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By Dr. Ayla Wilson, Naturopathic Physician, Bloom Family Wellness Center.
For women over 40, conceiving naturally can be a struggle. Many women turn to synthetic hormones and IVF, but there are natural and non-invasive ways to boost your fertility. Here are 5 ways your naturopathic doctor can help you boost your fertility naturally.
1. Have your thyroid tested yearly.
Women are 5 times more likely to experience thyroid dysfunction than men, and an increased TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) level can indicate hypothyroidism (inadequate thyroid hormone production).
Your TSH level should be 0.8-2. A TSH above 2.5 can be a cause of infertility, fatigue, weight gain, and post-partum depression. Hypothyroidism can be treated naturally through herbal medicine, vitamins/minerals, and bio-identical thyroid hormone supplementation. Comprehensive thyroid function testing should be done to monitor treatment.
2. Maintain a healthy weight.
For women over 40, an elevated body mass index (BMI>25) can reduce chances of conceiving, and increase risk for pregnancy complications including gestational diabetes, hypertension, and blood clots. Excess fat tissue also produces estrogen, which can lead to hormonal imbalance and infertility.
Your naturopath can help design a weight-loss program that incorporates a low-glycemic diet, exercise, and hormone balance.
3. Control your blood sugar.
Women in their 40’s are at a greater risk for blood sugar imbalance and insulin resistance. Blood sugar fluctuation coincides with high estrogen levels, cortisol imbalance, and causes weight gain, irregular periods, ovarian cysts, and infertility.
Maintain even blood sugar with a low-glycemic diet, lean protein, and fiber from vegetables. Stay away from sugar, refined grains, and keep your carbohydrate servings small. Your naturopath can test your blood glucose and insulin levels, and suggest natural treatments.
4. Correct a progesterone deficiency.
Progesterone levels decline with age, and this corresponds with infertility and recurrent miscarriages. The role of progesterone is to prepare the uterine lining for implantation of the fertilized egg. A luteal phase defect (insufficient progesterone levels) can lead to short cycles (<28 days), infertility, and recurrent miscarriages due to ineffective implantation.
Bio-identical progesterone is used as a vaginal suppository to maintain a pregnancy through the first trimester, or as a transdermal cream to increase fertility if your levels are low. Talk to your naturopathic physician first about progesterone testing and bio-identical hormones.
5. Cut out the caffeine.
Caffeine causes estrogen dominance, endometriosis, breast tenderness, ovarian cysts, and infertility. It also constricts microvasculature to the fetus which is linked to early miscarriage.
As little as 1 cup of coffee per day can reduce fertility by 55%, and 3+ cups can reduce fertility by 175%! Before trying to conceive, kick your caffeine habit.
Notes for this blog:
Dr. Ayla Wilson is a naturopathic physician at the Bloom Family Wellness Center in Vancouver, Canada. She has a special interest in women’s health, fertility, and anti-aging. In her practice, she uses bio-identical hormone therapy and natural treatments to promote successful conception, hormone balance, and healthy aging. Visit Dr. Wilson’s website (http://draylawilson NULL.com) for more information.
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