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Coping strategies to deal with fertility issues

Coping strategies to deal with fertility issues

Coping strategies to deal with fertility issues Anya Sizer 1-5-14 Notes from her webinar

Effects of infertility

Women (sometimes men) are always surprised just what a big effect emotionally the diagnosis of infertility has on themselves and the people around them. This depth of emotions is normal ” the desire to have a family is up there with desire to eat and sleep” (Lord Robert Winston), it is fundamental, it strikes at your very core.

How a person acknowledges and feels that emotion is individual, no on size fits all. It can affect all areas of your life e.g finance, physical, emotional, mental, sleep and friendships. The person may go through different stages , e.g. shock, denial, bargaining with God, anger and withdrawal . This is similar to go through grief, bereavement, and the loss of a dream.

What can you do to help yourself?

1. Stop, step back and realize that this is a big thing and that the way you are feeling is normal. Give yourself a breathing space, think of how you would treat a best friend if they were going through the same thing. Hopefully you would be supportive and compassionate, so do the same thing to yourself – some self-care.

2. Look at this on an individual basis, not what other people would do but what you need to do for yourself. For example keep a journal, write anything you want in it, reflect on how your feeling, what can you do to help yourself.

3. Do I need distraction therapy, a project to work on, to be out and about with friends or focus on work

4. Withdrawal, to you need time for yourself or withdrawing from friendships that are not supportive or helpful

5. Do you want to tell everybody about this issue or just a few key people or just one person, remember there is no right or wrong, whatever is right for you

6. Think about what you have done in the past when you have needed to deal with a big issue in your life. For example after the breakup of a relationship, did you call on friendships, did you do things that you enjoyed, were you around supportive people and what did you learn about yourself from this episode.

Support group- in times of crisis it is important to have a supportive people around “your team” your support group. Put this in your journal or on piece of paper, draw a circle with the word me in it, then draw interconnecting circle with the members of your team in it e.g. your family, friends, professionals;

Acupuncturist, nutritionist, coach, self help group, what ever works for you.

Be pro-active, put things and dates in your diary of appointments and things you have done or doing to help yourself, e.g 20 minute walk, yoga class, acupuncture appointment

Be prescriptive, you decide what you want and let your support group know what you want from them to help you. E.g regular phone call or you will phone them when you need to talk.

The low times and the set backs- It is perfectly normal to have highs and lows, when trying to conceive, though it may seem there are more lows than highs. Remember trying to conceive can take time.

Sometimes it can be help to chose a Mantra to use in the low times or everyday to get you through your journey e.g ” it will be all be ok in the end and if it is not ok, its not the end” or “some day , some how I will be a mother” or make your own.

There will be a conclusion to your journey, though this conclusion may not be what you expect: adoption, egg donation, IVF or enough is enough, deciding there other types of families.

Compassion fatigue- often people around may become worn out, not everyone will be able to be supportive continuously and sometimes you may have to make new friend, people that can help you through this journey

Sometimes you have to take it a day at time, or even a moment at time. What do I need to do to get through it at this moment, it could be something a simple as a 10 minute break with a cup of tea or for your parents to understand what your go through.

80/20 rule. Everyday you allow yourself 20% of your time to focus or invest in your journey, e.g meet a friend , juicing , a massage or journaling.

80% of the time you try to live an a normal life, think about the areas of your life you may be neglecting. Remember your not just a women trying to have a baby.

Sometimes you will spend more than 20% of you time thinking about your fertility issue, but that’s ok, this is normal.

If you would like more information on coping strategies please see below

Source Anya Sizer, fertility focus summit 1st May 2014

‘Fertile thinking’ book,

The Problem with Dairy for PCOS

The Problem with Dairy for PCOS and why it’s difficult to give up!

If you have been following Ecotherapies for a while then you know that I advocate a low dairy or dairy free lifestyle. Below Dr. Lara Briden to shares more information about Casomorphins and dairy. I think you will find this information fascinating. Now you’ll know why it is so difficult to give up cheese.

