When you've struggled with getting pregnant for years and are finally given a medical diagnosis of low AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone), high FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone), low ovarian reserve or premature ovarian failure, it can make you feel helpless, in shock and like the doors are closing in.
I vividly remember leaving the ob-gyn office.....and being told that I would never have my own biological children.
I'd struggled for years with very irregular and heavy periods and suddenly I was being told that my only option was to use donor eggs. Believing I had no alternatives I jumped head first into the donor egg process and was lucky enough on the first fresh transfer was able to have my daughter and then my son, three years later. I always felt incredibly fortunate to have been blessed with my children, but it wasn't until many years later when, due to continued ill health, I looked into functional medicine and nutrition and realized that there were things I could have done over a decade earlier to improve my health, balance my hormones and conceive naturally.
According to the College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (UK):
'A woman is fully capable of conceiving with her own eggs until she has been in menopause and without a period for one year.'
It frustrated me that my doctors had never suggested simple things like changes to diet, or how the chemicals in our environment can affect our bodies. No one ever told me there was a link between frequent use of antibiotics and gut health and the negative impact on my sex hormones.
I don't want women like you to struggle with conception and health.
It's my mission to educate and inspire women and couples to look beyond the numbers, to treat everyone as a whole person and to dig deeper to find out the real reason WHY they're not getting pregnant naturally.
Having high FSH or low AMH are not the cause of your infertility. These numbers simply highlight an underlying imbalance.
The main factors that influence low AMH and high FSH are:
Vitamin D deficiency
Could it be your diet?
The Standard Western Diet is filled with processed foods that we frequently choose over fresh produce because it fits our busy lifestyles.
The top allergens of dairy, gluten, corn, soy, eggs and peanuts are found frequently across most processed foods like cookies, cakes, crackers and even in many so-called 'health' food snack bars.
Genetically modified crops and herbicides such as glyphosate (a weed killer) are causing a massive problem for humans at a cellular level...and numerous studies have linked to them infertility.
Always opt for organic produce. Look for the GMO free labels. This non GMO shopping guide has got you covered.
Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Consume healthy fats such as avocados, coconut oil, grass fed butter (fats are crucial for producing hormones).
Could it be a food sensitivity?
We use functional testing to determine if there is a food sensitivity. Seemingly healthy food that we consume could be causing a food sensitivity and subsequent inflammation in your body. If your body is under attack it wants to focus on its survival, not conception.
In our Couples Coaching Program we start with functional testing (food sensitivity, hormone testing, stool testing). Once the food sensitivity testing is complete we begin an elimination diet as outlined in the Fertiity Preparation Program. As you take out the top allergens and slowly begin to re-challenge the foods you will learn how food impacts YOUR body.
Remember: The best diet is the one that's personalized for you.
Are you taking any medication?
Common medications such as the birth control pill, antibiotics, corticosteroids (commonly used to treat auto immune disease), antacids and vaccines (Gardasil) can have an adverse effect on fertility.
Many medications affect the balance of gut flora and cause malabsorption of nutrients, low stomach acid and reduced ability to fight infection.
Antacids are not recommended for long term use. Heartburn isn't always because of too much acid, but a lot of times due to low stomach acid. Using the tools of functional medicine we figure out the root cause of your symptoms and then make dietary and lifestyle changes to boost health naturally.
Antibiotics should be used sparingly and for bacterial infections only. They play no role in our recovery from common winter viruses and colds and in the long term only serve to cause gut imbalance and reduced immunity.
Could it be a gut infection?
Infections from parasites, bacteria, yeast can cause many common symptoms, including: digestive problems, gas, bloating, fatigue, anxiety, depression and insomnia.
These are clues that there is an imbalance in the body. A stool test can uncover gut infections. Learn more here about the stool test that we offer.
Parasites, bacterial infections and fungal infection are something that we see quite often with women who are struggling low AMH, high FSH or premature ovarian failure.
Once we run the stool test we will recommend a protocol to allow your body to heal (your conventional doctor may recommend antibiotics to treat the infection), we will recommend a more natural approach that doesn't destroy your beneficial gut bacterial. The key here is to take action and be sure to follow a protocol and retest to ensure the infection is gone.
Want to know more about stool tests and gut healing protocol? Book your free 30 minute Supercharge Your Fertility Call here
Could it be a hormonal imbalance?
Hormone Imbalances are frequently the cause of symptoms such as: PMS, fatigue, migraines, bloating, night sweats, low libido, heavy periods, irritability and brain fog.
Before self-treating randomly with herbs or oils, it's essential to have thorough lab testing - the foundation to functional medicine. Testing includes examining levels of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, melatonin and cortisol.
Chronic stress has a massive impact on sex hormones, but stress at a chemical level can go undetected and un-noticed for many months or years.
We recommend the DUTCH test. This gives a comprehensive overview of your sex hormones and adrenals.
Addressing the root cause of imbalance at an early stage will boost your chances of pregnancy and create a strong foundation for long term optimum health.
If you're struggling with fertility, it's essential to look at the food you're eating as well as functional medicine tests and coaching.
Remember: Your body works (very effectively) as a whole. Sticking a Band-Aid on one part will only provide a short term solution. You must get to the root cause of why you can't conceive.
Is it in the environment?
Environmental toxins are all around us, in the air we breathe, in the soil our crops are grown, in the water we drink, in the food we buy and in the products we use in our home and on our bodies. While there is little we can do to escape many of these toxins, we do have the choice to buy organic food, filter our water, choose natural toiletries (or make our own) and buy home cleaning products that aren't packed with dangerous chemicals.
It's now common knowledge, for example, that chemicals such as Bisphenol A (BPA) leak from plastic water bottles and food packaging into our food and drink and have a negative impact on our reproductive hormones due to their classification as an endocrine disruptor.
Reduce chemical stress and environmental toxins in your body by avoiding plastic packaging and cooking from fresh with organic produce as much as possible.
Are you deficient in Vitamin D?
Vitamin D works as a hormone in the body and a deficiency can therefore impact fertility. The optimum range for Vitamin D levels are 60 - 80 ng/mL
The 2012 Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that premenopausal women's AMH levels change in correlation to seasonal changes of Vitamin D levels.
Opt for a professional grade Vitamin D3 – 2000 IU/per day combined with Vitamin K2 (MK7 version) – 100mcg per day. If levels are low will need to take 5000-10,000 IU for 3 months (under doctors supervision). It may take up to 6-12 months to get Vitamin D levels at the optimum range if deficient
Getting more sunshine helps too, of course, but supplements are required to correct a deficiency.
What is next?
While taking all these steps might feel scary, overwhelming and complicated, it's important to remember that your survival is more important than procreation.
Having access to all this information many years ago could have given me, and women just like you, a totally different outcome and enabled us to feel supported in boosting our fertility and raising the chances of a natural conception.
Your infertility diagnosis does NOT have to define you; you CAN take back your power.
Book your free call here and we'll come up with a simple plan just for you.
Sarah Clark empowers couples to discover how lifestyle and diet can dramatically impact their chances of conceiving. She was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure at 28 and had both her kids with donor eggs. Not until years later did she discover that the root cause of her infertility was a food intolerance. Join the Free Fab Fertile Support Group on Facebook for mini-challenges, motivation and inspiration!