Infertility (Female)

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-01-02 (EDT)

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.

Infertility malel.jpg

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

Naturopathic Assessment

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 [1]
Article Female Healthcare Workers and Fertility: Risks and Mitigating Factors, 2012 Fall;Vol12(3) Vital Link

Causal Factors

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.


  • Weight
  • Being both overweight[1] or underweight[2] has been associated with ovulatory dysfunction.
  • Poor nutrition can result in infertility.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption can affect fertility.


  • Emotional State
  • Infertility can be associated with distressed emotions such as anxiety and depression. These emotions are often a result of infertility as opposed to the initial cause.


  • Trauma
  • 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.[3]


  • Physical abnormalities such as absence of ovaries, or malformed uterus (arcuate, bicornuate uterus) can influence fertility.[5]

Medical Interventions

  • 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.

Diagnostic Testing

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:

Related Symptoms and Conditions

There are many conditions that are associated with infertility including:

  • Hormone imbalances that interfere with ovulation.[6]
  • Ovarian dysfunction or premature ovarian failure (early menopause).[7]
  • Elevated prolactin levels[8]
  • Pelvic infection or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • There is higher prevalence of Celiac Disease in women with unexplained infertility, therefore it has been suggested that all women with unexplained infertility be evaluated for Celiac Disease.[12]


Infertility is divided into two main categories:

  1. Primary infertility refers to infertility in a woman who has never conceived
  2. 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

Naturopathic Treatment

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

Home Care strategies include:


Lifestyle recommendations include:

  • When trying to conceive reduce excessive exercise or strenuous activity in the 2nd 1/2 of your cycle to prevent spontaneous aborption.
  • Regular moderate exercise is beneficial.
  • Spending time outside can be beneficial.
  • 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.

Naturopathic Therapies

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:

  • 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 [2]

  1. Brewer CJ, Balen AH (Sep 2010) The adverse effects of obesity on conception and implantation. Reproduction;Vol140(3):347-64. PMID: 20395425.
  2. Krassas GE (Sep 2003) Endocrine abnormalities in Anorexia Nervosa. Pediatr Endocrinol Rev;Vol1(1):46-54. PMID: 16437012.
  3. Crossman SH (Mar 2006) The challenge of pelvic inflammatory disease. Am Fam Physician;Vol73(5):859-64. PMID: 16529095.
  4. Colacurci N, De Franciscis P (2010 Oct-Dec) Endocrine disruptors and reproductive health G Ital Med Lav Ergon;Vol32(4):461-3. PMID: 21086705.
  5. Chan YY, Jayaprakasan K, Zamora J, Thornton JG, Raine-Fenning N, Coomarasamy A (2011 Nov-Dec) The prevalence of congenital uterine anomalies in unselected and high-risk populations: a systematic review. Hum Reprod Update;Vol17(6):761-71. PMID: 21705770.
  6. Tsutsumi R, Webster NJ (2009) GnRH pulsatility, the pituitary response and reproductive dysfunction Endocr J;56(6):729-37 PMID: 19609045.
  7. Shelling AN (Nov 2010) Premature ovarian failure Reproduction;140(5):633-41 PMID: 20716613.
  8. Shibli-Rahhal A, Schlechte J (Dec 2011) Hyperprolactinemia and infertility Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am;40(4):837-46 PMID: 22108283.
  9. Brewer CJ, Balen AH (Sep 2010) The adverse effects of obesity on conception and implantation Reproduction;140(3):347-64 PMID: 20395425.
  10. Krassas GE, Poppe K, Glinoer D (2010 Oct) Thyroid function and human reproductive health Endocr Rev;31(5):702-55 PMID: 20573783.
  11. Bulletti C, Coccia ME, Battistoni S, Borini A (2010 Aug) Endometriosis and infertility J Assist Reprod Genet; Vol27(8):441-7 PMID: 20574791.
  12. Shah S, Leffler D (2010 Sep) Celiac disease: an underappreciated issue in women’s health Womens Health (Lond Engl); Vol6(5):753-66 PMID: 20887172.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Pizzorno Joseph, Murray Micheal, Joiner-Bey Herb, 2007, The Clinician's Handbook of Natural Medicine Churchill Livingstone
  14. 14.0 14.1 Gaby AR (2011) Nutritional Medicine. Fritz Perlberg Publishing.
  15. Hudson T (2007) Women's Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine: Alternative Therapies and Integrative Medicine for Total Health. McGraw-Hill.