Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) Support: Natural Fertility Treatments
Does Naturopathic Medicine help with an IUI?
Naturopathic therapies to help support fertility can be beneficial when used to prepare for and during an Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). The use of naturopathic medicine entails therapies which have a strong safety profile and will be checked by your fertility focused naturopath to make sure there is no risk of interactions with fertility medications or treatments.
The first thing that naturopathic therapies offer to help support a successful outcome with Intrauterine Insemination is fertility acupuncture. The use of fertility acupuncture can help increase the chances of a positive pregnancy by support healthy blood flow to the uterus and ovaries to support a healthy uterine lining, it helps to reduce stress and anxiety, acupuncture can also help to support hormone balance and reduce the risk of miscarriage. Studies have also shown that acupuncture can help support healthy egg quality in Women with low ovarian reserve.
Checking your Vitamin D levels is also very important. There is increasing research showing that low Vitamin D levels during fertility treatments reduces the possibility of success and increases the risk of a miscarriage. Treatment with Vitamin D before and during IUI can help to support the success rate and reduce the risk of miscarriage. Using an intramuscular injection for Vitamin D can be a quicker method of raising vitamin d levels than low dose supplementation with vitamin d drops and pills.
Certain lifestyle and dietary changes can also help to improve success rates for assisted fertility treatments. This includes specific dietary chances, exercise prior to the treatment cycle, and other healthy lifestyle behaviours to improve overall fertility.
The use of clinical nutrition and nutraceuticals is also crucial as they can support healthy sperm and egg function. During assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) the use of micronutrients for males and females have both shown to significantly support an improved chance of success.
Evidence Based Approaches to Supporting Positive IUI Outcomes
The majority of the research evaluating for modifiable risk factors and adjunctive treatments to support fertility treatments is focused on In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), however, a lot of the same principles are used when determining the most appropriate treatments to support patients going for an intrauterine insemination (IUI). This is because there is a similar stimulation in follicle growth (in a medicated IUI cycle), there is a need to optimize the thickness of the uterine lining prior to an insemination, and hormone balance should be optimal going in to treatment as well. Hormones from insulin (and insulin sensitivity to determine healthy blood glucose/sugar balance), thyroid health and function, cortisol and stress level reduction, and more.
Patients that come for consultations have usually done multiple IUIs beforehand and did not have any success with them or sometimes come to prepare before their first ever IUI. The health concern is usually the same, they are curious to know what can be done to help support positive outcomes with their next round of IUI or fertility treatments. When discussing options to help support their fertility we use research to help determine the most suitable available treatments to improve their fertility outcomes.
The first and easiest to implement strategies actually take place in the kitchen and/or grocery store. Dietary changes have long been observed to have an impact on reproductive health and fertility outcomes. The most common example is for patients that are diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), making dietary changes can significantly support loss of excess fat tissue, hormone balance, improving spontaneous ovulation rates (and therefore increased windows of opportunity for conception) and may help reduce risks of complications once the patient is pregnant.
Additionally, changing carbohydrate consumption has been suggested in research to help support an improvement in insulin sensitivity, glucose control/balance, improved ovulation rates, and potentially improved outcomes with fertility treatments. Similarly altering your source of dairy can have a significant impact on reproductive outcomes, particularly sperm concentration, motility, normal sperm morphology. Some studies have also made correlations between certain types of dairy consumption and egg reserve and estrogen levels. It may also impact severity of a condition known as endometriosis. Additionally, limiting intake of certain foods and beverages may help support healthy sperm parameters (motility, morphology, and concentration) as well as improving the potential success rate of fertility treatments. Making these changes is recommended at least 3 months ahead of your planned fertility treatment to allow enough time for the sperm health and egg health to improve.
Limiting use of certain recreational substances and drugs may also have a significant impact on the success rate of fertility treatments like IUI. Research has shown that use of certain recreational drugs can decrease sperm concentration, sperm motility and may reduce the concentration of testosterone levels. Use has also been correlated with a decrease in fertility treatment success rates. Similarly, certain recreational drug use can decrease egg quality, fertilization rates, and implantation rates of a healthy embryo.
Additional lifestyle changes to help support IUI treatments look at which types of exercise are optimal for Fertility. Different exercise regiments better suit different causes of infertility. For example, high-intensity exercise can be beneficial in some cases but potentially harmful in others. Where low-intensity exercise can help increase success rates in fertility treatments for some, but may not be very helpful for others with different causes of infertility. It is important to have this information so you do not spend your time doing less optimal forms of exercise to help you prepare for your upcoming IUI.
The role of micronutrients is also closely studied to help reduce the rate of Sperm DNA fragmentation and support healthy sperm parameters. Research has shown that micronutrient use along with dietary and lifestyle changes are helpful in reducing sperm DNA fragmentation rates (vital in reducing the risk of miscarriage and supporting the healthy of an embryo). While most of the research on this is focused on IVF, we apply the same findings from the research to treatment plans for patients preparing for an IUI.
This information is presented for educational and informative purposes only. This is not a replacement or substitute for medical advice from your fertility doctor or physician. If you have any questions or concerns regarding fertility drugs, please follow-up with your fertility