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Yoga Journal - November 2002
YOGA 4 PARTNERS with Brenda Strong and Tom Henri
SOLITARY daily yoga practice can sometimes get lonely. At such times
it's nice to partner up
Alternative Medicine - December 2002
Could this ancient practice help you conceive?
WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER and the objective was to not get pregnant? Well,
second chakra is of utmost importance for sexual health. Located around
the lower abdomen
BOOSTING FERTILITY NATURALLY
I started my journey to become pregnant at the age of 37. My Gynecologist informed me that studies showed that most healthy couples who are unsuccessful in getting pregnant after a year are usually successful during the second year. However, considering my age, I was ready to start fertility testing early. I never considered that my husband and I would ultimately qualify as one of the six million plus infertile married couples in the United States. Infertility can stem from a number of health problems. In addition to the complex female reproductive system, about 30 to 40% of all infertility cases have a male factor as the main reason and 40-50% as a contributing cause. My husband and I both participated in all the initial testing and examinations required. Right off the bat we were startled to discover my symptoms of premature menopause. In addition to being a healthy, athletic and youthful woman, I have spent the last decade researching and writing about anti-aging and longevity medicine so being told my eggs were old was a difficult pill to swallow. Eighteen months and thousands of dollars in medical bills later, I can tell you that no rock has gone unturned in my pursuit of knowledge on how to achieve pregnancy.
With the passion of Jonas Salk in his endeavor to cure polio, I eagerly began an examination of all options for treating infertility. The layers of scientific research alone could fill a library. Assisted reproductive technology (ART) has grown enormously in the last decade due to the fact that twenty-five percent of couples over the age of 35 are classified as infertile. From western medicine to herbal therapies and acupuncture, infertility diets, yoga for fertility and mind/body programs, it appears that the field of infertility medicine may provide aid for almost any reproductive problem. While I wish I was writing a success story, there is no doubt that I will be sharing a positive account in the very near future. I believe that with all the knowledge and technology available in field of Infertility there is great hope for any woman who desires to become pregnant. However, there is an enormous amount of information regarding ways to boost fertility “naturally” that many medical doctors don’t share with their patients. The objective of alternative medicine and natural approaches is to enhance physical, mental and emotional health by exploring nutritional values, fitness strategies and options to improve overall well being.
After interviewing seven board certified reproductive endocrinologist, I found that there was a huge gap between alternative medicine and traditional or conventional medicine. As a matter of fact, most medical doctors are extremely narrow-minded when it comes to discussing natural treatments or philosophies of eastern medicine. The unanswered question remains…why do so many doctors choose to dismiss alternative medicine as an adjunct to scientific medical treatments and procedures?
Dr. Uzzi Reiss, a pioneering gynecologist and author of Natural Hormone Balance For Women is not only an exception to this rule, but he is one of the few doctors I have had the pleasure to know that thrives on thinking outside the box. Dr. Reiss looks for a combination of treatments, both alternative and conventional, that will nutritionally affect the body and achieve optimal endocrine function. Dr. Reiss says, “I believe that an imbalance of hormones, as well as, deficiencies of vital amino acids and protein can result in endocrine break down.” He looks at each patient as a completely unique being with idiosyncratic conditions. Reiss initially conducts a series of blood, urine and saliva test and then decides upon a specialized treatment customized to accommodate that person’s specific issues. In his book, Reiss discusses the fact that researchers gave DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), a hormone manufactured by the adrenal gland, to women under the age of forty-two who did not respond to fertility drugs. They found a 300 percent improvement in their response after taking 80 milligrams of DHEA daily for two months.
Unfortunately, my experience with a number of reproductive endocrinologists is that a “cookie cutter recipe” applies to most everyone and alternative medicine is not an option. Although Reiss does not perform certain fertility procedures, like artificial insemination or invitro-fertilization, his goal is to prepare you for optimal results and increase your chances for success whether you conceive naturally or with the aid of fertility treatments. Researching all available information, whether it is based on scientific studies or natural medicine and nutritional research, can only improve your chances of becoming pregnant.
innovative nutritional supplement called FertilityBlend has shown a
promising link to enhanced endocrine function in both men and women.
