Natural Ways to Boost Your Fertility

When you just want the best odds possible

Do you dream of hearing the pitter-patter of little feet toddling around your living room? Are you planning to become a mommy soon? The odds are in your favor: 84% of women under thirty-five who are trying to conceive will get pregnant within the first year.

While news reports about infertility can be frightening, the majority of women will conceive without difficulty. However, if you want to increase your chances of becoming pregnant, there are some dietary and behavioural changes you can make that may boost your fertility.

Fertility is decreased in both men and women who are deficient in vitamin C, especially smokers. Men who get less than 60 milligrams RDA of vitamin C daily (equal to the amount in an orange) have been found to have high levels of damaged sperm. In one study, sperm counts increased by almost 60 percent in men who took 1000mg for two months.

Women should avoid megadoses of vitamin C because it can dry up cervical fluid, preventing sperm from reaching the egg. Limit the amount you take to the dose included in your prenatal vitamin.

Zinc deficiency has been linked to low sperm counts and poor sperm motility. It has also been implicated in miscarriage.

Vitamin E may protect sperm-cell membranes. In one study, men who took 200mg of vitamin E daily increased their fertility by about 30 percent in one month. Men taking four grams daily of the amino acid arginine, powdered and dissolved in water, experienced a significant increase in sperm count and motility in some studies.

Throw away your lubricants

The chemicals in commercial lubricants can kill sperm. Studies show sperm motility is lessened by 60-100% after sixty minutes of contact with lubricants. Petroleum jelly, plain glycerin and even saliva can also kill sperm.

Lengthen the amount of time you spend on foreplay to ensure you are aroused and your natural vaginal secretions are increased. If you must use an additional lubricant, try egg whites because they encourage sperm motility.

Be missionaries

Make love with the man on top; also know as the missionary position. Sperm is deposited closest to the cervix during sex in this position because it allows the deepest penetration.

Avoid Starbucks

...or at least highly caffeinated stuff there. Your chance of becoming pregnant is reduced by almost one-third if you or your partner ingests high amounts of caffeine, about 300-700mg daily. (One cup of regular coffee has 100mg of caffeine while regular tea has 30mg.)

Become a teetotaler--and a "teatotaler"

Women who drink at least 2 cup of tea per day nearly double their odds of conceiving. Researchers believe the antioxidants in tea may be responsible.

While men's alcohol consumption doesn't appear to affect fertility, women who have one alcoholic drink a day reduce their chance of conceiving by 50%. Even two drinks a week can lower your odds.

Not milk

Studies show that high rates of milk consumption are related to a decrease in fertility. Galactose, a sugar in milk, has been found in high concentrations in infertile women.

Don't get high

Marijuana decreases fertility in men by having a negative effect on sperm production in the testis; decreasing sperm motility and inhibiting the release of enzymes that let sperm penetrate the egg. It can also disrupt a woman's ovulatory cycle.

Better safe than sorry?

Echinacea is used to enhance the immune system, ginkgo biloba to improve memory and St. John's wort to treat depression. In a recent study high doses of each of these herbs have been shown to damage reproductive cells and prevent fertilization of eggs in laboratory hamsters. There have been no studies to date that show their effect on human fertility but you may want to reconsider using them while you are trying to conceive.

Weighty matters

You are most fertile when you are neither too thin nor too heavy. You need at least 18% body fat to ovulate and your best chance of conceiving is when 20-25% of your body mass is fat tissue. On the other hand, your monthly cycle can be disrupted by too much fat, which affects estrogen levels. Being 25% over your ideal weight can stop ovulation.

Don't douche

Douching can change the pH balance inside the vagina, altering it so that sperm are adversely affected. It can also wash away the cervical fluid that helps sperm through the cervix on their way to the egg.

De-stress

Stress can cause irregular ovulation or even stop your periods. It is important to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and get at least eight hours of sleep a night. Try yoga or meditation to help de-stress or see a counselor to learn stress management techniques.

Happy hour

A couple's most fertile time of day is between 5pm and 7pm. The number and quality of sperm varies throughout the day, peaking in late afternoon with a sperm count that is 35% higher than it is in the morning. Since women are most likely to ovulate between 3 and 7, some researchers suggest couples leave work early for a baby-making rendezvous.

And, of course, it is essential that you have sex when you are fertile. You can determine when you are ovulating by using an ovulation detection kit or by practicing FAM (Fertility Awareness Method). By observing your waking temperature, cervical fluid and cervical position you can pinpoint the days when you are able to conceive. Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler has sample charts and detailed instructions on how to use FAM.

[Note from Lynn: Many guides for boosting your body's chances of conceiving are out there. One of the ones we like is Pregnancy Miracle. Though I don't care for the name, the program itself has many great ideas for improving your health in specific ways that may help your chances of conceiving. Good luck--I had secondary infertility myself, and Lou's arrival was somewhat of a surprise!]

