Improving Fertility: Infertility Is a Common Issue
Likely you or someone you know has suffered from infertility. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this is a relatively common issue with over 7.3 million women in the U.S. between the ages of 15 and 44 using infertility services at some point. This equates to 12% of women ages 15-44, quite a high percentage for a single issue. Infertility is a difficult issue to navigate physically and emotionally, and many women turn to conventional medicine for help. However, as a natural health wellness center, we know that there are more natural ways to improve fertility and help women become pregnant. Let’s look at these natural methods below.
What Is Natural Fertility?
Natural fertility signifies the number of children that would naturally be born to a woman during her childbearing years without any efforts to control that number. Natural fertility is nature’s mechanism to propagate the human race.
Fertility has changed over the years and infertility is becoming more common due to various factors such as changes in the environment, dietary habits, sedentary lifestyles, stress, and the like. Fortunately there are things we can do naturally to improve fertility.
Fertility can be affected by a number of factors that can be addressed to increase the chances of fertility.
Diet and Infertility
The first thing we look at is diet. Highly acidic diets create highly acidic bodies, which affect the cervical mucus, making it unfriendly or impossible for sperm to travel through. Highly acidic diets also affect the body’s hormones and stress levels. Things that contribute to an acidic body include grains, refined sugar, diets comprised of processed foods, caffeine, an excess of meat, alcohol, and sodas. Diets that produce a more alkaline body are those higher in organic vegetables and fresh fruits, which contain an adequate amount of protein (from wild and organic sources), and good fats such as those from unrefined coconut oil and palm oil, avocados, and olive oil.
In addition, there is growing evidence to suggest a link between food allergies or food intolerances and miscarriages and infertility. The two most common food allergens are gluten and dairy, and the more food intolerances a woman has that are not addressed, the more likely her body is to become infertile or reject a pregnancy. If you are having issues with infertility it is vital to be tested for food allergies and food intolerances and then avoid those foods while taking in foods that are healthy for your body.
Clean Water & Fertility
Many people may not know what is in their water supply and how that can adversely affect fertility. Tap water can be full of toxins such as:
- Pharmaceutical drugs
- Pesticides and herbicides from farms and lawns
- Commercial cleaning products
- Industrial waste and harmful byproducts which add heavy metals and other harmful substances to our water
- Chlorine and other additives from the processing plant
In order to avoid ingesting these harmful substances from your water supply you can install a reverse osmosis water filtration system that filters small particles of less than one micron. This should be installed in your kitchen for your drinking water and cooking water, as well as the shower/bathtub since your skin absorbs these substances as well.
Common Chemicals/Toxins Linked to Infertility
Another suspect in the subject of infertility is the increase in environmental toxins which mimic the hormone estrogen such as:
- Endocrine disruptors like Bisphenol A
- Heavy metals
- Pesticides and insecticides
- Hormones and antibiotics used in improperly raised meats and dairy products which can cause an imbalance in estrogen levels
- Chemicals from cigarettes, road tar, and car exhaust fumes
It is important to remember that our bodies absorb toxins from the air we breathe, from contact with the skin, or through ingesting the items. Here is a list of most important chemicals to avoid:
- Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs). These compounds are associated with the development of tumors, damage to the pituitary glands, death of offspring, and changes in internal organs in animal studies. PFCs are used in teflon cookware, shampoos, cleaning products, microwave popcorn bags, packaging for greasy foods, stain-proof clothing, flame retardants, and more.
- Organic solvents. These are liquids that have the ability to dissolve or extract something without ruining other items. Organic solvents are used in paints, degreasing products, cosmetics, pharmaceutical drugs, household cleaners, adhesives, pesticides, inks and printing products, construction materials, and more.
- Pesticides. Not only do pesticides contain organic solvents they also contain other harmful chemicals and are found in our food and water supply. Pesticides are found in meat, dairy, non-organic fruit and vegetables, and unfiltered tap water.
- Formaldehyde. A strong-smelling gas that is used in making many building materials and household products. It is found in pressed wood such as particleboard and plywood, glues and adhesives, coatings on paper products, insulation materials, antiseptics, air fresheners, cosmetics, medicines, deodorants, and more.
