation. Genetic testing can also be used to evaluate your cardiac risk. 

Treatment for Metabolic Syndrome

If you are in fact diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, the good news is that natural treatments and lifestyle changes can reverse your condition. These natural remedies include changes in nutrition and becoming more active which leads to weight loss and decreased inflammation.

Changing your diet will do wonders for you if you suffer from metabolic syndrome. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your meals can help your metabolism operate properly. Because everyone is different, the naturopathic doctors at Balanced Care can help you create a treatment plan that is tailored specifically to you.

Exercise and being active is a great way to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and prevent insulin resistance. Everything from taking the stairs instead of the elevator to attending a yoga class will help – nothing is off limits. As long as you are consistently moving, this increased activity will help tackle your metabolic syndrome conditions.

As a result of improving your diet and becoming more active, you will see the pounds fall off. The apple shape you once had will soon turn into a pear if you keep up with your lifestyle changes.

Don’t Be a Statistic

Most of us know someone whose life was changed forever as a result of a heart attack, stroke or diabetes. Many of these lives could have been saved if the correct natural treatments for high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure were implemented sooner.

Metabolic syndrome is a very clear sign that you need to make some lifestyle changes. Heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes are preventable, especially when treated by addressing the underlying cause. Protect yourself and your loved ones by getting tested and regaining control of your health.

 

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopathDr. Katie is a registered Naturopathic Doctor in Edina and Woodbury, MN. Serving the Twin Cities, she is passionate about addressing the root cause by using natural medicines and nutrition. Holistic medical care and individualized treatment plans for each and every patient is what you can expect. Call now to schedule your complimentary 15 minute consultation at 612-564-2218. We can’t wait to meet you!

 

Treating Adult Acne Naturally

treating adult acne natually

Facial

A shocking 45% of people over the age of 21 have acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, most being women. There are many causes for adult acne including lifestyle, diet, stress, family history, side effects of medications and hormone imbalance, but what about treating adult acne naturally?

Before we talk about treating adult acne, let’s first look at a few common causes.

Stress

We all have stress in our lives, some more than others, but how do we cope with the stress? When under chronic stress there is an increase in androgens like cortisol and testosterone. Research shows that cortisol and testosterone increases acne and breakouts. Incorporating stress-relieving strategies into our daily life can help maintain normal androgen levels which is important for sleep, skin, mood, and so much more.

Exercise

Your metabolism increases during and after a workout which helps rid the body of excess sebum production that causes acne. On the other hand, hormones can become stagnant with a lack of exercise which leads to hormonal acne. Maintaining an exercise routine at least 3 days per week can help prevent adult acne. Your pores open during a workout so be sure to rinse off as soon as possible to prevent them from filling with sweat and bacteria and causing a breakout!

Diet

Conventional chickens and beef are given hormones that large-scale companies use to increase size and output of animals. These same animals are also given antibiotics to prevent infections that spread rapidly in small living spaces. The hormones and antibiotics end up in the meat and milk we consume if we are not careful. If your acne is hormonal in nature, it may be caused by the animal products you are eating or drinking. To prevent this, purchase your meat locally from farmers who do not use hormones and let their animals graze. Look for grass-fed beef and free range chickens that are hormone and antibiotic free. As for dairy, choose organic and/or switch to a plant-based milk like almond or coconut milk.

Additionally, be wary of the types of oil you use. Peanut and vegetable oils are highly processed and could be contributing to your breakouts. Cook with olive oil or avocado oil instead, or even sauté in water or broth instead!

If meat or dairy is not be the cause of your acne, gluten, nuts or other food sensitivities may be the culprit. Whatever we put into our body will affect the outside of our body too.

Here are a few suggestions for naturally avoiding acne and breakouts:

  1. Eat a balanced diet full of fruits, veggies, fish and humanely raised lean meats. Choose organic when possible and try out plant-based milks.
  2. Exercise! Yoga, walking, swimming all help boost your metabolism while allowing you to de-stress your body and mind. Find something you enjoy and then do it at least 3 days per week.
  3. Be sure to have a good cleansing regimen both mornings and evenings. If hormones are causing your acne, balancing hormone levels naturally is crucial.
  4. If you aren’t sure what is causing your acne, book an appointment with Dr. Rachel or Dr. Katie. We can help determine what foods or hormones may be causing your acne.