Guest Post by Dr. Lara Briden, ND

For some of you, dairy is inflammatory, and a big problem for PCOS. For a lucky few of you, organic dairy is probably OK. The problem with dairy is not the lactose, or the fat. The problem is a protein called A1 casein. When A1 casein hits your digestion, a part of it breaks off to become casomorphin or BCM7. Casomorphin is an opiate, just like morphine is an opiate, or codeine. Casomorphin is a drug, which is why it causes brain-fog in some people, and why so many people crave dairy. There’s more to casomorphin than its sedative effect. Casomorphin also causes inflammation, and inflammation is exactly what you don’t want when you have PCOS. Inflammation impairs insulin sensitivity, and damages the hormone-signalling of ovulation. Inflammation also makes hormone receptors overly sensitive to androgens like testosterone. Here is where it gets interesting. Some people digest and excrete casomorphin before it enters their blood stream. Those lucky people don’t suffer the inflammation of casomorphin, and can enjoy organic dairy as a healthy food. The rest of us need to get casomorphin out of our diet.

How do you know if casomorphin is a problem for you?

In theory, you could test BCM7 in your urine, but – as of yet- that test is not widely available. Another way to detect a casomorphin problem is to look for symptom clues:

  • Did you suffer recurring tonsillitis or ear infections when you were a kid?
  • Do you suffer chronic hayfever or sinus now?
  • Do you crave dairy?

If you answered yes to any or all of these problems, then you probably have a casomorphin problem

PCOS Meal Plans

Not all cows produce A1 Casein A1 casein is present in the milk from Holstein cows, which are the predominant dairy herds in USA, Canada, Australian and the UK. A different type of casein – called A2 casein – does not form casomorphin BCM7, and does not cause inflammation. The milks of Jersey cows, goats and sheep, are predominantly A2, and are fine for most people. Cheeses like Ricotta are ok, because they are mostly whey protein. Butter is Ok because it is mostly fat. I switch many (not all) of my PCOS patients to Jersey, goat or sheep dairy, and they do very well. The first thing to improve is their acne, usually within a few weeks. Other PCOS symptoms also improve off A1 dairy, but they take a little longer, usually 3-4 months. In fact, any good treatment for PCOS takes 3-4 months because that is how long it takes for a follicle to develop all the way to ovulation. It’s a 100 day journey to ovulation, and the journey cannot start until inflammation ends.

Anti-Inflammatory approach for PCOS

After 18 years of treating PCOS, I am convinced that inflammation is the major underlying cause for many types of PCOS. It is not the cause for every type. Some types of PCOS are caused by post-Pill syndrome. Some types are caused by leptin or a thyroid problem. In my clinic, I use blood tests to differentiate types of PCOS, and inflammation is one of the things that I measure. Going forward with an anti-inflammatory approach, it is important to understand that A1 casein is just one source of inflammation. Inflammation also comes from gluten, sugar, environmental toxins, and intestinal permeability (leaky gut). Intestinal permeability is usually the result of antibiotics and/or the birth control pill.

Dr. Lara Briden Lara Briden is a Naturopathic Doctor with a busy women’s health practice in Sydney, Australia. She has a strong science background, and worked as an evolutionary biologist before qualifying as a Naturopathic Doctor from Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto in 1997. Over the last 2 decades, thousands of women have entrusted Lara with their thyroid disease, PCOS and other hormonal conditions. She is incredibly grateful for that clinical experience because it has taught her which natural treatments actually work for PCOS and other hormonal conditions. Lara is passionate about helping women to reclaim their hormonal health. She blogs her ‘Search for Truth in Natural Medicine’ at Lara Briden’s Healthy Hormone Blog ( Follow her there, and watch for her book about period health later this year.

If you would like to know more about using an integrated approach of acupuncture, nutrition and supplements to help you with your PCOS or fertility issues contact Elaine on 07949407336

original article from PCOS Diva 26 May 2014

So You are thinking about doing IVF

So You are thinking about doing IVF or You have been told you need to do IVF!