Cathy Allison is a freelance writer and fulltime mother who lives in Vancouver, BC.

Comments

ty's picture

hi,

i have conceived before and afterwords............given contraceptive( depoveral.........given every three mths)

I stopped the injection since feburary 2007 and since then havent conceived.

What suggestion or help can u render?

Sparrow's picture

It might be a good idea for you to get your thyroid checked. Your doctor can draw blood and test your TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) level to make sure your thyroid hormones are in the proper range. If they're too high or too low, they can cause problems with your menstrual cycle and conception. I couldn't conceive for 10 months before I had mine checked and started on Synthroid (for low thyroid hormone levels). The next month, I was pregnant. :) It's not an uncommon problem and for some women it can be an easy fix, so it may be worth a test.

If you do get tested, make sure to ask for a numerical result rather than just "normal". The normal range has recently been changed to .3 to 3, but many labs and doctors are still using the old range of .5 to 5. I definitely don't feel "normal" at levels of 3 and above--my TSH was 3.8 when I was having trouble conceiving (and many other symptoms). A year before that it was 3.4 and I was simply told it was "normal," even though I didn't feel normal then either.

Anhata's picture

Depo Provera can make some women infertile up to 18 months after the last injection. If you're still not pregnant in three months or so, I'd see a doctor or naturopath.

Also, I've heard the advice here before--cut out coffee, alchohol, etc. It does help.

We had trouble conceiving and found out DH had a condition called varicocele. An outpatient procedure by a urologist and voila, there I was, pregnant with DD, now 7 yrs old. It's not always the woman's problem. Have him checked out too.
____________________

Of all the wonders of nature, a tree in summer is perhaps the most remarkable; with the possible exception of a moose singing "Embraceable You" in spats.

-- Woody Allen

Stephanie Thompson's picture

2 Questions:

1) What are your thoughts on Preseed as a Lubricant?

2) My TSH levels are high and my Ob/Gyn would like to place me on Synthroid. The Dr stated that high levels of TSH could interfer with normal ovulation, however when I take a home ovulation test, it's positive and/or I get the little smiley face, does that mean I am ovulating and I shouldn't be worried. Or when it comes to TSH levels does the home ovulation kit not matter. Does LH surge and TSH have any relation. I don't want to take hormone meds, if I dont have to. So did you end up taking Synthroid for the rest of our life?

Thanks!

Sparrow's picture

I've never heard of Preseed.

I'm not a doctor or an expert, just a patient with a thyroid problem. I have read that women who are hypothyroid (elevated TSH usually indicates low thyroid hormones, since it's the pituitary's way of kicking the thyroid into action) have a greater risk of miscarriage, and very low thyroid hormones during pregnancy can cause (mostly mild) cognitive impairment or learning disabilities in the child. This is probably why your OB is suggesting Synthroid.

In my case, I had very long cycles. Some of the time I wasn't ovulating and some of the time I was (I was charting temperatures, watching mucus, and using ovulation tests). However, even when I did ovulate and we were on time, I never had a positive pregnancy test. I think my body "knew" that it couldn't support a pregnancy in that state.

Thyroxine is a hormone, but it's not a sex hormone like estrogen or testosterone. If I remember correctly from college biology, hormones are "circulating chemical signals...that are formed in specialized cells, travel in body fluids, and coordinate the various parts of the organism by interacting with target cells" (Campbell's Biology, 3rd. edition, glossary). There are lots of hormones that do lots of things, from regulating thirst to telling the body it's pregnant (so don't have a period). Thyroid hormones help regulate cellular activity, so their effects are far-reaching in the body. That's why hypothyroid symptoms include such diverse things as hair falling out, constipation, foggy thinking, fatigue, and brittle fingernails. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid isn't producing enough thyroid hormone and you need to supplement.

I will need to be on Synthroid for the rest of my life, but I don't see that as a problem. I feel so much better with it than without that I wouldn't want to stop taking it. I'm just thankful there's an easy solution to my problem--so many autoimmune diseases are so much worse!

Good luck--hope you're expecting soon! :)

Guest's picture

i recently did my tsh test which shows alevel of 12 which is much higher than the normal range inspite of taking eltroxin 100 mg tab one daily will it hamper in my pregnancy have had two misscarrige earlier

Sparrow's picture

I'm still not a doctor or expert, but I do know that a TSH of 12 is way outside of normal (.3 to 3 or .5 to 5 is considered "normal," depending on your lab and doctor). Personally, anything higher than about 2 to 2.5 and I start to have hypothyroid symptoms like cold feet that are very slow to warm up, fatigue, and long, irregular periods. Last time I had a TSH over 5 my hair started to fall out. It does vary by person, though. What does your doctor suggest with that TSH? I don't know Eltroxin (though I do see a thread on about.com about side effects since a reformulation about a year ago), but it sounds like you might need a higher dosage to get the TSH down. Levothyroxine is generally considered safe during pregnancy and it's important to keep the thyroid hormones at a "normal" level to reduce the risks to the baby. When I was pregnant, my OB did a TSH test each trimester and adjusted my dosage to keep my TSH around 2 to 2.5. My current doctor aims for 1 to 1.5.

