What is naturopathic fertility and how can it support you?
Greetings, Dr. Houtie here. I’d like to spend some quality time with you to explain what naturopathic fertility is, how it differs from the conventional model, and why it’s so successful. This is for educational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice in any way.
There are so many extraordinary facets to what makes a person “fertile”, so it’s no surprise that each patient requires an individualized approach to improving their fertility status. In a broad sense, we can describe “fertility” as being the capacity of a person to conceive a child naturally and with ease. Another way of looking at this is that medically, “infertility” is defined as trying to conceive (TTC) for 12 consecutive months (ie: 1 year) without achieving pregnancy.
So, what makes someone infertile or subfertile? This is where a medical practitioner comes to the rescue. For women, anything that prevents the egg from being released regularly, or prevents proper health of the egg, can lead to infertility. There are quite a number of conditions which can reduce a woman’s fertility, some of which are endometriosis, PCOS, fibroids, thyroid disease, and many many more. For men, anything that leads to poor sperm health (including morphology, concentration, and motility) can lead to infertility. For any person, chronic diseases or being under chronic stress can certainly hinder your ability to achieve pregnancy. And of course, there are always genetic/congenital/acquired outliers as well who will have difficulty with fertility.
This discussion is growing rather macabre, so I want to end on a high note: your fertility is absolutely capable of being improved through naturopathic medicine. It takes some effort and dedication on your part, but it is completely within the realm of possibility. Read on to find out how.
The naturopathic fertility model consists of viewing the patient as a whole person. This means interviewing every aspect of physiology to determine which organ systems are working properly, which need moderate support, and which need stronger intervention to reverse any damage which may be hindering fertility. For example, if a patient has PCOS or endometriosis, it will be difficult for them to conceive a child until their condition is appropriately managed and the ovaries are able to function healthily. This may take 3-4 months, or it may take 6-12 months. Each patient’s starting point and extent of dis-ease will govern their healing timeline.
The naturopathic fertility model also supports overall health, not just the singular aspect of fertility. Diet, lifestyle, stress management, and joyful living are all very important aspects of health that must be addressed prior to trusting the body to bask in its fertility. If a person has terrible sleep, nutrient-poor diet, and experiences an inordinate amount of stress, it will be difficult for their body to achieve pregnancy. Naturopathic medicine is uniquely positioned to support patients in improving their overall health by making sustainable changes to their lifestyle.
Perhaps an example might help. Think of it this way: the female body will not allow pregnancy unless it assesses the world to be a bountiful, safe place. If you starve yourself of food, joy, and pleasant company, the female body will react accordingly and likely not provide the environment needed to achieve peak fertility and pregnancy. Intuitively, this makes sense: why should a person be allowed to procreate if their body views the world as an unsafe place, specifically unsafe for a child?
Unfortunately, the conventional model is terribly deficient in its supportive measures for people who struggle with fertility. They have drugs, drugs, and more drugs which work against physiology, not with it, and ultimately result in more physiological imbalances. They often are ineffective and cause severe side effects. When the drugs don’t work, conventional medicine offers exceedingly expensive procedures which also are not guaranteed to result in pregnancy.
I realize that the conventional model simply is trying to help patients conceive, and they are using the best tools that they have. But at some point, conventional medicine decided that working with physiology is useless, so they abandoned it completely and instead focus on pushing against a person’s physiology to the point where it very likely could break.
Needless to say, I think the naturopathic approach, which focuses on healing and nourishing the body in order to support its optimal fertility, is best. Naturopathic fertility is successful because it honors and respects the body, it provides an individualized approach because it recognizes that all humans are unique, and it utilizes medicines that work with the body. This has been my experience with my fertility patients. I’m proud to focus on naturopathic fertility because I see how extraordinarily effective it is at helping people conceive children naturally.
Infertility | Reproductive Health - CDC
What causes infertility? - World Health Organization
Female Infertility - Cleveland Clinic
Male Infertility - Cleveland Clinic