Almost one third of the couples that are having trouble conceiving are diagnosed with something called “unexplained infertility”. Having unexplained infertility almost adds a bit of insult to injury. All of the blood tests come back normal, semen analysis comes back fine, there are no mechanical obstructions yet a couple is still struggling to conceive. Coupes are left feeling powerless not knowing how to help themselves or where to seek help because there is nothing essentially wrong.
I feel there is no such thing as unexplained infertility. There are only places that we still haven’t looked yet. Human being is more complex than just a snapshot of their body at a particular point of time. Any kind of imbalance or disease is really a hologram of a genetic, environmental, physical, nutritional, emotional, spiritual and even behavioral aspects. I always tell my patients that their infertility is not just confined to their pelvic region but it really is an expression of your overall health and well being. If you are one of these people that have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility there are still places that you can look to find answers. A lot of these places have to do with our lifestyle. I’ll list a few big ones here so that you can get a sense of where to look so you can peel some layers back in finding your answers and to feel more empowered and in control of your health.
The first place to visit is your sleep, are you getting enough? Are you only getting 5-6 hours versus 8-10? Sleep deprivation is rampant in the US and we know that not having adequate rest can cause hormonal issues, predispose you to type 2 diabetes or heart disease and it can really cause many issues in your whole system. Getting adequate rest is extremely important.
Secondly, your weight. For fertility purposes you want to keep your BMI between 20 and 25. Being overweight and even underweight is not conducive to getting pregnant so if you are overweight, just losing 5% of your body weight increases your chances of getting pregnant by quite a bit. Same goes for if you are underweight. Gaining a bit of weight can help you get pregnant faster.
Another aspect is exercise. Are you a couch potato or are you a gym rat? Most people are overdoing it or under doing it. Neither one is good for our fertility. If you are someone who doesn’t move your body much at all, then, it is really time to get off the couch and start moving. I think the secret is to find something you enjoy so that you can stick to it. Walking, dancing, yoga or whatever it is that sings to your heart, do it! On the other hand if you are someone going to boot camp five times a week, then you are probably overdoing it and you need to tone it down. Really intense exercise you want to limit to twice a week, more moderate things you can do daily.
Caffeine is another big one. People live off coffee and sugar nowadays so if you are drinking more than 200 or 300 milligrams of caffeine per day you are decreasing your chances of getting pregnant and staying pregnant. There are studies that show that having increased caffeine increases your chance of miscarriage.
Alcohol is another big one. There are conflicting opinions on how much alcohol is allowed when trying to get pregnant. Some sources show that more than 4 glasses of alcoholic beverages per week will decrease your chances of pregnancy. It will also have a negative effect on sperm. The good news is that if you abstain from alcohol while trying to get pregnant the sperm will regenerate in about 3 months of time.
Smoking is another obvious one. There is strong evidence that smoking ages our reproductive system in males and females. Please stop smoking if you are trying to get pregnant. Research shows that even if you are going through IVF, smoking still lowers your chances of a successful pregnancy.
There are so many other areas that we can look at to improve your fertility that we will get in to but it can get overwhelming, these are just a good place to start!