Have you been trying to conceive for awhile with no luck? Read this.Oct 13, 2022
Just about a year ago… I was in the midst of a 6-week social media break and at the lowest point of an emotional rollercoaster, I had been riding for an entire year. Chad and I were trying and trying with no luck to give our son West a sibling. And after a year, I finally decided to give my nervous system a break and took space from my phone … and we got pregnant. But there were also other things I had really worked on for the year prior from a hormonal perspective to prepare my body for pregnancy.
Infertility is one of the top concerns among women I work with, and current stats by the CDC report that approximately 22.3% of married women have problems getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term. What’s crazy is that 40% of infertility causes are attributable to women and many are due to “unknown reasons” (i.e. hidden causes that conventional medicine doesn’t recognize or address).
Here’s what I want you to know before I talk to you about hormones.
1. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I know that it can be super emotional, filled with highs and lows and moments of frustration and being upset with your own body. But know that you are not alone and the word “infertility” is not final!
2. When it comes to getting pregnant and bringing a healthy baby into the world, it starts with understanding your unique hormones and nourishing them with fertility-boosting foods, self-care, movement, and specific supportive fertility supplements.
So what are the hormones the root cause connections with infertility? I want to share with you the most common.
- Luteal phase defect: In some women who struggle with infertility, ovulation may occur normally but levels of progesterone are too low following ovulation. That means that even if an egg is fertilized and an embryo is created, implantation either does not occur or, if it does, progesterone levels are not high enough to maintain the pregnancy into the first trimester so there can be an early-stage miscarriage or biochemical pregnancies.
- The most common root cause of luteal phase defect is not enough progesterone production by the corpus luteum. This was a problem for me. Chronic stress with cortisol ups and downs that disrupt ovulation, and imbalances of the thyroid that can also play a role. This is why focusing on balancing estrogen and progesterone levels, as well as strengthening the adrenal is key.
- Ovarian insufficiency: This condition (also known as premature ovarian failure) occurs when the ovaries stop functioning normally and releasing eggs regularly before age 40. In other words, sometimes the ovaries switch on and start producing estrogen and sometimes they don’t. Declining ovarian function is the main catalyst for age-related decline in female fertility but it’s not the same thing as premature menopause (12+ months without a period). Women with ovarian insufficiency can have irregular periods and even get pregnant (while women with premature menopause cannot). We don’t 100% know the causes of ovarian insufficiency but it has been linked to autoimmune issues, toxins, chronic stress, and genetic defects.
- PCOS: is the most common hormone disorder affecting more than 5 million women in the US alone. It is one of the leading causes of infertility and (so many conventional Drs “treat” with metformin and BCPs) conventional medicine often considers it “irreversible”. But, a large number of experts in the functional medicine space strongly disagree, noting numerous cases of PCOS shown to be 100% reversible through diet and lifestyle interventions, including specific herbs and supplements. I’ve seen it happen in my own clients. So, it is important to become your own health advocate and question any doctor who suggests synthetic birth control or medications (which disrupt your natural balance of hormones causing weight gain, acne, mood swings, and challenges getting pregnant) as the only answer, when there are so many more natural, safe solutions.
- High androgens and insulin resistance: This resistance is almost always at the root of PCOS – which is also closely associated with metabolic syndrome and high levels of inflammation / high C reactive protein.
- Symptoms of PCOS include irregular/absent periods, acne, weight gain, excess facial/body hair, sugar/carb cravings, fatigue, deepening of the voice, and thinning hair on the top of the head. For women with PCOS or those who have intense sugar/carb cravings daily, it’s important to test androgen hormone levels and look into insulin and blood sugar imbalances which also play a significant role.
So what can you do to improve fertility?
The first thing is to talk to your practitioner and get tested. I love ordering these labs for my clients because when we get to the root cause of the problem, there’s such a clear path for a protocol to improve their chances of conception.
From there, I work with them on incorporating specific lifestyle, nutrition, and supplement changes in order to improve fertility
We track and measure progress until their ultimate goal is achieved.
If you’re interested in testing and optimizing your fertility. If you’re tired of being in a cycle where you’re frustrated with your body, email me. Let’s talk about how we can work together to create magic 🪄