By Madeline Martins, RHN
Infertility is often a complex problem that needs to be addressed at its root cause. There are many causes of infertility, and every woman who I’ve counselled on infertility has had a different root cause.
The most common health reasons for why women experience infertility include polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, as well as thyroid, digestive and autoimmune conditions. Diet and lifestyle can also play a role in infertility. Eating a lot of processed and fast foods expose women to hormone disrupting chemicals. Stress also causes a hormone cascade that can negatively affect fertility.
My top-3 suggestions for women struggling with infertility
1) Manage your stress, and lose the co-dependency:
It’s easy to say it’s important to manage your stress, but it’s harder to put managing your stress into practice every day. My most effective ways of managing stress are journaling, spending time with my husband and reading. Every person’s stress-management strategies are different; for some, yoga works, for others it’s listening to heavy metal music. Experiment and commit to finding an activity or practice that works well for you.
Co-dependency describes a behaviour or thought pattern in which a person believes that his or her happiness is conditional on the actions, emotions or decisions of another person. Co-dependency can be a behavioural pattern that manifests in multiple relationships.
An example of co-dependency is believing that you won’t be happy unless your husband helps you with the chores. If you’ve repeatedly asked him to help you with chores and explained to him why it’s important to you and he continues not to help, it’s time to look inward. You cannot change people or their actions. The only actions and decisions you can change are your own. In this example, you may come to terms with the fact that your husband won’t help with chores and recognize that he is a good husband in other ways; then, you can live with the fact that he won’t do chores. Or, you may decide to leave the relationship. Leaving a partner for not doing chores may seem harsh, but the point I’m trying to make is that you can’t change his behaviour. The only thing you can change is your mindset or your behaviour. Co-dependency can add enormous stress to life, so being conscious of this behaviour pattern can be a huge step forward in all of your relationships and decrease your day-to-day stress level.
To determine if co-dependency may be negatively affecting your life, ask yourself these questions:
Is it difficult to say no when someone makes demands on your time and energy?
Do you constantly worry about other people’s opinions of you?
Does your sense of purpose involve making extreme sacrifices to satisfy your partner or family members’ needs?
If you think co-dependency may be contributing to your stress, a great book is Codependent No More by Melody Beattie.
2) Stop drinking toxic water:
Although the water coming from your tap looks clean, it is far from it. Today’s tap water contains many harmful chemicals and heavy metals that may be affecting your ability to conceive. The contaminants in tap water include drug metabolites, which enter the water supply from people urinating them out. Studies have found traces of all kinds of medication in tap water, including metabolites of hormone replacement drugs. The concentrations are low, but that doesn’t mean they’re inconsequential or can’t have a negative cumulative effect on fertility. To eliminate drug metabolites from your water (as well as other harmful chemicals and heavy metals), I recommend investing in a high-quality water filter. The best filters on the market are the Berkey filter, reverse osmosis filter and water distiller.
3) Balance your blood sugar:
Unbalanced blood sugar typically results from eating refined and processed foods such as cake, cookies and white bread. It can also result from consuming unexpected sources of refined sugar, such as flavoured yogurt, pasta sauce and lunch meats. Always check the label! When the body is regularly dealing with swings in blood sugar, it produces a hormone called cortisol because unbalanced blood sugar is a physical stress on the body. When the body is busy producing cortisol it may not have enough resources left to make progesterone, the hormone that women need to become and stay pregnant.
To eat in a way that balances your blood sugar, focus on a whole-food diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, grass-fed butter, fish, seafood and meat. Always include a healthy fat when eating fruit because it slows down the digestion of the natural sugars in fruit, allowing them to be gradually released in your body. A good snack option is fruit and nuts.
If you and your partner are experiencing infertility, I know how heartbreaking it can be. For those feeling sad and frustrated, know there is hope. Lots can be done to improve your chances of conceiving a healthy baby.
Are you interested in working toward finding the root cause of your infertility? Click or tap here to sign up for a free 15-minute discovery call to see if dietary and lifestyle recommendations may help you with your fertility.