Infertility is defined as failure to conceive after 12 months of frequent intercourse without contraception in women under 35 years of age or younger, or after 6 months of intercourse without contraception in women 35 years of age or older.
|Causes||Dietary Factors, Environmental Toxins, Infections, Prescription Medications, Mental/Emotional or Psychological Conditions|
|See Also||Women's Health, Infertility (Male)|
|Books||Books on Women's Health|
|Articles||Articles on Women's Health|
- 1 Naturopathic Assessment
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Naturopathic Treatment
- 4 References
|Article||Female Fertility, Oxidant stress and a potential role for antioxidant therapy , IHP ; Nov/Dec 2012|
|Check out this book||Fertility: A Naturopathic Approach|
|Check out this book||8 Weeks to Women's Wellness: The Detoxification Plan for Breast Cancer, Endometriosis, Infertility and Other Women's Health Conditions|
|Article||A Naturopathic Approach to Intrauterine Insemination , 2011 February NDNR |
|Article||Female Healthcare Workers and Fertility: Risks and Mitigating Factors, 2012 Fall;Vol12(3) Vital Link|
In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. With infertility the causes are variable and include lifestyle and environmental factors. A detailed assessment is required to determine which factors are contributing to infertility.
- Poor nutrition can result in infertility.
- Excessive alcohol consumption can affect fertility.
- Emotional State
- Physical trauma can result in the inability to conceive.
- Genitourinary or sexually transmitted infections (such as gonorrhea and chlamydia) may lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), especially if undiagnosed and untreated. PID can damage the uterus and ovaries thus leading to infertility.
- Physical abnormalities such as absence of ovaries, or malformed uterus (arcuate, bicornuate uterus) can influence fertility.
- Pharmaceutical Medications:
- Some medications are associated with infertility including: allopurinol, colchicine, chemotherapy, cimetidine, cyclosporine, erythromycin, gentamicin, neomycin, nitrofurantoin, tetracycline, spironolactone, sulfasalazine drugs including nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, steroids, and marajuana.
- Prior use of antis|estrogen medication (Lupron, Depo-Provera, danazol) may influence hormone balance.
- Medical Interventions
- Pelvic adhesions (scar tissue) can form as a result of surgery which can impair fertility.
Testing for infertility is typically only undertaken once a couple, under the age of 30, has tried to get pregnant on their own for at least one year. Since the causes of infertility are so multi-facteted, diagnostic testing can be complicated and exhaustive and may include the following:
- Physical examination including a pelvic exam
- Basal Body Temperature testing in the morning to check if the ovaries are releasing eggs.
- Blood tests such as hormone testing (FSH, Luteinizing hormone (LH), Estrogren, testosterone, prolactin), as well as TSH, T3 and T4, CBC, Food Sensitivity Test (IgG).
- Urine tests including luteinizing hormone, heavy metal urine test
- Imaging tests including a hysterosalpingography to assess fallopian tubes and any potential uterine abnormalities, pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound, laparoscopy, saline sonohystogram to evaluate for polyps, intrauterine adhesions, submucosal fibroids.
Related Symptoms and Conditions
There are many conditions that are associated with infertility including:
- Pelvic infection or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Uterine fibroids
- Autoimmune diseases
- Blood clotting disorders
- Celiac Disease
Infertility is divided into two main categories:
- Primary infertility refers to infertility in a woman who has never conceived
- Secondary infertility is infertility with a history of prior pregnancy.
Infertility is a result of:
- A fertilized egg or embryo not surviving once it sticks to the lining of the uterus (womb)
- The fertilized egg does not attach to the lining of the uterus
- The movement of the eggs from the ovaries to the uterus is blocked
- The ovaries do not produce eggs
The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Since infertility can have a number of different causes, treatment strategies will vary.
It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.
Home Care strategies include:
- Tracking basal body temperature to determine ovulation and optimize chances for fertilization.
- Quit smoking
Lifestyle recommendations include:
- Consume a whole foods diet high in vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, fruits, low-fat organic dairy, and fish.
- Choose organic and hormone-free foods.
- Incorporate soy foods and flaxseed into the diet.
- Avoid excess alcohol and reduce caffeine intake.
- Maintain optimal weight.
- Ensure you drink adequate water.
- Fertility concerns are commonly very stressful both on the individuals involved and on a marriage. It is important to talk about your emotions and concerns and to seek professional support as needed.
The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.
Naturopathic Therapies for infertility include:
- Clinical Nutritional Supplementation includes
- Herbs such as Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus), Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea), Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis), Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides), Crampbark (Vibernum opulus), False unicorn (Chamaelerium luteum), Squaw vine (Mitchella repens).
- Homeopathy has been found to be helpful in addressing infertility concerns and in addressing the stress and emotional impact of infertility.
- Acupuncture can be very effective in addressing infertility. It can also increase pregnancy rates in women undergoing fertility treatment.
Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND 
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