Sunday, 29 March 2015
A few years ago, a patient came to me, she told me she was not able to get pregnant for a few years, everything was fine after the checkups under the western medicine system. She told me that it could get very painful when dysmenorrhoea occurs. Her legs, hands and stomach area always felt cold. She was worried about not getting pregnant. She got depressed about that, but still nothing happened.
I took a closer look at her; she was wearing as singlet, short pants and slippers. Her face looked pale; the coating of her tongue was grimy and white. When I was examining her pulse, I felt the pulse was deep and slow. I touched her abdomen, it was very cold, and she said it felt warm and comfortable when my hands were on her abdomen.
From Traditional Chinese Medicine’s view, her symptoms were diagnosed as uterine cold, deficiency in Yang energy. I applied treatments to warm up her uterus, clear the cold, replenish the energy for her, I also told her to make sure to keep her abdomen and feet warm, and eat warm food, avoid cold drinks and swimming during the menstrual period. A few months later she got pregnant.
I always think: as the combination of eggs and sperm gives rise to the next generation, the right temperature in the uterus needs to be ensured. It is just like chicken eggs and duck eggs. Little chickens and ducks will come out of the egg only some days after if they have been kept at the right temperature. The eggs would not become a chicken if the temperature is too cold, also the eggs would be cooked if temperature is too hot. Similarly, if temperature in the uterus is cold, the combination of eggs and sperm would not result in a foetus. Also, if the eggs or sperm itself is cold, it is hard for them to combine.
1. Why would the uterus be cold?
A. External cold factor.
There are many young girls who don’t care about the cold affecting their bodies. This affects puberty, menstrual period, and sometimes would cause difficulties for pregnancy. For example:
1. Sitting on a cold floor too often (especially wet floor)
The coldness comes through the bottom to the abdomen. It is easier for the abdomen to get affected by the coldness during menstrual period or when one is tired.
Not paying enough attention to keep warm in the stomach and back area
Some young ladies often wear clothes that do not cover the navel and the waist at the back, they wear sandals and shorts no matter what the weather is like. Wind, cold and dampness could attack the body from the navel, go through the waist and back to the uterus. The cold could go through the feet to the legs and finally reach the abdomen. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the channels which are located on the inside of the feet and legs will eventually lead to the abdominal area. Thus, lack of awareness to keep warm in the stomach, back and feet would cause cold in the uterus, sometimes resulting in difficulties in pregnancy.
Swimming during the menstrual period
The body becomes sensitive, the endocrine system changes and the cervix opens during the menstrual period. The body is easily getting cold during this time. When people are swimming at this time, the cold would go into the uterus directly or indirectly. Thus, swimming is not a proper activity to participate in during the menstrual period.
Cold from the rain
Wearing wet clothes after the rain is another possible cause for the uterine cold.
B. Internal cold factor.
Too much cold drink
This is not only bad for the stomach energy, it also causes uterine cold. So does ice-cream and frozen food from the fridge. The accumulation of the cold in uterus will result in dysmenorrhoea, irregular menstrual period and it could lead to difficulties in pregnancy.
Deficiency in Yang energy causes cold.
Coldness damages the Yang energy. Cold is Yin, heat is Yang. The cold Yin energy is constrained by Yang energy. When the cold has accumulated too much the Yang energy is not able to constrain it, the cold will damage the Yang energy. Thus, deficient Yang energy would lead to internal cold in the body. When the internal cold accumulates in the uterus, sometimes pregnancy will be difficult to occur.
C. Internal cold and external cold
Although there are differences between internal cold and external cold, they interact and affect each other. Deficient Yang energy indicates an internal cold in the body. When this happens, the body could be affected by external cold easily. When the external cold attacks the body and further damages the Yang energy the result is internal cold. Both factors would cause difficulties in pregnancy due to cold uterus.
2. How to prevent uterine cold:
Do not sit too much or too often on cold and wet floors or chairs.
Keep warm in the feet, stomach and back area. Wear clothes that cover the navel and back. Wear socks or stockings and shoes in cold weather.
Do not swim during the menstrual period.
Change clothes after getting wet in the rain as soon as possible.
Dry your hair after showering before you are going out.
Try not to drink cold drinks, cold water or eat frozen food, especially during menstrual period. (Do not drink cold drinks on an empty stomach.)