- Paint fumes. Because oil based paints, paint thinners, and other painting products often contain harmful chemicals and can take weeks or months to fully outgas, they can cause problems with fertility. There are safe paints and paint products to use such as Ecos, Safecoat, and other brands that are safe for use around infants, children, expectant mothers, and those wanting to become pregnant.
- Bisphenols. These are endocrine disrupting chemicals found in receipts, plastic containers, plastics, food packaging, and more. Products are now being touted as BPA free, which means they don’t use bisphenol A, however, manufacturers are using similar compounds as a substitute such as bisphenol S and bisphenol F which have similar effects as BPA.
- Perchloroethylene. This chemical also called by other names such as tetrachloroethylene is identified as a toxic air pollutant by the EPA. It is used in dry cleaning agents, degreasing solvents, automotive care products, furniture care products, cleaning products, sealants, adhesives, paints, and coatings.
Undiagnosed Infections Linked to Infertility
Undiagnosed infection in the lower reproductive tract or the presence of too many antibodies in the cervical mucus that could be killing the sperm. These factors can all be addressed by natural means, but usually require diagnosis by a qualified natural health professional.
Stress and Infertility
Not only does stress affect our minds and our sense of peace and well-being, it also affects our hormones. Those with higher stress levels also have higher salivary alpha-amylase which is an enzyme the body produces to digest carbohydrates. Higher levels in the saliva are an indicator of a fight-or-flight stress response. One recent study showed that women with higher levels of this enzyme in their saliva had a 29% increase in infertility than those who had lower levels. Reducing stress or learning measures to handle it better may affect a couple’s fertility.
Low Sperm Count and Infertility
Another factor may be too low of sperm count in men. Some studies reveal that sperm counts may have decreased a third to a half in the last 50-60 years. Since most of the sperm die already on the way to meet the ovum, this increases the chances of infertility dramatically. A man should have upwards of 60 million sperm per milliliter of semen. If one has above 40 million things will be ok. Below 20 million the ability to conceive drops drastically. The same nutritional and environmental factors mentioned above may be affecting sperm counts in men.
How Can I Increase My Fertility Naturally?
Certainly there may be other factors affecting fertility, and often couples have more than one factor affecting their ability to conceive. If you are having trouble conceiving and/or your sperm count is low, it’s time to clean up your body and maximize your nutrition uptake. Here are some self-help tips every couple trying to conceive could use to to improve fertility:
- Improve your diet by following the recommendations listed in the next section
- Drink plenty of purified water.
- Avoid the toxins and chemicals mentioned earlier.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get more sleep.
- Manage/decrease stress by taking time to relax, building in margin for yourself, and reducing obligations.
- Chart your basal body temperature, use an ovulation calendar, or use an ovulation predictor kit to track ovulation.
- Make sure that if you use lubricants they are sperm friendly. Otherwise ditch the lube.
- Have more sex to make sure you’re not missing the short fertile window of about 24 hours, especially since it’s hard to tell exactly when you’re ovulating. In addition make sure you’re having sex before you ovulate so that sperm are present at the time of ovulation.
- Don’t have too much sex, such as multiple times per day which can cause burnout. Keep things reasonable.
- Brush your teeth regularly and have your teeth cleaned. Gum disease affects fertility.
- Quit smoking.
What Foods Will Make a Woman More Fertile?
- Eat a healthy diet including things like:
- mostly organic foods
- wild-caught fish which are low in toxins, such as sardines and wild caught salmon
- foods high in vitamin C, vitamin E, and folate
- cruciferous vegetables
- Work towards eliminating refined carbs
- Reduce starchy carbohydrate intake
- Choose high-fat dairy over low fat dairy
- Eat more fiber
- Avoid all trans fats
- Take supplements such as:
- Evening Primrose oil
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Avoid foods that may negatively affect fertility:
- Refined Sugar
Still Having Fertility Issues?
If you’re still having fertility issues despite having made dietary changes and other improvements, it may be time to get some professional help with an experienced natural health doctor. Come in and see us for an appointment and we’ll help you get your nutrition up to par and your toxic body detoxified so it can heal.
For over 20 years LifeWorks has been helping women and couples with fertility issues. We will review your case, perform any needed testing and get you onto a program that will help improve your fertility with the goal of helping you conceive.
We look forward to helping you with our natural treatments for infertility.