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Monday, February 18, 2019

FERTILITY TREATMENTS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

The Catholic Church, Fertility and Assisted Reproduction

I realize my readers are from different faiths and backgrounds (from all over the world!). I'm posting this article because it gives the catholic church's stance on assisted reproduction for anyone interested. 
 I know many couples who want to be true to their faith struggle with whether or not going through IVF is consistent with their religious beliefs.  I recall when I ran a women's infertility support group, a couple of women mentioned how they had conflicted feelings about this.

Encouraging Information on Getting Pregnant Naturally

But even more than that, the article gives some encouraging information on how many (if not the majority) of couples can conceive with natural methods. Please know I realize some couples must use
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Religious Fertility Bracelet, biblical stones, St. Gerard, Tree of Life
assisted reproduction to conceive and I pass no judgment on those that do. Read more:
From the article:

According to the Centers for Disease Control, infertility is a condition that affects 2.1 million married couples (one in eight of childbearing age) and 6.1 million women aged fifteen to forty-four. Male factor infertility accounts for 30–40 percent of all cases. These rates are increasing as more couples delay marriage and childbirth to pursue careers and educational opportunities.

But did you know that according to Harvard researcher Alice Domar, "infertile women report equivalent levels of anxiety and depression as women with cancer, HIV status or heart disease"? She adds, "The majority of infertile women report that infertility is the most upsetting experience of their lives." Such heartbreak might help to explain why hurting couples are tempted to pursue morally questionable remedies for infertility.

Fortunately, though, most couples can conceive using natural techniques that accord with the Church’s wisdom on marital sexuality. Dr. Domar counsels:

Very few people have physical conditions that make it impossible to have a child, and in many cases simple lifestyle changes and low-tech strategies can make a decisive difference. . . . Many couples can be helped by our greater knowledge of how lifestyle factors like stress, exercise, and nutrition affect conception, of better ways to regulate and target ovulation cycles, and of common medicines to avoid that can inhibit sperm and egg production.

Dr. Paul Dmowski, a leading infertility specialist, estimates that "only 8–10 percent of couples in treatment need high-tech . . . procedures" such as in vitro fertilization. Indeed, Domar concludes that "so much attention in the media is focused on the latest high-tech intervention that many people forget to give nature enough of a chance."

These observations allude to a popular prejudice in our culture that nature and science are at odds with one another. Natural alternatives are thought to be inferior to their high-tech counterparts. In reality, scientific technologies that work in accord with nature have proven very effective in treating infertility. The Creighton System’s NaProTechnology program, for instance, boasts an overall pregnancy rate of up to 50 percent for patients of all ages and diagnoses—with rates as high as 80 percent for many couples. These figures are nearly two to three times higher than results from the leading artificial technologies.

from:
www.catholicculture.org

Saturday, February 16, 2019

TREATING ENDOMETRIOSIS WITH VITAMINS, MINERALS TO GET PREGNANT

Endometriosis has been established as a common cause of infertility due to its destructive affects on the reproductive system.  Endometrial implants are found outside the uterus in the fallopian tubes and the pelvic cavity causing adhesions, blockages and pain. Here is an interesting article on how vitamins may help:

Endometriosis - How to Treat Endometriosis With Vitamins

Guest Post By Kyle J Norton

Endometriosis which grow somewhere else other than the endometrium also reacts to hormonal signals of the monthly menstrual cycle by building up tissue, breaking it, and eliminating it through the menstrual period. As we know, nutritional supplements play a very important role in treating endometriosis. In this article, we will discuss how vitamins help to treat endometriosis.
A. Vitamin A

I. Definition

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Vitamin A is a bi-polar molecule formed by bonds between carbon and hydrogen. It is a fat soluble
vitamin. This means it can not be stored in the liver but it can be converted from beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Besides helping in treating endometriosis, it is also known to have strong effects in improving vision and enhancing bone growth.
II. Vitamin A and endometriosis

a) Vitamin A is a very powerful antioxidant that not only helps to strengthen the immune system, but also protects against the growth of endometriosis.
b) Vitamin A helps in regulating the gene expression by fighting against the forming of free radicals and protecting the body organs from abnormal growth of endometrial implants and adhesion.
c) Red blood cell production