Take proper treatment if you have a deficient Yang energy type of body with internal cold. (Symptoms of this type of body: likes warm and dislikes cold, cold feet and hands, aching in the knees because of cold, deficient energy, depressed, pale face)
3. How to treat uterine cold
A. Self – treatment:
The ways mentioned above to prevent uterine cold;
Eat warm food and food that are hot/warm.
Soak your feet in hot water every day for 10 – 20 minutes. Keep the feet warm after the feet are dry.
Hot bag method: Put a hot bag on the abdomen and another one at the back area to warm up the area every day or every second day.
Put a few pieces of ginger and brown sugar in tea, boil it for a few minutes and drink it every day.
Moxibustion. Put ginger on the navel for ten minutes.
Physical exercise. Tai Chi and Qi Gong are one of the good ways.
Self – massage at the two acupuncture points called “Sanyinjiao” Location: 3 cun ( around 3 inches) above the tip of the medial alveolus, on the posterior border of the medial side of the tibia.
B. Other treatments:
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Qi Gong exercise
Tai Chi exercise
Prevention and wisdom are the two principles of Traditional Qi.
Written by: Angela Zhu (TCM Practitioner, Qi Gong & Tai Chi Instructor) Translated by: Alan Huang
Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Ovulation is a phase of the female menstrual cycle that involves the release of an egg (ovum) from one of the ovaries. New life begins if the ovum meets with a sperm during its journey down the fallopian tube. Ovulation depends on a complex interplay of glands and their hormones, and generally occurs about two weeks before the onset of the menstrual period. Typical ovulation symptoms and signs include changes in cervical mucus and a small rise in basal temperature. For most women, ovulation occurs about once every month until menopause, apart from episodes of pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, some women experience irregular ovulation or no ovulation at all.
Signs of ovulation
The female body shows several signs of ovulation. You may experience some or all of these signs, including:
Regular menstrual cycles - menstrual periods that arrive every 24-35 days are more likely to be ovulatory than periods that occur more or less often.
Mucus changes - about two weeks before menstruation, an ovulating woman may notice slick and slippery mucus.
Abdominal pain - some women experience pain during ovulation. The pain may be general or localised to one side of the abdomen.
Premenstrual symptoms - ovulation may accompany premenstrual symptoms such as breast enlargement and tenderness, abdominal bloating and moodiness.
Temperature rise - women who use a natural family planning method of contraception will notice a small rise in their basal temperature after ovulation has occurred. The temperature rise is about half a degree Celsius. This temperature rise does not predict ovulation - it suggests that ovulation has already taken place.
Structures involved in ovulation
Ovulation depends on the activity of various structures and their hormones, including:
Hypothalamus - located within the brain. The hypothalamus uses hormones to communicate with the pituitary.
Pituitary - known as the ‘master gland’ of the hormone (endocrine) system. It is located within the brain, at the base of the skull, and is connected to the hypothalamus by a thin stalk. It uses chemicals to prompt the ovaries to produce their hormones.
Ovaries - the two almond-shaped glands located within a woman’s pelvis that contain the ova. The ovaries make the two female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone.
Menstrual cycle explained
Ovulation is part of the menstrual cycle. This cycle is caused by the complex and interrelated activity of various hormones. The cycle includes:
Menstruation - the shedding of the uterine lining.
Follicular phase - the hypothalamus triggers the pituitary gland to release follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which prompts the ovaries to produce up to 20 follicles. Each follicle contains an immature ovum. Usually, only one follicle survives to maturity. Assuming the menstrual cycle is around 28 days long, a single ovum matures at about day 10. This event also prompts the thickening of the uterine lining (endometrium) in preparation for a fertilised ovum.
Ovulation - the maturing follicle prompts the release of higher amounts of oestrogen. The hypothalamus responds by secreting a chemical known as gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which makes the pituitary produce luteinising hormone (LH) and FSH. High levels of LH trigger ovulation within about two days. The mature follicle releases the ovum into the peritoneal cavity; it is then drawn into the open end of the fallopian tube. Small hair-like structures within the fallopian tube wave or ‘massage’ the ovum towards the uterus. Unless the ovum encounters a sperm within 24 hours, it will die.
Luteal phase - the follicle becomes the corpus luteum, a structure that makes the hormone progesterone. Unless a fertilised ovum implants into the uterine lining, the corpus luteum dies. Without its contribution of progesterone, the uterus can’t maintain the thickened uterine lining, and menstruation occurs.
