Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome(OHSS)

Facts about Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)

There may be side effects from the medications used to stimulate your ovaries during the IVF process.  These side effects can range from mild to severe.  Excessive stimulation of the ovaries is called ovarian hyperstimulation.  This may require removing some of the fluid in the doctor’s office or the hospital and may require a stay in the hospital in 1% of patients.

Be aware of the following body changes and be sure to tell your practitioner if you have any questions or concerns.

You may have mild symptoms of hyperstimulation during your treatment cycle.  Moderate and severe symptoms occur 6 – 8 days after treatment ends.

Click here for a chart showing Signs and Symptoms of OHSS and what to do if you are experiencing any of the symptoms.

If you period starts, you are likely to begin feeling better.  Pregnancy may prolong or exaggerate these side effects.  It may take up to 10 weeks for the symptoms to resolve if you are pregnant.

REMEMBER: This chart is only a guide and not intended as a substitute for medical care.  Call your practitioner as soon as possible if you are experiencing any of the symptoms.

Fertility Diet Guidelines – After Ovulation

Welcome to the fourth issue of Fertility Diet Guidelines – After Ovulation is the theme this week.

If your egg was released by your ovary and successfully fertilized – Congratulations!  The embryo now has the task of implantation during this time of your cycle.

It is recommended to eat pineapple as it contains bromaline, an enzyme that promotes implantation to take place.  You should also avoid drinking icy cold beverages and cold raw foods.  Cold foods deprive your body heat that is necessary to nourish your uterus.

Your body now needs foods that increase vital energy.  Eat soups that are prepared with lots of legumes and vegetables at each meal.

Make sure your food is properly cooked in case you are pregnant to avoid food poisoning.

DO NOT eat refined carbohydrates, sugars and processed foods.  Avoid drinking tap water and make sure to drink purified water or spring water from a reliable source.

Water is important to help you make fertile mucus to support the sperm fluids and for the maintenance of healthy blood pH.  All important metabolic reactions occur in the purified water presence of water.

In order to drink the proper amount of water – take your weight in pounds and divide it by two.  This should be the equivalent in ounces of water you need to drink each day.

It is important to follow a healthy lifestyle at least 3 – 4 months prior to getting pregnant.  Quit smoking, avoid alcohol and coffee.  Make sure to get enough sleep every night.

Avoid wearing toxic hair spray, gels and make up.  Switch to a non-toxic brand.

I hope this information has helped.  Please contact me for further information and help with your fertility journey.  Together we can make your dream of having a baby come true.

 

 

Fertility Diet Guidelines – During Ovulation

Welcome to the third part of this series – Fertility Diet Guidelines – During Ovulation.

Many women know when the are about to ovulate.  If you are charting your cycle you will know approximately when you ovulate each month.  This is the time to eat more foods that support healthy ovulation.

  1. Royal Jelly
  2. Maca
  3. Green superfoods     supergreen
  4. Avoid dairy and soy
  5. Avoid processed sugar
  6. Take Vitamin C – this improves hormone levels and prevents oxidative aging of the eggs.
  7. Take Vitamin E – this has been shown to repair damaged eggs
  8. CoQ10 helps to improve egg health
  9. L Arginine is an amino acid necessary for fertiltiy.  L-Arginine increases blood flow to the ovaries allowing faster nutrients and anti-oxidants to be delivered to the ovarian tissue.

Remember, you also need to have lots of fertile mucus at this time so you should eat foods that increase your mucus.

  1. Evening Primose oil
  2. Lots of water
  3. Avoid processed foods
  4. Avoid refined carbohydrates
  5. Avoid excessive meat consumption
  6. Calcium – makes the PH of the cervical mucus less acidic and more sperm friendly

Next week we will look at dietary guidelines for after ovulation.

 

 

Fertility Diet Guidelines – Before Ovulation

Welcome to the second part of this series – Fertility Diet Guidelines.  Today we will be talking about our Fertility Diet Before Ovulation.

During this time your body is attempting to do many different things at different times during your monthly cycle.  It needs specific nutritional support before ovulation for the development of healthy follicles, which must contain the healthiest eggs and be capable to mature the most perfect egg to be released.

As an integral part of your fertility diet for this function, make sure you eat plenty of the following foods:

  1. Cold pressed oil of olive, sesame oil and flaxseed oil.
  2. Organic meat (totally avoid any meat that has been fed synthetic estrogen at this time as it can delay ovulation).
  3. Lots of organic legumes like lentils, cheek peas, black eyed beans, etc.  legumes
  4. Lots of leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli, all of which contain B vitamins which is important for egg release.
  5. Avocadoes are high in essential fatty acids.
  6. Sweet potatoes.
  7. Raw nuts and seeds that are high in healthy fats and minerals.
  8. Whole grains like spelt and kamut.
  9. Lots of organically grown fruits – strawberries, cherries, mangoes, citrus fruits.
  10. Deep fish that has been wild caught (salmon, cod, sole, tilapia, sardines).

