Why is it so easy for some women to get pregnant and others struggle to have a baby?
Well, the most common cause of female infertility is hormonal imbalance. It’s sad how many patients I’ve seen over the past thirty years who have spent so much time and money on infertility treatments before addressing their hormonal imbalances.
Of course there’s a mechanical issue – like blocked Fallopian tubes so sperm cannot reach the egg or congenitally deformed uterus that cannot carry a fetus. A pelvic ultrasound can detect congenital deformity and a hysterosalpingogram, a X-ray test in which dye is injected through the cervix and into the uterus, can determine the patency of your Fallopian tubes.
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for over six months and have not been able to conceive, than it’s time to get a workup. An infertility workup includes:
- For her
- A full physical with pelvic exam
- Bloodwork – basic bloodwork includes a complete blood count, TSH to check your thyroid, and a prolactin level.
- Expanded blood panel – I recommend a full endocrine workup plus metabolic panel to be sure you’re as healthy as possible to get pregnant.
- For him
- Semen analysis because we can’t assume it’s female infertility. It might be him. His semen needs be checked for an adequate number of sperm that are normal in appearance and strong swimmers. It makes no sense to put a woman through major testing and treatment without checking her partner. I recommend a complete physical for him too to rule out any metabolic and hormonal issues that may be a contributing factor.
If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, you need to know which hormones could be causing your infertility. Then you can address the imbalance and save yourself a lot of heart ache and have a healthy pregnancy.
Progesterone is one of the sex steroids produced by your ovaries after you ovulate. Your progesterone level can be measured by a blood test in the middle of your luteal phase which is the second half of your menstrual cycle – approximately day 18-22 in a 28 day cycle. If you’re ovulating but not conceiving or you conceive but miscarry early, your progesterone level may not be high enough.
Bioidentical progesterone can be prescribed to prevent miscarriage. One way to naturally raise progesterone is to lower your stress response. That’s because progesterone is used by your adrenals to make the stress hormone cortisol. When you’re stressed your periods can become irregular as your adrenals rob your ovaries of progesterone.
One of the most effective ways I’ve used to raise progesterone naturally and help my PCOS patients get pregnant is to balance their hypothalamus. Your hypothalamus controls your reproduction – whether you ovulate or not. The special hypothalamic blend of phytonutrients and amino acids in Genesis Gold® can help women with ovulating normally and produce enough progesterone to get pregnant.
High levels of Insulin can prevent ovulation and cause irregular periods. Women with PCOS – polycystic ovary syndrome – tend to have irregular periods and trouble getting pregnant because they are insulin resistant.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a metabolic syndrome that affects 1 out of 10 women of childbearing age. PCOS was first discovered in women who have irregular periods because they don’t ovulate regularly and instead produce lots of ovarian cysts. You don’t have to have ovarian cysts to have PCOS. PCOS is characterized by high insulin, testosterone, and DHEA levels and low progesterone. PCOS can lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease which are a result of long term inflammatory insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance means your cells are not letting sugar in except your fat cells. You develop an insulin meter – a layer of fat around your middle like you’re getting ready to hibernate for the winter. That lowers your metabolism and tells your hypothalamus to slow down other body functions. Your periods become very irregular, sometimes even skipping many months, and when you do bleed it can be very heavy.
You can reverse insulin resistance by following a low carb insulin resistant diet, doing HIT exercises, and supporting your hypothalamus to help increase your chances of getting pregnant. Your hypothalamus controls your insulin production and glucose metabolism. Because insulin resistance is a main factor in preventing ovulation, it’s important to support your hypothalamus to get pregnant.
My PCOS patients do great on Genesis Gold®. It helps regulate their periods, reverse their insulin resistance, reduce metabolic inflammation, and increases their chances of getting pregnant. Before Genesis Gold® I had to do a lot more to help my PCOS patients – like progesterone replacement and insemination. Now, after 3-6 months on Genesis Gold® their bodies get back in balance naturally and they are able to conceive.
Thyroxine also known as T4 is one of your thyroid hormones. When your thyroid hormone production is low, your metabolism is too low to ovulate consistently. It’s so important to have normal thyroid production before getting pregnant because thyroxine helps your baby’s brain develop normally. A simple blood test can show if you’re hypothyroid.
Typically only TSH, T4 and total T3 are measured when you get blood work, but that doesn’t tell you the real picture. Only your unbound thyroid hormone is active. We call that unbound hormone free, as in free T4 (fT4) and free T3 (fT3). You need to know what your fT4, fT3, and rT3 levels are in comparison to your TSH.
