Monday, November 14, 2011

What is Your Focus On Fertility?

Here is an excellent video to help you understand why you can feel so sad, depressed and disempowered when dealing with fertility issues. It's principles apply to life and is what many due to unknowingly sabotage their own happiness.

After watching think about how you can change your focus to what you have right now to take some of the pressure off regarding your fertility.

When we are dealing with difficult situations in our life (and fertility issues are one of the most difficult journeys someone can take) it is easy to lose focus on appreciating what we do have in life right now. This of course won't take away the issues you are dealing with regarding fertility but it will help you see find the pieces necessary to fill in the missing tile. But if your focus is only on what is missing, it is much more difficult to take action and move forward to create what you want.

So spend some time each day shifting your focus from what you apparently lack to appreciation of what you do have right now.

Monday, September 19, 2011

OAT Axis: What Most Doctors Do Not Explain To You When Discussing Fertility

The following video is by a medical doctor Dr. Lam, who talks about information that we, at our clinic, Sharkeys Healing Centre, and natural focus on, on a daily basis. Why? Because this axis directly relates to your fertility.

When going through convention fertility treatment this is completely ignored and likely why many times conventional treatment doesn't help you create a viable pregnancy.

Watch this video to help understand what has been missing in your fertility program (unless you are a patient of ours already). Dr. Lam doesn't specifically mention fertility but this information is applicable to someone who has had recurrent miscarriage, endometriosis, unexplained fertility issues, Pcos (polycystic ovaries), or fibroids.

Enjoy the video!

A couple things to keep in mind:
When Dr. Lam says oestrogen dominance it may not mean excess oestrogen or high oestrogen. He is talking about the balance between oestrogen and progesterone so oestrogen dominance can mean high oestrogen or normal oestrogen but low progesterone. You can also have high oestrogen normal progesterone or high oestrogen and low progesterone. All of these are related to oestrogen dominance.

The thyroid and adrenals work very closely together. If one is not regulating, for example if you are on hypothyroid medication if your adrenals aren't functioning optimally then the medication may not be effective.

For further explanation about how the OAT axis could be impacting your fertility consider having a consultation with us at Sharkeys Healing Centre (Fertility Bible comes with the consultation) or consider investing in the Fertility Bible, Your Five Step Fertility Solution to Becoming Pregnant Naturally or with IVF. Available in hard copy in Australia and New Zealand or out of Australia on your Kindle or Smart phone (iPhone or android) with your Kindle App

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Altered gene likely to be associated with infertility in women‎

Scientists from Johns Hopkins University in the USA have discovered a gene that when altered in mice and in humans is correlated with low progesterone levels and unexplained fertility issues in women.

A new study by investigators from Johns Hopkins now suggests that altering of a gene also meant for regulation of cholesterol in the bloodstream appears to affect the progesterone production in women making it a possible wrongdoer in a substantial number of cases of their infertility.

A simple blood test for this variation of the scavenger receptor class B type 1 gene (SCARB1) was also created by the group though it mentioned that there is no affirmed therapy yet to attend the problem in infertile women.

A common link was found between the studies conducted on female mice and the one conducted on women with a history of fertility. In both the cases the link between deficiency in these receptors for HDL i.e the real healthy cholesterol and infertility appeared to be clear. The Hopkins team seems to be positive in tracing the genetic clue to infertility and developing a treatment for it as well if the study moves ahead as expected. The treatment is known to have been effective in female mice.

The study:

As a part of their study Rodriguez and her colleagues collected and examined the ovarian cells and fluid collected from 274 women unable to become pregnant for various reasons and undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) between November 2007 and March 2010. Around 207 of them proceeded to have their eggs collected followed by the process of fertilization of the eggs and implantation in their wombs.

2 days after the embryo transfer the scientists had to see for any signs of gestation sac or fetal heartbeat that could be affirmed only by evidence. All the nine women in the group with mutated SCARB1 were devoid of this evidence .This implied that none of them were pregnant. According to Rodriguez the genetic variation could be present in 8 to 13 percent of the population.

Despite being supplemented with progesterone as part of the IVF process, the levels of the same were found to be less in the nine women with the altered gene. Progesterone is crucial for sustaining a pregnancy in the earliest stages.


Firstly I think this is great that scientists are continuing to look for what is presumeably overlooked in many couples dealing with fertility issues. Instead of just shugging their shoulders and saying it is "unexplained" scientists are attempting to help couples go from unexplained to explained.

My job I believe is to help couples make the next step, go from Unexplained to pregnant.

So I think there are a few things that need to be highlighted here.