You might find the following links helpful:

http://thyroid.about.com/od/hormonepregnantmenopause1/Hormones_Infertility_Pregnancy_Breastfeeding_Menopause_Thyroid.htm

http://jcem.endojournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/jc.2005-1603v1

Morena's picture

I am overweight, have low thyroid levels, and very irregular periods. I am 20 yrs. old. I was put today on Levothyroxine,can I ever have a healthy baby? Can I conceive at all? Anything I can take to increse my chances of conceiving?

mrs ali's picture

hi i was going through the website so thought u might b able to help me through i had a miscarriage with twins but now it has been more then a year i have been trying cant conceive please help through

Vilo's picture

I been going to the doc for a year in a half regarding my "infertility" but I haven't have and answer of what's wrong with me. They have done all kind of blood test, ultrasounds.... Etc and all they say is that everithing looks normal. But what I don't understand is that I don't get pregnant my fiancé and I been trying and nothing works I don't get it our sex drive is perfect, fluids are perfect. So I don't understant why is not happening. I know he doesn't have a problem he has a 4 years old kid. What's wrong with me? :jawdrop:

Lynn's picture

I sound like a broken record, but I always advise people to stop eating gluten and/or dairy. Best advice is to check for inflammation and/or autoimmune disorder (even though doctors don't know what to do/how to look for autoimmune unless it's super-obvious like lupus). That's usually caused by diet.

Guest's picture

:) :) hi... i am a contraceptive pill user for almost 15yrs... i stopped taking pills around 2 & half years now but still i cant get pregnant... i am ovulating, have sex, but still cant understand why i couldnt get pregnant. with my ultrasound, they suspect i have Polyp, i have a thin lining of my cervix. i have noticed also that i am always spotting with brownish to reddish color and i only have 1 day of a a menstrual blood..Sometimes i am bleeding during sexual intercourse..is something wrong with me? what kind of treatment should i do? Please i need some help & advice with this matter. I am 36yrs old. time is running..HELP!

RN's picture

OK. I swear I'm not being rude... however... While your advise about gluten and dairy is on the right track, Your information on autoimmune diseases is not. Lupus as you stated is "Super Obvious"... no ma'am... a lot of times it is very hard to test for lupus unless one is having a break out or inflammation. You also stated that Lupus is usually caused by diet, wrong as well... Lupus is generally a genetic thing. While a healthy diet will help your symptoms ... a horrible diet is not the cause. I myself have systemic lupus and can tell you first hand. Not only that... I have been an RN for 8 years.

tsiaral's picture

I was wondering how to check or have my TSH levels checked. :? I know that I would probably need to go to the doctor, but is there anything that also brings the levels down?

Allie's picture

Hi everybody! I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 8 months ago, but I wasn't on medication until a month ago. I'm now on Levothyroxine 100mcg every morning. I've been trying to conceive for 9 months and I've tried everything, but nothing seems to work. I've heard that being on medication for low thyroid conditions can help me conceive, is it true? I'm not on birth control and we're not using condoms. I've been doing a lot of reading on here and other websites and I've read the same thing over and over again. They said either one or two months after they got on the medication they became pregnant? I'm getting so excited because I keep reading that on every website I go to. I just want to know if it's true. Send me baby dust!!

Lynn's picture

But it's my understanding that low thyroid can definitely affect fertility. It may be that your system will need more time on your new medication, or it may be there's something else going on as well. Be sure to get checked for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) as well; sometimes women with thyroid problems can have that going on, too. Good luck!

Sparrow's picture

Yes, it's true--it can help! My daughter is proof. :) We tried for 10 months before I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's (a form of hypothyroidism). I started on 25 mcg of levothyroxine daily and a month later I was pregnant. So getting the thyroid under control can definitely help.

BUT, it might not be enough in every case. Here I am, 3 years later, trying to conceive a second child and having no luck. We've been trying over 18 months (I don't even want to go check when we started). This is despite my TSH being in the optimal range, too. I really thought it would be easier the second time around, but it's not. My doctor did tell me when I was diagnosed that Hashimoto's in particular often gets worse after a pregnancy, and that women with Hashimoto's can have a harder time conceiving and carrying to term. Sadly, both seem to be true for me, even with treatment.

