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What a conception journey for Joline Holscher!

Here is a moving story we got from Joline Holscher (Printed without any alterations and with consent from client) Click Here to visit the Facebook Post URL  associated with this post!


09/13/2017 8:00PM 

So I was diagnosed with stage 4 endo in 2011.

Had my 1st operation in 2012 and 2nd one 2014. Failed IUI and IVF’s and a lot of injections and fertility meds. I don’t have a lot of eggs left and 1 don’t always ovulate and have a tilted uterus.

Was scheduled for my 3rd operation next year and then we would do IVF ah again (new medical aid so cant have operation now) In june I won some femicare and gentancefrom your page. We decided to start the meds in august. On the 22nd of August I took a pregnancy test and saw a faint line. 2 days later again. Blood work confirmed the pregnancy.

Because of 2 previous miscarriages I am on progesterone meds and will have my 2nd scan friday. 7 weeks pregnant today and all thanks to our Father in heaven. We prayed for 6years for a miracle and we continue to ask God to protect our baby through out the pregnancy Just wanted to share our journey.

23/07/18 5:26am  Click Here to visit the Facebook Post URL  associated with this post!

I received my pills last year, started using them and after 1 month I conceived. Struggled almost 6 years to conceive after going through alot of medical procedures and operations. My baby is now 3 months old.

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Absense of Periods – Amenorrhea

There are a couple of reasons your cycle may be irregular such as stress, dietary deficiencies, low body weight, getting off of birth control pills, hormonal imbalance, perimenopause or other underlying issues.

Since the lining of the uterus is not being shed, it is very important to clear out the old blood and establish a healthy cycle again. This can be done naturally and effectively by qualified medical practitioners.

Absence of Periods is medically known as Amenorrhea

Amenorrhea is divided into two distinct groups: primary amenorrhea and secondary amenorrhea. Secondary amenorrhea being the most common.Note: Absent menstrual cycles due to perimenopause and menopause are not considered amenorrhea.

Primary Amenorrhea
Defined as the absence of menstruation by the age of 14 with no secondary sexual characteristics, or the absence of menstruation by the age of 16 regardless of secondary sexual characteristics. Examples of secondary sexual characteristics in women are enlargement of breasts, widening of hips, armpit, pubic and leg hair and body odor. Primary amenorrhea is uncommon, happening in about only 0.3% of women.

Natural therapies do not often work as well for women with primary amenorrhea and that is because there is usually an underlying developmental issue for those women. In the case of primary amenorrhea, it may be best to find a reproductive endocrinologist to work with. We are not saying natural therapies and herbs will not work for primary amenorrhea, just that this condition is more difficult to work with. It is still very beneficial to eat well and choose healthy lifestyle practices.

Secondary amenorrhea
Defined as the absence of menstruation for the total of at least 3 previous menstrual cycle lengths, or at least 6 months in a woman who previously had a menstrual cycle and is still in her reproductive years. Reproductive years are defined as menarche, when a woman begins her menstrual cycle in puberty until menopause around the ages of 40-55. Secondary amenorrhea is more common than primary amenorrhea.

Causes of Absent Period

A menstrual cycle that has stopped is not a disease, it may be a sign that there is an underlying imbalance in the body. A regular menstrual cycle is regulated by a complex system of messages and actions orchestrated by the endocrine system. The endocrine glands work together to send messages via hormones. This is called the feedback loop.

In very simple terms the hypothalamus produces GnRH (gonadotrophin-releasing hormones) which signals to the pituitary to produce LH (luteinising hormones and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) to signal to the ovaries that it is their turn to release estrogen and progesterone which is recognized by the pituitary gland.

Simple right? Not so. As you can see a healthy cycle is dependent on each part of the feedback loop functioning properly. Think of it as an orchestra, if just one part of the cycle is off, it will throw the entire cycle off, causing imbalances that can affect regular menstrual cycles.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Sometimes the body is not getting enough nutrition daily to be able to sustain normal functions, including the menstrual cycle. There are many very important nutrients the body requires to maintain a healthy menstrual cycle. Nutritional deficiencies can actually cause menstrual cycle irregularities and eventually may cause the entire cycle to stop.

What you eat daily makes up every part of your body. You are what you eat!

