LIFESTYLE CHANGES CAN HELP IMPROVE FERTILITY
The article "Getting into fertile form" explains how careful planning and clean living may help improve couples' ability to reproduce.
BY IVAN OLEGARIO, M.D.
Infertility is the inability of the couple to become pregnant after one year of trying if the woman is 34-years-old or below. (Older women should undergo fertility evaluation if they fail to become pregnant after six months.) This means that for a year, the couple has not been using any natural or artificial method of contraception while engaging in regular, appropriately-timed sexual intercourse. The British seem to be in less of a hurry to conceive. Their healthcare system, the National Institutes for Health and Clinical Excellence, places the cut-off at two years.
What’s the problem?
About 80 percent of infertility can point back to identifiable problems that can be treated by a medical professional if they are due to:
- • medical conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, or other hormonal diseases; malnutrition or overweight/obesity; or exposure to toxins such as chemicals and chemical dusts;
- • irregularities in the menstrual cycle, endometriosis, diseases of the uterus, or damage to the fallopian tubes in women; and
- • low semen quality in men.
Unexplained infertility occurs in a fifth of infertile couples. A fertility specialist can best handle unexplained infertility, as well as most cases of explained or secondary fertility.
Yes you can do something
It is important to see a specialist when nothing happens after a year or two of trying, certain medical conditions may be causing the problem. Couples who simply want to boost their fertility can improve their batting average by trying out some of the tips from the article:
- • Plan your time of passion
- Women are most fertile on the 10th to the 16th day of their menstrual cycle (day 1 is the first day of their period). Make love at least every other day during this fertile time. If your cycle is irregular, time your fertility through measurement of your basal body temperature (BBT). This is your body temperature immediately after waking up, when you are still in bed. Measure your BBT orally every day for a month or more. You are most fertile—meaning, you have ovulated— when your body temperature increases by approximately half-a-degree Celsius. Keep a fertility calendar, taking note of patterns, and have sexual intercourse just before ovulation.
- • Clean living
- Smoking and drinking too much alcohol harm the fertility of both men and women. Fortunately, the damage from these habits is reversible, so now is the time to quit.
There is little data showing that mega doses of vitamins and minerals boost fertility, but the lack of some nutrients definitely leads to the inability to conceive. Eat foods rich in vitamin A, C, and D; folic acid; omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil); zinc; and calcium. You may take supplements but make sure you get the regular recommended daily dose.
For more information about infertility, grab a copy of HealthToday’s February 2011 issue.
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