Natural Treatments for Infertility in Women
There are many causes of female infertility. Some respond to natural methods, others require surgical or medical intervention. Naturopathic treatment of female infertility is aimed at correcting nutritional deficiencies, adjusting hormonal imbalances, and improving overall reproductive health.
Infertility & Nutrition
The importance of a healthy diet cannot be overstated. The female reproductive system requires the proper vitamins and minerals to function properly.
- Eat a natural foods diet that focuses on fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, poultry, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
- Eliminate processed and refined foods (e.g., white flour, junk food, sugars).
- Avoid saturated fats and hydrogenated oils (e.g., margarine); use olive oil.
- Drink half of body weight in ounces of water daily (e.g., a 150 lb woman would drink 75 oz of water).
- Do not drink alcohol. There is no conclusive evidence, but alcohol has been associated with decreased fertility.
- Do not drink caffeine. Caffeine has been linked to tubal disease and endometriosis (causes of infertility) and delayed conception. Decaffeinated coffee has been associated with spontaneous abortion.
Infertility & Dietary Supplements
- Bioflavonoids —Take 2000 mg 2 times daily. Helps strengthen the uterus by promoting healthy blood vessels.
- Flaxseed oil—Take 1 tbsp daily (or 2–4 ground flaxseeds). A healthy fat that can help normalize hormones and is essential to health.
- Folic acid—Take 400 mcg daily. To prevent a folic acid deficiency during pregnancy, which can cause neural tube defects in the fetus, it is suggested that folic acid supplementation start three months before conception.
- Multivitamin-mineral—Buy a high-quality product and take one serving size (differs from brand to brand). Not much is known about the role nutrients play in fertility, but research has shown a multivitamin-mineral increases fertility.
- Vitamin B-6 —Take 50 mg 2 times daily. Has been established as a vital nutrient for women's reproductive health and helps balance estrogen and progesterone levels.
- Vitamin C—Take 500 mg 2 times daily. Besides its antioxidant properties, it assists in ovarian function and egg development.
- Vitamin E—Take 400 IUs daily. Helps prevent miscarriage.
Infertility & Herbal Medicine
Herbal medicines rarely have significant side effects when they are prescribed by a Board-certified Specialist, and are used appropriately and at suggested doses. Occasionally, an herb at the prescribed dose causes stomach upset or headache. This may reflect the purity of the preparation or added ingredients, such as synthetic binders or fillers. However, when using raw herbs, which are the most potent, fillers and binders are never used. For this reason, it is recommended that only high-quality products be used. As with all medications, more is not better and overdosing can lead to serious illness and death. Do not ever self-medicate with herbal medicine and remember this is medicine!
The following herbs may be helpful in promoting fertility and improving female reproductive health:
- Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)—Balances hormones.
- Chaste tree (Vitex castus)—Raises progesterone levels, lowers estrogen levels, and helps correct ovarian dysfunction.
- Dong quai (Angelica sinensis)—Nourishes and balances the female reproductive system.
- False unicorn (Helonias dioica)—Has a reputation for promoting fertility, is recommended for ovarian dysfunction and as a uterine tonic.
- Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)—Balances hormones and is anti-inflammatory and sweet tasting (good flavoring for teas).
- Red raspberry (Rubus strigosus)—Nourishes and strengthens the female reproductive system.
- Squaw vine (Mitchella repens)—Also known as partridge berry. Recommended for fertility as a uterine tonic.
- Wild yam (Dioscorea villosa)—Has a reputation for promoting fertility.
Other Recommendations for Infertility
- Consider acupuncture.
- Protect the body against chemicals, heavy metals, and environmental hazards, which can all decrease fertility. Take extra antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, and E.
- Do not smoke. It is well established that cigarette smoking decreases infertility and may increase risk of tubal pregnancy.