I’m sure we all have that co-worker or two (or ten) who has popped up pregnant unexpectedly when she wasn’t even trying or the family member who is uber fertile and gets knocked up every time her DH blinks at her. Some of us may even be that person! But for those of us who are not, those who are in fact far from it, people like these can be a constant often painful reminder of what thousands of women suffer with in silence, IF (infertility).
When IF strikes it can be quite unexpected. It can leave not only the woman feeling devastated that she can’t do something women have done since Biblical times, but if tests reveal her DH is the one who has the problem it can cause a bruised ego on his side of the fence as well. All is not lost, however, most times in situations of IF. There are many recommendations that can be made once a medical professional has assessed the situation. Just as a man sees an urologist to be tested a woman may be referred to a RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist). That is an OB/GYN with additional training in treating reproductive disorders both medically and surgically. Seeing someone who is trained in IF cases is the first step. They may suggest any combination of hormone therapy and/or surgery.
One such surgery is a hysteroscopy which is sometimes done to remove uterine polyps or very small fibroids (growths in the uterus). Another is a laproscopy in which a small incision is made in the bikini line and another in the belly button in which a tiny camera is put inside the uterus to detect things like adhesions, scar tissue and endometriosis.
There are many different medicines that you may be Rx’ed to treat whatever your IF Dx is. Some of these include:
· Progesterone (in suppository or injection form as Crinone or Prometrium)
· Estrogen (in pill or patch form as Estrace)
· Follistim or Gonal-F (FSH or Follicle Stimulating Hormone)
· Repronex or Menapur (LH and FSH)
As with anything, you should discuss with your RE why he/she thinks these drugs are most suitable for your particular circumstance. And don’t be afraid to ask questions about his/her experience with patients in your same situation, success rates in his/her practice or clinic, and how he/she codes procedures for insurance purposes.
However, maybe you’re not sure you’re ready to embark on the world of medications and surgeries. You may want to opt for a more holistic route such as acupuncture and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) which includes herbs and teas that are reported to increase blood flow to the uterus or treat other deficiencies. Also, you may try special diets that are designed to overcome your IF diagnosis. Many specialists believe that eliminating wheat (gluten) and dairy from the diet of IF women helps improve fertility. For example, in “Endometriosis: A Key to Healing Through Nutrition”(2002), authors Dian Shepperson Mills and Michael Vernon state, “When symptoms of coeliac disease were removed by excluding wheat gluten from the diet, many infertile patients became pregnant.”
No matter what the route, traditional or holistic, these techniques are often coupled with an ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) technique to achieve pregnancy. The most commonly recommended ART techniques will be investigated in the next and final part of our series.
Although Pocahontas is not a medical professional, she endured 17 months of IF diagnosis’s and treatments before finally conceiving her first born. So she wanted to share the vast amount of information she has learned and compiled in this 3 part series with women who may have to travel the same road to motherhood.