Infertility Vancouver

Information & Treatment of Infertility in Vancouver Canada

The Infertility Cure by Randine Lewis
The Infertility Cure
By Randine Lewis

Fertility & Conception by Zita West
Fertility & Conception
By Zita West

IVF the art of making babies
IVF the A.R.T. of making babies
By Sher, Marriage Davis, Stoess

Hormones: keeping the balance

Hormones are chemical messengers, made in special glands or in the brain, that are carried around in the bloodstream to various parts of the body, where they have an effect on the functioning of organs and body processes.

As far as reproduction goes, the ovaries, uterus, breasts, and testes, are the important organs that are regulated by our hormones. Too little estrogen, too little estrogen, too little progesterone, too many male hormones, and cortisol deficiencies, are all common problems with reproductive hormones. More information on the specific hormones and their functions within the reproductive cycle can be found in our Reproductive Anatomy & Physiology section.

Our endocrine system, which regulates our hormones, is therefore of vital importance to the reproductive health of both men and women. Proper eating habits, avoiding certain things , and weight control, are some areas which should be given attention when conception, or health in general is your goal.

Many medical conditions can also adversely affect the hormonal balance, i.e. thyroid conditions, diabetes, and endometriosis , just to name a couple common contributors to infertility.

If you think you are experiencing signs and symptoms of hormonal deficiencies or imbalances, become informed, research your situation, and consult your doctor.

Diet and Hormones for Fertility & IVF

Eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy body weight will optimize your chances of conception by supporting your body and its hormonal functioning.

Your nutrient levels and how well your digestion is functioning is a huge determinant of hormonal balancing in your body. Essential Fatty Acids and nutrients such as vitamin A, B6, zinc, magnesium, and antioxidants are key factors to hormonal balance and therefore fertility.

The body has to expend valuable energy (that could be used within reproductive processes) when it is saturated with junk food and all the liver stressing elements that come with it. The body then works to detoxify, not reproduce.

Enough fiber and optimal liver function are important because once hormones have completed their function, they are processed by the liver and put back into the digestive tract to be eliminated. A Liver Detox before beginning any fertility programs is usually a good idea.

Food sensitivities are also important to be determined, they effect digestion and will ultimately decrease your absorption of vital nutrients, and therefore compromise your hormone balance. Most people already know if they are allergic to things such as peanuts and shellfish, but other commonly eaten foods such as dairy and wheat products cause problems without people knowing. Eliminate or at least limit greatly your comsumption of milk, cheese, cream, sour cream, bread, pastas, and flour. After a couple of weeks, once the cravings for these items is waning, reassess how you are feeling, your energy levels, headaches, libido, bowel habits, etc.. If you feel a lot better than usual, it is almost certain that you are sensitive to these foods.

It is also recommended strongly, if you are a meat eater, to make the switch to organic. The growth hormones (i.e. testosterone) in commercial meats wreak havoc on your hormonal balance.

Weight and Hormonal Balance

You probably know if you have issues with being overweight. If you think you may have an eating disorder, consult a counsellor that specializes in this area. Being underweight is also a problem for women trying to concieve.

Fat cells continually release estrogen, which suppresses the pituitary gland and therefore the release of follicle stimulating hormone, in turn making it difficult for the body to reach a state where ovulation can occur. Being overweight obviously can effect fertility.

Too little fat cells in the body (being more than 15% underweight) causes estrogen levels to drop and cause intermittent menstruation, or an altogether stopping of the menses. This may also effect the quality of cervical mucus.

Find your ideal weight. Do not go on any intense diets to gain or lose weight, this will throw the body further out of balance. Consult your healthcare professional to discuss your options.

Too Little Estrogen

The years leading up to menopause show a decrease in estrogen levels. Estrogen deficiencies also arise when estrogen is leached from the body via a diet too rich in wheat fober, or if not enough estrogen is recycled by the bowels or liver. It may also be caused by low body weight, vitamin A deficiency, too much exercise, smoking, taking antibiotics, or being on the contraceptive pill for too long.
Symptoms: (Yin vacuity), irregular menses, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, hot flashes, night sweats, bladder infections, dry skin, lethargy and depression, and signs of premature aging such as memory loss.
Solutions: eating phytoestrogen rich foods and herbs (legumes, alfalfa sprouts, flax seeds, oats, hops, fennel, parsley, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cherries, and soy), and B vitamins which contain PABA that stimulates the pituitary to produce estrogen.

