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Infertility

Naturopathic medicine for infertility is focused on bringing a couple’s health back into balance by addressing underlying causes to improve a woman’s chances for getting and staying pregnant. Through this natural, self-healing approach, patients are encouraged to use various means for assisting their bodies back to better health.

These healing strategies could include eating nutritious foods; taking specific supplements and herbs; maintaining healthy weight; detoxifying; practicing acupuncture and eliminating unnecessary stress.

Patients who are using conventional fertility treatments are encouraged to combine naturopathic support for increased success.

What Causes Infertility?
Subtle hormonal imbalances, age, or nutritional deficiencies can cause infertility. Among women, ovulation problems are the main cause of infertility. Other issues might involve pelvic inflammatory disease, blocked fallopian tubes, or physical problems with the uterine wall.

About 12 percent of all infertility cases result from inappropriate weight in women. Those women who carry too much body fat will produce too much estrogen, and their bodies respond as if on birth control. When underweight, women’s bodies do not produce enough estrogen and their reproductive cycles tend to shut down.

For men, infertility can result from physical problems, such as lifestyle or environmental factors, hormonalproblems, testes that do not produce enough sperm, or genetic conditions. Male infertility can also result from diabetes and weight issues.

Two reports showed that semen samples from diabetics had DNA damage, which is linked to higher miscarriage rates, decreased embryo quality and low embryo implantation rates. Obesity in men may affect fertility by decreasing seminal fluid and the production of healthy sperm.

Naturopathic Approaches to Nutrition to Overcome Infertility

Nutritional Therapy
Eating unprocessed, natural, whole, organic food might assist a couple with overcoming infertility.

Drink plenty of water to keep fluid stores in the body at optimal levels so the ovaries and testes receive enough fluid.

Nutritional supplements might also assist with overcoming infertility. Some people need extra zinc for optimal sperm health in men and to assist with hormone and egg production in women. Research demonstrates that adding extra folic acid, vitamins E, B6 and B12, iron, magnesium, and selenium increase fertility.

Vitamin E has shown to help hormone production. Wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, and watercress are both good sources of vitamin E. B vitamins help maintain healthy nervous systems and muscles. Vitamin B6 is also known to help progesterone production.

Selenium helps minimize free radical damage and works together with vitamin E to combat infertility. To promote good health and help combat infertility, avoid the following:

  • Animal fats
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Alcohol and recreational drugs
  • Smoking, which reduces blood flow to the cervix and to the tiny, hair-like structures at the end of the fallopian tube that direct the egg toward the uterus
  • Caffeine, which can reduce fertility by 27 percent when more than 300 milligrams are consumed per day
  • High doses of herbs, such as gingko biloba, echinacea and St John's wort may damage reproductive cells and impede fertilization
  • Environmental contaminants, such as paint, glue and pesticides, which affect progesterone and estrogen levels.

Other Naturopathic Approaches to Overcoming Infertility
Acupuncture

Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese method of inserting fine needles through the skin to stimulate vital energy points on the body, is one commonly used treatment process.

Acupuncture is believed to increase blood flow to the uterus and the ovaries and provide assistance with handling emotions and stress.

There is evidence that acupuncture, given with embryo transfer, improves rates of pregnancy and live birth. Acupuncture also decreases the rate of miscarriages.

Meditation and yoga, both which involve focusing attention or maintaining specific postures, help patients relax, improve their attitudes, and manage stress.

Page Last Updated: October 25, 2009

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