So first and foremost if someone has told you that you should think about IVF or the IVF doctor told you should be thinking about IVF, I want you to think about these four things first:

One – Have you given yourself enough time to prepare your body? So by that I mean I believe, and the research shows that you need at least three months to prepare your body to be successful with any fertility procedure that you’re going to do. Follicular genesis, the process in which your body chooses a good quality egg to use during any given cycle, takes a minimum of three months, if not more; and the same thing for sperm, spermatogenesis is the same. So we need to give ourselves some time and some space to improve our health, to improve the quality of our uterus, our lining, our ovaries, our eggs and our sperm so that way when it’s time to go through that procedure you’re in a much better place to go through that if that’s the direction you go. But hopefully in those three, maybe more months that you’re using to prepare yourself, you actually get pregnant.

Two – Relationships. Have you and your partner discussed this? Are you both on the same page? I cannot tell you how often I hear that “My partner’s not quite ready to go through with it but I want to so that’s what we’re going to do…” so on, whatever it might be. You both need to be on the same page. I have seen way too many divorces because of IVF treatments and fertility journeys that I want that to end, and the one way that I believe that’s going to end is by being on the same page and communicating. So make sure that you talk with your partner, that your relationship is strong and the foundation is strong and that you both are moving forward in the same direction, in the same time frame that you want.

Three – Have you gotten a second opinion? Just because you walked into the IVF clinic and they said you need an IVF doesn’t mean that’s what you need. That’s the business they’re in is IVF, that’s what they believe is the only option that’s going to get you pregnant so that’s typically what they recommend. So I wouldn’t expect to go to an IVF clinic and be told that you should go home and try naturally, not to say that I haven’t heard that being suggested, but that’s not typically the answer that you’re going to get. So if you want a second opinion and a different perspective you need to speak to someone who works in a different paradigm. So I suggest you get a second opinion from somebody else, from another fertility specialist, see what they think, see what their thoughts are and what direction they think that you can go, and listen to their recommendations.

Finally Four – Have you actually tried naturally for enough time to give yourself the ability to see if you’re able to get pregnant doing that? I work with patients naturally all the time and I see magical things happen. If you give yourself the space and you have the plan, and you have the right guidance, I believe that you can achieve it, and I think that way too many couples end up going through IVF when they don’t need it.

An option that many of my patients have chosen is to take a minimum of three months to prepare their body and that of their partners for IVF should they have to go through IVF and make it the most successful it can be. You never know you may not need that IVF after doing your preparation. If would like to speak to me contact me at or 07949407336

Article from The fertility expert

Preparing for IVF with Acupuncture

Preparing for IVF with Acupuncture

November 4, 2015/in IVF / By Eva Stecz, Acupuncturist at The Zita West Clinic

Very often I am asked by women how often and for how long they should have acupuncture before they start their IVF cycles and whether it can influence egg quality in order to achieve a ‘better’ outcome.

We like to encourage women to have treatment once a week from at least 2-3 months prior to the start of IVF medication. The reason for this is that follicular growth lasts around 375 days but only during the last 90 days of development will follicles have their own blood supply bringing oxygen, hormones and nutrients to, and waste and secretory products from, the follicle. In other words, follicles will become sensitive and responsive to stimuli coming from the ‘external’ environment.

I am sure there are many women who are trying to get pregnant either naturally or through IVF who have been told by their doctors that their eggs are not healthy or are old, especially if they have been trying for a long time to conceive without success or have had several miscarriages or implantation failures. It is true that the health of eggs will influence whether fertilization will occur and if it will result in a healthy pregnancy.

Egg Quality

Egg quality is defined by the chromosomal abnormality of the egg. It is well accepted that the aging process and its impact on egg quality are irreversible. However certain negative influences can be avoided and/or improved that are proven to compromise egg health.

These negative factors include:

toxic overload

an imbalanced hormonal system

lack of or too much exercise


compromised absorption and utilization of nutrients

lack of sleep

sluggish blood flow to the pelvic organs


stress etc.

Acupuncture has the capacity to rectify some of these negative influences by improving the function of the different body systems in order for the body to regain its balance.

