Starting a family can be a really exciting time! You and your partner have decided that now is the perfect time to start trying, and you dive in. However, three months go by, then a year and still no baby. This can be understandably frustrating and discouraging. After months of trying, most doctors jump into invasive treatment options to combat infertility like IVF and ICSI. These invasive treatments themselves can be taxing on your physical and emotional health.
This is where a functional medicine doctor can benefit you immensely. These doctors take the time to look at you as a whole. Not just your uterus, not just your eggs – even though those are important aspects! Millions of women have had success conceiving once they started seeing a functional medicine physician, even if they’ve been trying for years beforehand. The way they go about treating patients is by getting to the root cause of the problem. They understand that every woman’s cycle, body, genetics, environment, and lifestyle behaviors are different. It’s vital that health care professionals look at all aspects of infertility issues.
Factors That May Contribute to Infertility
Infertility rates are on the rise, along with increased miscarriage rates. What is causing this rise? Over the past couple of decades, certain factors in our society have changed – poorer diets, less exercise, more screen time and less sleep, more products with toxic chemicals, more stress and anxiety trying to keep up with our neighbors, etc. Our society doesn’t bat an eye at these unhealthy behaviors, however, they are causing us more and more health problems like infertility.
Here Are Some Causes That Contribute to Infertility:
- Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Beauty Products and Household Cleaners
- Autoimmune Disorders Causing PCOS, Endometriosis and Premature Ovarian Insufficiency
- Nutrient Deficient as a Result of Poor Diet Choices
- Not Enough Exercise or Too Much Exercise
- Poor Stress Management
- Increased Amounts of Inflammation
These can cause a build-up of toxins, an imbalance in your hormones, and can increase your stress levels – all potentially contributing to infertility problems. The more you look into causes of infertility the more you may feel overwhelmed and helpless. However, you don’t have to feel that way! There are natural practices you can incorporate into your daily life that can help get your body back into equilibrium to increase your chances of conceiving.
Functional Medicine Approaches to Treating Infertility
The nice thing about seeing a functional medicine practitioner is that they will teach you how to improve your health. They won’t just give you medicine to take and say come back in 2 months. Functional medicine doctors give you the information needed so you have a choice in your health. This gives many women hope because their health is up to them and in their own hands…not limited to their doctors.
Ways that Alternative Medical Doctors Get to The Root Cause of Infertility:
- Balance Hormones
- Improve Diet
- Encourage Moderate Exercise
- Avoid Environmental Toxins
- Manage Stress
- Look at Your Partner’s Health
Balance Your Hormones
Hormone imbalances are one of the major issues that cause problems with conception. While there are many reasons that your hormones could be off-balance, a functional medicine doctor actually runs tests for these in an effective way to know what to focus on. Certain hormone levels –like cortisol- depend on the time of day and the kind of day you are having (abnormally stressed or relaxed day?). Not only do the levels of estrogen and progesterone matter, but the ratio between the two matters just as much. Conventional doctors may not take these factors into consideration. Once your hormone levels are checked, there are changes you can make to focus on balancing that specific hormone(s).
Improve Your Diet
One of the biggest changes you can make right off the bat to help your fertility issues is focusing on your diet. Food can either help or hurt your health. Choose foods that are filled with nutrients that will help your body prepare for creating and holding a baby! Throw out those processed foods that contain harmful preservatives and filler ingredients. Big corporations are continually finding ways to make it cheaper for themselves to produce their products, leading to unhealthy ingredients, chemicals, and fillers. So be aware of the ingredients you are putting into your body. Try your best to avoid pesticides by buying organic foods (especially those that are on the Dirty Dozen list). Also, stay away from antibiotics by avoiding non-organic meats.
Encourage Moderate Exercise
If you don’t exercise at all, your doctor will advise you to get some in throughout the week. This can help balance blood sugar, improve inflammation, reduce stress, and provide you with many more benefits. However, too much exercise could cause more harm than good. When you participate in intense exercise most days of the week, it puts your body into stress mode. It can also cause you to lose too much weight, leading to missed periods which decrease your fertility rate.
Avoid Environmental Toxins
Go through your beauty and household products. Think make- up, shampoo, lotions, all-purpose cleaners, hand soap, etc. Get rid of anything that includes the ingredients: fragrance, perfume, parfum and parabans, and PEGs (Polyethylene Glycol). Some of these are known endocrine disruptors that have been suggested to disrupt normal bodily functions that affect fertility, and others increase the permeability of your skin which allows more toxins to enter your skin.
In today’s society, we are expected to do it all. Give our best effort at work, have the house clean, make time for friends and family, spend time with our partner, workout, buy groceries, etc. It’s a lot! It’s so essential that you incorporate stress management into your daily routine. Learn how to say no to events that tire and/or stress you out. Avoid situations that include individuals that don’t add joy to your life. Don’t feel guilty for putting yourself first. Practicing yoga, meditation and/or breathing techniques are ways that can help reduce your stress levels. With time, it’ll get easier and easier and you’ll feel your stress disappear or at least get more manageable!
Look at Your Partner’s Health
Sometimes, infertility issues aren’t coming from your health, but your partners. It takes two to tango – the egg and sperm. If your partner isn’t producing sperm or healthy sperm, it could cause issues with conception. Not only should the women avoid drug and alcohol use, but your partner should as well. When males improve their lifestyle habits and diets as well, it can improve your chances of having a baby.
If you are having trouble conceiving and conventional medicine is failing you, give functional medicine a chance. Dr. Lisa Ballehr is an exceptional functional medicine doctor located in Mesa, Arizona- however, she’s helping individuals all over the country via telemedicine. If you want to take charge of your health, Dr. Lisa Ballehr can guide you to optimize your body for conception. She will get to the root cause of your problems and help tackle your infertility issues. You can contact her by filling out this form or you can take her FREE Online Health Assessment to get started.