Whether your goal is to conceive naturally OR prepare your body for a successful round of fertility treatments…THIS POST IS FOR YOU
The whole basis of your fertility and reproductive power comes down to an intricate interaction of the HPO axis.
To break that down, that’s the connection between the Hypothalamus (brain) – Pituitary Gland (at the base of the brain) – Ovaries
Inside of our signature program, Holistic Fertility Method, we break down the complexities of your hormones into a very simple format for you to understand & apply to your fertility journey, but for the sake of this post, we are going to skip straight to ‘what can go wrong’ in the hopes you can fast track your fertility journey & get the answers you deserve
The 3 biggest fertility issues that stem from a hormonal imbalance within the HPO axis are
1. First up is FSH
FSH is the ‘messenger boy’ made by the pituitary that travels to the ovaries to tell it to start maturing follicles. Maturing follicles are important because they contain the eggs that will be released at ovulation
Your FSH can be tested via blood on day 2-3 of your cycle (day 1 of your cycle being the first day of your menstrual cycle).
We want to see an FSH below 10mIU/mL at this time
If FSH is higher than 10mIU/mL that means your pituitary is ‘banging on the door of your ovaries’ to mature those follicles but the ovaries aren’t responding. So the brain sends out more and more FSH to get the job down.
What’s the reason for this miscommunication? Evidence shows that this occurs when our egg reserve in the ovaries is beginning to dwindle as we age.
Are your FSH levels high?
Here’s what to do:
1. Get further testing. AMH (anti-mulleurian hormone tested via blood) and Antral Follicle Count (done through ultrasound) are more accurate determinants of your ovarian reserve
2. Check for high estrogen levels, pituitary tumors, or adrenal hyperplasia (low cortisol, high androgens, irregular/absent periods)
3. Avoid as many environmental toxins as you can (beauty / cleaning / laundry products), invest in an air purifier and water filter, eat only Organic fruits & veggies along with Organic, pasture-raised, grass-finished animal products
4. Remember, hormones are always shifting, so just because you scored a high FSH, don’t get too attached to that number. It’s best to get a few months of testing before an official diagnosis is made.
5. AND, most importantly, women with high FSH values / low follicle counts get pregnant ALLLL the time, so even if a doctor tells you that your only chance of conceiving is undergoing IVF with donor eggs, get a second opinion and seek alternative options with high success rates (acupuncture, massage, hypnotherapy)!
Don’t let a high FSH completely define you & your journey! You have a strong mind & soul – you got this mamma <3
2. Next is Estrogen
Estrogen (more specifically, Estradiol or E2) Basics:
The majority of E2 is secreted by your ovaries, with a bit coming from adrenals, too
When the follicles in the ovaries are maturing on day 1 thru 14 of your cycle (assuming a normal 28 day cycle), they release increasing amounts of E2 to prepare for ovulation
E2 is important for fertility not only because it helps promote ovulation, but also works to thicken the uterine lining in preparation for a fertilized egg to implant
Like FSH, we want to test E2 on day 2-3 of your cycle (check our previous post to learn more about FSH).
A functional range of estrogen is 25-75 pg/mL
Is your Estrogen LOWER than 25 pg/mL?
COMMON CAUSES OF LOW ESTROGEN INCLUDE:
– disordered eating
– heavy exerciser
Is your Estrogen HIGHER than 75 pg/mL?
COMMON CAUSES OF EXCESS ESTROGEN INCLUDE:
– hormonal birth control
– exposure to environmental toxins
– impaired liver detoxification
– high histamine
– ovarian cysts
HOW TO BALANCE ESTROGEN LEVELS:
– eat whole foods rich in protein, healthy fats & phytonutrients
– eat breakfast within an hour of waking
– eat every 3-4 hrs to keep blood sugar stable
– consume 35g of fiber daily
– drink plenty of water
– steer clear of environmental toxins in household products
– invest in an air and water purifier
– consider supplementation of DIM, NAC, Calcium-d-glucarate & methylated B vitamins
We have loads more information on proper estrogen balance, so head over to our search engine in our blog to get filled in!
rogesterone is so so important to getting (& staying) pregnant
It’s a hormone produced mainly by the ovaries (but a little by the adrenal glands too), & has many roles
– helps to build / stabilize the uterine lining in preparation for implantation
– relaxes the uterine muscle & decreases chances of contractions
– temporarily inhibits the immune system to accept the fertilized egg
Kinda of a big deal, eh?!
Progesterone should be tested 7 days post ovulation (so for most women that is around day 21 of their cycle (assuming a standard 28 day cycle).
The reason we test on this day is cuz, we really aren’t making a whole lot of progesterone in the first half of our cycle (follicular phase), it only begins to rise after ovulation!
After ovulation, the follicle that released the egg (now called the corpus luteum) starts producing progesterone.
A functional progesterone level is 15-20 ng/mL
Is Your Progesterone Level Low?
Causes of Low Progesterone:
– nutrient deficiences / disordered eating
– excessive training / undereating
– mental / emotional stress
– stress/shame/guilt trying to conceive
– doubts/fears of motherhood
– past sexual trauma
Can you resonate with one or more items on the list above?
Low progesterone is a very common symptom that goes undetected – even before / during fertility treatments!
If fertility treatments are your only option, then making sure your progesterone levels are healthy is EXTREMELY important, otherwise your body will likely not accept the treatments
What to do Next
I know what it’s like to get all this info spat at you without REALLY understanding what it all means…AND that’s why I’m here. To help guide you on the path that works BEST for you & your goals
This journey to motherhood doesn’t have to be full of anxiety & doubt! If it is, reach out for a call & we can change that for you in 90 days time <3
Click here to book your call, I’ll see you in there <3