|Photo by Nossirom|
Yet another common reproductive syndrome that can screw with your fertility is polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS. According to the Mayo Clinic:
PCOS happens when your pituitary gland and ovaries overproduce certain hormones. Because those hormones can interfere with the production and release of eggs, PCOS is a common cause of infertility and may be the reason you have difficulty becoming pregnant.Ugh. Hormones strike again.
In today's world, we have more exposure to hormones than ever before. And hormones must be in balance for your baby-maker to properly function. Unfortunately, our environments, diets, and lifestyles can sometimes cause us to inhale, absorb or ingest excess hormones that may be partially responsible for fertility issues.
Luckily, there are lots of really easy ways to reduce your exposure to hormones and get your reproductive system back on track:
- Eliminate dairy foods like cheese, butter, milk, and cream. According to one Harvard scientist, dairy accounts for 60-80% of all estrogens consumed! If you must indulge, seek out organic, pasture-raised, or raw milk from small farms, whose cows are likely to have fewer hormones.
- Eat organic - especially meat (and dairy). It's illegal for farmers to use hormones on hogs and poultry, so if you can't afford organic, pork & chicken are better options than conventional beef. Pesticides can have estrogenic effects, and many conventional animals are injected with hormones that disrupt our hormonal balance when we eat them.
- Support your liver. The liver detoxifies and regenerates estrogen. So treat it well by avoiding drugs and alcohol. Even prescription and over-the-counter drugs can negatively affect the liver (e.g., Tylenol). Support your liver by eating bitter foods, cruciferous vegetables, and taking a good, absorbable multivitamin (you can purchase my favorite via my store). Drink lots of filtered water, too.
- Avoid soy. Soy is a phyto (plant) estrogen, so many natural fertility experts recommend that couples avoid it. Perhaps an even more compelling argument for eliminating soy is that over 91% of soy is now genetically modified - and GM soy and corn have been found to decrease fertility in animal studies.
- Stay away from xenoestrogens (chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body). Some common xenoestrogens are pthalates, parabens, BPA, food coloring, birth control pills, PCBs, and DDT. These chemicals are most commonly found in canned foods, plastic-packaged foods, cosmetics, personal care products, and household cleaners. READ LABELS! Your safest bet, food-wise, is to eat organic, fresh foods. Avoid eating large fish, as PCBs accumulate in their fat. And don't store or reheat your food in saran wrap or plastic containers like Tupperware. As for cosmetics, personal care & cleaners, check out Pretty Healthy for tips.
- Balance your other hormones: practice stress-reduction techniques and gentle exercise to lower cortisol, get a good night's sleep to regulate melatonin, and get your thyroid checked to ensure proper function. Hormones work in concert with each other, so by helping one, you benefit them all.
- Stabilize blood sugar. Elevated insulin (the hormone that's produced when blood sugar rises) plays a huge role in many cases of PCOS. Keeping blood sugar stable will help prevent insulin spikes. Reduce refined carbohydrates like bread, pasta, flour, and all sweets - including soda and fruit juices. Eat healthy fats & avoid low-fat foods. Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks daily, and make sure each has clean proteins and healthy fats.
- Lower inflammation. Try an elimination diet to see if you have an undiagnosed food sensitivity that is creating an inflammatory response. Eat anti-inflammatory foods and spices such as salmon, veggies, turmeric, ginger, and cayenne. Avoid polyunsaturated cooking oils: use olive or coconut oil when you're cooking at home and, when at a restaurant, ask your server if they can cook your food in olive oil or saturated fat.
The final, and perhaps the easiest way to start healing PCOS?
- Detox with a whole-foods cleansing program like the New Year Cleanse! Everything but the cooking is done for you, and you'll get to become part of a wonderful group of people who are also committed to health. It's a fun, challenging way to kick off the New Year. The program begins January 1, but the price goes up on December 1, so sign up now for just $29!
Though my tips seem pretty easy when you read them, they aren't always as simple to implement on a consistent basis. More than just information, you need support and accountability to make lasting change that can transform your health. And that's where I come in. Schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me to discuss how to put the above recommendations into action.
'Til then, I wish you all the best. Happy Thanksgiving!