Hearing a diagnosis of unexplained infertility can be devastating to the recipients, bringing up resentments towards their own bodies leading to shame and self loathing, fear of never becoming a parent, and serious strain on marriages and sex life, not to mention the time it can take to figure things out. It is a prevalent condition that still poorly understood within the Western medical community.
Unexplained infertility can be due to a myriad of issues, including but not limited to: poor egg quality, diminished ovarian reserve, undiscovered endometriosis, autoimmune diseases, thyroid troubles, trauma from accidents or surgery, male infertility factors that haven’t been addressed, overstimulation of ovaries by drug therapies, etc.
Unexplained Infertility Holistic Treatments
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Patients who have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility often find it a great relief that their seemingly random collection of symptoms make sense from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective. They have usually undertaken a battery of tests by the time they visit AcuPlus. A TCM diagnosis is based on identifying patterns of disharmony in the body; signs that have meaning when seen in relation to each other. Once we identify your pattern, a treatment plan can be designed to bring the body to a healthier balance increasing your chances of getting pregnant.
TCM uses acupuncture, herbal medicine, stress management techniques along with dietary and supplement recommendations to help patients with unexplained infertility normalize their menstrual cycles, improve circulation to the reproductive organs, improve their overall body health and hopefully get pregnant naturally or at least improve their chances for IUI or IVF success.
As with all TCM treatments at AcuPlus, the recommended treatment protocol will be based on your individual TCM diagnosis as not all patients diagnosed with unexplained infertility will be treated the same. The most common TCM reasons for unexplained infertility are Liver Qi Stagnation and Kidney Yang Deficiency, although there are always other contributing disharmonies that will need to be addressed that are unique to each individual.
Nutrition & Diet
Because of the effects of the intense stress from dealing with the diagnosis of unexplained infertility, the body inevitably suffers as a result. It may struggle with absorption of nutrition regardless of how great your diet is, or food sensitivities become an issue which increase systemic inflammation. If nutrition is decreased due to these factors or a poor diet, hormone development and therefore reproductive function and mood may suffer as well. Your nutrition and diet must not be neglected when attempting to regulate the menstrual cycle. The ideal approach is to eat a balanced anti-inflammatory diet with regular mealtimes to instill routine and to help your body to heal itself.
The following information is only general diet tips for those with unexplained infertility. More detailed diet and supplement recommendations are given to you based on your individual TCM diagnosis:
- Eat plenty of high fiber foods. Fiber increases movement of food through the intestines and helps promote an optimal balance of helpful bacteria.
- Increase liver friendly foods such as kale, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and spinach.
- Use more anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric, ginger, and garlic.
- Minimize or avoid sugar, caffeine and alcohol.
- Minimize or avoid dairy and gluten as they may contribute to inflammation.
- Minimize or avoid red meat because it contains large amount of arachidonic acid, which promotes inflammatory prostaglandins, inflammation, and pain.
If you have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility, the most important lifestyle shift is learning to manage your stress response. Poor management of chronic stressors can increase inflammation in your body which lead to a wide array of negative effects. When you learn techniques to minimize the effects of those stressors, using tools such as yoga, qi gong (meditative exercise), breathing exercises and meditation, and if you get more quality sleep, your body chemistry will change and become healthier.
Regular exercise can reduce your stress response as well, but it also will improve whole body circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid thereby helping your body feel and function more optimally. The general recommendation is to include at least 30 minutes a day of brisk walking or other aerobic exercise preferably in nature so you can benefit from the calm it can bring.