NSAIDs may be affecting your fertility

Are you one of the thousands of women who regularly have to take over the counter pain medications to help you through your cycle? On average, 84% of women report menstrual pain and about 50% report having pain with every cycle. With this type of prevalence, the use of Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatories is pretty high. In this class of medications are the usual suspects:

  • Aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin, Excedrin)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB)
  • Naproxen (Aleve)

 

pills

If you get regular headaches, migraines, or menstrual pains, you have likely used one of these medications. We’re a pill-popping culture, so it’s not abnormal for you to want to suppress any sort of pain you feel. I was one of those women. When I was 12, I started getting severe migraines- about 1 per week. And, unless I took an Advil, that pain was guaranteed to continue… sometimes for upto a week. Imagine a 12 year old with severe head pain on a 8/10 scale. That was me. And, at 15, my dad found out about my little Advil dependence and threw them out. That was the end… but, that was not the end of my headaches. I switched to taking tylenol which also seemed to do the trick, and continued to have those headaches well through medical school. It’s only more recently that I got to the root of the problem and haven’t been having headaches that frequently. So trust me, I get what it’s like to be in intense pain.

The pain is a sign of your body (and mind) wanting attention– wanting you to pay attention to something. This root cause may be mental-emotional, old traumas, etc., or it may actually be physiological– an imbalance in the hormones of the body which may trigger pain, or it could even be related to a nutritional deficiency. As you can see, it’s pretty important to figure out the root causes and treat those — eventually. But, if you’re trying to get pregnant, or you hope to some-day, it’s probably wise to avoid the use of the aforementioned pain-killers.

Why? After just 10 days of use, these NSAIDs were found to decrease progesterone levels. Progesterone is a hormone that is crucial for ovulation and maintenance of a healthy pregnancy. 

Here’s the study in case you want to read about it for yourself. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150611082124.htm

It’s flu season… is the flu vaccine worth it?

Lots of people take the flu shot to protect themselves during flu season. Pregnant women are especially warned that they are at higher risk and should definitely protect themselves. What most people don’t know however, is that the flu shot has mercury (thimerosal). Introducing your body to this toxin, used as a preservative in the flu vaccine, is really not recommended if you are trying to conceive or are pregnant. The other important note about the flu vaccine is that this vaccine is essentially based on last year’s most common viruses. The funny thing about viruses though, is that they mutate. So the likelihood of the same viral strain hitting twice in a row is unlikely. Basically, the flu vaccine uses outdated viral strains by the time it’s produced.

Before we jump into action items, I have a few things I want you to remember…

* Recognize that having a short cold or flu once a year is actually a sign of healthy immune function. Although, you don’t need to go out and intentionally get sick, if you do happen to get sick, know that this is a good thing. These short term, benign illnesses actually keep your immune system alert and active and may be preventing from other diseases like autoimmune disease or cancer down the road.

* The fever is a good thing, don’t suppress it! A fever below 103 degrees is actually a good thing. The fever is your immune system mounting a response to the virus. So, instead of taking tylenol to suppress your fever, I say help enhance your fever– it’ll do your immune system a world of good! But, this should be doctor-supervised… so find yourself a good Naturopathic Doctor who’s willing to give you some tools to enhance your fever and observe you through to the other side.

What can you do instead of taking the flu vaccine?

 

1) Elderberries. Drinking elderberry tea through flu season is probably better than the flu vaccine. Studies have shown that people taking elderberry were more protected against flu than people who took the flu shot. And, they’re delicious and high in Vitamin C.  You can’t go wrong with this!

elderberries

2) If you begin to have preliminary cold symptoms, take action! Don’t wait till you’re really sick. I have a variety of favorites that I would suggest having on hand:

– Vitamin C — take 1000 mg a few times a day (or, until you being to have loose bowel movements)

– Wellness Formula — take 2 caps or tabs every 2-3 hours

– Oregano oil (use caution if you’re pregnant) – 1-3 drops every 2-3 hours

 

3) Magic socks. This is one of my favorite home remedies of all times. And… the directions for this therapy are coming in a future post.

 

Till next time, peace and blessings. Stay warm. And, stay flu-free!

 

 

Birth control and fertility

Until you’re ready to have a baby, birth control is essential. And, on average, young girls begin having sex in the early teen years and often wait to have babies till their 40s. So, that’s almost 25 years of needing “protection” from what nature intended… babies! So, what to do till then? I have so many conversations with women about what is the best form of birth control and what won’t damage their fertility for later. Here’s the short and skinny version! Here, I’m only focusing on baby-prevention. It’s a whole different conversation to have around STD prevention– please note that this post will not address STDs and how to protect against them.

1) Pills — Oral contraceptives are highly effective at preventing pregnancy. Unfortunately, they do in fact expose your body to prolonged exogenous hormones and it usually takes a while to reset the body back to normal hormonal patterns. Even then, it may be more difficult to get pregnant for women who have used OCPs for many years. What you should know: If you choose this method, give yourself at least a year to two years buffer to regulate your hormonal patterns and detoxify your body before “trying.”

2) Merena IUD — This option is also hormonal. However, the exposure to the amount of hormones is lower and more localized. The benefit of this option is that there are usually few side effects but if you’re not getting your period on a monthly basis since having the IUD, know that this is affecting and impacting your future fertility– even if your doctor says it’s totally fine for you to not have a period every month.

3) Copper IUDs — This is a non-hormonal, local option, that usually doesn’t have too many side effects. Many women do have  severe cramps, at least for the first few months. Also, beware: copper IUDs can cause copper and zinc in your body to go out of balance, and hence potentially cause lowered immunity. Also, worst case scenario is copper toxicity.

4) Cervical caps — These are an easy option, that’s non-hormonal, and local. It does expose your body to a small amount of toxins from the spermicide, however, the spermicide is necessary– this increases cervical cap effectiveness to 99%. The downside? Well, men definitely don’t love it and it takes some getting used to.

5) Tracking and Rhythm Method– If done correctly, is 98% effective. However, on average, people usually do it well enough for only 90% effectiveness. So, if you’re going to use this method, it is critical to do it well and get some training from a pro before forging into it yourself! There are lots of great online training courses… if you’re like me, you’ll want the live trainings where you can ask questions and be engaged. I have found that books are not the greatest way to learn this method but it may be the right place for you. If you are interested in taking a class on this topic, I suggest one of the classes from Her Fertility with Hannah Ransom.