Vitamin A working together with iron helps to aid the production of red blood cells and improve the oxygen level in the circulation of blood which is necessary for the body's cells. This results in a stronger immune system as well as protecting the forming of abnormal cells.
d) Working together with Zinc

Zinc deficiency interferes with

a) Vitamin A function of protein synthesis and fatty acid metabolism.

b) Reducing the activity of enzyme that release vitamin A palmitate from the liver causing a weakened immune system fighting against the forming of free radicals, and endometrial implants, and adhesion.
e) Work together with iron

Iron is necessary for production of red blood cells that carry oxygen in the blood stream for the body's cells. Women who have endometriosis with heavy blood loss during menstruation normally have iron deficiency because of loss of iron which is far greater than what the body can produce leading to anemia. Intake of vitamin A and iron will increase the production of red blood cells far better than taking iron supplements alone.

SEE ALSO: ENDOMETRIOSIS AND GETTING PREGNANT

Remember, overloading on zinc or iron is toxic to our body. Please make sure to talk to your doctor for the correct amount.
B. Vitamin B1

I. Definition

Vitamin B1 is one of the members of the vitamin B complex, it is also known as thiamin or thiamine. It's most common form is a colorless chemical compound with the formula C12H17N4OS. It was discovered in 1910 by Umetaro Suzuki in Japan. It is a water soluble vitamin, therefore it can be stored in the body and is required to be taken regularly.
II. How Vitamin B1 benefits women with endometriosis

Women with endometriosis are found to have vitamin B complex deficiency during the menstrual cycle. It is not known if it is caused by unhealthy diet or the inability of digestive absorption.

a) Level of estrogen

Vitamin B1 helps to detoxify the liver which may be caused by intake of of alcohol, smoking and heavy metals. A strong liver is particularly important for secretion of cholesterol in breaking down estrogen that causes menstrual cramps as well as hormone balancing in the body.
b) Immune system

Vitamin B1 is an antioxidant that helps to strengthen the immune system against the forming of free radicals, endometrial implants, and adhesion somewhere else in the body except the endometrium.
c) Red blood cells




Study shows that vitamin B1 helps to normalize the activity of an enzyme called transketolase in red blood cells resulting in increased amounts of the two proteins THTR-1 and RFC-1 which helps to transport thiamine into red blood cells. This increases the production of red blood cells in the bloodstream.
d) Nervous system

It helps to reduce tension of the nervous system as a resulting of converting carbohydrates to energy which is necessary for the proper functions of the nervous system. Thereby it reduces symptoms of endometriosis in some women such as anxiety, depression, and mood swings.
e) Intestine muscle tone

Vitamin B1 helps to secrete hydrochloric acid in the stomach which is essential for the complete digestion of food particles and decreases the risk of nutrient deficiency causing hormone imbalance in the menstrual cycle.
C. Vitamin B2

I. Definition

Vitamin B2 is water soluble, also known as riboflavin. It has a chemical compound formula of C17H20N4O6. Like many other vitamin B complexes, it plays an important role in providing energy to our body by the metabolism of fat, carbohydrates and protein.
II. How vitamin B2 helps to treat endometriosis

1. Red blood cell formation

Vitamin B2 includes the active co-enzyme forms of flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) that helps to transport vitamin b2 into the red blood cell as well as maintaining the red blood cell formation.
2. Strengthens the immune system

Vitamin B2 is an antioxidant that helps to rejuvenate the immune system caused by toxins accumulated in the liver that helps to maintain our body's function fighting against any abnormality of cell growth including abnormal endometrial cells.
3. Cell growth

Since vitamin B2 helps in protein metabolism, it helps to maintain normal cell division or cell growth which decreases the risk of cell abnormality and prevent endometrial cells to grow somewhere else in the body excluding the endometrium.
4. Iron and vitamin B6

Vitamin B2 is needed for a healthy mucus membrane in the digestive system. It enhances the absorption of iron and vitamin B6 which is essential for women with endometriosis and heavy flow during menstruation.
5. Migraine

The Riboflavin that is found in Vitamin B2 has shown beneficial results by assisting in decreasing the time as well as the frequency in which one gets a migraine headache due to symptoms of endometriosis during menstruation.
6. Nervous system

