Herbs to Enhance Fertility

herbs in increase fertilityHerbs can be used to support your body’s natural fertility in a variety of ways.  If you visit http://natural-fertility-info.com/fertility-herbs, you will find an extremely detailed and lengthy list of fertility issues and herbs that can be used to treat them.  Below is a primer which will allow you see the wide variety of possibilities when it comes to this type of treatment.**

Fertility Issue

One Herb Used to Treat It

What the Herb Does

Estrogen imbalance Flax seed The lignans and fiber in flax seed help remove excess estrogen from the body.
Immune system imbalance Ashwagandha root This root supports the endocrine system and overall immune response.
Low libido (women) Damiana dried leaves and stems This increases circulation to the female reproductive system and also increases sexual pleasure.
Low libido (men) Muira Puama bark and root This supports fertility and a healthy erection in men.
Ovarian cysts Tribulus aerial parts and fruit This has worked to normalize ovulation in infertile women with consistent use.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Vitex dried berries This herb works to balance the hormonal feedback loop in women with PCOS, promoting ovulation and regular menstrual cycles.
Poor egg health Castor oil When applied as a pack to the abdomen, castor oil stimulates the lymphatic system, and can increase circulation and promote the healing of tissues and organs beneath the skin.
Progesterone imbalance Maca root This root works to balance the body’s estrogen and progesterone in both men and women.
Sperm count Goji berry dried fruit This berry, which is high in antioxidants, helps protect sperm from overheating, increases hormone levels, and increases sperm quality and quantity.
Uterine fibroids Dong Quai root This root increases circulation of fresh, healthy blood, which aids in removing excess tissue growth, healing tissue damage, and limiting the formation of scar tissue and adhesions.

 

**Please keep in mind that while we want you to be healthier and happier, our blogs and suggestions shouldn’t supersede that of your doctor’s advice.  Please consult your physician prior to adding any herbs to your daily diet.

How Age Impacts Fertility

age and fertilityAs a woman ages, her fertility slowly decreases.  The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that around age 32, fertility significantly declines, and the decline becomes rapid around age 37.  Despite this, there is no question that women are continuing to have children later in life.  A 2014 report from the Center for Disease Control states that the average age of women experiencing their first birth has continued to rise over the last four decades.  More significantly, since the year 2000, 46 states and the District of Columbia have experienced a rise in the first-birth rate for women 35 and over.

So if your fertility decreases with age, how are more women than ever giving birth in their late 30’s and early 40’s?  The answer truly lies with personal choices and modern medicine.  For example, we now know more than ever before about things women can do to keep their body healthy in order to decrease the chances of having a medical disorder which decreases fertility.  We also have modern technology, such as egg freezing, which allows for the possibility of having a child later in life.  Not to mention that age does not preclude women from pursuing in vitro fertilization or other assisted reproductive technologies.  Additionally, the CDC report shows that older women having children generally are more educated and have the financial resources to pursue these options.

In a recent Time Magazine article, Dr. Rebecca Starck, the chair of the department of regional obstetrics and gynecology at Cleveland Clinic, asserts that for women who want to have children later in life, taking care of themselves is the key.  She believes a healthy 40 year old can have a less risky pregnancy than a 28 year old if the 40 year old prepares herself for pregnancy through healthy food and exercise, and maintains those habits throughout.

Preserving Your Fertility When You Have Breast Cancer

breast cancer and fertilityBecause October is National Breast Cancer awareness month, we wanted to address the important topic of how you can preserve your fertility while fighting this horrible disease.  Unfortunately, breast cancer treatments can leave some women infertile.  This means that if you do plan to have children in the future, you should discuss your options with your doctor before beginning cancer treatments.

There are currently three ways in which doctors are working to preserve fertility for cancer patients.  The first is by using treatments that will produce embryos or eggs.  One example is in vitro fertilization (IVF).  With this procedure, you will take hormones to increase your egg supply.  The doctor will remove your eggs, fertilize them with the sperm of your partner or donor, and freeze them for later use.  Another method, which involves freezing unfertilized eggs, has met with mixed success and is currently not considered as reliable as IVF.

The second thing doctors can do for cancer patients is take steps to reduce the impact of chemotherapy on their fertility.  Some combinations of chemotherapy drugs are less likely to affect fertility than others.  For example, FEC and AC carry a smaller risk than CMF.  Unfortunately, for those over 40, all chemotherapies carry a greater risk of permanently stopping your ovaries from producing eggs.  Currently, scientists are researching the use of luteinising hormone blocker injections during chemotherapy. These injections temporarily stop the ovaries from working, and may shield them from the impact of chemotherapy.