1) testing for SCARB1 (can be done thru a blood test so ask your doctor if the blood test has become available for you in your area) could give your fertility team more information to suggest what an underlying problem may be and then address areas associated with low progesterone levels, but also keep in mind that only 9 of the 207 subjects showed a mutation in this gene so it was present in less than 5% of the subjects.

2) If there is an altered gene which effects cholesterol and progesterone its important to ask why this might be the case instead of just address the specific components i.e. cholesterol and progesterone. Its important to look up the chain of hormone pathways to determine why this may be an issue and address it at the point where its a problem, not at the end game. For example a medication now banned because of its potentially life threatening effects of lowering the good cholesterol is being considered to use as a treatment.

3) its interesting that scientists are considering trying to alter or overcome an altered gene with medication. Hasn't it been drilled in our head that are genes are our genes and that can't be changed? In comes the field of epigenetics which I believe this study supports. Epigenetics is basically telling us that our future is not presupposed by our DNA and that something outside of the genes and DNA can be responsible for issues with our genes and when these issues are addressed it may improve the situation for the better

So let's talk about what could potentially naturally help improve this or atleast what should be investigated before using a life threatening drug on women who are desperate to try anything to become pregnant. Herbs such as Chaste Tree have been shown to optimise progesterone production. Fish oil may help to optimise HDL levels and subsequently have a positive effect on progesterone since progesterone comes from cholesterol. And since the thyroid and adrenals directly impact progesterone productions herbs such as withania, rhemania and other thyroid and adrenal support may be warranted.

See your health care professional who has experiencing dispensing herbs and looking for natural support of hormone levels to optimise hormone balance. And as discussed having the blood test for SCARB1 may be a good option for you if you have been diagnosed with unexplained fertility issues.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Placebo effect and Nocebo effect: how could this impact your fertility?

Can what you believe about your treatment have an effect on its outcome? Sounds strange but more and more studies are showing this could be true. Your expectations may actually influence the result of your treatment.

You may have heard of the placebo response, where a person believes that something is good for them and it actually makes a difference physiologically in the body. For example someone is given a sugar pill instead of an antidepressant for example and they feel better because they believe the antidepressant is working for them (they weren't told they received the sugar pill). That is the placebo effect. But there is a less talked about response that I would also like to discuss. It is called the nocebo response.

The nocebo response is the exact opposite to the placebo response. And it could be significantly impacting your situation.

To understand the nocebo response and how it may impact your fertility let's first review a little bit more about the power of the placebo response, the opposite of the nocebo response. The placebo response refers to health benefits that are the result of something that should not have had any significant physiological response. It could be a pill or it could be a surgery, for example. One of the most amazing reports about the placebo response was referred to in a study on patients who had Parkinson's disease. The patients had brain surgery that was supposed to assist with decreasing the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. All of the patients had holes drilled in their skull, however some had the real treatment and some only had the hole drilled in their skull, no real treatment.

Based on perceived treatment, or treatment patients thought they received, there were numerous differences and changes over time. In all cases, those who thought they received the transplant reported better scores re symptoms whether they actually had the treatment or not. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2004 Jun;61(6):627.

In other words, if they thought they had the treatment, whether they actually had it or not, they noticed significant improvement for at least a year later. It was the belief that they had the actual treatment that seemed to affect the results, not the actual treatment. Amazing!

Now the nocebo effect is just the opposite. When patients truly believe something will go wrong, there is more likely a chance that it will. For example, in one study, women who believed that they were prone to heart disease were nearly four times as likely to die as women with similar risk factors who didn't hold such beliefs.

"They're convinced that something is going to go wrong, and it's a self-fulfilling prophecy" said Arthur Barsky, a psychiatrist at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital who published an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association beseeching his peers to pay closer attention to the nocebo effect. "From a clinical point of view, this is by no means peripheral or irrelevant."

Dr. Bruce Lipton ( a research scientist and medical school lecturer has said this about the nocebo effect. "This is when a negative thought or belief is used to shape our biology. For example, if a professional person, a medical doctor or specialist, says you are going to die in three months and you believe him, then you may set this date into your perceptual clock, start to disentangle yourself from your life and actually die in three months.

Sound a bit crazy? Here's another example of the nocebo effect from an article written in the Washington Post in 2004.

Researchers at three medical centers undertook a study of aspirin and another blood thinner in heart patients and came up with an unexpected result that said little about the heart and much about the brain. At two locations, patients were warned of possible gastrointestinal problems, one of the most common side effects of repeated use of aspirin. At the other location, patients received no such caution.

When researchers reviewed the data, they found a striking result: Those warned about the gastrointestinal problems were almost three times as likely to have the side effect. Though the evidence of actual stomach damage such as ulcers was the same for all three groups, those with the most information about the prospect of minor problems were the most likely to experience the pain.