Ovulation predictor kits
There are many different kinds of ovulation predictor kits on the market. Most work by measuring the level of luteinising hormone (LH) in the woman’s urine. LH levels rise about 24 to 36 hours before ovulation takes place. You need to estimate your approximate time of ovulation if you’re to use these kits effectively. All kits come with detailed instructions and a number of testers, but one way to calculate your estimated time of ovulation includes:
Work out the length of your average menstrual cycle. Day one is the first day of the menstrual period and the last day is the day before the next period begins. Let’s say the menstrual cycle is 28 days long.
Subtract 17 days. In our example, 28 days minus 17 days equals day 11.
Use the ovulation predictor kit on day 11. Continue testing daily until the test comes back positive. A positive result means you are going to ovulate within the next 24 to 36 hours.
Having sex around the time of ovulation means that the sperm and ovum have a good chance of meeting in the fallopian tube.
Medical tests can check whether or not ovulation took place. These tests can include:
Blood test - to check for the presence of progesterone. A level greater than 20nmol/L indicates that ovulation took place. This test must be taken about three to 10 days before the first day of the next expected period.
Pregnancy ultrasound - the presence of a fetus is the only 100 per cent proof that ovulation took place. Medical tests such as ovulation predictor kits and blood tests can only ascertain that ovulation probably - not definitely - occurred.
Problems with ovulation
Common causes of ovulatory problems include:
Hypothalamus - events that can alter the functioning of the hypothalamus include polycystic ovary syndrome, overexercising, poor nutrition and chronic stress.
Pituitary - events that can prevent the pituitary gland from producing enough hormones include benign pituitary tumours or direct injury to the pituitary itself.
Ovary - events that can prevent the ovaries from releasing ova include early menopause (also known as ovarian failure), or damage to or removal of the ovaries.
Increase your chances of ovulation
Ways to increase your chances of ovulation include:
Women who are seriously obese or underweight may have problems with ovulation. Try to keep your weight around the average for your height and build.
Excessive exercise can prevent ovulation. Ease back on your physical activity levels - this may require expert help if your desire to exercise is actually a form of bulimia.
Repeated crash dieting, fasting, skipping meals and other disordered eating habits can hamper your body’s ability to regularly ovulate. Make sure to eat properly and regularly. Once again, you may need expert help if these habits are associated with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia nervosa.
Chronic emotional stress can play havoc with your menstrual cycle. Try to reduce the amount of stress in your life, and learn ways to better cope with stress. For example, relaxation training may be helpful.
Reproductive technology - ovulation induction
Some women who aren’t ovulating regularly can be helped by reproductive technologies including tablets and injections to trigger higher production of ovulatory hormones. The dosage needs to be carefully monitored, because ovulation induction can trigger the maturation of a number of ova, which could lead to multiple pregnancies.
Where to get help
Things to remember
Ovulation depends on a complex interplay of glands and their hormones, and generally occurs about two weeks before the onset of the menstrual period.
Most ovulation predictor kits work by measuring the level of luteinising hormone (LH) in the woman’s urine - a rise in LH levels indicates that ovulation is imminent.
Some women who aren’t ovulating regularly can be helped by reproductive technologies, including tablets and injections to trigger higher production of ovulatory hormones.
Source: Better health
Doctors arbitrarily diagnose infertility when a couple hasn't conceived a child after 12 months of unprotected and regular sex. Impaired fertility may be a better description, though. Many women who keep trying will get pregnant in the second year or later.
Whatever its name, infertility is a call to take advantage of available fertility testing and treatments that can improve your chances of pregnancy. Fertility testing is something couples should do together, since the male is the sole cause of fertility problems 30% of the time.
The Infertility Interview
Experts recommend visiting a doctor for an infertility evaluation after six to 12 months of unprotected and regular sex without pregnancy. Infertility testing is best done by an infertility specialist.
The first step is a detailed interview. A thorough infertility interview should involve both partners, and ask about:
Your medical histories, including any chronic illnesses or surgeries
Your use of prescription medication
Your use of caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs
Your exposure to chemicals, toxins, or radiation in the home or at work
How often you have sex
Your history of birth control use
Any history of sexually transmitted diseases
Any problems having sex
Whether either of you has had sex outside the relationship
Infertility is due to problems related to the woman about two-thirds of the time. A doctor will likely ask a woman questions about her gynecologic history:
Have you been pregnant before and what was the outcome of those pregnancies?
How often have you had periods over the last year?
