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Fight Or Flight And Unexplained Infertility

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Unexplained Infertility

The physical and emotional side of unexplained infertility

One of the most frustrating things to encounter as a woman trying to get pregnant is getting the diagnosis of, ‘unexplained infertility.’ You’re at a loss, your doctors are at a loss, and the prognosis seems bleak. Many of my holistic fertility clients tell me that they wish they had a ‘legit’ physical condition because then at least they’d know what they were dealing with.

My work is based on the idea that for every physical condition, there is a mental/emotional cause. Once that emotional cause is addressed, the physical issue doesn’t need to be there anymore. This theory has been explored for years in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, as well as practitioners like Louise Hay, Dr Lissa Rankin and Edgar Cayce. When applied to fertility, I’ve helped clients move through PCOS, endometriosis, low egg count, thyroid issues, male component infertility among others.

Now you might not think of unexplained infertility as a physical ailment like PCOS or endometriosis, but it is technically affecting the physical body in that it’s not performing the way we want it to. So to find the mental/emotional cause, we actually want to look at the science of why it’s likely happening first.

Most of us have no doubt heard of the fight-or- flight response. The fight-or-flight, or FOF for the purposes of this article, is activated in two main areas of the body: in the adrenal glands and in the amygdalae of the brain. It’s aptly named in that it’s an automatic response that prepares us to fight a threat or run in the other direction. This was especially useful in our cave people days when large animals with big teeth would chase us. It still has its uses today. Our brain (ego) really means well. It wants to keep us alive. But anytime we decide to try something new, something out of the box, or something it doesn’t know we will survive; our FOF gets triggered. Now granted, there aren’t any sabre-toothed tigers left, and most of us don’t encounter near-death experiences on a regular basis, but to your brain it might as well be.

Physically, when FOF is triggered, all of your energy and strength go to your heart, your brain, your lungs and your legs (in case you need to run!). You don’t need your reproductive system when trying to get away from a predator, so the reproductive system slows down/shuts down. As an example, if giraffes in the savannah are in the middle of labour, but they sense a lion; all physical symptoms of labour stop and will not start again until the giraffe is safe. Even if your FOF is triggered on a low-grade level for a long time, it’s exhausting your body and your energy. Most times it is so subtle we don’t realize it’s being triggered. In this day and age, it’s go-go-go all the time and we don’t realize that our body is freaking out. We don’t feel safe in some area of our life, and until we uncover and address the issue, it will persist.

If you are dealing with unexplained infertility and:

  • the tests show that nothing is wrong
  • you’re eating healthy
  • exercising
  • taking your prenatal vitamins
  • praying to whoever is in charge to fix this

and it’s not “working”, then maybe taking a look at various areas of your life will help. It’s important of course to exercise and eat as cleanly as possible, but remember that malnourished junkies can get pregnant- so it’s really not because you didn’t have enough kale, or had that cup of coffee. It’s really more about where your thoughts are. According to the Law of Psychophysical Response: For every stressful thought you have, there’s a stressful reaction in your body. The brain doesn’t care if the threat is real, or if it’s happening now. It feels real, and so the reaction is created in the body unbeknownst to us. Fortunately for us, the reverse is also true- For every positive thought, there is a positive response in the body. So taking out external stressors is important, as well as learning to change your thought processes to more positive ones so that the body remains calm and in optimum baby baking mode.

Take an inventory of various aspects of your life and see where you’re not feeling safe, don’t have enough time, or aren’t fulfilled. Below is the #1 (out of 15) common reasons that our FOF gets triggered.

WORK: This is perhaps the most common one, especially if you’re of the Type-A persuasion.

And it can manifest in a few different ways. While most people think their job is stressful, I’m mainly talking about teachers, nurses, caregivers, and CEO’s — those responsible for groups or teams of people. You get there early, stay late, and give it your all. You’re great at your job.

But here’s the problem:

When you’re responsible for a lot of people’s health and wellbeing, such as a teacher, nurse, caregiver, or responsible for a team in a corporate situation, your time and energy are maxed out. So while you’re thinking, “I want to have a baby,” your brain already feels as though it’s taking care of way too many people and says, “Why would we add another responsibility to our plate?”