Too Much Estrogen

Environmental estrogens are found in pesticides, plastics, and PCB's (chemical pollutants in the water, air, and soil).
These forms of estrogen are thought to have a major influence on the excessive amounts of estrogen that are being found in both men and women.
Poor diet, with too much refined carbohydrate and saturated animal fat and too little fiber is also responsible.
Eat more high fiber foods (except wheat bran) to prevent excess reuptake of estrogen by the bowel. Organic food reduces your exposure to pesticides, antibiotics, and growth hormones.
Too much fat tissue increases your body's ability to convert male hormones into estrogen. Stress also plays a major role in your liver and digestive system removing excess estrogen.
Symptoms: (Yin excess), puffiness and bloating, water retention, rapid weight gain, breast tenderness, heavy bleeding, mood swings (anxiety, depression, weepiness), sleep problems, migraines, flushed face, low libido, foggy thinking, and high levels of copper in the system. Later, endometriosis, fibroids, gall bladder problems, poor blood sugar control, and hypothyroid conditions may arise. Symptoms in Men: hair loss, headaches, bloating, weight gain, prostate enlargement, irritability, and breat enlargement.
Solutions: low fat high fiber diet, live yogurt (encourage excretion of estrogen), eating cabbage family veggies increases the rate at which the liver converts estrogen into a water-soluble form that can be excreted, increase protein intake to improve estrogen metabolism in the liver, vitamin B6 reduces the effects of excess estrogen, more exercise, less stress, and lose weight.

Too Little Progesterone

Progesterone is used to produce three different types of estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, and aldosterone.
It helps control water balance, the use of fat for energy, proper thyroid function, and is a natural antidepressant.
This is the most common hormone to be deficient in all women. When ovulation fails (due to perimenopause or other reasons) progesterone is not produced in the luteal phase (second half of cycle), or it is not produced long enough to sustain implantation. This can happen after using the pill too long, having a miscarriage, or breastfeeding. This is called a luteal phase defect. The luteal phase should be at least 10 days for pregnancy to occur. Progesterone maintains a pregnancy in the beginning, so a deficiency may cause miscarrige.
Women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), faulty secretion of other hormones such as FSH, LH, or prolactin, endometriosis, and menstrual irregularities, may have a progesterone deficiency.
Symptoms: painful or lumpy breasts, headaches at a certain time of the cycle, anxiety, irritability, sleeping problems, unexplained weight gain, PMS, bleeding between periods, and reduced libido.
Solutions: the controversial progesterone therapy, natural progesterone cream, vitamin B6, E, magnesium, and evening primrose oil, vitex agnuscastus (man jing zi, chasteberry), reducing stress, less exercise, and increasing low body weight.

Too Many Male Hormones

Excess androgens can affect both men and women. In women this is usually a result of PCOS, a poor diet that includes a lot of sugar, refined foods, and simple carbohydrates. Adrenal disorders, anabolic steroid use, corticosteroids, and obesity can also cause this.
Symptoms: acne, ovarian cysts, excess body hair, unstable blood sugar levels, thinning hair on the head, mid-cycle pain, and erratic menses.
Solutions: high fiber vegetarian diet that is low in saturated fats and high in phytoestrogens.

Cortisol Deficiency

Long term low level stress and/or poor nutrition fatigue the adrenals which causes a cortisol deficiency. This stress hormone competes with progesterone for receptor sites, leading to a condition of estrogen dominance and less active progesterone.
Symptoms: (Kidney vacuity), unstable blood sugar levels, extreme tiredness, allergies, candida, fatigue, insomnia, PMS, loss of libido, weak immune system (frequent colds), low blood pressure, alcohol intolerance, chronic fatigue, weak muscles, depression, and headaches.
Solutions: reduce intake of stimulants such as sugar, caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol, healthy diet, relaxation, meditation, yoga, and Chinese herbal medicine.

Treatment of Infertility & IVF Support with Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine in Vancouver
Vancouver Fertility Acupuncturist
Dr. Spence Pentland, Dr. TCM, R.Ac, FABORM
Dr. Spence Pentland is a provincially licenced Doctor with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners and Acupuncturists of BC,
& a Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (click on letter credentials for more info).

His clinical practice in Vancouver has focused on the treatment of men's and women's reproductive health issues since 2004,
helping hundreds realize their dream of having happy healthy families.

Click below to learn more about
1. Dr. Spence Pentland's Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Treatment of Infertility in Vancouver
2. The IVF Acupuncture Group - a team of doctors specializing in providing quality, evidence-based acupuncture services for patients undergoing IVF in Greater Vancouver

Infertility Vancouver
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