Alternative Fertility Treatment
When faced with infertility problems, surgical procedures, like in vitro fertilization (IVF), seem to be the most obvious answer.
But not everyone wants to (or can afford) such procedures. That's why some women are turning to non-surgical treatments. But what kind of natural options for infertility are available to women? And do they really work?
The goal of natural fertility supplements is to improve a women's overall health, and not just her infertility problems.
Vitamin supplements are one way to achieve this goal.
Vitamin supplements promote health and help achieve chemical balance in the body, thereby increasing a woman's chances of becoming pregnant.
Vitamins A, C and E are excellent antioxidants that boost the immune system. Vitamin A is particularly helpful as it improves embryo development and the production of female sex hormones. Sources of Vitamin A include milk and fish oils, while Vitamin C can be found in oranges and tomatoes. Green leafy vegetables, oils and nuts are a great source of Vitamin E.
Iron is also important to boosting reproductive health. Found in such foods as meat, prunes and broccoli, iron decreases the risk of miscarriage.
Zinc helps keep the reproductive organs healthy, and also increases cell division in the fetus while maintaining regular menstrual cycles. Zinc can be found in parsley, eggs and oats.
Folic acid is another mineral that is essential to maintaining excellent reproductive health. Folic acid decreases the chance of neural tube defects (defects which occur in the spine, brain, bone and skin when they don't develop properly), including Spina Bifida.
Herbal supplements can also boost reproductive health.
Black cohosh helps balance hormonal levels, as does licorice. Licorice also works as an anti-inflammatory.
Wild yam can promote fertility; chaste tree lowers estrogen levels, while increasing progesterone. Chaste tree can also correct ovarian dysfunction.
Meditation and Yoga
While the link between infertility and stress is unclear, many experts agree that keeping a positive frame of mind is essential when trying to conceive and when undergoing fertility treatments like IVF, which can be very stressful.
Meditation is an excellent way in which to boost your overall health. It is known to reduce stress levels, blood pressure and heart rate. Meditation also helps increase energy levels and reduce gastronomical problems.
The key of meditation is mindfulness, that is, to achieve a state of mind in which one is aware of her surroundings.
Meditation techniques are fairly simple. By sitting quietly with good postural alignment, one should focus on breathing, taking slow, even breaths in and out. Focusing on a word or phrase (such as peace, joy, compassion) is also helpful in relaxing the mind.
Yoga, which includes meditation, is also helpful. Forward bending is particularly useful because the lower abdomen, home of the chakra (the body's main energy center), controls the reproductive organs.
Diet and Exercise
Diet is also important to boosting fertility. Avoid alcohol, tea and coffee, which promote infertility; tea and coffee also interfere with iron absorption, which can lead to miscarriage. Decaf is not advisable either, as it has been associated with spontaneous abortion.
Avoid refined foods like cookies and saturated foods like processed meats. Increase your intake of dark, leafy vegetables. Fish and nuts, which include fatty acids, should also be consumed.
Other Natural Treatments: Aromatherapy, Acupuncture and Reflexology
While there is no evidence that aromatherapy directly boosts fertility, it does decrease the high stress levels that are often linked to infertility. Aromatherapy combines therapeutic massage with essential oils.
Spice apple, for example, decreased the blood pressure of one study's participants by an average of three to five points. Spice apple also promotes blood circulation and decreases muscle tension.
The ancient Chinese art of acupuncture reorganizes and balances an individual's bio energy, which in turn improves tissue function. It also decreases stress, migraines and muscle tension.
Reflexology (a touch therapy that stimulates the hands and feet) boosts the immune system and decreases stress levels. It also balances hormones and cleanses the liver and colon.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Alternative Fertility Treatments
While there is no conclusive evidence that alternative fertility treatments boost fertility levels, many experts believe that herb and vitamin supplements, in addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise like yoga and meditation can help women who are trying to conceive. However, in some cases, surgical procedures are still necessary.
It is imperative to always consult your doctor first before taking any supplements. Use diet and herb supplements with caution; just because they are natural, doesn't always mean they are healthy for you. Talk to a fertility specialist about dietary and herbal supplements that you're interested in taking. Follow dosage instructions carefully. Be aware that herbs are often not strictly regulated. Report any changes or side effects to your doctor immediately.