It literally can’t handle taking care of another human, and that can put the kibosh on the lady parts. Though it may seem like only low-grade stress to you, it’s not to your body. This continual stress pattern, over a long time, is exhausting. Again, not everyone in these careers has fertility issues, but 95% of my clients are in these fields. There’s an undeniable correlation.

So what can we do about unexplained infertility?

You might say, “Okay, great, but I can’t quit my job right now,” or, “I love my job. Am I screwed?”

Of course not.

Are you the get-there-early-and-leave-late, give- it-your-all type? While that’s admirable, and will garner you perks at work, the push to the limit attitude could actually be getting in the way of conceiving. Your great work ethic is awesome but, unfortunately, it can mean you’re taking care of everyone else’s needs before your own.

So your lovely brain, which wants to keep you alive, says, “Um, we’re already stretched way too thin and not taking care of ourselves as it is. And you want to add something to our plate? Are you insane?!” I’m certainly not advocating that you become a sloth and only move for food and sex, but we do want to look at ways you can slowly start conserving more energy. When your brain feels that you have more space in your life, the fight or flight isn’t triggered as often and it will feel that a baby is a plausible venture.

Even though you, as an evolved human, want the baby and see all the positives, you are dealing with a primal, involuntary reaction in the brain that you cannot fool. So our initial job is to create an environment where your brain feels safe to start this process.

Consider it food for thought that when most of my clients come to me for fertility, they also end up changing their career in some capacity. So I invite you to inquire in a journal entry if you’re in the career you feel you’re meant to be in, or one you feel you’re obligated to be in. More and more I’m seeing these two areas tied together and sometimes it can be the reason the baby hasn’t shown up yet. You’re supposed to get a handle on that first.

When we want to have a baby so badly, we tend to skip over the areas where we need to do some work or make adjustments. But that work, ladies, is what helps you move toward the baby. These roadblocks being presented to you are not to be jumped over or gone around. You must move through them. They are likely a big part of why your pregnancy hasn’t happened yet. In your career you need confidence, drive, preparedness, and the feeling of being capable.

More often than not, my clients tend to be in a job that is just that … a job. It’s a pay check, or it gives them professional accolades, but it doesn’t feed their soul. I’ll ask them, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I’ve only had one person answer that it was what they were currently doing. On the surface that might not seem important. But I’m finding that we are being called to step into our purpose versus a career. When we are not in that purpose—the reason we are on the planet this time around— other things that we really want can be delayed. That delay is not your body failing you; it’s trying to give you time to find your purpose before you can add another aspect to your life.

I have my clients explore what they’d love to do for a living if their “stories” about why they couldn’t do it didn’t factor in. I joke that if they want to be a mime in a park, we’ll find a way to make it happen. But seriously, if you’re harbouring a super creative person buried under an overworked CPA, it could be a problem. There’s nothing wrong with being a CPA if that’s your purpose, but if your soul’s longing isn’t being fed, it can manifest in your body. When I’m reading people, the sacral chakra, located at your lower abdomen, represents creativity, relationships, and children. Your ovaries and uterus quite literally represent the point of creation. So if you are in a job that’s not feeding your soul, not feeding your creativity, that chakra can be closed. That means the creating children part shuts down as well. I’m not saying quit your job and draw landscapes on the sidewalk with chalk; but finding a way to feed your soul, whether it’s with something obviously creative (painting, drawing, dancing, photography) or something that just feeds your passion (getting a yoga teacher certification, making organic bath products, or flipping houses), is a key component in how fast you move forward. Stepping out of the idea of being obligated to be in a job and into what were you put on the planet to do is so important.

The mistake a lot of women make is thinking, “When I get pregnant I’ll cut back.” But the overload could be the very thing preventing you from getting pregnant, so take that action now. If your schedule is maxed out, you must find a way to create space so that your brain can feel like there’s room for this baby to come in.