Anyway, I hope it'll work for you! Good luck! :)

(And I am also not a doctor, just a patient.) ;)

Guest's picture

My husband is on several different medications for his blood pressure, and we are going to be trying to conceive a baby in the next few months. Before we start trying we have been looking into what is and isnt good for fertility, and I came across some vague referances to blood pressure medications being a cause of lower fertility in men. I was wondering if someone could give me more insight on this and maybe let me know if its all medications for blood pressure or if its specific ones more than others???

Ying's picture

Hi everybody,
I'm 41, my husband will be 50 next month.He was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 1 year ago, he is on Levothyroxine 25mcg every morning.Is it possible I could get pregenant? If I am lucky, will the baby be healthy?
Thanks

Guest's picture

i dont drink i dont smoke pot, take my vitamins...eat right .. missionary's the only way we have sex and i still am not prgnant.. i havent been on any kind of contraceptive in over 4 years.. i dont get it.. ? hes doing all the right things too... doctors say we are fine.. ? i guess i should try the dong quai? im already taking chasteberry ..?i already have crazy adult acnefrom taking vitamins to get my hormones in check .. you think taking the dong quai will make this worse?

Lynn's picture

My best advice is twofold:

1) Buy Taking Charge of Your Fertility. It's a great guide that will help you understand your body and make it much more likely you'll conceive.

2) Before you take dong quai, check with your medical practitioner. I then suggest going to a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner to prescribe it properly.

You might also try going gluten-free and/or checking for other allergens.

Good luck!

ttc for 3 years & still hoping =)'s picture

Hello,
I am also having trouble with infertility - I am 29, and have quite a bit of knowledge about fertility. We do all the right things, I know I'm ovulating, etc. so I thought I would have my thyroid checked, and my tsh is in the 'normal' range as well. From what I've been reading, even though my tsh is 'normal' at 3.36 this is high for ladies who are trying to conceive. (tsh of 1-2 is optimal) so this is what I'm going to explore next.

I just wanted to let you know that some ladies I know who were on synthetic thyroid replacements for hypothyroid were having trouble conceiving until they switched to a natural thyroid, such as Armour, Naturethroid, or something like that. As soon as they switched they got pregnant right away. One lady in particular went on Armour and had a baby right away... then her she switched dr's, and he told her synthetic is better. So she switched, and in the meantime was trying to conceive a 2nd. time to no avail. She went back to her old dr. who switched her to Armour again, and she conceived a second time right away. I think there is something special in 'natural' replacements that synthetic things just can't replace, even though most doctors don't like the natural thyroid because of all kinds of various reasons. (I guess I am all for everything being done naturally as much as it is possible!) Just thought I would post about it for some of you who may want to try switching and see if it makes a difference for you as well.

Sparrow's picture

Yes! Whenever I hear of someone getting their TSH checked, I always tell them to get their numbers! I pretty much lost a year of my life due to being told I was "normal" when my TSH was 3.4. I didn't know, didn't get my TSH number, and spent the next year with brain fog, brittle nails, hair falling out, infertility, creaky knees, sick and sleeping all the time. Went back a year later and my TSH was up to 3.8. I finally got diagnosed with Hashmoto's thyroiditis, started on levothyroxine, and was pregnant and feeling much better within about 6 weeks.

Apparently a new "normal" range for TSH of .3 to 3 has been recommended by endocrinologists, but some labs and doctors still use the old range of .5 to 5. If your TSH is over 3 and you have hypothyroid symptoms, you may want to push for levothyroxine.

(And I am just a patient, not a doctor or other medical professional, so this is all just my opinion, not medical advice.)

Lynn's picture

:smoochies!:

Hey, do you know when those "new" numbers came out? I've been checked over and over...and over...for low thyroid and always come out "low-normal."

Except I don't want to get preggers any more. ;)

Sparrow's picture

Aww, hi Lynn! Nice to see you, too! :)

Looks like they came out in 2003, so it's been a little while. I still hear from my dad that his doctor is using the old range, though, and some labs still are. I guess the new numbers have been somewhat controversial. All I know is, they work for me! I think the best thing to do is to find out what the TSH number actually is and what range they're using rather than accepting "normal". My doctor knows by now that I'm always going to ask for my number. ;)

Here's a link to the info on the new range:
http://thyroid.about.com/cs/testsforthyroid/a/labs2003.htm

Guest's picture

Hello -
I have been TTC for 2 + years and went to an RE(Reproductive Endocrinologist) last year. I have endometriosis and slightly elevated FSH and RE suggested I do IVF. My 1st IVF resulted in an early miscarriage (or chemical pregnancy as they call it). I will go for a 2nd round in March but in the meantime have started acupuncture, no gluten, no dairy, mostly organic diet and am taking royal jelly, maca, chlorella, wheat grass, L-Arginine and COQ10. My acupuncturist reviewed my blood work and noticed that my TSH is at .74. Since its within "normal" range, my RE didn't say anything about it but acupuncturist thinks this is well below the functional range of thyroid which should be around 2.
I'm afraid my RE will dismiss this and say its normal and not prescribe anything.
Has anyone had similar experiences with low TSH and what have you done to overcome and have a successful pregnancy?
thank you!