Have you had irregular and missed periods or had spotting between periods?
Have you had any changes in blood flow or the appearance of large blood clots?
What methods of birth control have you used?
Have you seen a doctor before for fertility problems and undergone treatment for them?
Infertility Tests for Women
There is no single best test or ideal workup for infertility. In practice, doctors perform multiple tests and exams to identify any problems that might be contributing to a woman's infertility.
Most women are familiar with this basic gynecologic test. The Pap smear and pelvic exam are best at detecting cervical cancer, other problems with the cervix, or active sexually transmitted diseases. Any of these can interfere with fertility in women.
In order to get pregnant, a woman has to release an egg each month (ovulation). Women who have inconsistent periods may need testing to confirm they're ovulating. Tests related to ovulation include:
A urine test at home can detect luteinizing hormone (LH), which appears in high levels in the urine just before ovulation.
The doctor may check levels of the hormone progesterone in a woman's blood. Increases in progesterone indicate ovulation.
A woman can check her body temperature each morning. Basal body temperature rises a bit just after ovulation. By checking her body temperature each morning, a woman can detect this rise, showing her ovulation pattern over months.
The doctor may also run tests on a woman's thyroid, or check for other hormonal problems, to rule out underlying causes of missed or irregular ovulation.
Tests of Reproductive Organs
The uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries must all be working well in order to get pregnant. Different procedures can check the health of these organs:
Hysterosalpinogram. Also called an HSG or "tubogram," a series of X-rays is taken of the woman's fallopian tubes and uterus after a liquid dye has been injected through the vagina. Another method involves using saline and air instead of dye and an ultrasound. The HSG can help diagnose fallopian tube blockages and defects of the uterus. If one of the tubes is blocked, the obstruction should be seen on an X-ray. An HSG is usually done just after a menstrual period.
Transvaginal ultrasound. An ultrasound wand is introduced into the vagina to bring it close to the pelvic organs. Using sound waves, a doctor can see images of the ovaries and uterus. Often the doctor can determine whether there are follicles in the ovaries.
Hysteroscopy. A thin, flexible tube with a camera on its lighted end is threaded through the cervix into the uterus. The doctor can see problems with the uterus, and take tissue samples if needed.
Laparoscopy. Small cuts are made in the abdomen and tools including a camera inserted into the belly. This surgery can evaluate the entire pelvis and potentially correct problems, such as endometriosis. However, laparoscopy is invasive and involves small risks.
Other Infertility Tests
A doctor may order numerous other tests for infertility in women. They include:
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) blood level. FSH stimulates the ovaries to prepare an egg for release each month. Abnormally high baseline levels of FSH can mean lower fertility in women. The FSH blood level is checked early in the menstrual cycle (often on day three).
Clomiphene citrate challenge testing (CCCT) can be done with the FSH test. A pill of clomiphene citrate is given on the fifth through the ninth days of the menstrual cycle. FSH is checked on day three (before the medicine is given) and on day 10 (after). High FSH levels suggest a lower likelihood of pregnancy.
Inhibin B is a hormone checked with a blood test. Levels may be lower in women with infertility. However, experts are divided as to its ability to predict infertility.
Postcoital testing involves a doctor examining a woman's cervical mucus shortly after she has sex. This test has a long history, but studies cast doubt on its usefulness.
Endometrial biopsy is a sampling of tissue from the lining of the uterus. A healthy uterus is necessary for an egg to implant and create a pregnancy, and endometrial biopsies have traditionally been checked for this reason. However, evidence is mounting that endometrial biopsy is not helpful in predicting or treating infertility.
Of course, not all women undergo all these tests. Each woman's doctor will guide her through those that are most appropriate for her situation. After the testing is done, about 85% of couples will have some idea why they're having trouble getting pregnant.
Source: WebMD Medical Reference
Reviewed by Trina Pagano, MD on July 22, 2012
Friday, 20 March 2015
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a chronic, often painful condition in which the tissue that normally lines the uterus (called the endometrium) starts growing outside the uterus. Most commonly, the growth is on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or the pelvic lining, but in some cases it can also spread outside the pelvic area.
According to the Endometriosis Association, endometriosis affects 5.5 million women in the United States and Canada, and millions more worldwide.
Signs and Symptoms
Painful periods. Pelvic pain and cramping during menstruation. It may begin before and continue for several days after the onset of your monthly period. The pain can also occur in the lower abdomen or low back. It has even been known to cause shooting nerve pain in the legs, called sciatica.