Each of these add nutrients necessary for optimizing your fertility and helping to get your body prepared for conception.

During this time it is also important to limit dairy and soy products.  Limiting processed sugars, caffeine, alcohol and trans-fats is also important.

This time-frame is critical for preparing your body and helping it to be nutritionally fit for conception.  What you do now will greatly increase or decrease your chances for conception.

Fertility Diet Guidelines

Did you know that what you eat can help you conceive?

This will be part of a 4-series article on dietary guidelines for fertility.  This article focuses on pre-conception.  Next we will explore before ovulation; during ovulation; and after ovulation.

Supporting the endocrine system and reproductive organs, the fertility diet consists of eating more of certain types of foods known to increase fertility; while avoiding types of foods known to disrupt hormonal balance, impair ovulation, increased acidity in the body and suppressing the immune system.

How you eat before conception can make a world of difference in your ability to conceive and in your ability to carry a healthy pregnancy to term.

Here are some guidelines for both partners for improving quality of sperm and eggs.

  1.  Eat organic fruits and vegetables as much as possible to avoid pesticides and herbicides.
  2. Eat organic dairy products that do not contain hormones or antibiotics.  If you are experiencing endometriosis or fibroids, you should avoid dairy products altogether organic dairybecause they contain estrogen which stimulates their growth.  If you PCOS, you should also avoid dairy.
  3. Eat only lean red meat that is grass fed or organically grown.  Conventionally grown cattle contain hormones, antibiotics and other contaminants that contribute to excess estrogen.  Eat red meat only once or twice a week.  Eat a very small amount, no more that 4 oz. at a time.
  4. Eat only white meat like chicken that is free range or organically grown to avoid hormones and antibiotics which can disrupt your hormonal balance.
  5. Eat fish that is fresh and comes from deep sea waters.  Select sole, tilapia, cod, and salmon.  Avoid farmed salmon, tuna, shark, and sea food because they contain high level of heavy metals.
  6. Eat plenty of legumes because they are high in fiber which helps regulate blood sugar reducing fertility issues associated with PCOS and contain a good source of protein.
  7. Eat whole grains and avoid processed and refined white flour foods.  Select pasta whole grainsand breads made with spelt flour, brown rice, amaranth, millet, buckwheat or quinoa.  Avoid flours that are made with GMO’s.
  8. Make sure your fertility diet is high in fiber because it helps the body eliminate excess estrogen.  Also, it lowers your blood glucose.
  9. Do not eat soy products unless they are fermented like miso or tempeh.  Soy has estrogenic effects and it is not indicated if you are trying to conceive but most importantly you should avoid it during pregnancy and lactation.
  10. Avoid drinking soy beverages.  Select brown rice beverages instead.
  11. Drink fresh juices.  Learn how to juice your own fruits and vegetables.  You will greatly increase your chances of getting pregnant because they have lots of enzymes, minerals and vitamins.
  12. Avoid commercial fruit juices because the pasteurization process destroys vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
  13. Avoid refined sugars.  Choose natural sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, stevia or agave nectar.
  14. Drink lots of water – 6 – 8 glasses a day.  Avoid drinking tap water because it may contain harmful chemicals.
  15. Include essential fatty acids into your diet.  Make sure you eat plenty of omega 3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids.  Select healthy vegetable oils like flax seed oil, oil of olive, hemp oil and coconut oil.
  16. Give up smoking, drinking alcohol and coffee.

Next week – Fertility Diet Guidelines Before Ovulation.

Fertility Related Health Problems and Gut Health

I would estimate that of the women I work with, 30% have digestive issues (IBS, Crohns disease, Colitis), 15% have chronic yeast infections, 80% have high stress levels, 60% have chronic inflammatory related fertility issues such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, PCOS, etc.)  Clearly, gut health needs to be addressed when anyone is looking to heal fertility issues.  Healthy gut flor is one of the first lines of defense we have in preventing disease, but also in healing problems already present.  If there is a lack of gut flora, we cannot even begin to think we can heal fertility problems.