Vitamin B2 can assist with alleviating stress as well as reducing symptoms of depression that are brought on by digestive disorders that generally affects women with endometriosis during the menstrual cycle.
D. Vitamin B3
I. Definition

Vitamin B3 , also known as niacin, is a water-soluble vitamin. Besides being usedto treat pellagra caused by dietary lack of vitamin B3 and protein, it also has been known to be effective in treating endometriosis because women with endometriosis are found to have vitamin B3 deficiency. It has a chemical compound formula of C6H5NO2.
II. How vitamin B3 helps in treating endometriosis

1. Hormone synthesis

Vitamin B3 is found to help the manufacturing of hormones such as cortisone and the sex hormone estrogen in a woman's body. Besides helping to inhibit levels of bad estrogen that causes menstrual cramps during menstrual cycle, it also helps to balance the prostaglandin hormone which causes over-active uterine muscles.
2. Digestive system

Deficiency of vitamin B3 is generally found in women with endometriosis during menstruation. It may be caused by the inability of the digestive system in breaking down food particles. Intake of vitamin B3 helps to re-balance the hormones that cause menstrual cramps.
3. Metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats

Besides helping to provide energy for our body in metabolism of carbohydrate through bile secretion, vitamin B3 also helps in the metabolism of protein and fat which are important for our body's function.
4. Circulatory stimulation

Vitamin B3 also helps in stimulation of the circulatory system by reducing the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) from the arteries in some people.
5. Nervous system

Vitamin B3 is important for the healthy activity of the nervous system by providing the metabolism of protein and fat which are nutrients necessary for brain cells resulting in reduced symptoms of endometriosis such as depression, anxiety, and irritation.
6. Inflammation

Vitamin B3 increases the level of prostaglandins hormones which control the physiologic processes of blood clotting and inflammation.
E. Vitamin B5

I. Definition

Vitamin B5 is also known as pantothenic acid. It plays an important role in the forming of co-enzyme A and is critical in the metabolism and synthesis of carbohydrates, proteins and fat. Vitamin B5 has a chemical structure formula of C9H17NO5.
II. How vitamin B5 helps in treating endometriosis

Most women with endometriosis were found to have low levels of vitamin B5 during the menstrual cycle for what ever reason. Without enough vitamin B5 in a woman's body, it causes:

1. A weakened immune system

Since vitamin B5 is necessary in the metabolism of carbohydrates, it helps to generate energy for our body's cells. Without enough levels of vitamin B5, our body's immune system is weakened and is dangerous for the forming of free radicals and cell abnormalities.
2. Poor circulation

Our liver is the first line of defense by secreting bile into the digestive system to produce good cholesterol, which helps to inhibit the bad cholesterol in the arteries. Without enough vitamin B5, bad cholesterol is left unchecked causing difficulty for blood circulation.
3. Increased risk of over-active uterine muscles

Liver helps in metabolism of fat. Without enough vitamin B5, it causes hormone imbalance in the prostaglandins family leading to over-reaction of uterine muscles which in turn causes abdominal pain.
4. Increased tension of nervous system

Fat and protein are important for nourishing the cells in the nervous system. Low levels of vitamin B5 weakens the brain cell's function. This leads to symptoms of endometriosis such as anxiety, mood swings, and depression.
5. Increased risk of allergic reaction

Insufficient vitamin B5 in our body causes deficiency in co-enzyme A which is necessary for our body to react to sudden substances that enter our body, causing violently allergic reactions.
6. Acne

Fatty acid metabolism becomes less efficient and the individual is more prone to have acne.
7. Hormonal imbalance

Besides helping to reduce acne, vitamin B5 also interacts with other members of the vitamin B complex by increasing the function of the adrenal glands which is necessary to balance hormones and promote normal growth of the body.
F. Vitamin B6

I.Definition

Vitamin B6 is water soluble and a member of vitamin B complex. It plays an important role in amino acids metabolism that helps to maintain the proper function in our body.
II. Endometriosis and Vitamin B6

1. Hormone balancing

Vitamin B6 is essential for the production of the right levels of prostaglandins hormones in the prostaglandins family. Deficiency of vitamin B6 causes over active uterine muscles resulting in endometrial cramps.
2. Estrogen inhibitor