Written by: Dr. Rachel Alioto

Dr. Rachel and Dr. Katie are Naturopathic Doctors in Edina and Woodbury, MN. We offer natural treatments to your health issues. Call us today for your complimentary 15 minute consultation 612-564-2218. We hope to hear from you soon!

12 Ways to Know You are Ovulating

ovulation, fertility, infertility

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.

Pregnancy Test, infertility, fertility

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.

ovulation, fertility, infertility, pregnancy

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.

 

Author 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.

 

Infertility & Adoption Family Planning Conference

Naturopathic doctor

Dr. Katie will be speaking and answering your questions!

dr-katie

Join me with The National Infertility Association, Resolve. They are hosting their 31st annual Midwest Family Building Conference – Exploring Paths of Hope. This is for families at various stages of family planning – I hope you join us at this fantastic event!

  • FREE expert advice from Integrative Therapy Practitioners (Naturopathic Doctor, acupuncturist, Yoga instructor, and more), Reproductive endocrinologist, adoption agencies,  attorneys, psychologists and other fertility and adoption specialists.
  • FREE giveaways
  • Largest conference of its type in the Midwest

When?  Saturday, November 14th

Time?  7:30 AM – 5 PM

Where?  Fridley, Minnesota

Top 10 Sleep Tips For Babies

baby, crying, postpartum, anxiety, depression, adrenal, fatigue

sleep, baby, infant, crying, postpartum, anxiety, depression, adrenal, fatigue

Welcome Baby Care is a local business in Edina here to support moms and their babies pre and postpartum. Doulas, lactation consultants and in home care are their specialties. They have lots of experience and here are their favorite sleep tips for babies from 4-12 months.

1. No Solids at Bedtime

Solids offer little nutritional value at this age. The primary source of nutrition for infants in the first year of life is human milk or formula. Solids can also be difficult for an immature digestive system to digest and can often cause or exacerbate reflux, gas or tummy pain – all things which disrupt sleep! Offer solids no later than 5pm.

2. Tank Baby Up

Cluster feeding in the evenings is normal for breastfeeding babies! Melatonin levels in mother’s milk increase in the evening hours, helping baby sleep. Offer baby breast or bottle shortly before bedtime in a room other than Baby’s bedroom so that he learns to break the feeding-sleep association. Watch for drowsiness and end the feed at this point, putting baby down sleepy.

3. Choose a Bedtime Between 6 and 8 p.m.

Infants are biologically wired to go bed early! 11-12 hours is the expected amount of sleep needed, broken up by 1-2 feeding sessions. Choose a time that you can be consistent with and can commit to, taking into account both Baby’s needs and the family’s schedule.

4. White Noise

A must have! Infants are comforted by those womb sounds that they heard for 9 months. The noise should be not too loud, but not too quiet. Water sounds work well.

5. Darken Baby’s Room

The darker the better. No night lights. Black out shades are recommended, especially for naps and during the summer months.

Sleep, fatigue, adrenal6. Clear Out the Crib

Remove toys, mobiles and playthings. Keep the bed a place for sleeping only! It’s not a bad idea to limit active play in Baby’s room in general.

7. Add a Lovey

For babies 6 months and older, learning to emotionally self-regulate can be advanced by attachment to a soft inanimate object. Lovies need to have a FACE. Faces are processed in the emotion centers of the brain, triggering positive, calming responses.

8. Lower the Temperature

A cooler sleep environment keeps Baby from overheating. Set your thermostat at 68-72 for the night.

9. Consider a Dream-Feed

Feed Baby when YOU want go to bed (usually between 9 and 11 p.m. or about 3 hours from baby’s bedtime feed) either breast or bottle, even if Baby is sleeping and not cueing for food and especially if she wakes frequently for feeds or is in an active growth spurt. Do not wake Baby fully – just offer and see what she takes!

10. Reduce Stimulation

At least 1 hour prior to bedtime, quiet the home. Turn off TV, silence the phones and dim the lights. Engage Baby in quiet, calm interactions only! A bath may or may not be recommended, depending on Baby’s temperament. 30 minutes prior to bedtime, change Baby into PJs and a clean diaper. Add diaper cream! Sleeping through a wet diaper requires prevention for diaper rash.

