Some common side effects include:
When you look at the above side effects don’t you think you owe it to yourself and your baby to follow the preconception protocols?
“Women experiencing miscarriages typically had husbands with low sperm counts and 48% ‘visually abnormal sperm’. Men who fathered normal pregnancies had 25% higher sperm counts and only 5% ‘visually abnormal sperm'”. Dr’s. Mirjiam Furuhjelm & Birgit Johson — Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Sabbatsberg Hospital, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm Sweden. International Journal of Fertility, 7 (1): 17-21, 1962.
The good news is the number of sperm and their morphology are one of the easiest causes of miscarriage to treat with; lifestyle changes, nutritional and herbal medicine.
Other causes which Natural Fertility Management can treat include:
Many couples who have a miscarriage are told that the laboratory tests have shown that there is a chromosome abnormality. This sounds very serious doesn’t it? It is serious and these problems can lead to the birth of a handicapped child. Usually, however, the problem is not inherent and in most cases can be overcome by changes in lifestyle. The couple can become extremely anxious unnecessarily.
Almost all miscarriages are abnormal in some way. The pregnancy is lost because the embryo did not develop properly. The cause of this is usually because either the man or woman has been exposed to chemicals or one or other of them has a dietary deficiency or a bad habit of some type. Bad habits include not drinking enough water, taking drugs, having too much alcohol, smoking heavily and in the case of the man, exposing his testes to too much heat. Infections, both of the common flu variety and of the STD – sexually transmitted variety – can also be involved. Viruses can break chromosomes in exactly the same way as chemicals, radiation and serious dietary deficiencies. In some rare cases the problem is ongoing and can be inherited. It is important that each case is investigated properly.
The types of chromosome abnormalities that are found in miscarriages are most frequently changes in chromosome number. Changes in the structure of chromosomes can also occur but they are far less frequent than changes in number.
Most people reading this article would know that the normal number of chromosomes is 46.
So how can this change?
The answer lies in the process of fertility and conception. Fertility in both the man and the woman involves a special form of cell division – called meiosis – in which the chromosome number is halved. This ‘reduction’ division occurs so that when the sperm fertilizes the egg, the child will have the same number of chromosomes as the parents. Half the child’s chromosomes come from mother and half from father.
Sometimes this very specialized division process makes errors and one or two chromosomes end up in the wrong place. The resultant egg or sperm then has one or two extra chromosomes. Of course there is also a complementary egg or sperm that is missing those chromosomes but these cells usually die. In fact the only cells that can survive with missing chromosomes are those that miss sex chromosomes. Some miscarriages have only 45 chromosomes, including only one X chromosome and occasionally babies are born with only one X chromosome. They grow up with a special set of characteristics known as Turner’s syndrome.
Fertilized eggs that result from eggs or sperm with extra chromosomes usually miscarry although those with an extra copy of one chromosome 21 might survive with Down’s syndrome. However the couples that have these miscarriages or babies with extra chromosomes are themselves, usually normal. It is the conditions in their bodies at the time of creating the eggs and sperm that are the problem. These unfavourable conditions can usually be corrected by correcting the bad lifestyle unless the problem is advancing age.
From about age 35 in both men and women, cell division can be compromised. The problem lies in changes in the body that affect the function of the energy systems in the cells. Optimizing all aspects of lifestyle can often overcome these problems but the effects of any poor habits will be amplified with aging.
The other problem that can affect chromosome number is delayed ovulation. When the egg is over-ripe it can be fertilized by more than one sperm. In such cases the fertilized eggs has one or more extra sets of chromosomes and is often given the unfortunate name of a ‘molar pregnancy’. Fortunately, this problem can also be overcome by correcting poor diet and lifestyle.
If you have had a pregnancy in which a chromosomes abnormality was detected but you, yourselves are normal, make sure that you take the time and effort to correct your lifestyle. You will be rewarded by feeling much healthier and hopefully also by giving birth to a healthy baby.
PCOS is due to a hormonal imbalance or insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is linked to both genetic and lifestyle factors. When the body’s insulin is not as effective because of this insulin resistance, the body compensates by making more and it’s this high level of insulin that compounds the problem. High insulin causes an increase in male hormones, such as testosterone, and also disrupts normal ovulation, causing small cysts to accumulate within the ovary.
Although having multiple cysts on your ovaries is common, not everyone with cysts has PCOS and not everyone with PCOS has the same set of symptoms. If you have PCOS you may have:
Women with increased body weight have worsening symptoms
Up to 25% of the reproductive aged women have small cysts on the ovary. These women can have some, or all, of the above symptoms, but as many as 75% have no other symptoms. Those with cysts alone are described as having polycystic ovaries (disease), but no the polycystic ovarian syndrome.
The Jean Hailes Foundation for Women’s Health and Monash University have confirmed that women with PCOS have higher levels of insulin, higher cholesterol levels and evidence of early blood vessel damage. Furthermore, women with PCOS have an up to a seven-fold increase in diabetes risk.
Women with PCOS should be regularly monitored by their GPs for pre-diabetes and diabetes. This involves an oral glucose tolerance test because a fasting blood glucose test may not be definitive in women with PCOS. Reference: The Jean Hailes Foundation for Women’s Health (Winter 2006).
You may have heard about or been told by your health professional to eat a low GI diet, but why exactly is this necessary?
Eat low GI – Low GI foods raise your blood sugar levels more slowly than high GI foods.
