Naturopathic Medicine and Fertility
There is a lot that can be done to support both male and female reproductive health through naturopathic medicine. Dr. Shilo starts by gathering information about your current health status. She is interested in all aspects of your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and sexual health as these may all play a role in affecting your chances of conceiving. Dr. Shilo may use tests to help assess your health status, which may include blood, urine, and salivary testing, as well as personality assessments and more. These help her gain a better understanding of your physiology and any possible underlying dysfunction or imbalance. Dr. Shilo particularly looks at things like hormones and neurotransmitters when assessing your overall health, as these are responsible for controlling virtually all other processes in the body. Another major focus is assessing gut health. The digestive system is home to many important immunological processes and can therefore be a major factor of systemic illness when not functioning optimally. Another major cause of illness today is systemic inflammation, and this usually starts in the gut. Because digestive complaints are so common among today’s population, a large part of Dr. Shilo’s practice is focused on optimizing the function of the gastrointestinal tract due to its important role in processing, absorbing, and dispersing nutrients for the rest of the body to utilize. For example, if there is inflammation in the gut or suboptimal digestion, the nutrients from your food will not be efficiently absorbed and delivered to the reproductive organs that require them for healthy conception and pregnancy. Intravenous vitamin and nutrient therapy is tremendously beneficial for patients with digestive complaints as it bypasses the digestive system and delivers nutrients directly to the bloodstream and the organs that need them. This treatment is often used for patients while they are working with Dr. Shilo to heal and repair their digestive tract. Dr. Shilo also looks at what you are fueling your body with – whether there are nutrient deficiencies that need to be corrected, or whether you may be reacting to something in your diet unfavorably. After all, you are what you eat! Dr. Shilo also strives to optimize basic bodily functions: digestion, mentioned above, as well as sleep, and waste elimination. Stress reduction is an important focus for treatment due to the negative impact of stress on the immune system and organ function. Dr. Shilo also works with you to optimize your detoxification processes by improving the way your body breaks down and eliminates toxins or excess hormones. Overall, Dr. Shilo’s goal to is to get you to a state of optimal function. Many people are getting by with “normal” organ function or lab test results, but normal is a subjective term, and it certainly does not mean that your body is functioning as well as it could be. The most common misconception is that a lack of symptoms indicates that a person is healthy, but this is a dangerous, false belief. Prevention is the medicine of the future and only by encouraging optimal bodily function by supporting all of its innate processes, can we begin to understand what true wellness really is. This is the key to health and the key to a happy, healthy family.
Naturopathic Medicine is based on the principle that the body has an innate ability to heal itself and correct its own imbalances, given the right fuel, and environment. This form of medicine combines Eastern and Western philosophies for a truly integrative and holistic approach to healing. A Naturopathic Doctor (ND) does not see the mind and body as separate entities. Furthermore, NDs do not treat symptoms or specific body parts (like, for example, a podiatrist, or an optometrist) – they treat the whole person. Therefore, two patients coming in for the same complaint may have two very different, individualized treatment plans based on their needs and constitution. One of the most important principles of Naturopathic Medicine is that the modalities are used to support the body and work with the body’s internal processes that are innately programmed for balance. Therefore, an ND does not suppress symptoms, but rather tries to uncover the root cause or common denominator in their patients’ symptoms.
In order to become a Naturopathic Doctor, one must complete a university level undergraduate degree, as well as several prerequisite university level courses before applying to one of the seven accredited Naturopathic Medical Schools in North America. The full-time ND program at one of these schools is 4 years in total and includes clinical rotations. In British Columbia, Naturopathic Physicians are trained the same way as medical doctors with regards to anatomy, physiology, pathology, diagnosis, physical examination, labs, imaging, pharmacology, etc. Where the two differ is in the investigation and treatment processes. NDs spend more time with their patients in order to piece together as much information as they can gather about their patients’ health status and health goals. Once an ND has uncovered the root cause(s) of disease in their patients, they design an individualized treatment plan to address these causes. Like GPs, Naturopathic Physicians in BC are licensed to prescribe medication, however, in addition to this they also offer dietary and lifestyle coaching, clinical nutrition, orthomolecular medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, physical medicine, IV vitamin & micronutrient therapy, and more. These treatments work with the body to support its natural ability to heal and restore balance. Medications may be prescribed as a last resort if indicated, but NDs always opt for using natural treatments that are as safe and effective as possible.