Three Studies into Acupuncture

Blood flow to the pelvic organs can be greatly improved with acupuncture. In a study, published in 1998, researchers measured the pulsatile index (PI) of the endometrial artery and found that high PI (>3) which would indicate compromised blood flow to the pelvic organs, can be lowered with the administration of electro acupuncture.

A study investigating the optimal number of acupuncture treatments for the best IVF outcomes found that the clients receiving the maximum benefit from IVF were those clients who received more than 8 acupuncture treatments before embryo transfer.

In a recently published study it was concluded that women who had at least 12 acupuncture sessions added to their IVF cycles resulted in higher pregnancy rates and fewer biochemical pregnancies. The study however wasn’t randomized and participants weren’t selected with the same characteristics which might have influenced the results but the women in the ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine’ group, were had higher pregnancy rates compared to those who did not have acupuncture as an addition to their IVF cycles

Our recommendation

In view of these findings we recommend to start acupuncture at least 2 months prior to IVF. This fits well with my clinical experience that women starting Acupuncture a few month before their IVF commences have better outcomes. I believe that optimizing fertility with acupuncture is not a quick fix. It is a process for the body to adjust and repair in order for it to function as optimally as possible indirectly influencing fertility in a positive way.

And lastly, I have observed during my practice that some women fall pregnant naturally while they prepare for IVF! Which obviously is an added bonus!



Magnesium and Your Hormones

Magnesium and Your Hormones

What is up with this mineral? Why are we all so deficient? We’re deficient because our cells dump magnesium during stress. We actively push the mineral out of our bodies as a way to rev up our nervous system and cope with daily life.

A revved up nervous system is what an average modern human needs to get through an average modern day. If you work, or commute, drink coffee, or worry, then you are deficient in magnesium

8 Ways that Magnesium Rescues Your Hormonal System

1) Magnesium regulates cortisol. Magnesium calms your nervous system and prevents excessive cortisol. Your stress hormonal system, also called your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, is your central hormonal system. When it functions well, then your other hormonal axes—thyroid and sex hormones—will function well too.

2) Magnesium lowers blood sugar. Magnesium is so effective at sensitizing the insulin receptor that I refer to it as our ‘natural metformin’. Better insulin control means fewer sugar cravings. Healthy insulin sensitivity is important for weight loss, PCOS, and it also prevents osteoporosis.

3) Magnesium supports thyroid. Magnesium is essential for the production of thyroid hormone. It is also anti-inflammatory, which helps to quiet the autoimmune inflammation that underlies most cases of thyroid disease. Other ways to address thyroid autoimmunity include gluten-elimination and a selenium supplement.

4) Magnesium aids sleep. As I’ve written here before, magnesium is the great sleep-promoter, and sleep is crucial for hormone production. Sleep is when we should enjoy a beneficial surge in anabolic hormones such as DHEA and growth hormone.

5) Magnesium fuels cellular energy. Magnesium is so intricately involved with mitochondria and energy production, that we can safely say: “Without magnesium, there is no cellular energy”. Hormonal tissue is metabolically active, so it requires even more cellular energy and more magnesium than other tissue.

6) Magnesium makes hormones. Magnesium is involved in the manufacture of steroid hormones such as progesterone, estrogen and testosterone. Magnesium has been shown to reduce hot flashes by 50%.

7) Magnesium activates vitamin D. Without enough magnesium, vitamin D cannot do its job . Conversely, too much vitamin D supplementation can cause magnesium deficiency.

8) Magnesium is anti-aging. The mineral has been shown to prevent telomere shortening, reduce oxidative stress, and enhance the production of glutathione.

Can You Test for Magnesium Deficiency?

No. The majority of magnesium is inside your cells, so there no way to measure it with a blood test. You simply have to try it and see how you feel.

Food sources of magnesium include leafy greens, almonds, chocolate, and mineral water.

Wild Nutrition’s Food-State Magnesium is in a highly bioavailable form meaning that mega-dosing becomes unnecessary. – Available at the SHOP

Information from Lara