Obesity and Fertility

photo courtesy of shreehospital.com

photo courtesy of shreehospital.com

According to a March 2014 article in the Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing, in 2010, 31.9 percent of women ages 20 to 39 years old in the United States met the definition of obesity.  Obesity is defined as an adult with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher, which translates roughly to a woman of 5’9 who weighs 203 pounds or more.  However, ill effects to your health can be felt long before you reach the stage of obesity; they can be found in the overweight stage as well.  A 5’9 woman is considered overweight with a BMI of 25 to 29.9, which is approximately 169 to 202 pounds. Continue reading

Date Night At Home

photo courtesy of  seattletravelmom.wordpress.com

photo courtesy of seattletravelmom.wordpress.com

We all know how important quality alone time with your partner is for keeping the spark alive.  However, putting it into practice can be difficult.  Your careers, children, and other responsibilities and obligations can often get in the way of your ability to just go out to dinner and spend some time together.  However, you shouldn’t despair when you can’t get away.  Instead, try these ideas for date night at home after your children have gone to bed. Continue reading

Three Things You Didn’t Realize Could Be Impacting Your Health

photo courtesy of popsugar.com

photo courtesy of popsugar.com

There are some things, such as smoking, drinking to excess, and having unprotected sex, which we know are outright hazardous to our long-term health.  There are others, such as skipping going to the gym for a week or grabbing fast food occasionally rather than a nutritious snack, which are bad in the short term, but can be turned around relatively easily to get you back on a healthy track.  However, scarily enough, there could be some daily habits of yours that, while they seem innocent enough right now, are slowly building towards harming your health in your retirement years.  Below are three major life issues you should examine now for a healthier future.

1)      Your Cholesterol- High cholesterol is not just something that happens to older people. In fact, even teenagers can be diagnosed with it.  The longer you allow high cholesterol in your body, the greater the impact on your heart health.  For every decade you suffer from high cholesterol, your risk of heart disease increases by 39%.  If your blood vessels have been ravaged by cholesterol when you are in your 30’s and 40’s, you may not be able to reverse the damage when you are in your 50’s and 60’s.  It is highly recommended you have your cholesterol checked yearly.

2)      Your Sleep- Scientists recommend that adults get at least seven hours of sleep each night for optimal physical and cognitive health.  Studies have shown that individuals who obtain the right amount of sleep, particularly between the ages of 18 and 60, benefit from improved memory and learning ability that will last throughout their lives.

3)      Your Stress- Stress greatly aggravates the risk of many diseases, such as asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal issues, heart disease, and obesity.  If you sense stress is having even a minor impact on your life, it is recommended you see a mental health professional to discuss solutions.

 

Simple Ways to Keep Your Relationship Strong

photo courtesy of makeyourlifemagical.com

photo courtesy of makeyourlifemagical.com

A strong and long-lasting relationship is a goal for many.  However, keeping your relationship on solid ground does not simply just happen.  Relationships need care and maintenance to sustain themselves.  Below are some items you should keep in mind on a daily basis to nurture your relationship with your partner.

  • You’ve heard people say that the best romantic relationships have a foundation in friendship, and it is absolutely true.  A good friendship contains all of the ingredients that form the basis for true intimacy- trust, vulnerability, and confidence that you will see each other through difficult times.  Speaking of difficult times, remember that it is normal for any relationship to have ups and downs, and an ongoing commitment to work through them is what will keep you together.
  • When you do fight, fight fair.  A commonly asked question in the couples counseling world is, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” When you argue, it should be about resolving the issue, and not about who “wins.”  Be sure to always speak to your partner with love and respect.  Do not approach an issue in an accusatory manner or dredge up old arguments.  Really listen to your partner and try to see things from their point of view.
  • While it is important to do your own thing, understand togetherness is crucial as well.  Maintain a balance that will provide you with a base of shared experiences while keeping the individuality that made you attractive to each other in the first place.
  • Maintain your physical intimacy.  Another phrase often heard in couples counseling is, “Sex is 10% of a good relationship, but 90% of a bad one.”  Sex is something special that only the two of you can share, and it is critical to maintaining your emotional connection.

Ditch Hormonal Birth Control and Have Better Orgasms

photo courtesy of health.com

photo courtesy of health.com

Hormonal birth control comes in two varieties: 1) the minipill, which is progestin only, and 2) combination pills, which contain estrogen and progestin.  These synthetic hormones mix with your body’s natural hormones and act to fool your body into thinking it is pregnant.  If your body believes it is pregnant, it will not release an egg each month, and thus there is no egg to be fertilized to create an actual pregnancy.  The issue here is that the result of chemically altering your body’s natural hormones is a decrease in sexual urges and responses, putting a damper on your ability to orgasm.