And that’s it – Welcome Baby Care’s top 10 sleep tips for babies.

Thank you Welcome Baby Care!

5 Foods Needed To Balance Your Hormones

Hormones, bloating, constipation, cramping

Did you know that your diet can impact your hormones?! And I am not just talking about hormones like estrogen and testosterone, this includes thyroid and adrenal hormones too. The thyroid produces T3 and T4 to help regulate your metabolism. The adrenals are responsible for dealing with stress (cortisol) and blood pressure (aldosterone), but they also produce progesterone, DHEA, testosterone, and estrogen. A poor diet, stress, lack of sleep and a sedentary lifestyle can cause your endocrine system to be off balance.

Hormones, bloating, constipation, cramping

Why do I feel…?

  • Tired and unmotivated?
  • Easily overwhelmed?
  • Sleepy after lunch?
  • Very sensitive to cold or hot?
  • Dizzy when going from sitting to standing?
  • Stressed? (doesn’t everyone?!)
  • Insomnia or un-refreshing sleep?
  • Like you can’t kick your carb cravings

Do you ever notice…

  • Excess hair falling out?
  • Weight gain around your abdomen?
  • Heavy or painful menses?
  • PMS?
  • Irregular cycle?
  • Hot flashes?

If you answered “yes” to 3 or more of the items listed, your hormones could use a nutritional boost! Here is the list of foods that help support your ovaries, adrenals, and thyroid.

Broccoli, detox, health, resolution, weight, hormones

  1. Broccoli and his cruciferous cousins.

Your liver is the powerhouse behind all hormones, working behind the scenes to allow your hormones to express themselves when needed. Your liver also has to power through junk like sugar, processed foods, toxins, alcohol, excess fat, and even medications. Our liver needs all the help it can get and cruciferous veggies, also known as Brassica, are just the answer.

Broccoli and his other green friends contain sulphur compounds that support the detoxification pathways and fat metabolism. Glucosinolates which are metabolized to form  indole-3-carbinol or I3C and DIM in theses green veggies may help also prevent cancers like breast, cervical, colon, and prostate. But, not only are your liver and endocrine systems supported by these veggies, your bones benefit from the calcium and they lower homocysteine levels to protect your heart. Wow! So, which veggies do you need to include in your diet? Swiss chard, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, watercress, radish, rapini, arugula, spinach, turnip, kale, and bok choy.

Tip: Cook them to destroy goitrogenic effects that can slow down an already sluggish thyroid. See this veggie recipe and this one too.

Seaweed, nutrition, health, hormones

  1. Seaweed

For those of you in Minnesota, I am not talking about the seaweed at your nearest lake. This is seaweed from the ocean that you might find wrapped around your favorite sushi roll, seaweed salad at a Japanese restaurant or in one of my favorite snacks – roasted seaweed.

Thyroid hormones production requires iodine and seaweed is very high in iodine. A deficiency can cause thyroid problems, goiter, and stunted growth in children.

Tip: Iodized salt and fish also contain iodine. Do not take an iodine supplement without checking with your doctor first.

Brazil Nuts, thyroid, selenium

  1. Brazil Nuts

6-8 brazil nuts (1 oz) provide 10x the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults. Wow! But, why is selenium so important?

Remember our friend iodine from #2? Selenium helps attach iodine to the thyroid hormones. The thyroid has the highest concentration of Selenium in all the organs in the body. Selenium also protects the thyroid and aids in thyroid hormone metabolism. Anti-body (anti-TPO) levels in those with Hashimoto’s disease have been improved with Selenium supplementation as well.

Tip: You can also find our friend and antioxidant, Vitamin E in brazil nuts. 4 nuts per day is plenty.

PCOS, infertility, citrus, health

  1. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruit.

Stress on your body triggers the adrenals to produce more cortisol. This is caused by  emotional (work, relationships, worry, anxiety, etc) or physical stress (illness, injury, exercise), lack of sleep, caffeine, and alcohol.

When there is excess or chronic stress, cortisol and sex hormones (estrogen, testosterone, progesterone) become imbalanced. Adrenal hormone imbalances can also contribute to weight gain, osteoporosis, weakness, weakened immune function, and irregular menses.

