A quick Google search of “infertility” turns up 12,200,000 results. 59,900,00 returns for “trouble getting pregnant”. Just under a million hits for “infertility clinic Houston”. Pregnancy (and trouble conceiving) is a huge business, and infertility affects way too many families (including my own). Failed fertilization, inability to ovulate, recurrent miscarriages… it can be really overwhelming, hopeless, and often heartbreaking (not to mention expensive!) for couples trying to get pregnant. If you’re frustrated and looking for a way to get some sense of control back in your life and your health, there are a lot of avenues you can explore that DON’T come in a bottle with a $5,000+ price tag that are not only good for your baby, but your own long-term health and longevity!
5 reasons you may be having trouble getting pregnant
- Poor food quality: The food you eat signals your body about the environment you are in, whether you are in a state of health and abundance for a baby to thrive, or in a famine with very few nutrients to support a growing body. Food sensitivities can also wreak havoc on the body by causing inflammation, damaging food cravings and inability to lose unhealthy weight that can result in hormonal imbalance. MEN, this includes you too! An estimated 20-50% of couples’ infertility contains a male component to the dysfunction. As an example, low omega 3 levels can have a significant effect on testosterone levels and sperm quality. In addition, certain chemical food dyes have been shown to decrease sperm count. Your diet choices are just as important as momma’s, so choose wisely!
- Stress: Chronic stress is a major drain on cortisol, which in turn steals the substrates needed to make the sex hormones [progesterone/estrogen/testosterone] needed for fertility and supporting a healthy pregnancy, among many other important jobs. MEN, chronic stress affects your hormones as well, and a healthy hormonal production and balance are crucial to creating healthy sperm and libido.
- Environmental toxins: Chemicals ranging from synthetic fragrances and parabens found in home and body products to chemical off-gassing from plastic food containers, paint and furniture can act as endocrine disruptors, having an estrogenic effect on the body and throwing the hormones out of whack; again, these hormones are needed to support fertility and a healthy pregnancy. Long-term birth control usage and other prescription medicines can also create hormonal imbalance that is not conducive to conception and pregnancy support. MEN, this concerns you too! These estrogenic chemicals can create hormonal imbalance which can greatly lower male fertility.
- Chronic dieting: If you have ever severely restricted food intake or suffered from disordered eating problems, especially to the point where you have lost your period, this stress creates a constant cortisol drain. Again, this constant demand often times results in a depletion of sex hormones. This also relates back to poor food quality. If the body does not have the nutritional building blocks to support a healthy pregnancy, couples may have trouble conceiving if the body believes the environment will not be supportive of a baby’s needs. MEN, this is a dark area that unfortunately receives very little attention, but let’s get it out in the open! Many men suffer from disordered eating and body image problems, but sadly it is rarely discussed. George Bryant of Civilized Caveman recently took a very brave stand being open about his experiences. See HERE for his story. Men suffering from disordered eating may experience severe hormonal imbalance. Not only is hormonal balance crucial for male fertility, it is often coupled in disordered eating with deficiencies in crucial fertility nutrients (for example, zinc is critical in the development of sperm production and quality), and fertility can be greatly diminished.
- Free radical damage: Free radicals cause oxidative damage in the body (the same process that causes metal to rust and makes us age) and combating oxidative damage and clearing waste from the body takes precious resources. If there is an overload of damage (caused from a variety of sources, from environmental toxins, herbicides and pesticides to over exercising) the body may up-regulate cortisol production to handle the stress, as well as potentially using some of the sex hormones to assist in detoxification of the damage waste. Genetic issues such as MTHFR mutations can amplify the problem due to ill-functioning detoxification pathways. Free radicals can also cause damage to the egg, which can decrease the likelihood of a healthy fertilization. MEN, you’re not off the hook here either. Free radicals can also damage the protective “helmet” of the sperm; again, decreasing the likelihood of a healthy fertilization.
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition is designed to look at the status of the body’s functional systems, locate underlying causes of dis-ease and malfunction, removing blocking factors preventing good health, and support the underlying systems. If you have experienced problems with hormonal imbalance, infertility, miscarriage, or recurrent pregnancy loss, functional diagnostic nutrition may be able to help. Check HERE for more information on our services.
Photo credit: josemanuelerre / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)