Harvard performed a recent study that showed an 80% decrease in infertility with the lifestyle changes made by switching to a fertility diet. Women who followed a combination of five or more lifestyle factors, including changing specific aspects of their diets, experienced more than 80 percent less relative risk of infertility due to ovulatory disorders compared to women who engaged in none of the factors, according to a paper published in the Nov. 1 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. 

Eating a wide variety of whole foods is vital to a healthy menstrual cycle. The body relies on the foods we consume daily to function at its best. There are key nutrients and foods that support a healthy menstrual cycle, if any of these are lacking there may be a deficiency that may be contributing to an absent period. Be sure you are getting enough of the following…

Iron: “In a study women who were having ovulation problems, 40% became fertile after supplementing with iron.”

Vitamin C: Vitamin C improves hormone levels and increases fertility in women. The body requires food sources of vitamin C for proper iron absorption, so be sure to eat a food high in vitamin C when consuming a food high in iron. Great food sources of vitamin C are red bell peppers, oranges strawberries and hibiscus flower tea.

B Vitamins: Green vegetables are rich in B vitamins which are necessary for proper hormonal balance. Think of Swiss chard, kale, watercress, seaweed, spirulina, collard greens, nettles, parsley and basil!

Essential fatty acids: EFA’s are important for hormone production. Many women are low in EFA’s, specifically omega 3. Some foods rich in EFA’s are Flaxseeds, walnuts, salmon, sardines, halibut, shrimp, snapper, scallops, chia seeds and cod liver oil.

Cholesterol: Cholesterol is necessary for hormone production. Avoid eating a ‘low-fat’ diet and makes sure to eat a diet that includes whole fat sourced from grass-fed animal products. Foods rich in clean cholesterol: grass-fed beef, raw milk from grass-fed cows or goats, whole milk yogurt and kefir, free-range/pastured eggs, butter from grass-fed milk (Kerry Gold is a common one) and coconut oil.

Fiber: Fiber helps to remove excess hormones from the body which may be causing hormonal imbalance. Fiber also helps to regulate the blood sugar levels which helps to reduce fertility issues such as PCOS, immunological issues, and promotes healthy hormonal balance. Some examples of high fiber foods are fresh fruits, vegetables, dark leafy greens, and beans.

Zinc: This is just one of the minerals that the body uses to keep hormone levels (like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone) levels stable throughout the entire menstrual cycle. It is especially important during stage 2 and 4 of a woman’s cycle. A woman’s body needs a certain amount of zinc to produce mature eggs that are ripe for fertilization. The richest source of Zinc are oysters, but some easy to find sources are raw pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds and tahini sesame seed butter.

  • Being Overweight or Underweight

There is a direct link between anovulation and obesity and those women who are. Body fat cells, called adipocytes produce estrogen. Obese women may have too much estrogen due to too much body fat. Women who are underweight may also have anovulation due to lack of body fat. There may not be enough estrogen or adequate cholesterol levels being maintained to support the menstrual cycle. Studies have shown that women with extreme exercise habits have significantly lower levels of estradiol due to low levels of body fat in key areas of the body, leading to anovulation.

Estrogen is essential for healthy bone formation, healthy gene expression, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, and is vital for a healthy menstrual cycle. Too much estrogen, or too little in the body may cause the feedback loop to not function properly and the menstrual cycle may cease. Now you can see why it is so important to have adequate amounts of body fat; not too much and not too little!

PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, sometimes also called polycystic ovarian dysfunction is the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age. There are two distinct and consistent features of PCOS: absent period or inconsistent menstrual cycles and hyperandrogenism (the body is producing too many androgens, the most common one being testosterone).

Stress

Stress may cause the body to stop the menstrual cycle. Stress causes the body to release stress hormones like cortisol and adrenalin that prevent our fertility hormones from being released at the correct times in the menstrual cycle. This can cause a disruption in the menstrual cycle by affecting how the adrenal glands function. Reducing stress and supporting adrenal health is essential to a healthy menstrual cycle and is a relatively easy fix for healthy fertility. The adrenal glands also directly impact thyroid health.

