Infertility in Women
Infertility is a very widespread problem that affects approximately 17 percent of all couples who are of childbearing age. This translates to about five million Americans. Physical, emotional, and environmental factor may contribute to infertility. Women typically get evaluated for infertility if, after a year of unprotected sex, does not result in pregnancy. While many women do no experience any symptoms, other women may have irregular menstrual periods and pain during menstruation or sexual intercourse.
To understand the cause of infertility, one must understand the conditions that are necessary for a couple to have a baby. Everything has to be in perfect synchronicity for it to happen.
- Eggs must be produced from the woman’s ovaries.
- The man must be able to produce healthy motile sperm.
- The woman’s fallopian tube must have to be clear and open, have just the right acidity for sperm to enter the tube, and allow for passage of the egg to the uterus.
- The lining of the uterus needs to be suitable for the fertilized egg to be implanted.
- Once egg is implanted, the necessary hormones must be created by women to sustain the fertilized egg.
Any missteps here can cause infertility.
Cause of Infertility
The most common cause of infertility is the prevention of ovulation, the first condition that is necessary for contraception. The most common reason for the failure of ovulation is an imbalance in hormones. Sources of estrogen like birth control pills can sometimes cause the hormone imbalances. Fertility experts theorize that women who take birth control over an extended period of time would have a difficult time going back to a normal monthly cycle. This could be due to oral contraceptives causing pituitary hormone deficiency, a deficiency of B vitamins, both which can contribute to hormone imbalance. Excessive exercise such as in the case of marathon runners or weight lifters can cause a hormone imbalance. An inordinate amount of weight loss or gain, excessive stress, poor diet, sleep deficiency, and thyroid problems can disturb normal endocrine function. Other possible causes of ovarian failure can be zinc deficiency, abnormal body fat distribution, obesity, being underweight.
If a woman is found to ovulate regularly and successfully, another potential cause of infertility may be an occlusion of the fallopian tubes. A poorly performed abortion can also lead to a blocked fallopian tube. Chlamydia, use of IUD’s, use of certain drugs may also cause these factors since all of these can exacerbate pelvic inflammatory disease. The resultant scarring would hinder the ability of the ovum to get through the tube and into the uterus.
40% of all infertility is due to the mail. Male infertility could be due to decreased sperm mobility, low sperm count, or atypical sperm morphology. There are several reasons for the cause of these factors. Overuse of saunas and ultra vigorous exercise (such as in the case of marathon runners) can impair sperm production.
The lining of the uterus must also have the right conditions to nurture a fertilized egg. Endometriosis can deter this from happening since cells that normally build up in the uterus each month to prepare for pregnancy can grow elsewhere outside the uterus which would be problematic. Nutritional insufficiency can also affect the ability of the uterus to hold an embryo. What usually happens in this case is that conception may occur, but since there are not enough of the appropriate nutrients to develop, unrecognized spontaneous abortion may occur.
Symptoms of Infertility
The symptoms of infertility are the inability to conceive after many attempts, usually considered to be a year’s worth of trying. Couples can experience mental anguish, loss of self-esteem, and bad self image.
Treatment for infertility can range from in vitro fertilization, drugs, or surgery. In vitro fertilization is a process in which the man’s sperm is used to fertilize his female partner’s egg outside of the uterus, followed by embryo being implanted inside the womb to carry to term. The cost of this procedure is approximately $10,000 per cycle. Modern assisted reproductive technology (ART) offers the ability to fertilize donor eggs and then implanting them into infertile woman.
Learning How to Identify When Ovulation Begins
There are certain times of the month when a woman is most fertile. For a woman to determine when she is ovulating, she should take her temperature before she gets out of bed in the morning. Her temperature will increase slightly in the second half of the cycle, which is two weeks prior to menstruation, which will indicate ovulation. Vaginal discharge during the period is usually denoted by a clear color and slippery texture (which would allow the sperm to penetrate the cervix).