Vitamin B6 helps the live in protein and fat metabolism, thereby increasing the production of good estrogen that inhibits the bad estrogen produced by the body resulting in hormone re balancing and decrease the risk of cell abnormality and cancer.
3. Anemia

Vitamin B6 increases the production of red blood cells that usually are depleted for the women with the heavy menstrual flow during menstruation.
4. Nervous system

Our nervous system requires variety of nutrients to function daily, vitamin B6 helps not only maintain a right levels of cholesterol but also increase the circulation of nutrients to our nervous system needed resulting in decreasing the symptoms of endometriosis, such as memory loss, confusion and anxiety.
5. Cell Growth

Vitamin B6 aids in the synthesis of DNA and RNA by maintaining the proper cell division and preventing cell abnormal growth such as peritoneal cells developing into endometrial cells.
G. Vitamin B12
I. Definition

Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin and a member of vitamin B complex. It plays an important role in treating women with endometriosis, such as reducing symptoms of endometriosis during menstrual cycle, maintaining protein and fat metabolism, avoiding iron deficiency, etc.
II. Endometriosis and vitamin B12

1. Anemia

Women with endometriosis are found to have low levels of vitamin B12 during menstrual cycle for what ever reason. Deficiency of Vitamin B12 deceases the production of red blood cell in the blood stream causing depletion of levels of iron in the blood leading to anemia.
2. Nervous system

Vitamin B12 is vital for protein and fat synthesis that helps to strengthen the function of nervous system resulting in lessening the nervous tension such as irritation, loss of memory, depression and mood swing.
3. Insomnia and fatigue

Besides helping in protein and fat synthesis, vitamin B12 also play an important role in carbohydrate metabolism that helps to provide energy for our body function and aids in insomnia and fatigue.
4. Immune system

Liver required vitamin B12 to function properly, deficiency of vitamin B12 causes enlarged liver resulting in decreasing the function of liver in fighting against environment toxins leading to high levels of bad estrogen in the body resulting in menstrual cramps for women with endometriosis.
5. Cell abnormality

Vitamin B12 is vital for the synthesis of DNA. Deficiency of vitamin B12 increases the risk of abnormal cell growth in the body such as endometrial cells growing somewhere else in the abdomen.
H. Biotin

I. Definition

Biotin is one of the members of the vitamin B complex. It is also known as vitamin H or B7. Vitamin B7 is a co-factor in the metabolism of fatty acids, leucine, and in gluconeogenesis. It has a chemical structure formula of C10H16N2O3S. Deficiency is extremely rare, as intestinal bacteria generally produce an excess of the body's daily requirement but for what ever reason, women with endometriosis are found to have low levels of biotin.
II. How biotin helps in treating endometriosis

1. Cell abnormality

Biotin acts as a co-factor with the other members in the vitamin B complex. It plays an important role in managing the body's cell growth. Without enough biotin, it causes cell growth abnormality such as the forming of perinatal cells into endometrial cell in the abdominal regions.
2. Poor blood circulation

Since biotin helps in gluconeogenesis, it regulates the sugar levels in the blood stream. Without enough levels of biotin, the level of blood sugar rises causing the thickening of blood which reduces the circulatory function and blocks the transportation of nutrients and oxygen to our body's cells. This results in an increased risk of symptoms of endometriosis.
3. Endometrial cramps

Since biotin is necessary in the metabolism of fatty acids, it helps to maintain levels of prostaglandins. Deficiency of biotin causes some members in the prostaglandins family to be over-produced during the menstrual cycle leading to menstrual and endometrial cramps.
4. Respiratory problem

Since biotin helps to synthesize carbon dioxide, without enough biotin it causes shortness of breath in women with endometriosis.
5. Risk of heart disease and stroke

If the liver cannot produce enough bile to generate good cholesterol because of not enough amounts of biotin in the body, it leads to cholesterol building up in the arteries causing the thickening of the arterial wall and the blockage o circulation of blood resulting in an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
6. Weaken function of nervous system

Since biotin acts as a co-factor with other vitamin B complexes in the metabolism of protein, deficiency of biotin interferes with that process. It weakens the normal functions of cells in the nervous system leading to tension of the nervous system such as anxiety, dizziness, loss of memory, and depression.
I. Folic Acids

