Tag Archives: Fertility

Understanding Your Gyn-Ecology

Do you know how many days your menstrual cycle is?  You’d be surprised how many women don’t.  The first step in taking charge of your health is understanding the length of your cycle.  The day you first experience menstrual flow, and not just spotting, is the first day of your menstrual cycle.   The above diagram illustrates the general changes in your body during your cycle.  If your patterns aren’t like the above graph, don’t fret – you are not the only one, and in fact, only a small percentage of women have the textbook 28-day cycle depicted above.  Naturopathic treatments are focused on bringing into balance any disharmonies in your cycle.  Signs that you can benefit from Naturopathic Medical care include painful menstrual cramps, blood clots, irritable moods, excessive menstrual bleeding, bleeding between your menstrual cycles, having a menstrual cycle which end too quickly, irregular menstrual cycles, fibroids, polycystic ovaries and endometriosis.  Your menstrual cycles play an important role in your health and despite popular belief, are absolutely necessary.

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Fertility Woes

Just how many people are experiencing this, you ask?  Approximately 7.3 million American couples of child-bearing age have trouble conceiving a child.  This means reproductive concerns affect one out of every eight couples.  The reasons for reduced fertility are numerous and increasing, especially given that many young couples are having to put off starting a family because they are busy pursuing their academic careers and entering into the workforce much later than their parents or their grandparents.

My wife is going through fertility treatments, what can I do?

Your partner needs you!  Your involvement is key, even if you are not the one undergoing a treatment.  Depending on the fertility treatment your wife is undergoing, the procedure can be more invasive.  An easy way to offer support is by attending medical appointments with your partner as a lot of information can be disseminated in an appointment and can be overwhelming for one set of ears to absorb it all in one sitting!  Learning how to administer medications if required can go a long way in terms of support, as well as taking the time to just simply understand what your partner is being prescribed. Be an informed consumer and do your own research about various fertility tests and procedures. Local fertility support groups are valuable resources you may also wish to attend together.

I’m already seeing a Fertility Specialist, can I still work with a Naturopathic Doctor?

Yes! Your Naturopathic Doctor is quite happy to work with you and all other members of your healthcare team, so you can achieve all your goals.  The real benefit to seeking Naturopathic medical care even if you are skeptical, is that we can discuss strategies to improve your overall health, which in turn can only improve your chances of conceiving.

Supporting Husbands and Partners in the Quest to Overcome their Fertility Fear Factors

Reduced fertility in men today is far more common than people realize — the great news is that people are speaking about their health concerns more openly.  We are moving into an era where people are recognizing that reduced fertility in male partners is by no means indicative of a person’s virility or manliness – and this change in perception is freeing people and allowing them to seek care.  If you are someone who suspects you might have difficulty conceiving a child, both you and your partner are encouraged to seek Naturopathic Medical care, which at the very least, will be able to improve your overall health.

I have compiled a list of questions and answers for you, particularly since knowing what to expect and what questions to ask at your appointment can help you feel more at ease as you prepare for your appointment. Remember, whatever you discuss with your Naturopathic Doctor is kept confidential. There are no embarrassing questions you could possibly ask – so don’t hold back, and ask them all.

When should I see a healthcare provider?

Both partners should consider getting tested if pregnancy fails to occur after a year of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse.  A comprehensive work-up with your Naturopathic Doctor, Family Doctor or Fertility Specialist can can help uncover the causes of infertility, and can also detect other potentially serious medical problems as well.

What topics might my ND want to speak with me about?

There are several factors that may affect fertility that will be important to discuss.  Your Naturopathic Doctor will likely ask you about frequency and timing of sexual intercourse, duration of infertility and any previous fertility events, childhood illnesses and any problems in development, past or current illnesses (diabetes, cancer, previous surgeries), sexual history (including any sexually transmitted diseases), any exposure to toxins (such as chemicals or radiation in the workplace or home), history of any medications and allergies and any family history of reduced fertility.

What treatments may be prescribed?

Treatments are geared towards understanding what the cause of your problems are.  Your Naturopathic Doctor will offer many suggestions, some of which will include an examination of your nutritional intake, and a discussion around lifestyle and environmental factors that may be contributing to decreased fertility (ie. quitting smoking, reducing heavy drinking).  You may be counselled to incorporate the following nutrients  to increase sperm count, improve sperm quality and motility as needed: essential fatty acids, zinc, vitamin E, selenium, glutathione and arginine.  If you have a low sperm count, it may be recommended that you pace your sexual activity to accumulate sperm.

Going for a fertility evaluation can provoke a lot of anxiety, however your fertility issues can only be dealt with by seeking help.  Don’t let a fear of having your suspicions confirmed deter you; it is in your best interest to know what it is you are up against and what it will take to overcome those obstacles, particularly if you or your partner are in a time-sensitive situation.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by exploring your fertility care options – so do just that!

The Daddy of All Problems: Focusing on Sperm

What are the most common causes of reduced fertility in men?

A common question male patients have is whether fertility testing is invasive.  Let’s face it, for many men, medical testing (nevermind fertility testing) can conjure up some invasive, faint-worthy examination procedures. Testing, however, is usually no worse than a regular medical check-up with your family doctor. Depending on the specifics of your case, your Naturopathic Doctor may recommend, if you haven’t had it completed already, routine blood work check, a sonographic evaluation of your scrotum (which checks for any physical signs that may be causing reduced fertility), and a semen analysis (which checks sperm concentration, morphological features and sperm motility).