In a 2011 study conducted at Indiana University, research scientists at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion examined the sex lives of 1,101 women, half of which were using hormonal forms of birth control (patch, shot, ring, or pill) and half of which used condoms, the rhythm method, or other natural forms of birth control.  They discovered that while both groups had the same level of intimacy, women using hormonal birth control reported lower levels of arousal, lubrication, frequency of sex, and number of orgasms.

Hormonal forms of birth control increase the sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) in a woman’s body to four times its normal levels.  When SHGB increases, free testosterone, which helps power your sex drive, decreases.  Unfortunately, stopping the use of hormonal birth control does not fix this issue immediately.  In fact, studies have shown that even six months after stopping, SHBG levels remain at twice the normal levels.  For some women, the levels remain twice as high as normal for one year or more.  If you are concerned that your sex life is being impacted by your use of hormonal birth control, it is important to speak to your doctor immediately.

Your Thyroid and Your Fertility

photo courtesy of parenting.com

photo courtesy of parenting.com

According to the American Thyroid Association, approximately 20 million Americans have been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, and women are 5-8 times more likely than men to be affected.  In fact, it is estimated that one in eight women will develop a thyroid disorder at some point in their lives.

Your thyroid is a small gland in your body which manufactures thyroid hormones.  When you have a thyroid disorder, your thyroid gland is either producing too much (overactive or hyperthyroid) or too little (underactive of hypothyroid) of these hormones, causing a change in your body’s metabolic processes.  Symptoms of a thyroid disorder include weight loss or gain, memory impairment, fatigue, mood changes, and irregular menstrual flow.

A study published in British journal The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist in early 2015 further validates what has long been suspected in the medical community, which is that abnormalities in thyroid function can lead to reduced conception rates, increased risk of miscarriage, and adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preeclampsia, poor fetal growth, premature birth, and stillbirth.  The study found that 2.3 percent of women with fertility issues have been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, compared to 1.5 percent of women in the general population.  Furthermore, while only about 0.5 percent of women of reproductive age are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, those women are likely to experience delayed sexual maturity and lack of ovulation.

It is recommended that any woman who is trying to become pregnant be screened regularly for thyroid dysfunction.  Additionally, since pregnancy itself can bring on thyroid issues, screening should continue throughout pregnancy and for some time after the baby is born.  Medical professionals state that treatments for thyroid disorders are safe to use when pregnant, and may decrease the risk of miscarriage and improve the overall health of the baby in utero.

 

Feel Extra Connected this Valentine’s Day

photo courtesy via mariashriver.com

photo courtesy via mariashriver.com

Valentine’s Day is a holiday loaded with emotional expectation, and chances are not all of your Valentine’s Days have turned out exactly like the fairy-tale that you wanted.  However, you can strengthen your emotional and physical relationship with your partner on a daily basis with some simple actions guaranteed to keep the spark in your relationship ignited every day of the year.  Read on for suggestions.

  • Always ask your partner about their day.  Couples who share their daily events with each other, both good and bad, are rewarded with increased feelings of intimacy and connection.
  • Embrace inside jokes just between the two of you.  Psychologists have found that when couples share a laugh over the same thing, each feels validated by the other.
  • Make time for your partner’s friends and family members.  Research has shown that the more a couple’s friends and family intermingle, the happier their relationship.
  • Keep sex a priority.  Both physical and emotional intimacy are critical to a successful relationship.
  • Make sure you are really listening to your partner, and not just waiting for your turn to talk.  A study conducted by Harvard University researchers has discovered that the more empathy and affection a couple expresses to each other, the more likely they are to stay together.
  • Don’t let fights define you.  Understand that when you are as close to an individual as you are to your partner, it is natural to become irritated with them at times.  That being said, if you are going to argue, it is important to fight fairly.  Never resort to yelling or name-calling.  More importantly, try to frame your statements in a non-accusatory manner, and focus on moving forward as a couple, rather than just expressing how you feel individually.  Try using statements that start with the words we, us, or our.

Self Fertility Massage

photo courtesy of omroom.net

photo courtesy of omroom.net

If you are considering conceiving a child in the near future, chances are you are already preparing your body in the recommended ways, such as eating more healthily, taking folic acid supplements, and cutting back on caffeine.  However, there is something else you can be doing to prepare your body that you may not have heard of, which is Self Fertility Massage.  Self Fertility Massage is a trademarked series of massage techniques designed to balance your body, increase circulation, boost your immune system, and decrease stress.