I. Definition

Folic acid is one of the members of the vitamin B complex family and is a water soluble vitamin. It also known as vitamin M or folacin. It's major function is to maintain normal growth and DNA of our body's cells. It has a chemical structure formula of C19H19N7O6.
II. How folic acids helps in treating endometriosis

1. Anemia

Since folic acid deficiency limits cell division, women with endometriosis with heavy blood flow during menstruation are required to take enough folic acid to help in production of red blood cell. If not, it will lead to megaloblastic anemia.
2. Cell abnormality

Since folic acid is necessary for cell division, deficiency of it will lead to abnormality of some cells in the body. Some endometrial cells may become cancerous or grow into endometrial cells in the abdomen.
3. Protein synthesis

Folic acids interact with other members of the vitamin B complex family in the metabolism of protein. This helps to provide nutrients to the cells in the nervous system. Deficiency of folic acids cause the weakening of the nervous system leading to symptoms of endometriosis.
4. Abnormal cell growth

Folic acid is essential to normal DNA replication, DNA repair, and cell division. Deficiency of folic acid interferes with cell production and cannot repair the damage of cell caused by toxin accumulated in the body leading to abnormal cell growth.
5. Heart disease and stroke

Deficiency of folic acid may help to decrease the circulating level of homocytesteine in the blood. Study shows that high levels of homocysteine in the bloodstream damages coronary arteries or makes it easier for blood clotting, resulting in an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
6. Endometrial cancer

Since we already know that adequate levels of folic acid helps in the synthesis, repair, and functioning of DNA. Deficiency of folic acid may result in damage to DNA that may lead to cancer.
J. Choline

I. Definition

Choline is a water soluble vitamin and belongs to the group of vitamin B complexes. It was discovered by Andreas Strecker in 1864. It is used in traditional medicine in treating heart and liver disease caused by choline deficiency.
II. How choline helps in treating endometriosis

1. Strengthens the immune system

Deficiency of choline causes fat to be deposited into the liver and reduce the function of liver to fight against the abnormal forming of endometrial implants and adhesion in other parts of the body causing inflammation.
2. Reduce risk of heart diseases

Women with endometriosis are found to have low levels of choline during their menstrual cycle. The causes of deficiency are still unknown. Choline interacts with other members in the vitamin B complex family to help in carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism which are necessary to provide energy and nutrients for our body. It also helps help to strengthen the liver in bile production, which helps to reduce the level of bad cholesterol resulting in decreasing the risk of heart diseases.
3. Increase function of nervous system

Since choline is a chemical precursor needed to produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, it helps to enhance the various congestion systems within the brain resulting in an improved function of the nervous system leading to reduced symptoms of endometriosis such as memory loss, poor concentration, anxiety, and mood swings.
4. Balancing hormone

Deficiency of choline causes abnormal functions of the liver. Since the liver plays an important role in fatty acid metabolism, deficiency of choline weakens the liver function resulting in excessive estrogen produced during menstrual cycle leading to hormone imbalance and endometrial cramps.
K. Vitamin C

I. Definition

Vitamin C is also known as L-ascorbate. It is a water soluble vitamin with a chemical structure formula of C6H6O6. It cannot be stored in the body for more than 24 hours and we are required to take it regularly. It is also best known for it's antioxidant property in strengthening the immune system.
II. Vitamin C and endometriosis

1. Immune system

Vitamin C plays an important role in strengthening the immune system because of it's powerful antioxidant property. It helps to guard our body against the forming of free radicals and abnormal growth of endometrial cells in other parts of the body.
2. Increase absorption of digestive system

Most women with endometriosis are found to have deficiency of some kinds of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B complex, folic acid, zinc, and magnesium. Increasing intake of vitamin C not only helps to improve digestive absorption, but also increases the body's function in fighting against all kinds of diseases including endometriosis.
3. Hormone balancing

Besides helping strengthen the liver function to balance the estrogen level during menstrual cycle, vitamin C also balances the level of prostaglandins hormones in the prostaglandins family resulting in the calming of over-active uterine muscles.
4. Reduce heavy blood flow and blood clotting

