PUBLISHED IN THE LONG ISLAND PAPER – THE FIRE ISLAND NEWS
LABOR DAY EDITION – OCTOBER 2004
A HOLISTIC LOOK AT INFERTILITY
It is a myth that infertility is a woman’s problem. About a third of infertility cases are male related problems and a third are female related problems. Others are due to a combination of male/female factors or unknown causes.
What Causes Infertility in Men? Infertility in men can be caused by impotence, low testosterone levels or problems with sperm production and motility. Problems may exist from birth or develop later in life due to illness or injury. Some men produce little or no sperm and lifestyle factors influence the number and quality of a man’s sperm. Alcohol and drugs can reduce sperm quality as can the type of underwear a man wears. Environmental toxins, including pesticides and lead may cause some cases of infertility in men.
What Causes Infertility in Women? Fibroids or other growths and endometriosis. Ovulation problems account for most female infertility. Without ovulation eggs are not available for fertilization. Signs of ovulation problems include irregular periods or no periods. Lifestyle factors including stress, diet and exercise affect a woman’s hormonal balance.
What are the Treatment Options? First you need to find out if you are actually infertile or if your body is just out of balance with itself. The bad news is that many people are out of balance. The good news is there are many holistic treatment options available once you’ve traveled the western medical route without success.
Holistic Medicine is a science which treats the body as more than just the sum of it’s parts. This would make sense since each part of the body is connected to each other part. To the body itself, all its’ parts operate as one. This system of comprehensive patient care considers the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of the person and how these issues affect them and their lives. Since infertility can easily be caused by the body being out of balance we can briefly look at different alternative modalities to help rebalance the body and bring it back to feeling whole.
DIET & NUTRITION
A healthy diet brings the body’s chemistry into balance. This is important for women trying to get pregnant as it allows the body to be a more fertile ground for conception. It is also important for men as it affects sperm production and motility and impotence levels. A healthy diet and lifestyle helps maintain, restore and optimize the body and it’s functions.
Get plenty of variety from the different food groups: Choose meals that include a balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Protein and fat sources include low fat dairy products. fish, poultry, lean meat, beans, lentils, nut butters (peanut, cashew or almond) seeds and nuts. Carbohydrates including generous amounts of whole grain products as well as an abundance of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables. Consume fruits and vegetables of diverse color to ensure a mix of different antioxidants. The more colorful and darker colors ensure adequate nutrients.
Limit intake of refined sugars as it affects the body’s ability to manufacture reproductive hormones. Eliminate artificial sweeteners as most sweeteners are not natural substances and their safety is questionable.
Eliminate coffee, tea, cola, cocoa. Caffeine for women can decrease the chance of conception by nearly a third. Here’s a twist however…caffeine for men can actually stimulate sperm motility. Reduce alcohol consumption. Drink bottled water or use a water filter to reduce toxins from lead pipes.
Twenty-five centuries ago Hippocrates taught the principle that, “The same things which cause a disease can cure it.” In 1790 Samuel Hahnemann, a brilliant physician, chemist and toxicologist conducted experiments with the known medicines of that time using himself as the patient. He observed that taking quinine brought on symptoms of malaria, the disease that quinine often cured.
Homeopathic remedies function by triggering the body to rebalance itself. There are about 3000 homeopathic remedies available made from substances from the vegetable, mineral and animal kingdoms. Each remedy is diluted and shaken to yield a solution containing only minute amounts of the original molecules but retaining the electromagnetic imprint from the substance. Each remedy has its own profile, or personality, which is matched to the patient’s profile. Remedies do not cause side effects and do not negatively interact with medications. (Please see www.divineodyssey.com for more information on homeopathy.)
Remedies for Women for General Infertility Include:
Borax: Pale in appearance, weak and timid. Fear downward motion (elevators, stairs, falling). Vertigo when going up or downstairs. Tire easily when walking. Out of breath. Has to sit down. Better at 10am. Startling from noise. Excess white discharge. Sterility. Vaginal dryness. Painful menstruation.
Ferrum Phosphoricum: Excitable, moody. Patient is pale due to decreased iron in blood. Hemorrhages. Chilly. Averse to sex or desire reduced. Menstruation irregular, late or absent, flow is bright red and dark and lasts a long time. Bearing down sensation, dull pain in ovarian region.
Natrum Muriaticum: Emotionally vulnerable leading to introversion. Great sense of responsibility. Better sun and sea. Warm but can be chilly. Desires salt. Vagina is sensitive and dry with a sensation of pins pricking inside. Averse to sex, which is painful from dryness. Menses irregular, usually profuse. For sterility where the uterus is intensely sore. Inflammation of endometrium.
Sepia: Introverted, indifferent to loved ones. Loves dancing and thunderstorms. Chilly. Worse in the evening. Desire sour or vinegar. Infertility. Exhaustion after sex. PMS. Habitual abortions from 3rd to 5th month. Prolapse of uterus. Bearing down sensation is better sitting with legs crossed.
Remedies for Male Infertility Due to Impotence Include:
Agnus castus: If impotence develops after a man has led a life of intense and frequent sexual activity for many years. A cold sensation felt in the genitals is a strong indicator. Men who are anxious about their health and loss of abilities. Problems with memory and concentration.
Argentum nitricum: If a man’s erection fails when sexual intercourse is attempted, especially if thinking about the problem makes it worse. Men who need this are often nervous and imaginative. Usually warm-blooded with cravings for both sweets and salt.
Lycopodium: For men with erection problems because of worry and maybe troubled by memory loss. Often lack self-confidence (some may overcompensate by acting egotistically). For people with digestive problems with gas and bloating and an energy slump in the late afternoon and evening.