Sharp, deep pain during ovulation, sexual intercourse, bowel movements, and/or urination
Heavy menstrual periods or bleeding in between periods
Indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
Infertility. Endometriosis can cause adhesions that trap the egg.
Natural Treatments for Endometriosis
If you are experiencing painful periods or pelvic pain, it's important to see your doctor to get a proper diagnosis. Here are eight natural treatments that are used for endometriosis. Keep in mind that so far, scientific support for the claim that any form of alternative medicine can treat endometriosis safely and effectively is lacking.
1) Reduce Chemical Intake
Although earlier studies in women were conflicting, there is increasing evidence that chronic exposure to the environmental chemicals dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) is associated with an increased prevalence and severity of endometriosis.
One way to reduce intake of these chemicals is to cut back on animal fat, especially high-fat dairy, red meat, and fish. Dioxin and PCBs both accumulate in animal fat, and it is our main route of exposure.
Interestingly, studies on diet and endometriosis also support this link. For example, an Italian study examined data from 504 women with endometriosis and found an increased risk with a high intake of red meat and ham. Fresh fruit and vegetables were associated with a reduction in risk.
2) Vegetables and Flaxseeds
There is some evidence that a group of plant chemicals called flavones may inhibit aromatase, the enzyme that converts androgens to estrogens. Good food sources of flavones are celery and parsley.
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, and bok choy, contain compounds called indoles, which appear to improve estrogen metabolism.
Flaxseeds are high in lignans and fiber, which have been found to be beneficial for estrogen-related conditions.
3) Progesterone Cream
Alternative practitioners sometimes recommend progesterone cream. Progesterone is thought to slow the growth of abnormal endometrial tissue. Although it's not considered a cure, it may improve symptoms such as pain during menstrual periods and pelvic pain. There haven't been any studies on progesterone cream for endometriosis, so we don't know for certain about it's effectiveness or safety.
Progesterone cream is derived from either soy or Mexican wild yam. A molecule called diosgenin is extracted in a lab and converted to a molecule that's exactly like human progesterone and added to back to the cream. Some companies sell wild yam cream, but unless it has been converted in a lab it is useless, because the body can't convert wild yam to progesterone on its own.
Natural progesterone cream is applied to the wrists, inner arms, inner thighs, or upper chest at a dose and schedule that should be recommended by a professional. It's important to be supervised and to have progesterone levels monitored on lab tests, because too much progesterone can cause such side effects as mood changes, depression, water retention, weight gain, and absent or abnormal menstrual bleeding. If you're considering it, consult your doctor first.
4) Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies. They are also available in fish oil capsules, which may be the preferable form because good brands contain minimal amounts of PCBs and dioxins.
Several studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial for people with endometriosis. For example, an animal study by the University of Western Ontario found that fish oil containing two specific compounds, EPA and DHA, can relieve pain by decreasing levels of an inflammatory chemical called prostaglandin E2. Researchers also found that fish oil could slow the growth of endometrial tissue.
5) Stress Reduction
Cortisol is a hormone involved in the stress response but is also needed to make other hormones such as progesterone. Prolonged stress can lead to elevations in cortisol, which alternative practitioners say may decrease the available progesterone and result in a hormonal imbalance.
One study involving 49 women found that cortisol levels were significantly higher in women with advanced endometriosis compared to women who didn't have this condition.
Herbs and nutrients that alternative practitioners commonly recommend for stress reduction include:
Other stress reduction methods include:
A contrast sitz bath is often recommended by alternative practitioners for endometriosis. It is a home remedy and has not been studied.
A contrast sitz bath involves sitting in a small basin or tub filled with hot water for three minutes, then getting up and sitting in another basin filled with cool water for one minute. The hot water-cold water cycle is repeated another 3 times. It is not usually done during menstruation.
7) Ginger Tea
Ginger tea may relieve the nausea that can occur with endometriosis.
Using Alternative Medicine for Endometriosis
Supplements haven't been tested for safety and due to the fact that dietary supplements are largely unregulated, the content of some products may differ from what is specified on the product label. Also keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get tips on using supplements here, but if you're considering the use of alternative medicine, talk with your primary care provider first. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.