Sparrow's picture

Hi there! I'm a little confused about the TSH situation. A low TSH would usually indicate you were hyperthyroid (too much thyroid hormone), but generally not unless it's lower than either .33 (newer "normal" TSH range) or .5 (old "normal" TSH range). A high TSH would usually indicate you were hypothyroid (too little thyroid hormone), but not unless it's over 3 (newer range) or 5 (older range). It's an inverse correlation. So .74 TSH would usually be considered pretty good, at least by doctors. Was the acupuncturist looking at the TSH, or a different test? Are you currently taking a thyroid medication? (BTW, I'm not a doctor or any kind of medical professional, just a patient myself.)

The rest of what you're saying sounds very familiar to me--good luck! Despite bloodwork that was negative for celiac disease, I went off gluten for 6 weeks. I didn't think it made any difference for me, though (hey Lynn, is that long enough?) I'm trying several of those herbs myself, but I'm not familiar with maca. I'm also going to try to look into acupuncture soon. My husband and I have also been TTC for 2+ years and have done 2 IUIs. After a break (and my 35th birthday), we've decided to move to IVF and will start the process soon. They probably would have recommended that after a third IUI anyway.

Guest's picture

Hi Sparrow,
thanks for the reply! the acupuncturist looked at my TSH level (which was drawn back in May 2010). She said that even though its within the medical range, she said that a functional thyroid should be around 2.0 TSH. I am not taking any medication for it. She suggested I get it retested but I am a couple of weeks away from starting IVF#2 and I didn't know what I'd do with the additional testing b/c she can't prescribe anything and my RE thinks its normal. I might ask RE just to check it again with the next round of blood work just to see where it is.
Wishing you tons of luck with your 1st IVF. If you ever need to talk/vent, etc, please feel free to reach out to me - danncer717@hotmail.com. It can be very overwhelming and I've found it priceless to talk to others who went thru or are going thru this.
Lots of baby dust to you!

Sparrow's picture

Thank you! That's very kind--I may take you up on that offer as the process moves along. I'll admit, I have some trepidation about the whole thing. The IUIs were bad enough, and this sounds 10 times worse (and 10 times more expensive!) Still, nothing else is working and I think this has the best chance of getting us where we want to be.

As for the TSH, I wouldn't worry about a level of .74 if it were me (unless you had thyroid symptoms, anyway). TSH is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, and the pituitary gland secretes it to tell the thyroid to produce more thyroid hormones (mostly T4 and some T3). The more TSH there is, the more the pituitary is kicking the thyroid into action. The more trouble the thyroid is having producing the hormones, the more TSH there will be. If there's too much thyroid hormone, the pituitary will cut way back on TSH (hence the low numbers). I do take a thyroid hormone replacement (levothyroxine, a synthetic T4), and my doctor wants my TSH to be around 1 to 1.5 since that's the middle of the new normal range. (Actually, at last test it was .67 and she said it was "perfect". Seems a bit low to me, but since I have more symptoms at a lower dosage, I'll take it.) I would be very cautious in trying to raise TSH numbers, because that will mean your body is asking for more thyroid hormone (which you need to get pregnant). (Again, I'm not a doctor or medical professional.)

Anyway, good luck to you as well! I hope some of the things you're trying help and the second round is successful!

ttc for 3 years & still hoping =)'s picture

Hello Sparrow,

I see it's been a while since I posted, but there seems to be more activity here the last couple days. =) I'm wondering... didn't you say after taking synthetic T4 thyroid hormone, within 6 wks you were feeling much better and were pregnant? Or are you ttc your second? Just curious... we still have not conceived, but since I found out that my TSH is 3.36 as of last spring and my Free T3 is only in the middle of the chart- which it should be towards the top,(haven't had any more testing since) I've really been looking into thyroid-related infertility. It's obviously rather frustrating, but I'm wondering if you've ever heard about the site 'Stop the Thyroid Madness'? if you just google it, it will come up. I read her book and what she says makes sense - the synthetic thyroid is a T4 only treatment, which only lowers the thyroid-stimulating hormone, TSH by providing only *1* of the hormones that a healthy thyroid would produce. It doesn't put your Free T3 and Free T4 (the other hormones a healthy throid produces) where they should be like a natural thyroid hormone such as Armour or Naturethroid would, and so they say that your thyroid is fine b/c your TSH is fine, but the TSH, like you said, is a pituitary hormone - not a thyroid hormone. I'm going to a different doc in about 6 wks here, so we'll see what he has to say. He has treated many people successfully that have been ttc with a low thyroid... so here's hoping something will happen! =) I know some ladies haven't been able to get rid of their hypothyroid symptoms on synthetic T4 only replacement, (some do in the beginning, but it is short-lived) because T4 is actually the hormone your thyroid stores, not the one it 'uses'; T3 is the 'active' thyroid hormone that your thyroid should also produce (which hypo patients are also usually low on - this number should be towards the top of the range), so if you body doesn't produce T3 from the T4 they are giving you, you'll still have hypo symptoms, (dry skin, very tired, hair falling out, infertility, etc. depending on how low you are) even though your TSH is down b/c your body has enough of the 'stored' thyroid hormone, but not enough of the 'active' hormone.