Staphysagria: Gentle-natured, quiet men with deep emotions may respond to this remedy. Problems with impotence often occur from embarrassment or shyness. Men who need this remedy often have a history of emotional suppression and very sensitive feelings.
VITAMINS, MINERALS & AMINO ACIDS FOR OPTIMUM FERTILITY
Today’s food is over processed and grown in mineral-deficient soils and our lives are hectic and full of conditions that deplete vitamin levels. Nutrients give the body energy to carry out vital functions including reproduction. Supplements help with conception so it is not surprising that deficiencies in some vitamins and minerals have been shown to cause infertility. Note: too high a dose of supplements can upset the balance of other important vitamins, may damage vital organs, and may not be safe during pregnancy. Consult a health practitioner regarding your individual nutritional needs.
Vitamin A: A deficiency can result in male infertility as this vitamin is essential to sperm production.
Folic Acid: A ‘B’ vitamin necessary for brain and nervous system development for the growing fetus. It affects the pituitary and hypothalamus glands which regulate sex hormones. A deficiency can increase the risk of miscarriage, premature birth and birth defects. Adequate Folic acid before conception leads to a decrease of birth defects such as spina bifida.
Vitamin B6: A deficiency raises estrogen at the expense of progesterone and may be the culprit in some cases of unexplained infertility and chronic miscarriage. Insufficient quantities of this vitamin have been shown to raise serum prolactin, a hormone that can interfere with ovulation. Substances depleting B6 include birth control pills, alcohol and caffeine.
Vitamin B-12: Improves sperm count and motility rates that are very low. B-12 should be taken sublingually (under the tongue) or by injection so digestive juices do not destroy them in the stomach.
Vitamin C & Bioflavonoids: Strengthen blood vessels lining the uterine wall. Note: when C is too high it can decrease absorption of copper, a mineral necessary for ovulation and increase the risk of infertility and miscarriage. Vitamin C can enhance sperm quality and prevent sperm sticking together.
Vitamin E: Supports development of a healthy uterine wall and placenta. May help prevent miscarriage. Caution should be used when supplementing as E can accumulate in the liver and become toxic. Vitamin E has been shown to improve sperm quality.
Calcium: A deficiency can result in decreased estrogen output that affects egg production as well as ovulation. Note: excessive calcium prevents absorption of magnesium and some sources suggest we need as much magnesium as calcium.
Iron: A deficiency affects the menstrual cycle. Note: too much iron (and thus too much vitamin C which enhances iron absorption) can cause infertility in people who suffer from a common disorder called hereditary hemochromatosis.
Magnesium: Relaxes smooth muscles (e.g. in the uterine wall). Helps the body utilize B vitamins and helps inactivate excess estrogen. Magnesium deficiency is widespread (especially in women with PMS) and supplementation may help cases of infertility and repeated miscarriage. Magnesium is depleted by chronic stress, alcohol, high intake of phosphorus and excess salt, vitamin D and calcium. Note: women with kidney disease should see a health practitioner’s permission before taking magnesium.
Zinc: A deficiency, even a marginal one, can cause male infertility. Supplementation increases sperm production and motility. Note: continued use over the long term may interfere with copper absorption.
Amino Acid L-Arginine: Improves sperm count and motility. Note: men with liver or kidney disease should get a health practitioner’s approval before taking Arginine supplements.
HERBS FOR IMPROVING FERTILITY
Herbs can promote fertility over time by cleansing, strengthening and balancing the organs of reproduction and bringing the body back into balance. Herbs are often used in combination. Note: Herbs should be used under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner especially when taking fertility drugs. Pregnant women should not use estrogenic herbs.
Red Clover Flower: Rich in vitamins and minerals, nourishes the uterus, relaxes the nervous system, balances the hormonal system and may make the pH of the vagina and uterus more conducive to pregnancy.
Nettle Leaves: Act as a tonic for the uterus, the hormone system, the kidneys and the adrenals.
Red Raspberry Leaves: Rich in nutrients (especially calcium) and contain an effective uterine tonic. Some sources say red raspberry should not be used during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Don Quai Root: Rich in vitamin E, cobalt and iron as well as compounds called coumarins (relax smooth muscle such as uterine tissue) that promote fertility. Don Quai is best used between ovulation and menstruation. Note: Some sources recommend it not be used during pregnancy.
False Unicorn Root: Acts as a uterine tonic and may remedy ovarian dysfunction.
Black Cohosh: Contains Phytoestrogens and is a potent uterine tonic used to balance hormones. Note: Black Cohosh is not recommended for use during pregnancy.
Kelp: Rich in trace minerals essential for regulating hormones. Kelp’s iodine content may be helpful in preventing miscarriage caused by under-active thyroid.
Wild Yams: Different from the common store variety, contain steroid-like substances that trigger Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and stimulate the ovaries to release an egg.
Ginseng: Can stimulate testosterone production in men.
Pumpkin Seeds: Rich in zinc, a nutrient that affects sperm count.
Bee Pollen: Rich in B-complex, has been shown to improve sperm production. Note: Not to be used by anyone allergic to pollen.
Saw Palmetto Berry: Used as a male tonic and may improve fertility. Clinical trials show it has a positive effect on the prostate gland.
Sarsaparilla Root: Contains substances used in the production of synthetic steroids and is used as both a male and female tonic.
Ilana Eberson BHSc, HCE is a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner.
For a free phone consultation please call (631) 583-7810 or (212) 864-5407.
Please visit www.divineodyssey.com …The Path to Whole Body Health