But what if your TSH and your fT4 and fT3 are low? Or both high? That’s miscommunication between your hypothalamus, your pituitary, and your thyroid. It’s called your hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis or HPT axis. And you can see this level of HPT miscommunication before your labs register too low or too high. You can be within normal limits, but have HPT axis miscommunication and you will have symptoms of thyroid problems. And you will be told that there’s nothing wrong, that your labs are normal.
That’s what happened to one of my patients. She was told that there was nothing wrong, that her labs were fine. But she didn’t feel fine, so she came to see me.
Her thyroid levels were low when she became pregnant, but never treated. That always concerns me because babies born to a mother with low thyroid function often have developmental delays. The fetal brain needs healthy maternal hormones to develop properly.
Correcting the underlying cause of low thyroid hormone production is key to getting back in balance and getting pregnant.
You may need to take natural thyroid replacement therapy for a little while. Think of taking thyroid hormone like wearing a brace after you sprain your ankle. It’s just support until you can make your own thyroid hormones. It’s important to give your body what it needs to make its own thyroid hormone like iodine rich seaweed, fish, yoghurt, eggs, and proteins rich in tyrosine like chicken, turkey, cheese, peanuts, almonds, and pumpkin seeds.
Supporting your hypothalamus with Genesis Gold® can help your thyroid get back in balance faster.
Prolactin is one of the most important pituitary hormones. While prolactin is the hormone responsible for inducing breast milk production – pro-lactation – it’s not just produced by reproductive women. Men, children, and post menopausal women produce prolactin too, just not as much. Prolactin also controls your immune system at night. Prolactin production always follows melatonin production by three hours and lasts for eight hours. Prolactin should be high at night and low during the day.
Prolactin is high in pregnant women to do two things – help program the mother and the baby’s immune system and to protect the mother from the high levels of sex steroids and growth hormones necessary for the baby’s to develop properly. If mom doesn’t make enough prolactin to block her hormone receptor sites, all those pregnancy hormones would make her body grow a tumor. It’s not possible to get pregnant with high daytime prolactin blocking hormone receptors, so if you’re having trouble conceiving then get a blood test to check your prolactin levels. The only thing that turns off prolactin is dopamine, so dopamine agonist drugs are prescribed to lower high prolactin.
Get Healthy Before Getting Pregnant
I wish every young woman would receive pre-conceptual counseling. The healthier she is, the healthier her babies will be. I am a huge believer that you must be as healthy as possible before trying to get pregnant. Your hypothalamus will not promote fertility if your thyroid, adrenals, glucose metabolism, or pituitary hormones are out of balance. It’s so important that you’re healthy to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy infant.
You need to be healthy, drug-free, and toxin-free at least three months before conceiving to ensure the healthiest ova. Plus the father needs to be healthy, drug-free, and toxin-free for at least two months prior to conception for his healthiest sperm.
As the Hormone Queen®, I’ve helped many infertile women conceive. My goal is to get them as healthy as possible – their guts healthy, their immune system strong, their Hormones in Harmony – before getting pregnant.
Within a few months of taking Genesis Gold®, most of my infertile patients conceive without infertility treatment, even those who needed artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization to conceive their first child. And their pregnancies on Genesis Gold® are healthier – no gestational diabetes, no hypertension, no excessive weight gain, easier deliveries. Since 2005, fourteen babies have been conceived by mothers taking Genesis Gold®.
Before Genesis Gold® was available, a patient came in for an infertility consult. After a hystersalpingogram and a post-coital test, we proceeded with insemination and bio-identical progesterone to support her through the first trimester. She conceived, but with significant weight gain, gestational diabetes, and high blood pressure. After delivery, she suffered from postpartum depression. Her child has a mild learning disability.
When she came back to prepare for a second pregnancy, she asked about alternatives. I offered her Genesis Gold®. She conceived in a couple of months, used progesterone for her corpus luteal defect, and this time no gestational diabetes, no hypertension, no postpartum depression. Her second child is very healthy and well ahead of developmental milestones.
I also had a patient with hypopituitary disorder (no periods, low thyroid, low adrenal, and no pituitary hormone production, and infertile). I treated her with bio-identical hormones. After a year on Genesis Gold®, she wanted to start weaning off the BHRT. We went very slowly over many months until she was having normal menses on her own without the hormones. She delivered a healthy baby boy at the age of 43.
If the woman with no hormones can get back in balance and get pregnant, there’s hope for you!