Healthy Lifestyle Choices
It Is important to eat a healthy diet with proper nutrients. It is suggest that food and fat additives, such as nitrites, nitrates, and MSG should be avoided. In the case of fallopian tube blockage, fasting could be a great assistance. The following should be avoided completely since they have been known to cause infertility in both men and women:
- Nicotine or tobacco products
- Environmental Hazards (i.e. herbicides and pesticides)
- Illicit Drugs Such as cocaine and marijuana
Relaxation techniques have been proven to enhance fertility by reducing stress and increasing vigor. It is also important to address the issue of pregnancy head on since there can be some underlying anxiety around it. Whether it is addressed through emotional, spiritual, group counseling, or individual counseling, addressing the problem head on will reduce tension in what can be a stressful situation.
Specific nutrients can enhance the male and female reproductive systems. Before partaking in such a program, consult with a nutritionally-oriented health practitioner.
Supplements Important for Men
Studies have shown that consuming 25-50 mg of zinc has positive consequences to overcome male impotence. Food containing zinc includes seeds, whole grains, nuts, and brewer’s yeast.
This can help the sperm’s impregnating ability. Vitamin E is in whole grains, wheat germ, and uncooked nuts.
One reason for infertility is low sperm motility, or ability of the sperm to swim. Low motility could be due to insufficient carnitine levels.
Supplements Important for Women
B6 is Important for women since it can help adjust estrogen and progesterone levels. Good sources of B6 include rice, eggs, soybeans, oats, and whole wheat products.
Important for Both Men and Women
Nutrient is beneficial to both men and women since it has the ability to get rid of toxic metals from the body that interfere with pregnancy. Broccoli, cantaloupe, oranges, and any type of berry are rich in vitamin C.
This would involve strategically placing needles in the specific sensory location on the body. In studies using acupuncture, it was reported that women had success conceiving and suffered no side effects that are normally associated with hormonal treatments.
Oriental Naturopathic Medicine
The Eastern approach to infertility aims to provide a healthy environment for the woman, allowing for proper hormonal balance, digestion, proper digestion. There is also a focus on increasing the man’s sperm count and motility. One example of an Oriental treatment serves to increase blood flow to the pelvic area to correct fallopian tube obstruction. This is accomplished through laser acupuncture, retention enemas, and injection of common sage root into the endometrial nodes.
Oriental naturopathic medicine also promotes practicing good sexual practice and hygiene to enhance fertility and reverse endometriosis. Practitioners also suggest that couples should avoid intercourse at the time of menstruation, since it can result in an imbalance of energy.
Acupuncture is also emphasized in the Eastern approach. The basis is to release any occlusions from the kidney, lung, heart, spleen, and liver for energy to move throughout the system. This can impact fertility by overcoming possible psychological, emotional, and hormonal barriers that and factors that connect all the organs.
Since reproduction is related to the kidney, herbs to engage the adrenal/renal function are also part of the Eastern approach. Recommended herbs include kelp, which is rich in iodine and is beneficial for hypothyroidism; and ginseng, and herb that can help strengthen the male reproductive system, since it contains a lot of zinc.
Western Naturopathic Medicine
One type of treatment used to counter infertility is a hydrotherapy procedure to ease pelvic inflammatory infection. The procedure eases pelvic inflammatory infection by emitting scar tissue and toxic material from the fallopian tubes and ovaries.
Ginseng (Panax ginseng)
Guava has been shown to help with male infertility and also has been shown to stimulate sexual activity.
Jute (Corchorus olitorius) and other herbs containing Folate
Naturopaths have suggested this infertility, it is also important for women to consume folic acid to prevent future spinal birth defects.
Spinach (Spinach olerace)
Studies suggest that male infertility and poor sperm quality can be linked to zinc deficiencies. Good sources of zinc include parsley, spinach, collards, brussel sprouts, cucumbers, and string beans.
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