Below are some of the benefits for your reproductive system if you regularly receive fertility massage:

  • Increased ability of your liver to remove excess hormones
  • The breaking up of scar tissues in your reproductive organs
  • Hormonal balance
  • An improved endocrine system
  • Your body’s improved ability to remove old blood and tissue, and bring fresh blood to the uterus
  • Increased circulation to the cervix and uterus
  • Reduction of stress and the hormones which cause it
  • Repositioning of a tilted uterus

Self Fertility Massage can help with a variety of issues which impact fertility, such as:

  • It is a non-invasive option for assisting women who have blocked fallopian tubes.  The massage will gently break up any adhesions and encourage the body to rid itself of unneeded tissues.
  • Self Fertility Massage can help in a number of ways for people suffering from endometriosis.  As above, it can help to break up adhesions and shed the body of the excess endometrial tissue.  It can also help to decrease inflammation, and increase endorphins that will help reduce the associated pain.
  • Self Fertility Massage increases circulation in the ovaries, which in turn provides your eggs with the oxygen and antioxidants needed to be healthy and strong.
  • Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome occurs when a lack of ovulation causes cysts to grow in the ovaries and creates a hormonal imbalance.  Massage helps to restore your hormonal feedback loop which should help your body to return to a more regular ovulation schedule.

Natural Ways to Detox Your Body

detox naturally to help your fertility

photo courtesy of davieanddanielle.com

If you are readying your body for the possibility of conception, it is a perfect time to do a fertility cleanse.  The concept behind a fertility cleanse is to encourage the liver to let go of toxins and excess hormones.  It also helps to increase circulation in the uterus, and assist it in naturally removing any old blood it is retaining.  There are a number of natural therapies you can use to supplement a fertility cleanse and support your body during the process.  Some examples are below.

  • Yoga impacts the endocrine system which controls the hormones of your body.  Practicing yoga regularly can help you to release physical blockages in your reproductive organs and balance your hormones.  It can also be effective in helping you stay centered and reduce your stress while you are trying to conceive.
  • Exfoliating your skin can increase circulation, aid in liver detoxification, and help move lymph through your bloodstream.  For maximum results, scrub your skin in circular motions towards the heart, then follow by taking a bath or shower.
  • Castor oil has been used for hundreds of years to help heal issues with the reproductive system.  Soak a cloth on castor oil, place it directly on your skin, and cover it with a heating pad or hot water bottle.  This will enhance circulation and promote healing of the organs beneath wherever it is placed.
  • Fertility massage consists of massage techniques designed to increase circulation in your ovaries and uterus, break up any adhesions that may be present, relax hip muscles and organs, and bring a tilted uterus back into alignment.  A web search will help you find many articles and videos describing these techniques.

After completing any of these activities, it is important to remember to drink plenty of water. This will help to accelerate the release of toxins and flush them out of your body.

Your Mind Can Impact Your Fertility

how you affect your fertility

photo courtesy of thefertilemind.net

When you and your partner make the initial decision to try for a baby, it is a very exciting time filled with fun and promise.  At the start, it is likely you have formed some idea in your head regarding how long it will take you to conceive.  However, if that expectation isn’t met, what was once fun can seem like a chore, and your positive attitude is slowly replaced by stress.  According to WebMD, stress plays a part in up to 30% of all infertility cases.

If you are struggling to conceive and find your stress increasing, the most important thing to do is to consult with a doctor.  Don’t let fear of an infertility diagnosis prevent you from finding out what is really going on with your body, and how to deal with it.  The good news is that even with an infertility diagnosis, medical advancements provide hope like never before.  WebMD reports that for the majority of infertility causes, there is a medical treatment that will increase your chance of pregnancy by 60 to 70 percent.

If your doctor finds no medical problems for your difficulty in conceiving, it is very likely stress is playing into your struggles.  Doctors recommend incorporating relaxation strategies, such as meditation, massage, and yoga into your daily life.  You may also try what is known as a “relaxation month,” which is a month in which you and your partner agree that you will take a break from your attempts to actively pursue conception.

Doctors also recommend reducing stress by getting back in touch with the reason you wanted to conceive in the first place, which is your love for your partner.  Go out on dates, have fun together, and make your lovemaking a romantic event, rather than an obligation to fulfill on your calendar.  Bring love and fun back into your life and let nature take its course.