....Just some 'food for thought' from what I've been studying. Sorry for such a long post... it seems rather complex, but sometimes it's nice/encouraging to hear what everyone else is doing... I'm hoping to get my hormones straightened out with natural thyroid... and.... *hopefully*.... conceive. =)

Best wishes to you! =)

Sparrow's picture

Hello! :)

You're right on both counts--I was pregnant with my now 4-year-old daughter and feeling better within 6 weeks of starting Synthroid, and now I'm trying to conceive again and have been for around 2 years.

At first I thought you were talking about Mary Shomon, who wrote most of the thyroid articles on about.com and has the thyroid-info website. When I looked at the website, however, I realized I hadn't seen it before. I had heard that about T4 not being converted to T3 in some people, but I hadn't heard it applied to everyone before. Shomon and Bowthorpe do seem to have some similarities in recommending T3 supplementation or natural thyroid over T4 replacement alone, but Bowthorpe seems even angrier than Shomon (I'm sure the doctors love her--I read stories of some doctors shutting down if they heard Shomon's name mentioned. Though those may not be the doctors you want to see, anyway...)

The website was interesting, and I did see a couple of things that grabbed my attention. I've had low ferritin before and read that it was common in people with hypothyroidism, but I don't remember reading that low iron affected T4 to T3 conversion before, and I'm certain my doctor didn't tell me that (though she did tell me to take supplemental iron). Also the references to low and fluctuating body temperature were right on the nose for me. I've been charting my BBT for the last 2 years and, to my frustration, had noticed that it was so low in the follicular phase as to be off the typical chart (often around 96.8 ) with random, unexplained jumps of as much as .3 or more degrees...and slowly back down again. I know my BBT did not fluctuate this much when I was TTC the first time, so why is it now? And why is it low anyway, when my TSH is .67? On the other hand, many physicians don't believe that adrenal fatigue exists. I wish I had a better understanding of the endocrine system so I could better evaluate all the competing information I hear. I tend to be skeptical and try to really look at the data, but it's hard when I don't have the medical background (which I don't).

I've just gone to see a rheumatologist to try to rule out other autoimmune problems, and so far she thinks she has. She thought my ongoing hives could be a result of my thyroid problems and recommended I see an endocrinologist, even though my PCP was cool on the idea (but then again, she's the one who's been managing my thyroid problems, so I can see why she might be). So my next appointment at the end of the month is with an endocrinologist. I'm hoping for an answer to my hives and infertility. I'd like to hear how you do with natural thyroid--it's something I've considered, but I don't think I've worked my way through the options to that point yet. I'm getting there, though! Good luck to you--I hope the doctor can help you!

ttc for 3 years & still hoping =)'s picture

Hi Sparrow,

Thanks so much for your post! It has really been encouraging to see someone who even has *1* child! I had dreams of a large family... then down-sized that to maybe 1 or 2?! ...then didn't know if we'd ever have any =( ...but now I'm hopeful again. I'll post again after I go to the doc and see what he says. =) I'm SO looking forward to doing SOMETHING! I've been trying this and that on my own... but you know how the self-diagnosis thing is... I'm never *sure* that I'm doing the right thing! I know what you mean about tests and cortisol/adrenal fatigue. I DID just test that - over at canaryclub.com you can get an all-day (4x cortisol) saliva test that you do 4x a day - morning, noon, evening & night. It will test your cortisol so you know if you have adrenal fatigue. I just wanted to make sure I didn't before I start on thyroid. Here's a link on the 'medical' side of the cortisol test. I didn't do DHEA, so we'll see what the new doc says. http://www.chronicfatigue.org/ASI%20Normal.html If you look at this link and the different phases, then test your cortisol by saliva (not blood) then compare it with the charts, you'll see where you fit in. I think the test is just over $100, so it's fairly in-expensive. I'm 29 and mine came back fine. Slightly high morning cortisol, but the rest were perfect. =)

Well... with ttc for 3 years now I've tried many things... and of course, I've been charting bbt as well! my pre-o temps were very low as well, sometimes even down to 96.0!!! after was only around 97.2 so.... I found a website on progesterone, womhoo.com and started taking progesterone oil.... and.... it did bring my temps up some, but I thought, you know, there must just be something at the base of all this that is messing up my hormones. I only have about a 11-12 day leutal phase, and I know for some that's enough, but... then I decided to test for hypo, and it looks like I probably am! I'm excited to find *something* that may be wrong, but it's still frustrating that it doesn't just 'happen' like it does for the other 80% of women.