Thyroid issues

Poor thyroid function may cause the menstrual cycle to stop. An overactive thyroid that produces too many thyroid hormones is called Hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid is underactive and does not produce enough thyroid hormones. An absent menstrual cycle is a sign of hyperthyroidism, where irregular or heavy cycles may be a sign of hypothyroidism. 

Pituitary tumor

A pituitary tumor may cause disruption of the release of and manufacturing of certain hormones which may cause the menstrual cycle to stop.

Premature Ovarian Failure

POF, also known as Ovarian Hypofunction, is defined as a loss of normal ovarian function before the age of 40. The menstrual cycle may cease before the age of 40, or become sporadic.

Perimenopause and Menopause

Perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause. As perimenopause progresses toward menopause, it is normal for menstrual cycles to become irregular and for hormone levels to fluctuate. The menstrual cycle may become absent for many cycles and then suddenly come back for a couple cycles, and then come back again, becoming sporadic for a some years. As ovarian reserve diminishes and egg health declines, FSH levels rise, the menstrual cycle will become more and more irregular, until eventually it stops.

Menopause is defined as absent menstruation for a year or longer. Menopause may also be confirmed by elevated FSH levels between 60 to 100mL/L on two tests done at least 1 month apart, and/or LH level greater than 50mIU/L and estradiol less than 50pg/mL.Natural therapies cannot reverse the aging process, or bring back the menstrual cycles in a woman who has already gone through, or is going through menopause.

When to see a doctor!

If you have not had a menstrual period for 3 consecutive cycles or more, it is time to make an appointment with your healthcare practitioner. They can help you to determine what the causes may be. Most medical doctors will often prescribe oral contraceptives (birth control pill) to get the menstrual cycle to regulate. It is important to realize that this method will force the body to have a cycle and prevent pregnancy. Oral contraceptives do not solve the problem of why the menstrual cycle is absent to begin with. Luckily there are natural therapies such as herbs, specific massage techniques, supplements, stress reduction techniques and dietary changes than can help support the body in regulating the menstrual cycle in most cases.

Summary

Overall it is is extremely important to begin by nourishing the body through good nutrition. Your dietary habits are your foundation, without that it place first, the body is not going to respond to herbs for amenorrhea as well. Second, be sure to include a good whole food multivitamin, reduces stress and exercise regularly. Third consider an herbal program for getting the menstrual cycle back on track. Last, but not least, practice fertility massage regularly. This combination is a great plan for working to promote a healthy menstrual cycle long-term! Be patient, the body needs time to establish a cycle. Be gentle with yourself and your body will come back into balance.

(Adapted from Hethir Rodriguez C.H., C.M.T.)

References:
1. http://drtorihudson.com/general/endocrine-health/pcos/polycystic-ovarian-syndrome-pcos/
2. Aviva Romm, 2010: Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health, Churchill Livingstone

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Falling Pregnant – What are your Choices?

A study conducted by the University of Surrey showed that couples with a previous history of infertility who made changes in their lifestyle, diet and took nutritional supplementshad an 80 percent success rate.  Given that the success rate for IVF is around 25 per cent, it’s worth considering these options.

Natural treatment plans are, by their nature, extensive and really do need to be adjusted to suit your individual needs.

Remember that it takes at least three months for immature eggs (oocytes) to mature enough to be released during ovulation. It also takes at least three months for sperm cells to develop, ready to be ejaculated. This means that when you are trying to improve your fertility, you need to have a three-month period before conceiving. This is called ‘pre-conception care’ and it’s as important to take as much care during this period as it is during a pregnancy itself.

If you are going for IVF treatment or another assisted conception procedure, you should follow the recommendations listed below in order to increase the chances that the procedure will work.

Diet

Both you and your partner should follow the dietary recommendations explained in the Nutrition Section (The Foundation of Health) Although it goes without saying that a healthy diet is crucial to a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby, many people are unaware of the fact that diet can help to correct hormone imbalances that may affect your ability to conceive. There are also certain foods and drinks that are known to lower fertility.

Alcohol

Alcohol will affect both you and your partner. In fact, drinking any alcohol at all can reduce your fertility by half – and the more you drink, the less likely you are to conceive. One study showed that women who drank less than 5 units of alcohol a week (equal to five glasses of wine) were twice as likely to get pregnant within six-months compared with those who drank more.