Finally, doctors can try to preserve a patient’s ovarian tissue for future use.  This would involve a minor surgery in which some of your ovarian tissue is removed, then frozen.  After cancer treatment is complete, the healthy tissue is put back in place.  This procedure is relatively new and does not have widespread data, but has met with some success so far.

 

Method Effectiveness vs. User Effectiveness

photo courtesy of Birdsandbees.org

photo courtesy of Birdsandbees.org

When discussing the effectiveness rates of various methods of birth control, you should be aware that there is a difference between the effectiveness of the method and the effectiveness of use.  Method effectiveness is defined as the effectiveness with perfect use.  In other words, the number of unexpected pregnancies which occurred when the method was correctly and consistently used over a period of time.  On the other hand, user effectiveness is defined by the actual practices of the couples using the method, both correctly and incorrectly, over that same period of time, which is usually one year.

The chart below describes some common birth control methods, along with their method and user effectiveness rates, based on 2,000 users and one year of use.  For comparison, having unprotected sex with absolutely no method of birth control used results in pregnancy 85% of the time.

Birth Control Method User Effectiveness Failure Rate Method Effectiveness Failure Rate
Male latex condom 15% 2%
Combined oral contraceptive pill 9% 0.3%
Diaphragm with spermicide 16% 6%
Intrauterine device with copper 0.8% 0.6%
Birth Control Patch 8% 0.3%
NuvaRing birth control ring 9% 0.3%
Depo Provera birth control shot 3% 0.3%
Today contraceptive sponge 32% 20%

 

The number one reason for the difference between the user and method effectiveness rates is simply failure to follow the given instructions for the item.  For example:

  • Birth control pills should be taken at the exact same time every day.
  • Condoms should be stored in a cool, dry place at all times prior to use, and should never be used if they are past the expiration date.
  • Diaphragms and cervical caps must completely cover the cervix.
  • IUD users should conduct a monthly check to make sure the device is properly in place.

The takeaway is that whatever birth control method you choose for yourself, it is important to be as educated as possible about it for the best results.

Please keep in mind that our effective rating is 99.3% effective and best explained on our website.

 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_birth_control_methods

http://ccli.org/nfp/effectiveness/methodvsuser.php

http://womenshealth.about.com/od/birthcontrol/a/contraceptive_failure.htm

Quality Time with Your Significant Other

photo credit to www.rockinmarriage.com

photo credit to www.rockinmarriage.com

Time is a commodity we never seem to have enough of.  Taking care of your children, holding down a job, and juggling chores and social obligations are enough to keep you so busy that you forget to spend alone time with your significant other.  While taking time out for your partner can sometimes feel like just one more thing you need to do, it is important to realize the value of this time in nurturing your relationship and keeping it strong.  The relaxing and fun moments you have with your partner are critical to surviving the occasional bumps in the road you experience as a couple.  Below are some suggestions for ways to take time out for your significant other.

  • Create an Intimate Night in– With some planning, you can create a night in as enjoyable as one you could have out on the town.  Once you have put the kids to bed early, change into your best outfit and open a bottle of wine.  Then, make your partner’s favorite meal (or order in) and dine by candlelight to set a romantic mood.  Afterward, you can watch a movie both of you have been wanting to see while cuddling on the couch.
  • Work Out Together– Working out always seems to go more quickly when you have someone with you, and what better person than your partner?  Many gyms offer childcare services, which will give you both time to play racquetball, run on the treadmill, or lift weights.  As a bonus, breaking a sweat together just may put your mind on bedroom activities for later on in the day.
  • Take a Vacation– There is no better way to spend quality time with someone than when you are away from the rush of your everyday lives.  Family vacations that offer some options for child care, such as cruises and ski resorts, are highly recommended for some additional alone time.

 

Source: http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/family/relationships/quality-time-00100000076983/page4.html

Reasons to Get Your Body Moving

photo credit: www.blog.applefit.it

photo credit: www.blog.applefit.it

While we all know we should work out on a regular basis, quite often hitting the gym slides further and further down our list of priorities.  However, making time to work out can have many positive impacts on your life beyond simple weight maintenance.  Read on to find out how working out can help build a better you in addition to some muscles.

