Naturopathic Medicine and Fertility
Naturopathic medicine is a safe and effective treatment approach that can support and improve the fertility potential for both females and males. It starts with optimizing the health of both partners by improving diet, making lifestyle modifications and adding nutritional supplements if needed. The ultimate goal is to address any underlying factors that could be impeding natural fertility and to help create the healthiest reproductive cells by supporting the best environment for an egg to be fertilized in which a healthy baby can grow.
At Yinstill Reproductive Wellness we use tests to help assess your health status, which may include blood, urine, stool and salivary testing. These help us gain a better understanding of your physiology and any possible underlying dysfunction or imbalance. Our doctors may investigate things like hormones (such as female, cortisol and thyroid hormones as well as testosterone and DHEA), nutrient deficiencies, inflammatory markers, digestion imbalances, food allergies, heavy metal or liver toxicity and neurotransmitters when assessing your overall health, as these are responsible for controlling virtually all other processes in the body.
When addressing fertility issues, addressing systemic inflammation is part of our assessment, and this usually starts in the digestive tract. Because digestion concerns are so common among today’s population, a large part of our 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 gastrointestinal inflammation 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 GI tract and delivers nutrients directly to the bloodstream and the organs that need them. We also look 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! We strive to optimize basic bodily functions: digestion, mentioned above, as well as sleep, and waste elimination.
Stress reduction is an important focus for treatments as well, due to the negative impact that stress can have on our immune and reproductive systems. This is often the missing piece when patients are diagnosed with “unexplained infertility” and it is necessary to both recognize and treat the stress factor (also known as Adrenal Fatigue).
Our doctors also work with you to optimize your detoxification processes by improving the way your body breaks down and eliminates toxins or excess hormones. Overall, our 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 false belief. Prevention is the key to health which in turn creates 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.