Research has also shown that drinking alcohol causes a decrease in sperm count, an increase in abnormal sperm and a lower proportion of motile sperm. Alcohol also inhibits the body’s absorption of nutrients such as zinc, which is one of the most important minerals for male fertility.

As difficult as it may seem, you should eliminate alcohol from your diets for at least three months in order to give yourself the best possible chance of conceiving.

Caffeine

There is plenty of evidence to show that caffeine, particularly in the form of coffee, decreases fertility. Drinking as little as one cup of coffee a day can halve your chances of conceiving and just two cups a day increases the risk of a miscarriage. One study showed that problems with sperm: sperm count, motility and abnormalities, increase with the number of cups of coffee consumed each day. Once again, it’s important to eliminate all caffeine-containing food and drinks for at least three months before trying to conceive. That includes colas, chocolate, black teas and coffee, among other things.

Xenoestrogens

Xenoestrogens are essentially environmental oestrogens, coming from pesticides and the plastic industry. When you are trying to conceive, one of the most important things you need to do is to balance your hormones. It is extremely important to avoid anything that might cause an imbalance, and one of the main culprits is the xenoestrogens. One of the best ways to eliminate an excess intake of xenoestrogens is to eat as much organic produce as possible for the pre-conceptual period. For more information on how to control xenoestrogens see my book Getting Pregnant Faster.

Smoking

Smoking has definitely been linked with infertility in women. It can even bring on an early menopause, which is a particularly important consideration for older women who may be trying to beat the clock. Smoking can decrease sperm count in men, making the sperm more sluggish, and it can increase the number of abnormal sperm. With men, the effects on fertility are increased with the number of cigarettes.

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Increase Fertility with the Right Nutrition

 

Getting pregnant isn’t always aquick, easy processand many women (as well as men) only realize they are having fertility issues after a few months of trying to conceive.

Regardless of whether you’ve been trying to conceive for a few months or a few years,there aresome key things you need to remember:

  • You need tokeep yourself healthy
  • This includes everything fromweight and alcohol consumption to smokingandlifestyle choicescan affect your chances of falling pregnant.
  • You need theright fertility supplements.
  • Certain nutrients and vitamins can increase your fertility.
  • Supplementing your body with theright nutrients and vitamins can create the ideal condition for your body to conceive a child.

The role of Essentials Ovacare and Essentials Oligocare is exactly that. It assists with the right nutrition that is essentials for the ovulation and conception process.

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Is exercise good or bad for fertility?

Before you begin a new workout plan or ramp up your current one, consider this, extreme exercise has been shown to be bad for fertility and may actually inhibit conception.

Studies have shown that high-intensity workouts can alter hormonal balance, disrupt ovulation and alter the entire menstrual cycle. Studies also show that leading a sedentary lifestyle can be detrimental to fertility, so truly it is all about moderation.

Regular exercise is important for fertility, but it needs to be low-impact, moderate and done on a consistent basis. How can you tell if your exercise routine falls into that category though? Lets take a look at the research to help us decide which activities are best for fertility…

Research: Extreme Exercise Lowers Fertility

Long-term Survey Reveals Lowered Fertility In Women Who Engage in Regular Strenuous Exercise

A Norwegian study headed by Sigridur Lara Gudmundsdottir, a PhD candidate in NTNU’s Human Movement Science Programme, published in the Journal of Human Reproduction, involving nearly 3000 women sought to discover if extreme or low levels of physical activity affected fertility. All women were of good health and of childbearing age. The study followed these women and regularly questioned them about their level of physical activity between 1984 and 1986. The women were then asked about their pregnancies 10 years later, between the years of 1995 and 1997.

“Among these women, we found two groups who experienced an increased risk of infertility. There were those who trained almost every day and there were those who trained until they were exhausted. Those who did both had the highest risk of infertility…“We believe it is likely that physical activity at a very high or very low level has a negative effect on fertility, while moderate activity is beneficial,” said Dr Gudmundsdottir.

Good news from the results of these surveys is that many women who trained the hardest at one time went on to have children by lowering their physical activity to a moderate level. Infertility due to high intensity exercise may be able to be reversed by a reduction in physical activity and increase in body fat.

