Wherever you are in your journey, whether you’re starting to think about future fertility, currently trying to conceive, or working with a fertility clinic,  it can feel overwhelming. There is no shortage of information, advice, or “fertility hacks”. The wait times between your fertility doctor appointments can feel long, sometimes with questions left unanswered, such as:

  • Is there anything proactive to consider?
  • What does your blood work mean?
  • Is there anything you can be doing to support your upcoming IVF or IUI?
  • Are there other labs that should be tested to help uncover the root cause of your case?
  • Are the supplements you’re taking are safe?
  • Etc.

 

These are all common questions/scenarios I see. You’re not alone. This is where a naturopathic doctor can be a great addition to your health team.

 

How a naturopathic doctor can support your fertility journey.

 

Assessment

It starts with a proper assessment. I want to hear your story. I firmly believe the reason for treatment success or lack of success is an improper assessment. This consists of a full hour, comprehensively discussing your health history.  This allows us to pinpoint possible red flags or areas we want to explore further. This will include a review of your past labs, current medications, and supplements, so we are able to create a strategic game plan moving forward. Alternatively, it may reveal gaps in your workup, and warrant further lab testing and evaluation that we can do together, in order to get a clearer picture. This is also when a lot of your questions get answered.

 

When it comes to fertility, I want to know about it all! Your menstrual history and current patterns. Overall energy, sleep, digestion, and nutrition.  Your partner’s health and habits. Your labs (this will vary depending on where you are in your journey) – including hormones, inflammatory markers, and nutritional markers. 

 

As we say at Acubalance, our goal is to “nourish the soil”; create an environment that supports optimal egg and sperm development and quality, so you can create a healthy baby. In order to optimize the terrain, we need to know what the current environment looks like, and address areas that we can improve upon. This is the assessment part. 

 

Strategy

Once we have an assessment and workup in place, we create a plan that targets your goals. I use evidence-informed strategies that are safe, and therapeutic. What does this mean? 

 

Commonly I see supplements or herbs that are not reaching the doses we need to see, in order to achieve the outcome we’re looking for. Remember that not all supplements are created equally. Quality, dose, and duration are the 3 essential considerations.

 

Additionally, a simple google search on fertility or IVF supporting supplements yields over 8 million results. The space is noisy and overwhelming. A naturopathic physician is a trained health care provider, we stay up to date with the current scientific journals/literature on fertility so we can dampen the noise and create a plan that you feel confident in.

 

When it comes to fertility, key areas we are exploring are ways to optimize egg quality, sperm quality, menstrual health, and reducing inflammation. If there are concurrent conditions we’re treating, such as endometriosis, PCOS, thyroid disorder, etc., we’re utilizing up-to-date strategies that keep fertility front and center in our game plan. Finally, if you’re undergoing fertility treatment (IVF/IUI), we’re ensuring your protocol is safe with fertility medications and adjusting your plan every step of the way, to help you achieve the best possible outcomes.

 

Strategy also encompasses strategic monitoring. I want to make sure the treatment plan is working for you because you are unique and your treatment plan is unique as well. Check-ins help us adjust the plan as things progress. They are also a great bridge between your other health care appointments, to answer any questions that may have been missed.

 

Education and Empowerment

 

Conventional appointments can feel short, with long waits in between, sometimes leaving you feeling alone with unanswered questions. What does your blood work mean? Should your partner be getting tested? Are my supplements safe with my fertility medications? Etc.

One of the best parts of naturopathic medicine is the length of time we have together during our appointment. I want to make sure your questions are answered, that you clearly understand what your labs mean, why we are starting on a specific treatment plan, and that you feel assured and empowered when you leave the appointment. 

 

Want to learn more about naturopathic medicine and how it can support you? Schedule a discovery call! 

 

In Health,

Dr. Ashley Damm,
Naturopathic Doctor – Vancouver, BC

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