and Naturopathic Medicine
By Lisa Doran N.D, May 2007.
I've been wanting to share will all of you some of my clinical
successes in various areas of my practice and so I've decided to
add a new column to my newsletter highlighting various areas of
my practice in which we've been getting some wonderful clinical
This month I would like to share with you the success that we've
seen at the clinic in the field of Fertility.
More and more people are experiencing fertility issues today. Part
of the reason for this diagnosis is lifestyle, part of it is environmental
toxicity affecting our fertility and part of it is delayed parenting,
where both parents are waiting until their mid thirties or later
to begin a family. The average age at IVF clinics for women undergoing
treatment is 39 years.
I began developing pieces of this program in 1996 as a student
at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, and for the past
11 years I've had a wide range of clinical experience with the many
manifestations of infertility. Recently I've been fortunate enough
to be able to complete a course with Jane Lyttleton, one of the
foremost Traditional Chinese Doctor authorities on fertility - where
I studied the most recent research coming out of China on fertility
and the use of acupuncture protocols and botanical medicine.
As a fourth year clinician at CCNM I had a number of patients come
to me with the desire to conceive. The diagnoses for the reasons
of infertility ranged from repeated miscarriages to endometriosis
and poly cystic ovarian syndrome to functional concerns to unknown
reasons to male low sperm count and low motility. So a wide range
of underlying causes and possible treatment protocols. This was
a great lesson for me as a new clinician just stretching her legs
on research and the development of resources. It was here that I
developed the first principal of my approach to optimizing fertility.
1. Every patient is an individual - so what this means is
that there is never really any one common reason that a woman is
having difficulty conceiving - even within the same diagnosis, say
endometriosis, each persons presentation is different, the expression
of symptoms is different, her biochemistry is different and with
all those differences, each treatment plan must be tailored to the
individual rather than being a standard approach for each disease
2. Get to know your cycle and what affects it. One of our
first goals of treatment with fertility will be to help to regulate
your cycles so that conception is more possible. A healthy follicular
phase, a healthy ovulation and a healthy luteal phase are all vital
to achieve a healthy pregnancy. One of the most informative things
patients can do before they come to see me for help with fertility
is to start charting their cycles for me. I've posted a good
chart here for you to use. This is a basal body temperature
chart - which means that you record your oral temperature after
you've had a good 4-5hr sleep each morning at the same time (so
if you get up at 6am during the week, please take your temp at 6am
on Saturday) and before you get out of bed and start moving around.
Simply from these temperatures and the graph that results you and
I can sit down together and define your follicular phase, your ovulation
and your luteal phase - all of which must work together in delicate
balance to achieve a pregnancy. Other things that are very useful
to note on the chart are: any disturbances to temperature such as
sleeping in, being sick or drinking alcohol before bed. Intercourse
is useful to note as is your days of bleeding, days when you feel
abdominal pains and breast tenderness or moodiness. One of the most
important things to note is the quality of your fertile mucous.
Notice the days that it occurs, the days you have vaginal fluids
and the days you are dry. This tells us what days your body produces
the important cervical fluid that assists sperm through the cervix.
For many women I will recommend a 21 day saliva female hormone profile
test - which will tell us your changing levels of hormones over
your individual cycle and will give us a very accurate and individual
idea as to how your hormones are working currently and how we need
to work with your body to regulate your cycle. More
information about this test here.
3. Take 6 months to prepare your body for conception. If
you are considering pregnancy and you feel you have some time to
thoughtfully prepare your body before you conceive this is a very
important step. Getting to know your cycles, stopping bad habits
such as alcohol, coffee and tobacco use and loosing some weight
are all things that can be accomplished in this period. Remember,
it takes about 120 days for a follicle to mature, and if we can
give your body a long phase of preparation, rest and attention that
follicle will be at optimum health. I recommend that anyone considering
a pregnancy should undergo a 6-8 week whole body cleansing program
under my supervision. During this cleansing program we will pay
careful attention to your liver function, your kidney and bowel
function - all organs which experience stress from a normal, healthy
pregnancy. Post-cleanse we can implement healthy lifestyle choices
such as optimal nutrition, gentle exercise, achieve good sleep and
choose good supplements that will optimize prenatal health and balance
any hormonal irregularities. After your cleanse I also recommend
a series of testing to assess nutritional status and detoxification
health within the body. More information about these tests here.
4. Don't forget the health of your partner. Not only is
it important that your partner is healthy and supporting your in
your journey in health and wellness but studies clearly show that
nutrition and lifestyle habits such as exercise or the use of toxins
such as nicotine, cannibis, caffeine, and alcohol definitely influence
the number (count), health and motility of sperm. An intensive wellness
program is important for both partners. We now understand that in
40% of all couples who are experiencing fertility issues that the
fertility issues are within the functionality and health of the
mans sperm. A preparation program is important for any male partner
who is attempting to conceive so that his sperm are at optimum health
and will pass on his very best genes. Naturopathic Doctors will
work with both partners to achieve optimal health, make good lifestyle
choices and will use modalities specific to male fertility to optimize
sperm count, sperm health, sperm morphology and sperm motility.
5. If you have been diagnosed with a primary cause of infertility
such as Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, Endometriosis or repeated
miscarriages, often the gentle, non-invasive techniques of Naturopathic
Medicine, which focus on treating your body as a whole unit and
not simply a grouping of organs, will help to bring balance, health
and very often a resolution of the primary issue.
6. If you are currently undergoing conventional Fertility Treatment.
Naturopathic Medicine can offer supportive therapies to assist
recovery from hormonal treatment. We can also offer specific acupuncture
protocols which have been well documented in the literature and
shown to increase the effectiveness of conventional fertility treatments
in clinical trials.
Over the past 11 years of clinical practice I have created a wholistic,
effective program to treat primary fertility issues as well as increase
general health, wellbeing and vitality of both male and female partners.
Entering into an effective and wellness based fertility and prenatal
programs is one of the most important early parenting decisions
you make. Healthy moms and dads grow healthy babies!
Click here for some You-Tube videos about Fertility
My collegue Dr. Nora Pope and I are giving a series of fertility
workshops beginning this summer. These workshops are an effective
introduction to approaches to enhansing fertility with a Naturopathic
the flyer here.
For more questions, please don't hesitate to contact
me and we can book in a consultation.
Doctors are experts in natural health and wellness
Naturopathic Medicine is an exciting way
of looking at health and wellness that takes its roots in
many ancient-healing traditions. In this way, we see health
as the normal state in the body, which is easily influenced
by environment, every day experiences and emotions.
||Treat the whole person; mind, body
||Discover the underlying causes of
||Trust the body's innate ability to
||Do No Harm. Naturopaths opt for safe,
gentle and effective means of healing.
||Prevention. Naturopathic health care
is for those who want to understand which actions and
attitudes contribute to better health.