I know what you are thinking, and that´s not what I mean…
Let´s take this story back a few years. I was working at the Functional Medicine Center, housed in an 19th century building in Oslo. Rustic and an emblem of Norwegian history, here, I often found myself reflecting on new versus old practices of medicine. It was a regular day at work, and as I enjoyed my first coffee of the morning, the first patients of the day walked into the reception.
As you may know, being a family medicine practitioner, one is confronted with a wide range of scenarios on a daily basis. Some challenges can be tackled easily, such as a minor infection, but some require more work, such as the one I was confronted with that morning.
I found myself sitting with female couple in their late 30s – One of the women, let´s call her Else, wanted to get pregnant. I am not a gynecologist, and therefore this enquiry was rather new to me. They had seen gynecologists extensively, and Else had completed several IVF attempts. After trying what they thought was everything, they had all but given up hope, until someone had recommended that they consider a more holistic approach and see me for a consultation.
After making sure that all the essential investigations were undertaken, such as fertility control and general bloodwork, as well as an analysis of their working-sleep-stress conditions and eating patterns, we set out on a route that took two years to complete.
Below is the plan I set for Else:
- Chill out. As many women making a career for themselves, it could be very stressful. Stress and anxiety block the fertility producing hormones. If you think about it from a biological viewpoint, in times of stress, this sends signals to the body that it is not “ready” to have a kid. Being more calm, soothes the stress hormones, leaving a natural surge in the fertility hormones.
- Detoxify. I believe that having too many toxins in the body can stress the body, and make it harder to have a natural production of fertility hormones. With Else, we discovered both a mercury intoxication and a gut flora dysbiosis, causing too many toxins to circulate in the body. These toxins produce free radicals, that promote inflammation. We focused first on balancing the gut flora through diet and supplements such as probiotics and olive leaf extract. Getting rid of too much mercury in the body is rather time consuming and laborious, which includes chelators such as chlorella, DMSA and DMPS. Only after a few years of therapy did these heavy metals leave the body., making the body more in balance, and less riddled with inflammation.
- Boost your fertility hormones by natural supplements. Here are some of the hormones I used to boost Else’s fertility:
- GLA (Gamma linolenic acid).
- Vitamin B6 and B9 (Folate)
- Acupuncture. What has acupuncture got to do with fertility, you may ask. Well, there are many good studies that prove that women being given regular acupuncture therapy could boost their fertility.
- Try, and try again. Else had countless IVF attempts, without success. But, she did not give up. Sometimes it is all about giving enough time, and eventually you reap the benefits of sticking to the program.
After two years I got a surprise visit. By this time I had even moved offices and joined Balderkliniken, Oslo´s most prestigious FM clinic and the largest in the world. When I opened my door, I was greeted by a beaming, happy woman, who handed me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. She exclaimed: You changed my life. To which I replied, No, you changed your own life.
These are some of the best moments in one´s practice. To empower people to live healthy and sustinable lives, to provide some perspective into the healing power of natural remedies, and to keep learning.