Source: About health
Tuesday, 17 March 2015
Increase Cervical Mucous to Get Pregnant
It is common for a woman to experience some vaginal dryness throughout her childbearing years, but if this continues it may make it difficult to get pregnant. Who knew that getting “wet” down there was not only important to the comfort and ease of enjoying intercourse, but for making a baby as well. The cervical mucous a woman produces actually helps in conception efforts. Here’s how…
What is Cervical Mucous and Why is it Important?
The cervix produces different types of mucous depending on where a woman is at in her menstrual cycle. Just after menstruation, the cervix produces a fluid that is thick and acidic which is designed to prevent sperm from entering the vagina. This is known as infertile mucous.
Fertile cervical mucous (CM), also known as cervical fluid (CF) is produced by your cervix as ovulation approaches. Cervical mucous is necessary for allowing the sperm to swim freely through the cervix. You can see it come from the vagina, or as wetness on your underwear or feel it inside of the vagina. Changes in CM can be charted and may be used to detect your most fertile time. When a woman is about to ovulate there should be an increase in cervical mucous, as well as a change in the mucous texture, from “wet” to a more pliable, stretchy, egg white like mucous. This is possible through an increase in both water and electrolyte content, and a reduction in acidity. This higher electrolyte content can be seen with an ovulation microscope as a ferning pattern. Healthy fertile cervical mucus nourishes the sperm, protects them from the natural acidity of the vagina, and guides them toward the ovum.
Charting cervical mucous changes is known as the Ovulation Method. In a comparative study of 15 different methods of fertility charting, including the most common methods used to determine ovulation signs, cervical mucous charting alone proved to be the most accurate way to detect a woman’s most fertile time.
Low to No Cervical Mucous
You may have noticed that you have vaginal dryness at times, but if this is becoming a regular occurrence, it may be a sign something is not functioning properly. If you have continual vaginal dryness and cannot detect cervical mucous at all, you may need to support your body in producing cervical mucous once again.
For women that have low or no cervical fluid, it is harder for the sperm to reach the vagina and beyond for conception. In some cases there may not be a friendly environment for the sperm to sustain themselves. A woman may have developed antisperm antibodies, have some type of infection (yeast or bacterial infection, STD), or may eat a diet high in acidic foods which may cause Cervical Hostility.
Causes of Low Cervical Mucous
*Not enough water intake each day.
*Poor circulation to the reproductive organs; sedentary lifestyle.
*Hormonal imbalance may cause changes to the entire menstrual cycle, which may inhibit production of fertile cervical mucous. Both low progesterone and estrogen levels may cause low cervical mucous production.
*Fertility medications containing hormones can alter fertile cervical mucous production.
*Cervical fibroid (very rare).
*Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) and cryosurgery damage for cervical dysplasia or HPV. These procedures can in some cases cause cervical scar tissue damage which may close off the ducts that secrete the cervical mucous. This is very rare.
Note: None of the natural options below will be helpful for those with cervical scar tissue damage. Scar tissue damage from LEEP or cryosurgery or fibroid damage need to be discussed with your medical doctor.
More so, as you approach ovulation, your estrogen levels begin to surge, which causes your cervix to secrete more cervical mucus that is of a so-called “fertile quality”. This fertile-quality cervical mucus, also known as egg white cervical mucus (EWCM), is clear and stretchy, similar to the consistency of egg whites, and is the perfect protective medium for sperm in terms of texture and pH.
So, having enough egg white cervical mucus during your fertile window actually improves your chances of conceiving. And, by noticing when your body is producing egg white cervical mucus, you will be able to identify your most fertile days.
The most accurate way to identify changes in your cervical mucus is to collect and observe a sample of mucus on a daily basis. To do this, wash and dry your hands well, then insert your middle or index finger into your vagina, getting as close to your cervix as possible.
Remove your finger and observe the consistency of the mucus sample by rolling the mucus between your thumb and finger and pressing your fingers together and then slowly moving them apart.
The following information describes the typical progression of the cervical mucus quantity and quality you can expect to see as you move through your menstrual cycle:
After your menstrual period: The production of cervical mucus is at its lowest immediately following your period, and some women report “dryness” during this time. But, over the next several days, more mucus will become present and it will likely be yellow, cloudy, or white in color, and somewhat sticky to the touch.
As Your Ovulation Date Approaches: As you enter your fertile window, your cervical mucus will increase in quantity and moistness. Color may be cream-like in appearance.
At the Time of Ovulation: In the days immediately preceding ovulation, the production of cervical mucus will be at its highest and the consistency and color of the mucus will be similar to egg whites. Once you detect the presence of this fertile-quality cervical mucus, you will know you are in your most fertile days.