When we want a baby it’s hard to step back from the fear, but it is necessary to move yourself forward. When you’re in fear or stress, your FOF is triggered. You have much more power on this journey than you realize. Finding ways to nourish yourself and create space in your life will go a long way to shifting your energy.

Yes the fight-or-flight response is automatic. We can’t stop it from being triggered entirely, which is actually a good thing; but you can find ways around it. By changing your thought process and implementing new patterns, you can bring your body out of FOF. Once we do that, the reproductive system can resume function, and then you can be on your way to your little munchkin.

If you need help figuring it out, visit fusionfertility.com for more information.

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NEWS: Get access to adult photos of the Cryos sperm donors

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Adult Cryos Sperm Donors Photos

Viewing adult photos of Cryos sperm donors is now a reality. Visit dk.cryosinternational.com today and get access to the new feature.

At Cryos it is now possible to access adult photos of sperm donors on our website, thus adding another dimension to your search for the perfect donor.

The unique chance to see both childhood and adult photos of your sperm donor, provides you with a more comprehensive idea of who your sperm donor is and moreover of the features of your future child. We hope that this extra dimension will upgrade your experience making your decision of a sperm donor easier.

The 5-6 adult photos are taken by a professional photographer and are a part of the donors extended profile where you also have access to childhood photos, an audio recording of the donor’s voice, a handwritten message, an emotional intelligence profile, and finally our staff impressions of the donor, amongst other exclusive features.

The adult photos require special access on our website. Visit our website and find out more and get access to this new feature now.

Please note that the person in the photos is a model and not a Cryos donor.
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Fertility And Sex: Why Her Orgasm Matters

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Why her orgasm matters

For many couples, trying to conceive can make sex feel less fun and more pressured. Instead of being an intimate and enjoyable experience, baby-making sex can start to seem like a finely choreographed routine. Often, the female orgasm is one of the first things to go, but the maleorgasm is not the only orgasm that matters when it comes to fertility.

Before I dive into discussing the potential benefits of the female orgasm for fertility, it’s important to note that reaching climax is not technically essential for conception. If you never, or rarely, achieve orgasm, don’t worry, you can still get pregnant! Around 1 in 10 women don’t experience orgasm, ever. What’s more, the exact nature of the female orgasm remains somewhat elusive. Some experience orgasm through clitoral stimulation, some through vaginal intercourse, some through both, and others through something else entirely, or not at all.

Even without reaching orgasm, sexual arousal is itself beneficial to fertility. Like an orgasm, arousal is, first and foremost, a good indication that sex is enjoyable. Sexual arousal and climax causes significant changes in your levels of neurotransmitters including noradrenaline, oxytocin, prolactin, dopamine, and serotonin. These ‘reward’ neurohormones help you bond to a sexual partner and make it more likely that you’ll have sex more often, thereby increasing your chances of conception.

Second, orgasm and arousal have a range of physiological effects that might aid conception, which I’ll discuss in a moment. And, third, sexual arousal and orgasms for everyone can help sperm-producing partners avoid feeling like they’re being used just for their sperm. In fact, some studies show that male partners who engage in cunnilingus prior to vaginal intercourse have greater sexual arousal and produce more semen!

HOW ORGASMS ENHANCE FERTILITY

The female orgasm can help relieve stress, and promote healthy circulation and balance in the body. Stress is a key cause of diminished libido and may also reduce the chances of conception by raising levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Conversely, good sex can help raise levels of oxytocin and the other neurohormones mentioned above. These help you to relax and bond to your partner.

Published in 1967, the author even went as far as suggesting that the increase in these hormones after orgasm help support conception by temporarily incapacitating you. Put simply, this ‘poleax’ effect means you’ll feel so relaxed that you’ll stay lying down, which may increase your chance of conceiving. Whether staying supine does make conception more likely is still under debate, but I’m all for promoting relaxation, so if this theory provides added motivation, go for it!