So, why citrus fruits? The adrenal glands and brain have more vitamin C than any other tissue in the body. During stress more vitamin C is used or lost. See the correlation between stress – lower vitamin C – greater susceptibility to infections? Citrus fruits, especially oranges are known for their high concentration of vitamin C.

Tip: eat the whole fruit including the skin (not the peel, but the fibers around the pulp) to gain the most nutrients and fiber from your fruit.

Diet, protein, PCOS, infertility, acne

  1. Protein

More protein and less sugar! The adrenal glands help with blood sugar regulation. When your body is stressed it makes more glucose (sugar) to give your body the energy it needs to cope with the stress. Because you already have enough glucose, you do not need to consume more, but need protein for energy. In fact, consuming too much sugar during times of stress puts even more stress on your adrenals, not to mention the rest of your body. Think about it…excess stress –> poor dietary habits and more sugar –> weight gain –> more stress. Stop the cycle by cutting out the sugar and increasing your protein intake.

Tip: Protein includes animal protein, but also beans, lentils, veggies like spinach, nuts, and seeds.

Thank you for reading and we wish you balance in your life and your hormones!

~ Dr. Katie Corazzo

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopath

Nutrition is essential to our health. If you continue to have hormonal imbalances and would like to seek out natural therapies with naturopathic medicine, call your local Naturopathic Doctor or Dr. Katie for a complimentary 10 minute consultation. She practices in Edina and Woodbury Minnesota, but patients come from all over the twin cities. Dr. Katie uses alternative medicine and holistic care to uncover the root cause of imbalance. We hope to hear from you soon! 612-564-2218

References:

  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23046013
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10403185
  • http://chealth.canoe.ca/channel_section_details.asp?text_id=4635&channel_id=44&relation_id=48472
  • http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/phytochemicals/i3c/

8 Tips to Improve your Fertility

couple

improve your fertility

Are you thinking about starting a family? Having problems with infertility? Frustrated that you aren’t getting pregnant as quickly as you thought you would? After treating many patients, I’ve put together 8 tips to improve your fertility. You can start today to increase you chances of becoming pregnant. Nichi with My Healthy Beginning was kind enough to post the blog on her site. Check it out HERE!

If you are struggling with fertility or infertility, I would love to help. Call or email me to set up a complementary 15 minute consultation ~ 612-564-2218 🙂

~Dr. Katie

Am I “Normal”?!

Vegetables

Vegetables

Have you ever wondered if ________ is normal? I get asked this question a lot! Within the areas of women’s health, we spend a lot of time talking about disease, illness, and symptoms, but what about defining what “normal” is? What about your menstrual cycle, bowel movements, and nutrition? Keep in mind that we are all different. What is normal for one person, may not be normal for another. It also comes down to what you are willing to put up with. Some women have a very strong pain tolerance and will just ‘deal’ with it, while others will spend hours on google searching for a cure.

Disclaimer: Guys, sorry. This one is for the ladies. (Women’s Health)

1. Stress

Stress is a normal part of life, we all have it. The difference is the ways we manage the stress and how it affects us. Exercise, yoga, reading a book, spending time with loved ones, and meditation are just a few things people can do to relieve stress. Stress can often come with anxiety and/or depression which brings us into that “abnormal” category and can be treated with homeopathy.

2. Menstrual cycle

A normal cycle is 21 – 35 days and will last between 3-7 days. Cycles are measured from the first day of your menses to the first day of your menses the next month. This might change if you are on certain types of hormonal contraceptives.

3. PMS

Most women experience PMS the week before their period that is normal. The symptoms should dissipate by the first or second day of your menses and should not begin more than 1 week before your menses. You should be able to function normally during this time. Bloating, moodiness, cramps, cravings, and fatigue are just a few PMS symptoms that are normal. It becomes abnormal when it interferes with your daily life or is causing you significant distress. Staying home because you are in excruciating pain or are afraid you will bleed through your dress pants may be normal for you, but it doesn’t mean you have to suffer. I can offer treatments to ease the most problematic PMS symptoms and determine if there is something more serious going on like PCOS or endometriosis.