So what does this nocebo response have to do with your fertility?

Well what has the media, your doctor, your naturopath or anyone or anything you consult re your fertility issues say about your situation? What in the media have you heard that could be influencing your fertility? Or what have you heard from a prestigious person in your life that you have taken on as a belief for yourself about your fertility?

In my opinion this is such an important consideration for couples dealing with fertility issues because you are constantly bombarded by comments such as "your eggs are too old";"you don't have much time", "your only option is IVF", and many, many more. You are shown charts and graphs representing percentages that show a significant drop in fertility rates after 35. (which by the way are based on data more than 15 years old). You are told to hurry up or even asked why you waited so long.

Are you creating your own placebo or nocebo effect by taking on certain beliefs about your fertility?

Addressing these beliefs may significantly impact your fertility. For example, a small study of women who hadn't been ovulating received cognitive behavioral therapy and the results were that 80% of women in the study began to ovulate after receiving the therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy works on your beliefs, your thoughts, your values, which in turn can help to decrease the stress on your body. So by addressing the way they were thinking they were actually able to affect their reproductive cycle.

What are you thinking about that is effecting your fertility? Do you focus on the percentage of people not getting pregnant or the percentage of people that do? Which group do you see yourself in?

Our Fertile Mind Fertile Body workshops and CD set help individuals or couples figure out whether they are contributing to a placebo or nocebo effect. You learn techniques about how to get off the emotional rollercoaster that is causing more stress in your life and get rid of beliefs that are not supporting you.

What can you do to become more congruent with the current path that you are on regarding your fertility to initiate a move towards optimising your fertility?

Our creation story this week is short and sweet.

A couple who had been on our herbs for 6 months decided to attend our workshop. After doing so they decided to concentrate on their emotional wellbeing and their relationship. She felt she was letting him down because she was the one with the diagnosis. Her partner let her know that he married her because he loved her not due to whether or not she could have children. Children, he said, would be a bonus. She believed him, and started to let go of all of the destructive emotions and beliefs she held and within 6 months of the workshop they were pregnant, even though she had PCOS and was told she would likely never become pregnant naturally. Now, from a natural pregnancy, they have a beautiful baby girl and have defied the odds according to their doctors.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Lipiodol flush: May help you increase your chances to conceive

The tip I am sending out today is very exciting for me to share because it has recently appeared to have helped couples who have dealt with unexplained fertility as well as endometriosis issues for several years. So if you or someone you know is dealing with this issue hopefully it will help you and or them create that life you long for

About 6 or 7 years ago I read about a study on a treatment that appeared to improve pregnancy rates in couples either naturally or with IVF. I read the study because a couple from New Zealand were my patients for a approximately six months when they had this procedure done and subsequently became pregnant naturally after trying for 5 or 6 years.

I was intrigued by the information in the study showing high pregnancy rates for those undergoing the procedure. But for the life of me, I could not find any physician in Australia doing the procedure consistently at that time and it seemed to fall out of favour despite the great results reported in several studies from 2002 -2007.

Recently however, a few physicians whose patients we regularly see have started using this procedure again and I am seeing great results. Pregnancies from couples who were "unexplained" and two women with a history of endometriosis have now become pregnant after years of trying.

What is the procedure? It is called the Lipiodol Flush. An iodised extract of poppyseed oil is put into the uterus and the tubes are flushed prior to a procedure or to enhance the endometrial receptivity for a natural pregnancy as well.

This procedure can be done through a hysteroscopy which would not require a patient to necessarily have a laparoscopy or go under anesthetic though each physicians protocols may vary. What is also interesting is that couples with endometriosis and unexplained fertility noted increased pregnancy rates even after the procedure. For example, within six months of receiving the treatment in comparison to couples who did not have the treatment at all there was a much higher pregnancy rate, 48% (pregnancies in couples that had the lipiodol flush) than those who did not have the treatment, 10% pregnancies. That is a very significant outcome.

Why would poppyseed extract work? No one knows really but it may make the uterus more receptive. Also I think the iodine present in the solution may help as well. Patients often have a aluggish thyroid that is overlooked because basic blood tests like TSH turn up normal even when many other symptoms show and objective finding show the thyroid may be sluggish. Iodine is an extremely important part of thyroid function so it is possible that the combination of iodine and the poppyseed oil holds the key to the great results for many after the procedure.

Whatever the reason this is definitely worth discussing with your fertility specialist. And if he or she is not doing it, you may want to ask why or find a doctor that will try it, especially if you have been diagnosed as unexplained or have had a previous history of endometriosis and the tubes are clear.

Please let me know your experience with this procedure should you have it done.