Vitamin C not only helps to protect the breaking off of the capillaries that cause heavy blood flow for women with endometriosis during menstruation but also prevents blood clotting caused by reduction of prothrombin, thrombin, and thrombokinase concentrations in the body.
5. Decrease infection and inflammation

Vitamin C helps in protein metabolism. It not only provides our body with certain necessary proteins but also blocks the synthesis of vital proteins that cause infection and inflammation.
L. Vitamin E

I. Definition

Since vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin, it can be stored in our body and we don't require to take it regularly. It is best known for its powerful antioxidant property.
II. The effects of Vitamin E in women with Endometriosis

a) Immune system

Since vitamin E is an antioxidant, it helps to increase liver function in fighting the forming of free radicals, abnormal cells and cancers. In endometriosis, it prevents the growth of abnormal endometrial to form implants and adhesion in other parts of the body excluding the endometrium.
b) Cell protection

Since vitamin E protects the fatty acid against degradation in the human body, it helps to prevent against the oxidation in cell membranes and cellular regions resulting in protecting against the breaking off of the capillary wall causing heavy blood flow during menstruation.
c) Red blood cells

Deficiency of vitamin E in women with endometriosis were also found to have anemia. It is caused by the faster than normal aging of red blood cells because of oxidative destruction of red blood cells.
d) Nervous system

Since we already known that vitamin E is essential for increasing the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen in the circulation system, it helps to nourish the brain cells fighting against symptoms of endometriosis such as mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
e) Hormone imbalance

Deficiency of vitamin E also interferes with normal functions of thyroid and pituitary glands causing the increase of levels of fatty acids resulting in endometrial menstrual cramps which in turn result in the over-production of certain prostaglandins hormones.
M. Vitamin K
I. Definition

Vitamin K was first discovered by Danish scientist Herrik Dam in 1929. It is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is best known for its ability of protein synthesis and blood coagulation. Dietary deficiency is extremely rare because it is produced by bacteria in the digestive system. Since it is fat soluble, it can be stored in our body and we do no need to take them regularly.
II. How vitamin K effects women with endometriosis

1. Nervous and circulation systems

Vitamin K helps to convert glucose into glycogen which is essential for improving the liver function in fighting against the forming of bad cholesterol accumulated in the blood stream causing high blood pressure, making transportation of oxygen more difficult to the body's cell, increasing the risk of heart disease and elevating tensions of nervous system. Glycogen can be stored in the liver, muscles, and can be used in case of deficiency.
2. Abnormal bleeding

Vitamin K also helps in production of prothrombin which is an important substance for blood clotting. Women with endometriosis were found to have vitamin K deficiency leading to heavier than normal bleeding during menstruation.
3. Immune system

Since vitamin K helps to strengthen the liver's function, indirectly it protects our body from environmental toxins that cause abnormal endometrial implants and adhesion growing somewhere else other than the endometrium as we mentioned in the other articles.
4. Cell Growth

Vitamin K is also said to be an important vitamin that helps to regulate the cellular functions including cell adhesion, cell proliferation, and protection against the cell's cytoskeleton to break up the membrane and bulge outward causing the loss of membrane asymmetry and attachment. Deficiency of vitamin K may cause an increase in the risk of irregularity cellular growth, such as endometriosis.
5. Anemia

Since vitamin K deficiency causes heavy bleeding for women with endometriosis adhered to the abdominal region leading to anemia as a result of depletion of red blood cells in the body or inability of the body to produce more red blood cell to cover the loss during menstruation
Since endometriosis is treatable and manageable by natural remedies and a self help course, if you have endometroisis, please look on the bright side.
__________________
For How To Choose The Best Endometriosis Self Help Program, Visit http://theendometroisisguide.blogspot.com/
For series of Infertility Articles, please visit http://fertility-infertility.blogspot.com/
All rights reserved. Any reproducing of this article must have the author name and all the links intact.
"Let You Be With Your Health, Let Your Health Be With You" Kyle J. Norton
I have been studying natural remedies for disease prevention for over 20 years and working as a financial consultant since 1990. Master degree in Mathematics, teaching and tutoring math at colleges and universities before joining insurance industries. Part time Health, Insurance and Entertainment Article Writer.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Kyle_J_Norton
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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

