Dr. H. Singh, ND
Unexplained Infertility: Additional Tests and Treatment Options in Ottawa
Unexplained Infertility is perhaps one of the most challenging "causes" of infertility. Not knowing what is creating the issue puts in to doubt why one should be pursuing treatment if nothing appears to be causing the infertility. In many cases, the cause for the infertility simply has not been identified with the basic testing, rather than not having a cause for the infertility.
Below Are a list of conditions and treatment options which can help you get pregnant when dealing with unexplained infertility.
Additional Tests for Unexplained Infertility:
1. Checking for hypothyroidism: In some cases, even though the thyroid hormones may seem okay initially, some patients can have an under-functioning thyroid gland. Instead of checking for just the usual thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), it may be helpful to check for the free T3, free T4, and for thyroid antibodies.
2. Male-Factor Infertility: A simple sperm analysis may not cut it for some Men. A simple sperm analysis checks for some of the basic sperm parameters, for example, concentration and motility, but overlooks morphology, Sperm DNA fragmentation rates, and sperm viability. All of these latter tests are connected with the oxidative stress in the body. The greater the amount of oxidative stress, the more damage it can cause to the Sperm DNA and lower sperm viability. This may decrease chances of getting pregnant, and may also increase the risk of miscarriage in the first trimester.
3. Increased Inflammation: particularly if there is a history of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis, the level of inflammation in the body can increase, and this may harm the quality of follicles/eggs. Damage to the eggs can decrease the chances of fertilization and implantation. Inflammation levels can be checked with some simple blood tests, such as, C-reactive protein or erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR).
4. Low Egg Quality: this occurs with age, usually once you are close to 35 years old or above the integrity of the follicles can decline. This also leads to a decreased chance of fertilization and implantation, along with a higher chance for miscarriage. To check for this anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) and day 3 follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen help to identify if this is an issue.
5. Elevated Stress: studies have shown that when you are under higher amounts of stress there is a decline in the blood flow to the uterus and reproductive organs. Instead the body focuses on sending blood to skeletal muscle, the brain, liver, and major organs. The observed outcome is a uterine lining of lower quality. This can lead to decreased implantation rates.
Adjunctive Treatment Options for Infertility:
1. Fertility Acupuncture: has been shown to help improve blood flow to the uterus and support a healthy lining, may help improve the quality of eggs in Women with low egg quality, and can help to reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone).
2. Diet & Lifestyle Changes: simple changes in diet and lifestyle can benefit sperm health, egg health and improve chances of conceiving naturally. For example, it has been seen in studies in the USA that dairy consumption in Women is linked to a decline in follicle counts and lower sperm counts.
3. Micronutrients: can help to improve quality of eggs and sperm. Large scientific reviews had found that use of specific nutrients in therapeutic concentrations could potentially double the chances of conception and reduce the chances of miscarriage significantly. Intravenous micronutrient therapy is a way to get much higher concentrations of these important antioxidants and nutrients crucial for optimal fertility.
This article is in no way a replacement for medical advice or medical care, it is advised that anyone concerned about their Health should speak with their Naturopathic Doctor.