CERVICAL TENTING

There is some suggestion that orgasm affects the shape and function of the cervix. These effects, which may include cervical ‘tenting could enhance the likelihood of conception by promoting the movement of sperm into the uterus and beyond. If you are curious as to what your cervix looks like during different stages of your cycle, check out these photos.

THE ‘UP-SUCK’ THEORY

One of the main ways in which female orgasm has been linked to fertility is something called the ‘upsuck’ theory (or, sometimes, the ‘insuck’ theory). This theory proposes that the female orgasm causes uterine and vaginal contractions that actively draw semen up into the uterus and towards the fallopian tubes, thereby increasing the chances of an egg being fertilized.

Scientific evidence to support this theory is rather inconsistent, but there’s certainly no harm in trying! One proposed underlying mechanism of this theory is oxytocin-mediated uterine peristalsis, i.e. the same mechanism that causes uterine contractions during labour could be partially responsible for increasing the likelihood of conception. Indeed, some research has found higher pregnancy rates in women shown to experience this ‘insuck’ phenomenon.

SPERM RETENTION AND FERTILITY

More recently, one small study found that orgasm may increase sperm retention. This study involved women using a syringe to insert a sperm simulant (lube) prior to external stimulation to orgasm. As such, the study’s findings may be especially applicable to anyone undergoing artificial insemination (IUI).

The take-away: Chances are that if you orgasm 1 minute before or up to 45 minutes after insemination (whether artificial or otherwise), you will probably retain more sperm, which may increase your chance of conceiving.

IN CONCLUSION

To sum up, the female orgasm might enhance fertility in a variety of ways, but it isn’t essential to conception.

The take home message is that orgasm and sexual arousal itself have many benefits to fertility, partner relationships and stress relief. Don’t worry though, if you have a low libido, conception can still happen even in the absence of arousal and orgasm!

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What Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?

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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that affects 5 to 10 percent of women of reproductive age across the world, and results in irregular or absent periods, acne, excess body hair and weight gain. It is also a major cause of infertility and yet is frequently misdiagnosed and often missed completely.

PCOS gets its name because under an ultrasound scan, the ovaries can look like a bunch of grapes, each one covered in what look like multiple cysts. In fact, these aren’t cysts at all, but are small, undeveloped follicles.

Symptoms

Not every woman with PCOS will get the same symptoms, but common signs to look out for include:

  • Few or no periods
  • Excess hair on the face or breasts or inside of the legs or around the nipples
  • Acne
  • Oily skin
  • Scalp hair thinning or loss (male pattern baldness)
  • Skin tags (known as acrochordons)
  • Skin discolouration (known as acanthosis nigricans) where the skin looks ‘dirty’ on the arms, around the neck and under the breasts
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Lack of sex drive
  • Weight gain especially around the middle of the body
  • Difficulty in losing weight
  • Cravings and binges
  • Irregular or no ovulation
  • Difficulty in becoming pregnant
  • Recurrent miscarriages

PCOS creates a vicious cycle of hormone imbalances, which has huge knock-on effects throughout the rest of your body. With PCOS, the problem often starts with the ovaries, which are unable to produce the hormones they should, and in the correct proportions. But linked to this is the very common problem of insulin resistance. Women with PCOS very often have difficulties with blood sugar levels which can cause weight gain and the excess insulin can stimulate your ovaries to produce yet more testosterone. Half of all women with PCOS do not have any problems with their weight, yet they can still have higher insulin levels than normal.

How is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome diagnosed?

The most widely accepted criteria for the diagnosis of PCOS says that you should have two out of these three problems:

  • Infrequent or no ovulation
  • Signs (either physical appearance – hirsutism or acne – or blood tests) of high levels of male hormones
  • Polycystic ovaries as seen on an ultrasound scan

The Seven Nutritional Steps to beat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Good nutrition is the foundation of your health and you should never underestimate how powerful it can be. It is the fuel that provides you with the energy to live your life and it gives your body the nutrients it needs to produce your hormones in the correct balance. The better the supply of those nutrients, the more healthily your body will function.

