Treating Infertility Naturally
Causes of Infertility
Over the past 25 years, the numbers of couples who experience difficulties conceiving a pregnancy and carrying it to term has increased significantly. As a result, more couples are turning to fertility treatments as a means of having a family. There are several causes for infertility and as it turns out, male infertility is as responsible as female infertility for the problems:
· Ovulatory failure due to PCOS, POF and other conditions
· Tubal damage - male and female
· Male problems
Many couples experience more than one problem when trying to conceive. For instance, a woman may have endometriosis and her partner may have a low sperm count. Both issues affect fertility and conception. The most common cause of infertility is "unexplained", which means that after thoroughly checking the situation, there is no identifiable or specific cause for the infertility. However, something is obviously causing the problem and the natural approach is often the best approach to take in order to find the solution. It could be lifestyle factors, nutritional deficiencies, emotional problems or environmental concerns.
Some Basic Changes
Fertility is multi-factorial, which means there can be a large number of elements at the root of the problem. Studies have shown that couples with a history of infertility who made changes in their diet and lifestyle and who took nutritional supplements had an 80 percent success rate in conception. When you compare this with the success rate of assisted reproduction at 20 percent, it's worth a second look.
Natural treatments are individual and require in-depth assessments because they need to be tailored to the specific needs of the couple. Considering that it takes three months for immature eggs to mature enough to be released from the ovaries and it also takes three months for sperm cells to develop enough to be ready for ejaculation, it follows that a four month period of preparation be set aside when natural treatments are being used. This four month period of pre-conception care is important to the success of fertility and pregnancy.
Correcting Hormonal Imbalance - Diet
When it comes to correcting hormone imbalances, most couples fail to realize that their diet is a critical factor in addressing the situation. There are certain foods and drinks that are detrimental to fertility and it is important to know what they are in order to avoid them. Eating organically grown foods is one way to ensure a reduction in xenestrogens (environments estrogens that cause hormonal imbalance). To conceive, hormones have to be balanced.
The Deadly Trio - Alcohol, Caffeine and Tobacco
It practically goes without saying that alcohol will negatively affect both partners. Drinking any alcohol at all reduces fertility by 50 percent and, the more a person drinks, the less likely they will be to conceive. Alcohol decreases sperm count and increases abnormal sperm. It inhibits the absorption of important vitamins and minerals especially zinc which is one of the most important minerals for male fertility.
The evidence is very clear that caffeine - particularly coffee - inhibits fertility. One cup a day can reduce the chances of conception by half. Sperm count, motility, and abnormalities increase with the amount of coffee a man drinks daily. Eliminating alcohol and caffeine (in any form) for at least three months before trying to conceive will increase the odds of conception.
Infertility in women has definitely been linked to smoking. Not only does it decrease fertility, but it can hasten menopause and for women who want to conceive and their biological clock is ticking away, this is problematic. Male sperm is negatively affected by smoking as well with the effects on fertility increasing with the number of cigarettes smoked.
The use of nutritional supplements to assist in both male and female fertility has been very effective and there are large bodies of scientific knowledge supporting the use of vitamins, minerals and herbs to increase fertility. Supplements are necessary because even with the best diet available, there are still factors lacking that contribute to conception.
To learn about some of the vitamin and mineral supplements that enhance fertility, read our article on subject in this section.
Herbal treatment is also aimed at the restoration of hormonal balance as well as encouraging ovulation if it is not happening. It creates a good support to maintain a pregnancy once it is conceived.
The herb of choice for helping to restore hormone imbalance and increase fertility is Agnus Castus (Vitex or Chaste tree berry). Agnus castus is very helpful for women with luteal phase defect (the second half of the cycle is short). Because it stimulates the pituitary gland, which controls the hormones, it is also good for leveling out prolactin. This herb can be used to restore hormonal balance and to balance deficits or excesses in hormones as well as many other functions.
· Regulates periods
· Restarts periods that have stopped
· Helps with heavy bleeding
· Balances estrogen by increases ratio of progesterone to estrogen
Taking herbs during IVF treatments or drug therapies is not recommended unless prescribed by a qualified professional.
There are many facets to natural treatments for infertility. Read about them on this site.