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The decision of trying to conceive during chronic illness

(written by contributing writer Jessica)

All of my life I dreamed having a large family. I must have been sheltered because I never once remember hearing things like ‘miscarriage’, ‘PCOS’, or ‘chronic illness’. I thought if you wanted a baby, you would have one.

My bubble of security was busted after my first miscarriage. My feelings were all over the place, but fear of never having a child ranked high up in my list of worries.

A few years down the road, I also never imagined I’d have to weigh my health into the equation about the decision of trying to conceive.

the decision of trying ton conceive during chronic illness

The decision to wait until I’m healthier has been a heart breaking one, that included a lot of prayer and conversations with my husband. It is a joint decision that we pray is the right one at this time. Our hearts are ready to try but my body is not.

Chronic illness, in many cases is a delicate balance from day-to-day depending on the condition. A delicate balance that pregnancy can completely offset.

How do you decide if it is the right time to try to conceive when you are managing a chronic health condition?

 Here is a brief list that helped me to logically see the answer that was right for us.

Prayer. 

Prayer is the first step that our family uses when making a decision.

What does your doctor say?

While I don’t think your doctor is the end all be all in making this decision, they should have an educated opinion on how your condition is going to effect a pregnancy and your baby. They may also have helpful things to do to get your body ready to try to conceive. The other great thing about doctors in this situation is they do not have the same person feelings invested and can give you a logical look at things.

How would your illness effect a pregnancy?

Some times the chronic illness itself until controlled can negatively impact a pregnancy and the baby. Or, will the supplements or medications you need daily have an effect on the pregnancy or baby while in the uterus? These are two things to heavily factor into the process of deciding if it is the right time to try to conceive.

How do you feel?

If you are in mid flair or experiencing a lot of symptoms, how would a pregnancy effect that? I know in my heart right now that a pregnancy would add a very large burden to my already very taxed body. I would be short-changing a new little life and depleting myself of already scarce resources.

What is your time line for healing?

What if by waiting a few months your body can be more fully loaded and healed to take on the burden of a pregnancy? It’s good to have a goal and then prepare the body for pregnancy.

There are so many things to weigh when making a the decision to try to conceive while you are manage a chronic health issue. It’s even more tough when your heart is already longing for a child. However, taking the time to heal and get your body in shape is only going to help pave the way for a healthier you and pregnancy.

What are some of the things that you had to consider when making the decision of trying to conceive during a chronic illness?

 

 

 

One simple way to raise your BBT (basal body temperature)

(Written by contributing writer Natasha)

One of the first things you’re told to do when you start working on fertility issues is to track your BBT (basal body temperature). Several years ago I started taking mine and immediately I had an issue. The handy little chart the doctor gave me? It didn’t go low enough. With the numbers starting at 97.0 and my temps ranging from 96.3-96.5, I was thoroughly confused.

Eventually I realized that my low BBT was a common aliment amongst those struggling with infertility. But what could I do about it?

one way to raise your basal body temperature    www.naturalfertilityandwellness.com

For seven years I tried numerous “treatments,” including, taking thyroid boosting herbs and supplements (like kelp), exercise, and natural progesterone.

After years of work, I was able to raise my BBT to 96.7-96.9. Better, of course, but still not stellar. However, by this time I was thoroughly sick of looking at unchanging temperatures and left my thermometer to gather dust in my bedside drawer.

Several months ago I went to a seminar about health and wellness. It was excellent and afterward I spoke with the speaker for a brief period of time. I mentioned some of the issues I have with losing weight and he made a suggestion. While I had been told that eating a “good healthy breakfast” would help me lose weight, he suggested pushing my first meal back until later in the morning.

“Our bodies need adequate time to digest our food,” he told me, “and if your body struggles with the normal routine of things, making sure that you have a 13-15 hour ‘fast’ in every 24 hour period can make a huge difference.”

The idea was simple: make sure there are around 14 hours between your last meal in the evening and your first meal in the morning.

It’s not hard to implement and completely flexible. (If, for example, you have late dinner the night before, just push your breakfast back until 10 or 11 the next day.)

It sounded like the easiest diet in the world, so I immediately started. Around this time I decided to begin taking my BBT again. Imagine my complete surprise when my temperatures almost immediately zoomed up! Since I made this one simple switch, making sure there is always a 14 hour break from dinner to breakfast, my BBT has held steady at 97.3-97.5 with an ovulating temp at 98.0-98.3.

When I researched online, I found it has already been documented that this simple change does raise your BBT, but for some reason I had overlooked it.

I feel like I have been handed a lifeline, one that frees me from swallowing handfuls of kelp capsules and remembering which days to apply progesterone.

Do you have a low BBT? What are the tricks and thoughts you’ve learned in the process of trying to raise your temps?

