Fertility is a natural process. The key to becoming pregnant is to enhance the natural healing process of the body.
Although humans have changed very little over time, our environment has been drastically altered. In today’s world we must deal with higher levels of environmental stressors than our parents and grandparents could have ever imagined. From our drinking water and air to the food we eat. Worldwide, with the increase of environmental pollution, toxicity and fertility rates are declining as a result
Naturopathic medicine is all about addressing the healing power of nature. While medical science has difficulty explaining why some people are unable to conceive, naturopathy looks at the body’s inherent ability to achieve balance. Being out of balance is often the reason for our reduced fertility. This balance may need to be adjusted in a number of areas: lifestyle, nutrition, and stress levels to increase vitality of the body and promote fertility.
Research studies on nutrition and acupuncture show that 50% or more of couples labeled with “unexplained infertility” are able to conceive within 18 months of beginning treatment. (Success rates as high as 80% are possible.) This means that by committing to a healthier lifestyle and regular naturopathic treatment, more than half will get pregnant and give birth to a healthy baby.
Medical and Naturopathic Treatments:
Complementary therapies can be used in conjunction with traditional medical infertility treatments to improve a women’s overall health so her body is better equipped to deal with the range of surgical procedures. They can also be of great benefit in relieving the stress often associated with the intensive medical treatment.
Naturopathic Treatment Modalities for Fertility Support
Naturopathy is a system of health care that encompasses a range of natural therapies and healing techniques including diet therapies, herbal medicine, homeopathy, massage, acupuncture and lifestyle counseling. Naturopathy uses these practices to correct imbalances (physical, emotional and biochemical), allowing the body to heal itself and fight off any illnesses. A naturopathic approach to infertility may involve improving a couple’s nutritional status and reducing stress and anxiety. (Stanway, A (ed). The New Natural Family Doctor Ibid p186)
Nutrition / Neutraceuticals
Nutrition is one of the corner stones to optimal health. Proper diet is integral to optimum health which is important for both men and women trying to conceive. Poor diet affects the endocrine system which governs ovarian and testicular function. Depleted agricultural soil, over-farming and genetically modified foods have created nutrient-void foods even with a decent diet. Dietary deficiencies sometimes require supplementation to be prescribed to bring the body back into balance.
A highly acidic and toxic body is not a good environment for fertility. These factors put a lot of stress on organ systems and also deplete nutrient reserves. This can cause issues with fertilization and implantation making it unlikely to conceive. There are a wide variety of methods that can be used to detoxify the body It is important to begin a cleansing protocol that is specific for the patient in order to get the best possible results.
Acupuncture works by stimulating identified points on the body through the insertion of fine needles to prevent or treat illness. It is based on the belief that parts of the body are joined by invisible pathways or meridians through which Qi (or chi), body energy, flows. Dysfunction arises when the energy becomes blocked or stagnant or when the flow of energy is too great. In order to reduce or increase the amount of energy flowing, needles are inserted into specific points along the meridians. With regards to infertility, acupuncture is used to help regulate of the menstrual cycle and balance hormones, therefore, improving chances of pregnancy. One study comparing auricular acupuncture (acupuncture of the ear) and hormone treatment for infertility resulted in similar pregnancy rates in both groups. Due to the absence of negative side effects in the acupuncture group, the study concludes that acupuncture “seems to offer a valuable alternative therapy for female infertility due to hormonal disorders.” (Gerhard, I & Postneek, F. Auricular acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility Gynecological Endocrinology 1992 Vol 6 p171-181)
In 2002, Fertility and Sterility published findings showing that women who received acupuncture during IVF experienced significantly higher pregnancy rates. Since then, there have been several studies replicating those same results. In addition, a study from Colorado also showed that miscarriage rates amongst women who received acupuncture were at 8%, whereas those women who did not have acupuncture experienced a miscarriage rate of 20%. Clearly, acupuncture is an important adjunctive treatment for couples undergoing IVF treatment. Whether a couple is undergoing conventional medical treatment for fertility concerns or not, acupuncture is able to improve chances of conception.
Botanical medicine involves the use of plants, or parts of plants to combat certain conditions or ailments. Botanical medicine plays a role in treating infertility by regulating menstruation and ovulation, increasing sperm counts and by strengthening reproductive organs in both men and women. Botanicals can also be used to calm the body and balance the stress. It should be remembered that although herbs are considered ‘natural’ they can contain powerful components and, therefore, need to be taken as directed. (Wesson, N. Alternative Infertility Treatments London: Vermilion 1997 p130-140)
Homeopathy is a system of medicine directed at assisting the body’s own healing process. It is based on the doctrine of similars (or like cures like) which states that substances that cause symptoms of ill health in large amounts will cure the same condition in small amounts. The healing powers of substances are also thought to become more potent with dilution (potentisation by dilution). Homeopathic treatment of infertility addresses both physical and emotional imbalances. (Olsen, K. The Encyclopedia of Alternative Health Care New York: Pocket Books 1990 p164)