The fundamental aim of my nutritional approach to PCOS is to target a number of areas simultaneously so that you get the maximum effect in the minimum amount of time.

Here’s how:

  1. Switch to unrefined carbohydrates (eaten with protein) and never go more than 3 hours without food to keep your blood sugar levels balanced
  2. Eat oily fish and foods rich in Omega 3s to help your body to become more sensitive to insulin so it can overcome insulin resistance
  3. Cut out all dairy products for 3 months to bring levels of male hormones under control
  4. Eat more vegetables and pulses to which helps control male hormones
  5. Cut right back on or cut out alcohol for 12 weeks to allow your liver function to improve
  6. Cut down on caffeine to give your adrenal glands a rest
  7. Cut down on saturated fats and eliminate trans fats to help control the potentially damaging inflammatory processes PCOS causes in the body

PCOS Symptons

Best Supplements for PCOS

The use of certain vitamins and minerals can be extremely useful in helping to correct Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, along with a good diet.

Chromium

Chromium helps to encourage the formation of glucose tolerance factor (GTF), which is required to make insulin more efficient. A deficiency of chromium can lead to insulin resistance.  It also helps to control cravings and reduces hunger. Can help to reduce insulin resistance associated with PCOS

B vitamins

The B vitamins are very important in helping to control the symptoms of PCOS. Vitamin B2 helps to burn fat, sugar and protein into energy. B3 is a component of GTF which is released every time blood sugar rises, and vitamin B3 helps to keep the levels in balance. Vitamin B5 has been shown to help with weight loss and B6 is also important for maintaining hormone balance and, together with B2 and B3, is necessary for normal thyroid function.

Zinc

Zinc helps with PCOS as it plays a crucial role in the production of your reproductive hormones and also regulates your blood sugar.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an important mineral for dealing with PCOS because there is a strong link between magnesium levels and insulin resistance – the higher your magnesium levels the more sensitive you are likely to be to insulin.

Co-Enzyme Q10

Co-Q10 is a substance that your body produces in nearly every cell.  It helps to balance your blood sugar and lowering both glucose and insulin.

Alpha lipoic acid

This powerful antioxidant helps to regulate your blood sugar levels because it releases energy by burning glucose and it also helps to make you more insulin sensitive. It also has an effect on weight loss because if the glucose is being used for energy, your body releases less insulin and you then store less fat.

Omega 3 fatty acids

Omega 3 fatty acids taken in supplement form have been found to reduce testosterone levels in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

Amino Acids

Certain amino acids can be very helpful for PCOS as they can improve your insulin sensitivity and also can have an effect on weight loss.

N-Acetyl cysteine

In women with PCOS this amino acid helps reduce insulin levels and makes your body more sensitive to insulin. Study using NAC in women who were clomiphene resistant and had ovarian drilling.  After ovarian drilling, the women given NAC compared to a placebo showed a significantly higher increase in both ovulation and pregnancy rates and lower incidence of miscarriage.

Arginine

Arginine can be helpful in reversing insulin resistance. In one study, a combination of both arginine and N-acetyl cysteine were given to women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.  The two amino acids help to improve blood sugar and insulin control and also increased the number of menstrual cycles and ovulation with one women becoming pregnant on the second month.

Carnitine

Carnitine helps your body break down fat to release energy and can help improve insulin sensitivity.

Tyrosine

Tyrosine is helpful for women with PCOS who are overweight as it helps to suppress the appetite and burn off fat.

Glutamine

This amino acid is useful for helping with sugar cravings as it can be converted to sugar for energy and so takes away the need to eat something sweet.  It also helps to build and maintain muscle which is important for fat burning.

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

BCAAs include three amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are important in PCOS because they help to balance blood sugar and having good levels of these BCAAs can have a beneficial effect on your body weight

Inositol

A study used inositol (2,000mg) in combination with NAC (600mg), a significant increase in ovulation rates.

Having a good diet, regular exercise, controlling stress and taking key nutrients will help in getting your hormones back in balance and reducing the negative symptoms associated with PCOS.

More information can be found on www.naturalhealthpractice.com

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