 

For more on raising your BBT:
Naturally Warmed Up, How to Raise Your Basal Body Temperature

 

How to transition from hormone treatments for endometriosis

Natural Treatment for EndometriosisI know when I first found out I had Endometriosis and my doctor recommended I go on hormone treatments for my it, I personally think I made that decision out of fear. Fear that the Endometriosis would spread. Fear that things would get worse! I just didn’t want any of it to affect me anymore than it needed to and if these hormonal treatments were somehow going to slow down the Endometriosis growth, then brilliant!

I went down the path of hormonal treatments for over 12 years. I tried a wonderful selection of things but ultimately my body just rejected them or couldn’t deal with the constant side-effects.

When I eventually decided to try a more natural approach for my Endometriosis, I initially thought I could just stick with the contraceptive pill and adjust my diet etc to kinda “get the best of both worlds” or so I thought. What I didn’t realize was that the contraceptive pill was having effects on all aspects of my body – and not just my hormones. It was affecting my digestion, my liver, and my overall health.

Now, I was nervous but somehow I knew I needed to get off the contraceptive pill. I was so scared all the pain would just come rushing back.

Here are some of the tips I learned to make it easier for you if you wish to do the same:

1. Build your body up a little before you do it

When I say “build up”, what I mean is, giving your body some boosted good nutrition. Get it working well. Give it all those extra minerals and vitamins you can get from a good healthy diet. Get into juicing and green smoothies to help your liver detoxify and get ready for the freedom of being synthetic hormone free!

2. Flush out the excess Xenoestrogens

*Only do this once you have decided to go off the pill or synthetic treatment.

Xenoestrogens are basically all those synthetic hormones that you have been taking. The trouble with them is that they cause an overflow of estrogenic activity within the body, which is not a good thing -especially with endo! You want to make sure you get your body to flush them out. Calcium D Glucarate is a great solution for this, along with taking some powerful liver tonics like Bupleurum or any of the bitters.

3. Support your liver

The liver is the one that gets rid of all the hormones and regulates all that is going on with endo too. (in terms of hormone production and toxin release). You want to support your liver as much as you can. You can try drinking Dandelion Root Tea daily, take Milk Thistle, or get onto a powerful daily liver tonic or supplement. The liver will love you for it.

4. Really consider your diet

Your diet could be loaded with triggers that make your endo grow more! Sugar is a big one. There are also foods which inhibit mineral and vitamin absorption and you definitely want to make sure you eliminate those! Your diet is the grounding to healing and you need to optimize it to make sure endo doesn’t come back fast and furiously.

5. Sweat it out

All those synthetic hormones are like toxins within the body. You want to get them out of the body! One of the best ways to do that is to take up some exercise. Testosterone building exercise is fabulous – like using weights. Yoga and walking are also fabulous to help flush out those toxins.

6. Support your digestive tract

Many women experience a condition called Candida Overgrowth after being on synthetic hormones or the contraceptive pill for many years. Make sure you control this one quickly with a low glycemic diet, fermented foods and the right herbs. It can play havoc with your digestive system and really hamper so many aspects of your natural healing journey.

hormone treatments and endometriosis

I honestly believe that using synthetic hormones for Endometriosis does more harm than good for the body. The sooner you can flush that stuff out of your body, the better you will feel! Trust in your journey and build your body.

Having been on the pill for over 9 years and having experienced all those side-effects and issues, I can promise you that since going off it, my journey has dramatically increased. I also don’t experience any pain with Endometriosis and have healed so many other aspects of my body.

 Have you made the move to go off hormone treatments for your endometriosis?

Fragile X Gene and Fertility

shutterstock_176896946

I recently had a fertility client who, after successfully becoming pregnant, found out through genetic testing that she is a carrier of the Fragile X gene.

She told me a bit about this gene mutation and how it can also effect fertility.

This prompted me to do more research and pass on this information to you!

What is Fragile X Syndrome?

Fragile X Syndrome is a condition caused by a genetic mutation that can cause learning disabilities, cognitive impairment, ADD, autism spectrum disorder and, rarely, seizures.  It can also cause some distinctive physical attributes such as long face and  large ears.

It occurs in 1 out of 4,000 males and 1 in 8,000 females, according to the Genetics Home Reference, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

This syndrome is caused by a mutation in the FMR1 gene.  This mutation causes less of a needed protein to develop nerve synapses.  If this mutation is repeated more than 200 times, Fragile X syndrome develops.

What Other Conditions are Related to This Gene Mutation?

Some people are carriers of the FMR1 gene mutation, but with less repeats.  This is called a FMR1 pre-mutation.  This may cause some milder learning disabilities or emotional issues, or it can lead to these conditions:

  • Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome
  • Fragile X-associated primary ovarian insufficiency

Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) occurs later if life, after 50 years, and progresses with age.  It involves trembling and loss of balance.