Fertility related issues that will benefit from Prebiotics and Probiotics:

  • PCOS
  • Endometriosis
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Thyroid problems (directly negatively impact fertility)
  • Adenomyosis
  • Estrogen dominance (estrogen is pro-inflammatory)
  • Autoimmune related infertility
  • Yeast Infection
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Sexually Transmitted Disease

Healthy fertility requires eating a diet rich in a variety of whole foods.  This should include probiotics and prebiotics.  Probiotics and prebiotics help to digest and utilize food in the best way possible.  Digestive health is a key pillar in the foundation for healthy fertility.

We cannot metabolize important phytoestrogens from plant foods and medicinal herbs without adequate amounts of healthy intestinal flora.

The Importance of Good Intestinal Bacteria

Our intestines contain over 100 trillion bacteria.  These bacteria protect our health.  Gut flora plays many important roles in protecting us from many health problems, including many fertility problems.  This good bacteria is also an essential component in healing existing fertility problems.

Important Actions of Good Gut Bacteria

  • Synthesizing vitamins so they can be utilized properly by the body
  • Changing which genes are active in gut cells
  • Keeping harmful bacteria from spreading in the body
  • Helping prevent infections
  • Helping digest good efficiently
  • Helping prevent colon cancer

Changes in the body that lower the amount of gut flora may give rise to health problems, including fertility issues.  Probiotic supplementation should be a part of your regular protocol when treating infertility.  Low gut flora gives rise to inflammatory disease.  Endometriosis, PCOS, uterine fibroids, adenomysis, dysmenorrhea, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and autoimmune related infertility issues all have a common element involved: chronic inflammation.  Inadequate levels of gut flora also give rise to the most common female vaginal problem:  yeast infection.  We need gut flora to utilize all the foods, herbs and nutritional supplements we take.  If we don’t have healthy amounts of beneficial gut flora, the body is not going to be able to benefit from efforts in increasing fertility naturally.  Healing fertility must begin in the gut.

Main Causes of Lower Levels of Gut Flora

  • Antibiotic use
  • Poor nutrition
  • Stress
  • Inflammation

Our gut flora is established by the time we are 3 years of age.  This means our natural gut flora can be compromised since we were a young child.  Think about your mother’s health when she was pregnant.  Was she ill?  Did she have to take antibiotics while pregnant?  What happen to you directly after birth?  Were you bottle fed?  Were you given antibiotics early in life?  If you answer yes to any of these, you are more likely to have lower levels of gut flora; possibly setting you up for health issues later in life.

So, when you are pregnant and breastfeeding, you will need to maintain healthy gut flora to ensure your child has the best digestive health from the start.

Sources of Prebiotics  onion and garlic

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Jicama
  • Fresh dandelion greens
  • Asparagus
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Radicchio
  • Endive
  • Chicory

Probiotics

Probiotics are products, including some foods that contain live microorganisms that replenish good bacteria in the intestines.  If you have low levels of gut flora, or you aren’t sure if you do or not, you can eat foods with live active cultures or take a probiotic supplement.

Antibiotics kill both bad and good bacteria.  Taking a probiotic is essential to full recovery.  If you are being treated for any fertility issue with antibiotics, begin taking a probiotic supplement right away, even before you begin your antibiotic use.

Excellent Sources of Probiotics

  • Organic yogurt (must say live cultures/bacteria)
  • Kombucha
  • Kefir
  • Fermented and cultured vegetables (raw sauerkraut)
  • Probiotic supplements

Choose probiotics that are refrigerated, not pasteurized and say “contains live cells.”  The supplement should contain at least a billion colony form units (CFU’s).

A – Z Herbs for Fertility (Part 2)

Here is some more quick information about herbs that have been found to be supportive for reproductive health issues.

These are not meant to be a substitute for dietary and lifestyle changes and are more effective when healthy diet and exercise are in place.  Fertility Herbs are a great way toherbs bring about healthy healing and change in the body.

Goldenseal root:  Anti-inflammatory.  Reduction in inflammation may help to prevent scar tissue and adhesion formation.

Gymnema leaf:  This herb supports healthy blood sugar levels, controlling insulin.  Helps curb sugar cravings.

Horsetail aerial parts:  Excellent for toning healing of excess foreign tissue growth and bleeding.

Lemon Balm leaf:  Supports nervous system.  Supports healthy stress response, lessens depression and anxiety – stress response is important prior to conception.

Licorice root:  Mimics estrogen.  Licorice is an adaptogen herb, supporting the endocrine system for overall hormonal support.

Maca:  Helps to balance hormones, and doesn’t contain any hormones itself  Nourishes and balances  the endocrine system.   Aids the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands and protects the body from stress damage.  Supports and increases egg health.

Milk Thistle seed:  Supports hormonal balance.  One of the best plants for liver health – liver health is vital for hormonal balance.

Partridge Berry leaves and stems:  A uterine tonic used to help strengthen a weak uterus.