4. Bone density

Bone density normally increases during your younger years and can decrease especially after menopause. Estrogen is protective to our bones; therefore during menopause when estrogen levels decrease, our bone density can decrease as well. Having a bone density scan (DEXA) at the beginning of menopause can help determine whether you are maintaining, building, or losing bone during menopause. I can help you prevent bone loss with the proper supplementation.

5.  Menopause

I hate to break it to you, but this is a normal part of life. Even those hot flashes are normal. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to suffer. Naturopathic medicine can keep you feeling like your younger self with herbs and nutrition.

6. Bowel Movements

Yes, that’s right I am talking about poop. 1-4 bowel movements per day is normal. When you look in the toilet it should be well-formed, in 1-3 pieces, and sink to the bottom. The color will depend on what you are eating but the green to brown range is normal

7. Metabolism

We have all heard that our metabolism slows down as we age. While this might be true, it doesn’t mean that you give up. Change is normal, but maintaining a healthy diet and doing regular exercise (including weight-bearing exercise) can make this transition less noticeable.

8. Love

Totally normal. I hope you do lots of it.

9. Healthy food

Making healthy food choices is a normal way to live your life. A healthy, nutritious diet can become the norm at your home if it’s not already. How can you start today? Increase the amount of veggies you eat every day! Still unsure of how to improve your diet? Make an appointment to come see me for a diet plan specifically for you.

10. Naturopathy

Naturopathic medicine should be a normal part of your healing journey and can help prevent and treat symptoms or diseases that are “abnormal”, or simply help improve your lifestyle with nutrition and nutrients.

Wondering if something you’re experiencing is “normal”? Send me a message or call for a free 15 minute women’s health consultation!

Treating Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Naturally!

Hormones and Infertility

Defining and Treating Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome – Naturally

Hormones and Infertility

Polycystic Ovaries vs Normal Ovaries

Have you ever experienced pain mid-cycle (“I thought cramps were only supposed to happen DURING my menses!?”)? Do you have acne along your chin? Are you experiencing hair growth in places you would rather not talk about? Is your cycle irregular? If you have answered yes to any or all of these questions, you may be suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome better known as PCOS. Maybe you don’t have PCOS, but something is not quite right with your hormones. A combination of diet and herbs is helpful in not only treating polycystic ovarian syndrome, but also many women’s health issues. But first, let’s talk about common questions about PCOS and what to do about it!

What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

PCOS is a complicated condition that occurs as a result of hormone imbalance that can be caused by a number of factors. As a result of the hormones being out of balance, numerous cysts can form in the ovaries. An imbalance of one hormone can throw off other hormones because our entire endocrine system works together. The hormonal shift can lead to many of the symptoms described below.

What are common symptoms of PCOS?

  • Acne – specifically on your chin and jawline
  • Hair growth – also specifically on your chin, but chest, abdomen, and back too
  • Pain during ovulation – cysts can rupture
  • Infertility – PCOS can cause fertility problems
  • Irregular cycle – if your hormones are off, this can throw off your cycle
  • Weight gain
  • Insulin resistance or diabetes – Insulin can cause an increase in free testosterone by decreasing sex hormone binding globulin production from your liver
  • Depression

How is PCOS diagnosed?

  • A comprehensive intake to discuss your symptoms, changes, and menstrual history
  • Physical exam to evaluate symptoms
  • Blood testing is recommended to evaluate hormones and blood sugar. Blood tests are also important to rule out other causes.
  • An ultrasound is needed for the final diagnosis. The ultrasound will be able to detect cysts on the ovaries. Generally more than 9 cysts can be seen on one ovary.

What are the long term effects of PCOS?

  • Infertility
  • Weight gain
  • Insulin resistance which can lead to type II diabetes
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Elevated blood pressure and cholesterol

Treating Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

What can I do immediately?

  • Start exercising  – weight loss can help rebalance hormones if you are overweight
  • Quit smoking
  • Increase your vegetable intake and reduce sugar intake
  • Start tracking your cycle to help determine whether you are “regular” or not

What do I do next?

  • Schedule a visit with me to discuss your history and begin lab evaluations even if you’re not sure whether you have PCOS or not, I can help make that distinction.
  • Learn how to treat PCOS naturally with dietary changes and herbs prescribed specifically for you
  • Start feeling and looking your BEST!

dr-katie