Hormonal Disruption Due to Extreme Exercise

Researchers at the University of North Carolina found that high-intensity, strenuous and prolonged exercise increases cortisol levels, while lowering thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones stimulate your metabolism and the desired outcome of exercise is definitely not to lower your metabolism.

The study showed that even after 24 hours of recovery post-exercise, cortisol levels remained elevated and thyroid hormones suppressed. Both high cortisol levels and low thyroid hormones have been linked to poor adrenal health which also in-turn directly impacts thyroid function and how the body handles stress long-term, all of which can negatively impact overall hormonal balance and fertility.

Low Levels of Body Fat Decrease Fertility

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, in 1993, used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of both external and internal body fat deposits of extremely athletic women, compared to non athletic women. The MRI was used to measure fat deposits in 17 different sites in the body, including that of the thoracic vertebrae compared to fat of the upper thigh. Urinary analysis of estrogen was also tracked.

Results of this study shows that extremely athletic women do in fact have lower levels of body fat overall, which may directly decrease fertility. Extremely athletic women, who had menstrual cycle and ovulatory irregularities, had significantly lower levels of both subcutaneous and internal body fat at all sites in the body, compared to the controls. Extreme athletes that had regular ovulation had lower levels of internal body fat at vertebrae lumbar 4, sacral 1, and sacral 4, but had adequate levels of subcutaneous fat.

Levels of estradiol (this estrogen is the most potent and abundant, its main action is the involvement in development of secondary sex characteristics, and the menstrual cycle) was significantly related to total fat at all sites in the body. The extreme athletes were shown to have significantly lower estradiol than those of the controls.

Exercise That Is Good For Fertility

Now that we have moved through all of the research, let’s get to activities that are beneficial for fertility because never exercising can be just as bad. Regular, moderate exercise has been shown to strengthen muscles, build stamina, increase flexibility, increase circulation, reduce stress, prevent depression and anxiety, while promoting regular detoxification of excess hormones and toxins in the body. All of these benefits make regular, moderate exercise essential for healthy pregnancy preparation.

Women who are trying to conceive should exercise regularly at a moderate level, for 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week, with 2, 30 minute strength training sessions. Some days could include 1-2 sessions of yoga for an hour. Fertility Yoga has been shown to help support healthy fertility. We do not suggest doing any yoga poses after ovulation that compress the abdomen if you are trying to conceive.

Exercise we find best for women trying to conceive:

  • Brisk walking, 5 times a week, for 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • 2-3 1 hour sessions of yoga
  • Dancing
  • Nia, 2-3 times a week
  • Zumba, 2-3 times a week
  • Aerobics, 2-3 times a week
  • Leisurely bike riding
  • Light jogging
  • Swimming
  • Bikram yoga (hot yoga, raised body temperature)
  • Core strength training after ovulation, including core Pilates training
  • Exercise 7 days a week for more than 45 minutes to 1 hour
  • Running for many miles each day
  • Extreme “boot-camp” training series
  • Exercise over an hour long
  • Any type of regular, strenuous training for sports (running, gymnastics, ballet, etc.)

Exercise to avoid while trying to conceive:

What about exercise after IUI or IVF?

For women going through medical fertility treatments, doctors often suggest that their patients avoid exercise. We definitely agree that extreme exercise and fitness training should be avoided, so should the activities listed a in Exercise to avoid (just above). We do feel that walking daily and doing some light yoga would be beneficial to the health and stress levels for women going through medical fertility treatments

(Article adopted from Dalene Barton, CH, Doula)

References:
1. 
http://www.ntnu.edu/news/hard-workouts-reduced-fertility
2. Magnetic resonance imaging of overall and regional body fat, estrogen metabolism, and ovulation of athletes compared to controls. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism August 1, 1993 vol. 77 no. 2471-477
3.THE OVERTRAINING SYNDROME: NEURO-ENDOCRINE IMBALANCES IN ATHLETES. Anthony C. Hackney & Claudio Battaglini, Applied Physiology Laboratory, Department of Exercise & Sport Science, University of North Carolina. June 2007 
http://www.brjb.com.br/files/brjb_6_1200706_id2.pdf
4. http://natural-fertility-info.com/fat-fat-fat-the-right-fat-is-good-for-fertility.html