I also read a book by dr. brownstein on thyroid. It's very informative and very much for natural thyroid vs. synthetic. He's a medical dr. so it's from that perspective as well. A little more 'informative' then some of the ladies going around just on their own experience. He has many examples in his book of hypothyroid patients and what he's seen in his practice. He also has a book on salt that I really like! If you're interested at all just google dr. brownstein and his site will come up to order books. he's actually the doc I'm going to try... =)

Sometimes my brain just gets too frazzled in all this... trying to figure everything out myself.... and I just have to stop and be thankful for everything I DO have and be happy for today!... I'm sure you know the feeling =)

Like I said... I'll post again probably in a couple months (my appnt. isn't 'til the middle of april) but I'll let you know what happens and how natural thyroid works out if that's what the doc says. =) btw... how long were you ttc before you had #1? Just curious =)

Thanks again!
kraidotsy =)

Sparrow's picture

It's been a while since I posted here, but for anyone who's still following this thread I'd like to say that there is hope. My husband and I did two rounds of IVF. The first resulted in a chemical pregnancy (my HCG levels were already dropping off at 5 weeks). The result of the second round was a little boy born on April 27, 2012, weighing 6 lbs. 10oz. IVF is hardly a "natural" solution to infertility, but for us, that's what it took.

One book that I found very helpful as we went through treatment was Making Babies. The authors are a fertility doctor and a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner who try to combine the two approaches for best results. A word of warning, though--if you add herbal supplements, even if they seem to be "just food," like the ginger and turmeric I added, treat them like vitamins with regard to any thyroid medications. My TSH rose to 3 or so when I took them an hour after my thyroid medication, but returned to a better level when I waited 5 or 6 hours as I would with vitamins or minerals. I also cut out all the herbs once I had a positive pregnancy test.

Another little-discussed but possibly important factor in infertility is the role of endocrine disruptors. In the book Slow Death By Rubber Duck I read that BPA intake is related to infertility. BPA is all around us, in things like canned foods and receipts. It may help to lower your intake if you're trying to get pregnant.

Anyway, food for thought, and good luck to everyone TTC! :)

Lynn's picture

Mazel tov on the baby!

xxoo

Sparrow's picture

Thanks, Lynn! Hope you're doing well! :)

Guest's picture

Hi, After i gave birth to my daughter, i lost all my pregnancy weight in just 3 days and found out that i have 0 TSH. I went to DR and they prescribed the same med as hypo (High TSH) levothyroxine, which I am to take forever. Now I have normal or controlled TSH as the DR termed it, I am trying to get pregnant and after several attempts failed. I am thinking of taking Chasteberry but not sure 'coz it might have an affect on my thyroid med. Is it ok to take them at the same time?

Lynn's picture

A clinical pharmacist might be able to help you out with that. You're probably not going to get much from your doctor on it, but you never know.

Guest's picture

thanks! =)

Tiffany S.'s picture

My husband and i have been trying to concieve since 2006 without any success. I have only used birthcontrol for two years total in my whole life when I was 17-19 years old. I'm 27. My husband has had four sperm counts all average. I don't have fertility insurance so I have now way of knowing if or what is wrong with me. My OBGYN has been helpful in trying to get me some test without it being "fertility" but so far I've tested in the normal range of everything. I have regular periods and have tried just about everything. i would say I'm pretty healthy but over weight- I weigh about 175lbs. I'm just out of answers- Can anyone point me in a direction to get some answers- like a low cost or no cost clinic or something? I live in CA Thanks everyone!

Precious's picture

My husband and I have been trying to conceive since 2004. In 2009, I had my thyroids removed fully. I have been on levothyroxine since then. I still do not have normal periods and he stated my levels are off and that could be a reason as to why we have not conceived. Will taking my medicine regularly get me back on track? I have not been taking my medicine regularly because to think I have to be on my medicine for the rest of my life at such a young age, was frightening for me. I am really upset because I am 32 now and I do have a 12 year old but we want to expand. Do you all have any advice to give me? I am so upset that I cry almost every month when someone tells me they are pregnant. I am happy for them, but I want to be as well.

