“I’m 40 years old, suffering from endometriosis …”
“I’m 40 years old, suffering from endometriosis and fibroids. I’ve had three failed IVF cycles. I’ve had also recently discovered that I had an autoimmune condition whereby my body is attacking the embryo in trying to implant.”
Ok I’ll start with Endometriosis, basically considered by many experts as an unknown, to be honest. It is a condition that can happen for various different reasons.
The condition is characterized by retrograde blood flow – blood flow that instead of coming out through the vagina generally during your period will go back into the uterine cavity, causing inflammation and possibly adhesions in that area.
The adhesions are going to be most problematic because they cause pain. If there are glued pieces of organs or tissue around different parts of the pelvic cavity, it can cause pain when there are small micro-tears around that same region. We’re still really unsure about what brings it on as such, but we do know that it can decrease:-
- the quality of the egg and;
- the chances of a healthy conception and;
- the ability of sperm to reach the egg.
There is a grading of endometriosis, so it can be very, very severe which would be a grade 4, and a grade 1 would be mild. For some women, endometriosis will develop into a grade 4; for other women at grade 1, it doesn’t necessarily progress.
We also know that endometriomas, is a form of cyst that is found inside the actual ovaries. We know that this really does cause a problem for the quality of the eggs. That’s why endometriosis is going to be problematic when trying to get pregnant.
The good news is that there are ways of addressing known causes, it does however require an individual approach as there are many different areas to investigate in order to address the condition. When we talk about the 11 Pillars of Fertility that will be important for optimizing health and fertility, all of these eleven factors are going to have an impact on endometriosis, including but not limited to
- hormonal imbalance: whether hormonal imbalances cause endometriosis or conversely, caused by endometriosis and the link to inflammation. Hormonal imbalance will increase the bodies inflammatory response and exacerbate the development of the condition.
- optimising fertility; optimising the development of a healthy egg for conception occurring and also keeping a healthy pregnancy to term.
- environmental factors; chemicals in our personal environment – from household cleaners to cosmetics and perfumes – will have an endocrine-disrupting effect, which again will exacerbate endometriosis formation and development.
And of course there’s always the things that we don’t know, that we don’t know. I really urge people to get educated and to find out as much as they possibly can because the things that we don’t know, we don’t know, generally these are the things that keep us stuck.
I see my patients talking about this all the time even when they don’t really realize that this is what’s keeping them from creating the healthy baby of their dreams. It’s really much easier done when we try as best as we can to get clarity around what actually is getting in the way of your particular situation.
Once you actually identify your individual minor factors – all the little things that can play a cumulative role in your fertility – once you understand what else is going on within your day-to-day environment and day-to-day lifestyle then it’s a lot easier to regain control, take action and make a difference to your fertility outcomes.
For example, alcohol can exacerbate the problem because it will enhance inflammation, impact immunity and impact hormonal imbalance. It will impact the way in which the liver is working. If the liver is not working as effectively as it could, again we’re going to have a negative impact in the way that the body works and of course there will be an exacerbation in the symptoms of endometriosis as well.
We do want to make sure that we are addressing all of these different factors as best as we can when we are dealing with these types of conditions because in doing that gives us the very best possible chance of conception and having a healthy baby.
Other Complicating Factors
In this situation beyond the endometriosis there are several complicating factors that can really play a role. The way that we would address these depend on the levels of the autoimmune condition and what specifically we’re looking at. We might be looking at IVIG. We may be looking at herbal medicines. We may be looking at lots of different types of approaches, again depending on the specific history, why the IVF cycles have failed?
There are lots of different reasons as to why an IVF cycle may fail and really identifying every single step of the process and what could go wrong and what has gone wrong in your situation would be the very first place that we would start. Unless we really understand what’s going on there, it’s going to be an issue moving forward.
Some people will consider age being another factor, but I really don’t look at it from that perspective because I’ve had patients at 47 conceived naturally at one at 46 conceived with her own eggs doing IVF as well. Mind you over the time that I have been working, I have actually seen women at a much later ‑ I had a 51-year-old who conceived and wasn’t actually trying, but she conceived naturally with her own eggs and had a baby that was quite healthy and doing quite well.
Again it’s about really understanding what are the things specifically that are getting in the way. Once we understand the specifics, we are much more able to strategize and plan what could be going on and what else needs to be looked at.
One thing is for sure: the more IVF cycles one has without success, the less likely they are to succeed. And so, what I would urge you to do is not continuing to just keep trying but really look at it from a very different perspective and go, “Right, what are all the things that I could be doing that I can be implementing, that I can be doing that will really optimize my chances?”
And then go about and do that. Put that in place. Be really specific, be really focused, and then once you feel that yes, okay that’s been done.
Mind you, remember I always talk about this because it’s extremely important. It’s takes about 120 days for the egg to mature and the sperm to form. When you’re going into that process of really going in and looking at every single aspect and every single thing that you can do, you really do want to be giving your body the best possible amount of time that it needs to give you the best possible results.
Whether you’re 40 or 45, 120 days is only going to serve you well if you’re doing all the things that we talk about and if you’re doing all the right things and if you’re being guided specifically and appropriately by a practitioner, you will not need to worry or fear, “Oh, my gosh! What if 120 days makes me less fertile at the end of it?” That’s the opposite of what actually would happen because we would be removing all of the obstacles, all of the things that could be getting in the way to give you the best possible results.
Get guidance. It doesn’t matter if it’s not from us but someone you trust and from someone you know knows what they are talking about. Really that’s the key aspect. If you know that you’re being taken care of in that regard, then that’s fantastic. Put the things in place that will make a difference because this is the time or the place that I’ve seen the most difference be made for so many of our couples. They’ve tried a few things. It hasn’t quite come off and they really need to come back to the drawing board and figure out, “Hey, okay. What can we do differently here? What needs to be addressed?” That’s what I would recommend in that regard.
Over the last 15 years, fertility specialist Gabriela Rosa and team have helped thousands of couples overcome infertility and miscarriage to create healthy babies, even when other treatments have failed. If you have been trying to conceive for over 2 years and/or; have experience miscarriage(s) and/or; have 3 or more “minor factors or abnormalities” you believe could be contributing to your fertility challenges then you may be eligible for a Complimentary Fertility Discovery Session (worth $799) with our natural fertility experts.
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