Fragile X-associated primary ovarian insufficiency (FXPOI) involves reduced function of the ovaries.  It can result in irregular or absent cycles, high FSH and infertility.

Again according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s website, 1 in 200 have this pre-mutation, but only a quarter of that group will actually develop FXPOI (1 in 800.) The odds of developing FXPOI depend on the number of repeats in the mutation.  The mutation lies on the X chromosome and is classified as a X-linked dominant pattern, inherited through the mother.  To read more about it, please visit this link:  http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/fragile-x-associated-primary-ovarian-insufficiency

How Can I Find Out if I Have a FMR1 Mutation?

I did find one than one source for genetic testing of this nature online.  One option I found was through Labcorp, which I feel has a good reputation.

If you have Fragile X, autism, or mental retardation in your family you may consider testing.  If you have early high FSH, or premature ovarian failure you may consider being tested.  Here is a LINK to Labcorp’s page on the topic.

This can be a scary topic while trying to conceive, but it may be better to know than not know.

Have you undergone any genetic testing while trying to conceive? Was it helpful? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to do when you feel like a Hysterectomy is your only option for Endometriosis

What to do when you feel like a Hysterectomy is your only option for EndometriosisI have been in that place…..You are sitting in front of your Gynecologist after another year of struggling with Endometriosis, your pain has been unbearable and you feel like there is no hope on what you can do. You feel stuck. Stuck within your choices but stuck within your body, ironically too. Your Endometriosis seems to be returning every year and half and no amount of hormone treatments or good eating seem to be making a single bit of difference.

The Hysterectomy seems to offer some sense of relief in that moment. Like perhaps if you cut it all out, it will be all over, finished and never to return again.

It is however a tough decision and upon further research I discovered that even something so drastic is still no guarantee that the Endometriosis, will really be gone for good.

This is what helped me to move past a place of pain and lack of decision and avoid a Hysterectomy:

 1. I gave everything 150%

Up until this point my diet was good but not brilliant,  my exercise was kinda there but not consistent,  my stress levels were high and I had done nothing much to resolve those – even though I had promised myself to do more Yoga and Meditation and slow walks. I had done some things and yes, it was more than most but the truth was I wasn’t really giving it my all. I knew I could try harder. I could cut out all grains and eat more fruits and vegetables, I could cut out all chocolate and sugars, caffeine and impulse purchases from the confectionary counter. I could make a point of really nourishing my body with the best foods I could get and get completely focused on the ultimate forms of healing tools for my body. I could avoid anything that made me swell up and become inflamed – including my favorite M&M sweets!

The biggest change I made was discovering that food could be a real source of healing for my body. I stopped viewing food as my “restrictive diet” and recognised that it was in fact an ultimate tool for nourishment and healing.studied and developed my own diet, which I have found incredibly helpful within my healing journey.

 

2. I explored more Alternative Therapies

When I first discovered Alternative Therapies, I really thought that everything was all about diet. I hadn’t considered Homeopathy, Herbology or Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. I knew I had to feel comfortable with them and it couldn’t be too “wacky” but I had never actually really tried them for myself. My friends and relatives had suggested them but now it was time for me to really try them for myself.

 

3. I set myself a deadline

I think for me, this was important. I needed to feel like I was aiming for something, that all of these challenges and changes had some kind of ending. I gave myself 6 months. I would give everything 150% and really explore Alternative Therapies and then if it still didn’t work…. then I could look at getting that Hysterectomy. It made it easier for me to work towards a goal and to feel like in the end, the Hysterectomy really was the best decision and that I had really tried everything else.

 

What started to happen was that because I had set myself to work at this goal, somehow answers seemed to appear. It was as if I was being guided on some level! I felt like it was all do-able and achievable. I found out more about the foods I was eating and how they were impacting my pain with Endometriosis, I discovered acupuncture and how it would free up blockages in my abdominal cavity, I discovered that when I reduced my stress and told myself every day, that everything was going to be okay…. that it was!

I discovered the amazing powers and how much nature provides within our food. Wholesome real food, without preservatives or being over-processed! Food was such a healer and could provide my body with so much nourishment!

I felt empowered and strong. I felt like I could finally make decisions about my own body and it’s health. I felt like it was finally up to me and I didn’t have to wait and simply hope that a pill would come along and save me.

 

My pain decreased. Initially, it took some adjusting but eventually after the 6 month deadline was reached, I no longer suffered with pain every day. I felt in control and like I could cope with the minimal pain from the Endometriosis. I no longer wanted or needed that dreaded Hysterectomy.

I know it sounds simple but nature really provides all the tools we need to heal and re-balance our bodies.

I learnt so much about food and real nourishment along my journey. I discovered the difference between simply avoiding certain foods and really providing for the body.

I hope this gives you hope and makes you rethink that hysterectomy.

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