After Ovulation: After ovulation, the quantity of cervical mucus begins to decline and become thicker in consistency.
Unfortunately, after tracking changes in your cervical mucus, you might find that you really don’t produce very much fertile-quality cervical mucus around the time of ovulation. Or, you might even realize that the cervical mucus you produce is “hostile”, meaning it is thick and sticky, instead of thin and stretchy. Either condition can hinder your reproductive efforts by making it difficult for sperm to travel efficiently and safely to the Fallopian tube to meet the egg for fertilization.
Natural Options for Increasing Cervical Mucous
Drink a lot of water throughout the day. This may be all you need, drink more water. Cervical mucous is made up of 90% water, so if you are not hydrating your body your cervical mucous production may lessen. Regardless if you use any of the supplements to help, you must drink enough water for your body to be able to make cervical mucous. Drink at least 8 full glasses of clean filtered water a day.
2. Nutritional Supplementation
Be sure you are getting enough essential fatty acids each day in your diet. If you cannot get these through the foods you are eating, you may want to consider taking a complete omega supplement which contains omega 3, 6 and 9.
Essential fatty acids help to:
*Increase the blood flow to the uterus
*Reduce sensitivity to the hormone prolactin, which can suppress ovulation
*Increases egg white cervical mucus, which is needed to help the sperm reach the egg
*Helps your cycle to become normalized
All of these key areas are vital to healthy, adequate cervical mucous production.
Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) has been used by herbalists for hundreds of years to increase cervical mucous. Evening Primrose Oil is high in omega 6. This plant oil has been shown to increase cervical mucous production while also aiding in hormonal balance.
Borage seed oil is also high in omega-6 essential fatty acids. It has been shown to increase cervical mucous and balance hormones and is similar to Evening primrose oil.
L-Arginine is an essential amino acid supplement which may help to promote cervical mucous by supporting the production of nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide dilates blood vessels and helps to increase blood flow to the uterus, ovaries, and genitals. Proper circulation to the reproductive organs is vital to the production of cervical mucous. L-Arginine promotes cervical mucous production.
3. Herbs that support healthy cervical mucous production
Herbs that are demulcent and bitter are supportive of mucous membrane function. Some herbs are known to increase circulation to the genitals, which may also be helpful. Herbs that support hormonal balance may also be useful.
Dandelion leaf and root (Taraxacum officinale): Bitter herb, stimulating to mucous membrane secretion. Nutritive, supports liver health for hormonal balance.
Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra): Demulcent, promote healthy mucous membrane secretions. Supports hormonal balance through endocrine support.
Marshmallow root (Althea officinalis): Demulcent and soothing to mucous membranes, support natural health for proper function of mucous production.
Red Clover aerial parts, blossom (Trifolium pratense): Red Clover has been shown to increase cervical mucous, aiding vaginal dryness. Increases circulation to the reproductive organs.
Shatavari root (Asparagus racemosus): This herb is a demulcent. Herbs that have a demulcent action contain mucilage. Mucilage lines the mucous membranes and acts as a protector and tonic for those membranes. Shatavari contains mucilage, this may be helpful for women with low cervical mucous.
Making some of these herbs into a tea will also help to support daily hydration! To learn about other herbs that support a variety of fertility related issues contact Food Clinic
4. Use a sperm friendly lubricant prior to intercourse
Did you know that most lubricants can actually harm sperm? Luckily there are some natural options that have been shown not to harm sperm. These lubricants supply lubrication when cervical mucous is lacking. Using a sperm friendly lubricant may help the sperm to reach their destination, which is past your cervix!
The production of healthy cervical mucous is vital for conception, as it supports the sperm in reaching the ova. Without fertile cervical mucous this cannot happen as easily. Cervical mucous is also a wonderful tool for detecting a woman’s peak fertile time. There are many natural options for supporting healthy cervical mucous production…
1. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of clean water each day!
2. Consider important nutritional supplements that support cervical mucous production including omega essential fatty acids, L-Arginine and Evening Primrose Oil.
3. Many herbs can support the health of our mucous membranes, including how they function. Many of those same herbs also support hormonal balance, which is necessary for appropriate cervical fluid changes.
4. In the meantime, while you are working on the other 3 steps, consider using a natural lubricant to support the sperm in reaching the ova!
Source: Women health.gov ., Baby center ., American Pregnancy association
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