1)      It helps you sleep better.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, 67 percent of those who exercise regularly report getting a good night’s sleep, and these benefits are experienced regardless of the time of day the individuals choose to work out.  This is because exerting yourself physically helps to keep your body’s circadian rhythm in check.

2)      It is a natural mood elevator.  Studies show that riding a bike, running, or performing any other cardio workout two to three times per week at a moderate pace can increase your energy levels by 20 percent and decrease feelings of fatigue by 65 percent.  This is because after just 20 minutes of exercise, your metabolism is boosted and the amount of feel-good brain chemical dopamine increases inside your body.

3)      It keeps you from getting sick.  Research shows that working out two to three times per week will strengthen your immunity against bacteria and viruses, thus keeping you from getting colds or the flu as frequently as someone who doesn’t work out.  Exercise also reduces your risk of having much more serious long-term illnesses, such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and dementia.

4)      It can ease cramps!  Exercise triggers your body to release endorphins, which act as natural opioids in the body that can relieve pain.  In general, exercise increases the oxygen in your body’s cells, resulting in an all-over reduction of aches and pains.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/10-reasons-to-work-out

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201205/19-reasons-exercise

Tracking Your Cycle: More than Taking Your Temperature

photo credit to www.nanaymiriam.wordpress.com

photo credit to www.nanaymiriam.wordpress.com

One very popular method of determining your fertile times of the month is the Basal Body Temperature (BBT) method.  Specifically, your BBT is the temperature you have first thing in the morning when you are freshly awakened from three to five hours sleep.  Ideally, you will take this reading before you get out of bed or engage in any activity beyond shutting off your alarm clock, and write it down in a chart.

Over time, the chart you keep will show you how your BBT changes throughout the month.  Prior to ovulation, estrogen is the primary hormone flowing through your body.  However, when ovulation occurs, your body experiences a surge of progesterone, which increases your body temperature.  In the big picture, this should mean that your BBT is at its lowest point just prior to ovulation, and will increase approximately half a degree once ovulation occurs.

Unfortunately, while a BBT chart does tell you when you have ovulated, it will not necessarily help you predict your future ovulation with accuracy.  In fact, studies show that using the BBT method alone achieves accurate results only about 75% of the time.  Truly, a BBT chart serves as a good indicator of ovulation only if you are someone with a “perfect” 28 day cycle.  For the majority of women, such a cycle may as well be a myth.

If you are seeking the convenience of the BBT method with higher accuracy, Lady-Comp is an excellent choice for you.  Lady-Comp is a state of the art fertility monitor that can predict your fertile days with 99.3% accuracy, based on your BBT and information on your menstrual cycle which you provide.  Over a period of time, it will get to know your personal cycle and will remain accurate regardless of any irregularities in cycle length.  To learn more about choosing the version of Lady-Comp that is right for you, please visit https://www.lady-comp.com/en/fertility-computers/compare/.

Sources:

http://www.whattoexpect.com/preconception/fertility/five-ways-to-tell-you-are-ovulating.aspx

http://www.storknet.com/cubbies/preconception/bbt.htm

Natural Ways to Elevate Your Sex Life

As a Lady-Comp user, you have made a conscious choice to take charge of your fertility in an all-natural way, without the use of harmful synthetic hormones.  Therefore, we thought you would enjoy learning about some all-natural ways to enhance your enjoyment in the bedroom.

  • Edible Aphrodisiacs– Your bedroom sessions can be amped up just by incorporating healthy fruits, vegetables, and spices into your dinners.  Women’s sexual desire is increased by asparagus, avocado, and artichoke, while cinnamon, cayenne, mango, pumpkin, and squash serve as sexual enhancers for men.  Both men and women will be turned on by ginger and basil.
  • Organic Lubricants– Sexual lubricants found in your local market or drugstore typically contain parabens, which research has shown to disrupt hormone function. Parabens bind themselves to estrogen receptors, mimicking an increase in estrogen in the body.  They have therefore been linked to reproductive toxicity and increased risk of breast cancer.  Other commercial lubricants contain glycerin, which is known to leach moisture from the vagina.  This not only can make sex uncomfortable, but it can increase the risk of yeast infection and other sexually transmitted infections.  Instead, search online to find an organic, water-based lubricant to enhance your pleasure.
  • Make Your Own Massage Oil– The same coconut oil you have in your kitchen Spa oilcupboard for cooking makes a wonderful, all-natural massage oil.  Consider adding a few drops of some essential oils to boost the effect. Neroli oil will stimulate libido, while ylang-ylang and lavender reduce stress.
  • Sustainable Condoms– Should you choose to use condoms on your fertile days, you will be happy to know that you can now purchase some that are environmentally friendly.  Sir Richard’s Condom Company has created a condom of sustainable latex that has been certified Vegan by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).  You can find a store near you selling the brand by visiting https://sirrichards.com/locator/.

