And why you need to look beyond conventional testing to get answers:
First, we’re not talking about anatomical issues, like a blocked tube. This discussion is about what causes the hormone imbalances and poor ovarian reserve that make it harder to get pregnant (it’s not just age!)
With our detective hats on, there are three systems that we need to investigate to figure out why you’re not getting pregnant:
1. Neuro-endocrine pathways (from your brain to your hormones). The same building blocks make both cortisol, the stress hormone, and your sex hormones. If there’s chronic stress at play, then your body is making more cortisol and less estrogen and progesterone. This chronic stress can be mental, emotional or physical, things like:
- Poor sleep
- Over-exercising or under-eating
- Emotional burnout
2. Digestive health. If exposed to a trigger (like gluten for those with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance), your GI tract can be a source of chronic inflammation. Inflammation signals danger, warning your body that now is not a safe time to reproduce.
Your digestive tract is also the primary home of your microbiome – the colonies of beneficial bacteria that help you absorb nutrients, eliminate excess estrogen, stave off infection and control inflammation. A healthy microbiome is the seed to optimal health, and thus, fertility.
3. Toxic burden. Although we’re all bombarded with environmental toxins as a part of day-to-day living – think pollutants in our air, pesticides on our food and chemicals in our skincare, your body has natural defense mechanisms to prevent toxic overload. Problems arise when the amount of toxins coming in surpasses the capacity of your liver, kidneys and GI tract to eliminate those toxins. Many of these toxins mimic estrogen and interfere with hormone balance, making it harder to get pregnant.
In the FERTILE IN FIVE program, the first step is to do an assessment of these systems to identify what might be blocking your fertility.
Your body is meant to reproduce – it wants to make a baby! Through functional testing, my job is to help you figure out what’s getting in the way and remove those barriers.
Functional vs Conventional Testing
Functional testing differs from the conventional testing you will get with an OB or an RE in two key ways:
1. Conventional testing only looks at a snapshot of your reproductive hormones. Functional testing looks upstream of your reproductive hormones at the systems listed above to get answers about what causes the hormone imbalances.
2. Conventional medicine defines “normal” lab values at a just enough to prevent disease. In functional testing, desired lab ranges are based on what will promote optimal health, not just prevent sickness and disease.
I use conventional and functional testing in my practice to understand your unique physiology and take out the guesswork about what will work to get you pregnant.
If you haven’t done all of this testing, your infertility is far from “unexplained”!
What testing should you do?
I offer a free Fertility Strategy Session to help you interpret the testing you’ve already done and what further test you might need to fill in the gaps.
Making a baby is natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy! I’m here to help you understand why and get to the solution faster.
You’re made for this!