When you have polycystic ovary syndrome, it is vital to eat foods with a low GI. Because sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly with low GI foods, less insulin needs to be produced. Lower insulin is desirable because too much insulin can stimulate the production of testosterone, the male hormone that is responsible for many of the symptoms of PCOS such as acne, excess hair, scalp hair loss, and menstrual irregularities. It also has the effect of ‘switching off’ fat burning in cells, making it harder to lose weight.
Low GI eating can help to reduce your insulin levels and balance hormones, keep your energy levels stable for longer, and reduce sweet cravings. Try eating wholegrain breads, oats, apples, basmati rice, and sweet potato instead of potato. You can find out more about the GI by visiting www.glycemicindex.com.
Eat low GL – An advanced strategy is to also eat foods with a low GL, which is a low glycemic ‘load’. This takes into account both the GI of the food, plus the amount of carbohydrate (sugar) in the food. A low GL food is one that is 10 or below. You can calculate the GL by this formula;
(GI value x carbohydrates per serving) ÷ 100
(Formula courtesy of the book: ‘The new glucose revolution – Shopper’s guide to GI Values’, by Jennie Brand-Miller & Kaye Foster-Powell).
In exchange for the convenience of preventing pregnancy (which you can do naturally just as well, and I’ll explain how below), you are putting yourself at risk of:
These are the more serious, chronic health risks. On top of these, many women also report awful more immediate side effects including:
Despite this long and varied list of risks, many physicians recommend the Pill because studies have shown it may lower your risk of ovarian and uterine cancers and ease the symptoms of PMS. But even a simple side-by-side comparison shows that the risks are clearly greater, particularly since using the Pill is not a necessity by any means to begin with.
If you’re using birth control pills for reasons other than birth control, such as to regulate your menstrual cycles or treat irregular bleeding, cysts or endometriosis, you are not treating your underlying dysfunction, simply covering it up with a potentially dangerous drug.
In these situations, it is essential to balance your adrenal glands, as cortisol levels modulate and control the female hormones, especially progesterone. The Pill only treats the symptoms instead of the disease, and causes its own side effects as your body continues to remain in an unhealthy state.
For those of you using the Pill for its original purpose, birth control, rest assured there are natural options for you as well.
There are two routes to take when using natural birth control: barrier methods and natural family planning methods. Using the latter, many women feel empowered and more in touch with their bodies as they learn to track and notice subtle signs of fertility and ovulation. However, although natural family planning can be very effective, it is not always foolproof, especially when you’re still learning the process.
So if preventing pregnancy is an absolute must for you, you may want to use barrier methods such as the following as well:
Many people are familiar with these barrier methods, and less familiar with natural family planning tools. Again, these are methods a woman uses to track when she is ovulating, and then avoids sex during that time (or does so only using a back-up barrier method). Of course, these tools can be used the other way around as well, to help couples who are trying to get pregnant.
Some of the most popular methods include:
As you transition over from the pill to natural methods of birth control, there are many resources available on the Internet, in a classroom setting and in books.
Three great choices to start with are:
No matter which method for birth control you use, opting for one that does not involve hormonal manipulation of any kind will be one of the best steps you can take for your health.
Below is a brief description of each of these five hormones and what each one does and how they interact.
Oestrogen: there are three forms made by the body – estrone, estradiol and estriol. The form used in past hormone replacement therapies is estradiol, often in the form of concentrated pregnant mare’s urine (Premarin). It is a proliferative hormone that grows the lining of the uterus. It is also a known cancer-causing hormone – breast and endometrial (uterine) in women and prostate gland in men.
Oestrogens are important for maintaining the health of the reproductive tissues, breasts, skin and brain. Excessive oestrogens can cause symptoms such as fluid retention, weight gain, migraines, and over stimulation of the breasts, ovaries and uterus, leading to cancer. Insufficient oestrogen levels can lead to hot flushes, vaginal dryness, rapid skin aging, urinary problems, excessive bone loss and possible acceleration of dementia.
Progesterone: is called the anti-estrogen because it balances estradiol’s proliferative effects. It is considered preventative for breast and prostate cancers as well as osteoporosis. In addition too little progesterone promotes depression, irritability, increased inflammation, irregular menses, breast tenderness, urinary frequency and prostate gland enlargement (BPH). Progesterone enhances the beneficial effect of estrogens while preventing symptoms associated with oestrogen excess, thereby having a balancing effect.
Testosterone: is an anabolic hormone (builds tissue) that is essential for men and women.. The proper level of testosterone is necessary for bone health density, muscle strength, stamina, lean body mass, libido, cardiovascular health, skin elasticity. Testosterone helps maintenance of lean body mass, bone density, skin elasticity, libido and cardiovascular health in both sexes. Women have smaller amounts of testosterone compared to men.
DHEA: is an important adrenal gland hormone, which is essential for energy production and blood sugar balance. DHEA is a precursor to other hormones, mainly testosterone. DHEA levels decline with age and research suggests that DHEA may help restore energy, improve immune status and mental function. DHEA is the principal androgen in both men and women.
Cortisol: is your waking day hormone (highest in the morning and lowest at night). It is necessary for energy production, blood sugar metabolism, anti-inflammatory effects and stress response. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands in response to stressors such as emotional, mental and physical stress. Cortisol mobilises the body’s immune response against viral and/or bacterial infections and inflammation in body. Chronic elevated cortisol levels will suppress the action of the immune system leaving the individual more susceptible to infections.
Another important hormone, Melatonin, is predominantly produced by the pineal gland, with smaller amounts in the retina and gastrointestinal tract. Melatonin is secreted with a distinct circadian rhythm – stimulated by darkness, inhibited by light and independent of sleep. The phase of the diurnal rhythm is influenced by day length (increasing in amplitude in the winter and decreasing in spring or artificial light).