The herb Vitex enhances hormone balance and ovulation frequency and
the amino acid L-argenine helps to improve circulation to the reproductive
area. Furthermore, antioxidants, Folic acid and other vitamins and minerals
address specific deficiencies and promote fertility health in women.
A study conducted in conjunction with Stanford University School of
Medicine found improvement in women’s mid-luteal phase progesterone
levels, basal body temperatures and statistically significant increase
in pregnancy rate following nutritional supplementation with FertilityBlend
for three months. FertilityBlend for men has shown to improve sperm
count, quality and mobility. Dr. Mary Lake Polan, Assistant Professor,
Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Stanford University School
of Medicine says, “Vitamins, minerals and specific cofactors play
an enormous role in fertility function.” She adds, “Good
nutrition is a prerequisite for both fertility and child bearing. Studies
show an improvement in fertility function on both men and women after
using FertilityBlend.” The product combines key ingredients into
specifically designed men’s and women’s formulations. FertilityBlend
is manufactured by The Daily Wellness Company and distributed at GNC
Susun Weed, a New York based herbalist, says many common plants can be used to influence fertility, including red clover, partridge berry, liferoot, wild carrot and wild yam. Other frequently used weeds and garden plants that have been used to increase or decrease fertility includes stinging nettle, oatstraw, pennyroyal, Jack-in-the-pulpit, rue and parsley. For more information on herbal therapies to increase fertility visit Susun Weed at www.susunweed.com.
the book “The Infertility Diet: Get Pregnant and Prevent Miscarriage”
by Fern Reiss, numerous links found between diet and reproductive function
are discussed. The Infertility Diet is the result of an evidence-based
nutritional analysis of several hundred medical studies that explored
connections between diet, fertility and miscarriage. The book discusses
specific conditions, evidence behind the recipes and sample menus.
The Mind/Body Institute in Beverly Hills, California, believes that reducing stress may be the best medicine for infertility. Their mission is to alleviate the psychological distress and accompanying depression associated with infertility, which, in turn, increases conception rates. They offer a comprehensive 10 week program that includes intensive relaxation based training, cognitive restructuring and emotional coping and support. In addition, Harvard Medical School’s Mind/Body Institute recently revealed remarkable findings regarding the link between stress and infertility. A study conducted on a group of 184 women who had been trying to achieve pregnancy for one to two years and who were not undergoing any other forms of psychotherapy showed that 55% of the participants who completed the Mind/Body Fertility Program became pregnant and went on to deliver.
With new discoveries in the field of infertility being released on a daily basis, researchers are introducing options, as well as, creating new procedures that will successfully treat almost any condition related to infertility. It appears that natural approaches, nutrition, diet, Eastern medicine philosophies, yoga, and mind/body practices all may help boost fertility naturally and increase your chances for pregnancy when medical assistance is necessary. There is definitely hope for almost any couple who desires to become pregnant and realize their dream of starting a family. I will keep you posted on my progress.
LATE BREAKING MEDICAL INFORMATION
Dr. Lawrence Werlin of Orange County, California, is a nationally noted specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. He recently presented cutting edge data regarding the effects of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). PGD is being used to test groups that are at high risk for pregnancy failure by applying DNA probes that will bind to chromosomes and determine whether the patient is producing a structure of unhealthy chromosomes. Werlin is the principal investigator of a study being conducted by the GENESIS Network for Reproductive Health. He feels PGD will provide evidence and insight about how to increase chances for pregnancy success and when to consider using options such as donor eggs or donor embryos.
Another ground-breaking, yet controversial, technique recently developed by Dr. Michael M. Kamrava in Beverly Hills, California, is the use of Embryo Glue. It involves implanting the embryo into the lining of the womb (uterus). Dr. Kamrava feels that this ground-breaking technique will eliminate tubal pregnancies from the invitro-fertilization (IVF) procedures and guarantee that the embryo will not fall out of the uterus thus eliminating the need for the woman to stay in bed for 2 days. Any patient undergoing IVF is a good candidate for this technique. Furthermore, Dr. Kamrava, a pioneer in the field of infertility medicine is one of the few medical doctors and infertility specialist who agrees that boosting fertility naturally can only help to increase the rate of pregnancy success.