 

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stefanie-iris-weiss/sex_b_1997394.html

The Use of Herbs to Improve Fertility

HerbsIf you are struggling with your attempts to conceive, it can be a very stressful experience.  Well-meaning friends and family may be pushing you toward visiting a fertility doctor to seek a medical solution.  However, you may be interested in trying some all natural remedies before taking that step.  Below are some common infertility issues and herbs that have been known to remedy them.

  • Amenorrhea– If you are suffering from either irregular periods or a complete lack of them, there are several herbs that can help.  For example, motherwort is a mild uterine stimulant that is used worldwide to treat these ailments.  The flowering tops, leaves, and stalk can all be used for medicinal extracts and vinegars.
  • Cervical Mucus Issues– To encourage healthy production of cervical mucus, it is important to stay hydrated and ingest essential fatty acids, especially omega-6, and evening primrose oil is a fantastic source of this.  The seeds of the evening primrose plant are pressed into this oil, which is typically enclosed in a capsule for use as a dietary supplement.
  • Endometriosis– To soothe the pain of endometriosis, you will want to seek out herbs that reduce inflammation and strengthen your body’s immune response.  A great example of this is bee propolis, a resin mixture of tree sap, buds, and leaves which bees make to seal openings in their hives.  A 2003 study published in Fertility and Sterility showed that 60% of the participants suffering from endometriosis who took 500 milligrams of bee propolis twice a day for 9 months became pregnant, as opposed to 20% of the group taking a placebo.
  • Ovarian Cysts– Ovarian cysts can be diminished by taking herbs that promote regular ovulation, proper circulation, and hormonal balance.  Black cohosh root is known to regulate the entire menstrual cycle.  This very powerful herb, which should be used for no more than 6 months, has excellent anti-inflammatory properties, promotes healthy blood flow throughout the pelvic area, and aids in regular shedding of the uterine lining.

Before starting any herbal regimen, it is recommended you seek the advice of both your physician and an experienced herbalist.

Source: http://natural-fertility-info.com/fertility-herbs

Are You Really Infertile?

trying hard to get preg

photo courtesy of justmommies.com

Are you really infertile?  A February 2012 survey from the Guttmacher Institute found that 19% of women ages 18-29 believed they were very likely to be infertile, when in reality, this is only true of 6% of women in that age group.  From a physician’s perspective, infertility is typically diagnosed when a couple attempting to become pregnant is unable to do so after a minimum of one year of trying.  While the word “infertility” carries a heavy connotation of permanence, this is not necessarily so, as 90% of all infertility has an identifiable physical cause.

In consultation with your physician, there are many healthy and natural avenues to pursue to fight against an infertility diagnosis.  First and foremost, you can work to achieve a healthy body weight.  Research conducted at Harvard Medical School indicates 40% of ovulation failures are caused by being over or underweight.  They advise that a body fat percentage and body mass index in the 20-25 range are optimal for pregnancy.  However, you should go about obtaining this the right way, through healthy eating and moderate exercise.  Research shows that women who skip meals and engaging in intense exercise have trouble conceiving, because both of these activities put stress on the body and suppress hormone surges.

Next, consider alternative medicine.  Chiropractic adjustments can stabilize your autonomic nervous system, which allows your reproductive organs to function optimally.  These adjustments can also impact your pituitary gland, balance hormones, and correct imbalance in the muscles of your pelvic floor.  If you are feeling more adventurous, acupuncture treatments are known to improve ovarian function, regulate ovulation and reproduction hormones, and increase blood flow to the endometrium, producing a thick uterine lining.  Finally, abdominal massage can help restore your uterus to its proper position, break up scar tissue around the uterus and other abdominal organs, and increase blood flow and lymph drainage in your pelvic area.

 

Sources:

http://www.justmommies.com/articles/trying-too-hard.shtml

http://health.usnews.com/usnews/health/articles/070429/7infertility.htm

http://newbeginningschiropractic.net/fighting-infertility-naturally/

photo courtesy of justmommies.com