In this series of articles, we will be talking about obstacles to fertility, common conditions, and risk factors that can contribute to infertility. We’ll also discuss some of the things that can be done in clinical practice and what you can do at home to help overcome obstacles to fertility. In this article, we’ll discuss structural infertility, some of the causes, and how our naturopathic doctors can treat structural issues of infertility.
Structural infertility is when the reproductive organs are affected: the ovaries, the uterus, the fallopian tube, or the cervix. Structural infertility includes when there’s an actual physical deformity or abnormality within the gland and the organs that are important for pregnancies.
What Are Some Types of Structural Issues
- Infections – either from sexually transmitted diseases or septic abortions.
- Growths and tumors – including cysts, polyps, fibroids, endometriosis, and even the position of the uterus.
- Surgical history or trauma – including abdominal surgeries or trauma to the abdominal or pelvic space. C-sections are a common issue. When we have abdominal surgeries, there are always scar tissue or adhesions, which can cause some issues related to fertility if there’s extensive scar tissue in the abdominal or pelvic region.
- Pregnancy history – including ectopic pregnancies or frequent abortions can cause trauma to the pelvic or abdominal area.
- Genetic abnormalities – they are rare but can happen, and patients need to be aware of them.
Causes of Female Infertility
This picture above shows some of the different types of structural abnormalities that women can have. These are some of the most common types we see in clinical practice.
- Fallopian Tube Blockage – these can happen through inflammation, scar tissue, and ectopic pregnancies, which is where the egg can’t travel through the fallopian tube in the uterus where it needs to be.
- Uterine Fibroids – this is when there are fibroids in or around the uterine wall.
- Endometriosis – is when the uterine lining is outside of the uterus, it can cause very painful periods, adhesions, scar tissues, and issues with infertility.
- Tubal infections – these can happen through sexually transmitted infections that move from the vaginal canal up into the uterus, through the cervix, and into the fallopian tube, which can cause inflammation and then affect fertility.
So those are just some common structural things that we see in practice that can inhibit your ability to become pregnant.
How Do We Treat Structural Abnormalities?
Treating Hormonal Imbalances
Suppose the structural abnormality is a condition driven by hormones, like fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, or cervical polyps. In that case, those conditions usually have some type of hormonal influence that is encouraging that growth. If that’s happening, we want to make sure that we’re addressing those hormones first. And we do that through lifestyle and nutrition. We look at what is your life like? Are you a sedentary person, or are you an active person? What does your mental and emotional health look like? Is there stress? Is there anxiety? Is there depression? How do you feel about your body? How is your nutrition, supplementation? Either through giving the person hormones to help the hormonal imbalance or giving them other nutrients to help them throughout that process. Those are some ways that we can address the hormonal side.
Treating Scar Tissues and Adhesions
Microcurrent is a type of treatment that uses different currencies and frequencies to change scar tissue and cellular structure within the body and can be very helpful in treating scar tissue. It is a non-invasive treatment. You don’t even feel that something’s happening, but this can be helpful for scar tissue, fibroids, and endometriosis. Soft tissue manipulation including uterine massages can be beneficial for this; abdominal massages to help break up some of that scar tissue. Proteolytic enzymes are enzymes that break down scar tissue and different proteins. Ask your doctor about this, there are several proteolytic enzymes, and they have a whole list of functions, but this is something that I use in practice.
Treating More Advanced Causes
As a naturopathic doctor, I want to do the most less invasive procedures possible. However, I think it’s important to note that with some conditions, we can only go so far with our naturopathic tools. Some things are a little too far gone to put a dent in it with natural modalities. It is important to note that surgery can be beneficial and necessary, depending on your situation. And there are things that we can do to help support you before and after surgery so that your body is supported as much as it can be if you have to go through a procedure to remove some of the structural abnormalities.
Those are some of the ways we can treat structural issues in infertility. If you’d like to speak to one of our naturopathic doctors about your obstacles to fertility, call 480-588-6856 for a free 10-minute meet and greet.