Guest's picture

Precious, it is VERY important to take your Syntrhoid or Armor, whichever your doctor prescribed.

I did exactly what you are doing at one time (wouldn't take my Synthroid because it was depressing to think I had to be on medication the rest of my life.) I was 22 when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's. For the next two years, I refused to take my medication.

When I began taking it one summer, I noticed how great I felt. My mood improved, my skin got better, I had more energy, and my hair wasn't falling out anymore.

I just thank God that He let me have the medicine. It has changed my life, and it's a very simple solution to a major problem. Your body doesn't know the difference between Synthroid and your own hormone, so it's like your mouth and tummy are doing what your thyroid can't do.

Trust me, you will get used to taking your medicine. It will become part of your morning routine. Take it when you first wake up and be sure to wait 30 minutes to an hour before you eat. Don't take iron, calcium or antacids within 4 hours of taking your meds.

It is VITAL to take your medicine if you want to have a baby. The medicine will help get your ovulation and periods regulated. Also, women with UNTREATED thryroid problems are more likely to miscarry. If you do pregnant, your OBGYN will check your TSH levels to make sure you have enough T4 to support you and your baby.

God bless you, and I hope the best for you. Don't be afraid of taking a little pill ;) You will be fine!

Precious's picture

:) Thanks for your help! I have had a few periods every now and then but I am still taking my meds so I will see what will happen in the next few months.

Any HOPE?'s picture

:? IM 29 AND NEVER ONCE HAVE I BEEN PREGNANT. MY CYCLE IS IRREGULAR AND IT ONLY COMES ABOUT ONCE EVERY 3 MONTHS. I ALSO HAVE ABNORMAL HAIR GROWTH ON MY FACE. COULD THIS BE A DEFICIENCY IN DIET AND WILL IT HURT MY ABILITY TO CONCEIVE? WHAT STEPS DO I TAKE TO FIND OUT WAS WRONG???

31 and still hoping...'s picture

Hello mrs. 29, I'm 31, and we're in our 5th year of trying... But I saw your post and thought of some info I've run across... Generally extra hair growth and cycle abnormalities, too long, ect can be caused by too much estrogen and a deficiency in progesterone. There are some herbs and things that you can take, but one of the things I found the most helpful is NATURAL progesterone oil/cream. This has to be without any 'estrogen mimicers' like rosemary oil, ect. I got mine online from a place called womhoo.com and they're great for info also. One more thing that has helped normalize flow and makes cramps a thing of the past... Cod Liver Oil. Hardly anyone talks about this, but it is a GREAT natural help! Buy the Carlson brand Cod Liver Oil (not all brands work the same, I get mine from vitacost.com) and take 1-2 measuring Tablespoons a day. It takes a few weeks, but you'll notice a big difference! (At least I did)

Also, have you had your TSH thyroid level checked? Cycles and hormones can be out of balance if your thyroid is off. Ask for the numbers - if it is over 1.5 or 2.0,(the recommended for ttc is anywhere between .15-2.0, per my fertility dr) I strongly recomend NATURAL thyroid hormone - it's natural, not like the synthetic replacements most doctors use, such as Synthroid or Levothroxine, which don't replace ALL the thyroid hormones, only the inactive ones). Some ppl don't like it b/c they feel like they're taking something the rest of their lives... The way I look at it is - it's just ground up pig thyroids, just like eating liver, or anything else; we can't live without food! LOL :) I usually get mine from Thailand off of Amazon,(search for thiroyd, spelled just like that) but there are others as well, such as Naturethroid. Armour isn't reliable (doesn't work well)

We've put the ttc on hold right now, as I just had knee surgery for ACL and partial Meniscus removal... But hoping to start trying again soon. If you've never read the book "Making Babies" I would deff. Recomend that book!

Here's hoping the best for you! (As I lay here doing knee exercises lol!)

jennylynn13's picture

Hi, I'm new to this sit but have read alot of the comments. I am 35, have recently lost over 100 pounds but am still overweight. I have been trying for over a year and still no positive results. I have not tried pre-natal vitamins yet, for those of you that are trying are you on pre-natal vitamins??

ayoGuest's picture

Hi, I started my period at 15 and after that it became irregular. My mom took me to the hospital and I was given med and my period came but when I go off d med I don't get my period. When I was 22 I had a hormone test and I had high FSH which was 100miU/ml then some years. later I had high Lh and low estrogen and oestriol. But I was given progestron and mestrogen. 6 monthslater I saw my ovuulation around july 3rd but I was away from my hubby but whei I came back on the 5th we had sex and I became prenantprenant and had a boy but now I have not been pregnant again since then but lately I have been getting my monthly ovuultion but no period. Pls help me wot can I do I want a baby girl tnx.