Red Clover aerial parts, blossom:  Red Clover is a nourishing food herb – rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals.  One of the best purifying herbs, aiding in the detoxification of environmental pollutants prior to conception.

Sesame seed:  Has the highest oil content of any seed providing a rich source of omega 3 and 6 EFA’s.  Promotes healthy estrogen balance and overall hormonal balance.

Shatavari root:  An estrogen regulator, contributes to menstrual cycle regulation.  This herb supports healthy fertility and is an immune system and nutritive tonic supporting overall immune system function.

Tribulus aerial parts and fruit:  Has been shown to increase in serum estrodiol in women.  May normalize ovulation in infertile women when used prior to ovulation.  One study performed on 36 women who were not ovulating, showed that 67% realized normal ovulation after only 2 – 3 months of consistent use.

White Peony:  Been found to aid in increasing progesterone leves, lower testosterone and balance estrogen.  This herb has excellent hormone balancing support.  Moves the blood to the pelvic area which is good for uterine stagnation including conditions such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and PCOS.

A-Z Herbs for Fertility (Part 1)

Here is some quick information about herbs that have been found to be supportive for reproductive health issues.

These are not meant to be a substitute for dietary and lifestyle changes and are more herbseffective when healthy diet and exercise are in place.  Fertility Herbs are a great way to bring about healthy healing and change in the body.

Alfalfa aerial parts:  Very nutritious, high in vitamins and minerals. Aids in vaginal atrophy and dryness.

American Ginseng root:  Supports overall endocrine system function.  Supports proper immune response, aids in possible autoimmune fertility issues.  Aids in supporting the body with proper stress response.

Ashwagandha root:  Supports overall endocrine system function.  Supports proper immune response, aids in possible autoimmune fertility issues.  Aids in supporting the body with proper stress response.

Bee Pollen:  Bee pollen has been reported to have great results in boosting immunity and fertility.  Bee propolis has been found to support healthy immune, inflammation and stress response in the body.

Bee Propolis:  Bee Propolis is a mixture of tree sap, tree buds, tree leaves and other botanical sources that the bees make to seal small openings in their hives.  A study published in Fertility and Sterility (2003) showed that 60% of women with endometriosis related infertility who took 500mg of bee propolis twice a day for nine months became pregnant as opposed to 20% in the placebo group.  Endometriosis pain, scar tissue and adhesion  formation is thought to be triggered by inflammation response.  Bee propolis has been shown to be extremely anti-inflammatory which may reduce endometriosis.  Bee propolis may also contain immunomodulating properties.  This may be beneficial for autoimmune related fertility issues (mother’s body attacks and rejects the fetus).  Other associated autoimmune fertility issues include Premature Ovarian Failure, antisperm antibody and endometriosis.

Black Cohosh root:  Promotes regulation of the entire menstrual cycle.  Excellent for relieving ovarian pain.  Anti-inflammatory, reducing spasm in both the smooth muscles and the skeletal muscles associated with pain that radiates to the lower back and down the thighs.

Blue Vervain aerial parts:  Supports proper function of the uterus.

Borage seed oil:  High is omega-6 essential fatty acids.  It works to increase cervical mucous and balances hormones.

Budock root:  Nourishing and cleansing for the liver, aiding in hormonal balance.  Supports overall liver function for improved hormonal balance.  Cleansing for the entire body.  Helps to remove estrogen from the liver for proper estrogen balance in the body.

Castor Oil, oil pressed from bean:  When Castor Oil is applied as a pack to the abdomen, it can enhance detoxification, circulation and promote healing of the tissues and organs underneath the skin.  Castor oil works to dissolve foreign tissue growth–including endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, scar tissue damage from reproductive organ trauma.

Cinnamon bark:  Reduces heavy menstrual bleeding.  Improves circulation to reproductive system.  Can reduce insulin resistance in women.  May help to lower heavy bleeding time associated with hormonal imbalances due to PCOS.

Dandelion leaf and root:  The leaf is very nourishing and is high in vitamins and minerals.  The root aids in liver health and stimulates digestion for improved hormonal balance.

Dong Quai root:  Increases circulation-which is required to remove toxins, dead tissue, metabolic waste from our bodies.  This is important for those with endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, irregular or absent menstruation.

Enchinacea flower, root, seed:  Stimulates the immune system.  Autoimmune fertility issues may be supported with this herb during acute flare ups.

Eleuthero root and stem bark:  Adaptogen herb the supports overall endocrine function which supports hormonal balance.  Strengthens the immune system.

Goji berry, dried fruit:  Protects sperm from overheating, increasing hormonal levels, and supports hormonal balance through improved liver function.

The ART of Timing Conception

Often, women will swap their body’s wisdom for a gadget or a test kit to identify their most fertile times and timing conception.

These are expensive and and  can make you feel like you’d never be able to figure this out yourself.  Mother Nature thinks of everything, and guess what, she let’s you know when you are most likely to get pregnant.

While we are usually very familiar with PMS symptoms, (pimples, sore boobs, cravings, mood swings, etc.) and very few are able to accurately recognize the symptoms of their peak fertility.

What are they?

  •  Mucus fluctuations
  • Heightened sex drive
  • Pheromones make you more attractive to the opposite sex for the  duration of your peak fertility
  • Energy boost

Did you know, out of these, the most reliable key to recognizing your most fertile time and timing conception is YOUR CERVICAL MUCUS!  I know examining cervical mucus may sound gross, truly it is the easiest and simplest way to telling when you should have sex to get pregnant (and avoiding sex if you don’t want to get pregnant), so JUST DO IT!

Each of your cycles are unique as each of you are.  No gadget will be able to tell you as precisely as your own body when you are fertile.  You may even learn a thing or two about your cycle.  So, let’s rejoice that we have access  to such an amazing built in mechanism!

Mucus fluctuates with your hormones

  • Estrogen levels are low at the beginning of your cycle.  Mucus mirrors its levels and will be scanty, sticky and tacky and opaque in color.  This mucus is infertile and hostile to sperm because it’s acidic and thick not allowing sperm to swim forward.  It will form a plug across the cervix preventing sperm from entering.
  • As estrogen gradually starts increasing with approaching ovulation, the mucus will change in quantity and texture.  It’s not yet fertile but it’s becoming more fluid and the PH is increasing and becoming more sperm friendly.
  • As ovulation approaches, your mucus will become wetter, clearer and thinner.  There also will be lots more of it!  This is fertile mucus and will enable sperm to swim and survive.
  • Estrogen peaks right before ovulation.  The mucus will become raw egg white like. It’ll stretch – this is the mos fertile mucus.  It dislodges the mucus plug, leaving the cervix open.
  • After ovulation, as estrogen starts to drop, the mucus will gradually return to what it looked like after your period and before ovulation – infertile.

What are you looking for when checking mucus?

  • How does it feel when you’re walking around
  • How does it look
  • How much of it is there
  • What color is it
  • How does it smell

When should you check your mucus?

When using the bathroom – check to see if there is any mucus on the mouth of the vagina.  If so, examine it and use the above criteria to tell if it is fertile or not.

It takes time and practice before you can confidently recognize your peak fertility.  Practice makes perfect and the sooner you start the faster you’ll master the art of peak fertility times and timing conception!

 

 

Secondary Infertility?

When Trying for Another Child is a Struggle –

If you have had one or more healthy full-term pregnancies, you are very fertile and will go on to have more healthy pregnancies – RIGHT?  WRONG – Infertility can happen to anyone, at any time.  Couples who have had one or more biological children, without the assistance of reproductive technology or fertility medications and are unable to conceive or carry to term another pregnancy have Secondary Fertility.  Having a different partner this time does not matter.  It is also defined as secondary fertility if you are unable to conceive with this partner and have already had a full term pregnancy.

Secondary fertility accounts for nearly half of all infertility diagnosis.  Around 12% of the women in the United States are diagnosed with secondary infertility. (tweet this)

You should consider other options (fertility coach, etc.)  if:

  • You are experiencing irregular or very painful menstruation
  • Have had more than two miscarriages
  • Have a history of STD’s
  • Have a history of fertility related issues such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts, etc.
  • Have a history of other health related problems such as diabetes, obesity, thyroid issues, alcoholism, drug addition, autoimmune disease

What contributes to Secondary Infertility?

Age – As we age our body systems are not as vital as they once were, especially if we have poor eating habits, lifestyle choices and high stress.  We can’t reverse the aging process but we can support out health in many ways including good diet choices, healthy lifestyle practices and stress reduction.

Cesarean Section – If you had a cesarean section birth there may be a chance that there is scar tissue damage to the uterus or fallopian tubes making it difficult to conceive.  Uterine scar tissue damage can interfere with implantation.  Scar tissue in the fallopian tubes can cause them to become blocked.

Hyperthyroidism – Postpartum thyroiditis has been found to occur in 7% of women within the first year after childbirth.  Overactive tissue in the thyroid gland leads to overproduction of thyroid hormones.  This is most likely caused by inflammation of they thyroid.

Obesity– If there has been a lot of weight gain since the birth of your last child, it is important to know that obesity increases the risk of infertility.