51 YEAR OLD PREGNANT NATURALLY, TRUE STORY

I frequently post stories of women who got pregnant over 40 naturally...and...I frequently post stories of women who got pregnant over 50 naturally!  As a matter of fact, I have a page on my blog devoted to true stories of documented cases of women pregnant naturally over 50 (click here for more)
Well, here is another story which I just came across from parenting.com.  A woman by the name of Morgan Zantua of course thought she was too old to have a baby since she was over 50.  Well, fate had other plans and she was shocked to find out that she was pregnant:  From the article:

...at age 51, Zantua was in graduate school and juggling three jobs. She and her husband, then 56, planned to eventually sell their home in Tacoma and travel around the world. Then Zantua noticed she couldn't button her skirts and often felt exceptionally warm and tired. She thought, "Boy, menopause is hitting awfully fast," and she booked a consultation with her doctor.
Before the appointment, a friend suggested she take a pregnancy test. And since she always tried to be open-minded, she did—and discovered she was having a baby. "I was stunned," she says. "I have friends younger than I am who are grandparents, and here I was becoming a mom." Luckily, she says, her husband kept her calm. "I was overjoyed and totally petrified at the same time, but George was such an anchor," she says. "He was surprised, too, of course, but he helped me shift gears for this next stage in our lives. We were both elated."
The next day Zantua's gynecologist confirmed she was five months pregnant with a healthy baby girl.
http://getpregnantover40.com/fertility-bracelet.htm
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Friday, February 08, 2019

VITAMIN D, SUPER VITAMIN FOR FERTILITY

Vitamin D can help women get pregnant naturally stimulating ovaries in women and helping men manufacture testosterone

I've written before about how vitamin D can help women get pregnant naturally and it can help men
with sperm quality as well.  There are a number of specific ways that vitamin D can help fertility including:


Vitamin D can help women get pregnant naturally by working on the ovaries to stimulate follicles to mature

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Vitamin D can work on men by helping them manufacture testosterone

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to infertility early stage miscarriage
It is recommended to get at least 2000 units of vitamin D every day for fertility.  There are many foods that can also help including salmon, milk, cereal, and other fortified foods.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

CAN YOUR HOROSCOPE HELP YOU GET PREGNANT?

Pregnancy Over 40 With Help From The Stars

I hesitated when I thought about posting this article on my blog.

 Could something like astrology really help you get pregnant? Being the open minded person I am, and knowing how intelligent and educated my readers are, I thought I'd let you be the judge. It never occurred to me to use astrology to conceive, but there may be some evidence that it helps. Read more:

She was introduced to the idea by a lecturer in astrology whom she met when researching a book. ‘I’m a scientist and we’re told that we should laugh at ­astrology in our culture,’ she says. ‘But I’ve
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approached this with an open mind.’

Catherine had her consultation with Nicola Smuts in August 2008, just a month after her second ­miscarriage. Nicola pinpointed two fertile times for the couple to try another cycle of IVF. The next was in February 2009, when sadly their frozen embryos failed to ­survive, and then again in August 2009.

‘I knew we would be laughed at for putting credence in astrology,’ says Catherine. ‘But I just kept telling the clinic: “It has to be then.” The way I saw it, we were using a mix of cutting-edge ­science and a dose of magic.’

Nicola’s predications came true, and Willow was born in May. ‘I know many people will say we were successful because we used this new type of IVF, but I also like to think we chose a propitious time. I would say to any woman, try astro-fertility, because I believe it works,’ she says

Her view is shared by health ­psychologist Dr Pat Harris, who researched the link between a woman’s fertility and horoscope for her PhD.

She says: ‘I found that women who knew their exact time of birth who then used an astro­logical chart to p­redict their best time to conceive could increase their chances of conception by 23 per cent.’

from:
dailymail.co.uk

Sunday, February 03, 2019

SURPRISE! WOMEN OVER 40 GOT PREGNANT OUT OF NOWHERE

It's not a big surprise to me that many women get pregnant by surprise over the age of 40.  As a matter of fact, the rate of unintended pregnancies in women over 40 is second only to teenagers.  Many of these women aren't always happy with the news and some of these pregnancies are terminated.  But if you are trying to conceive, this may provide some encouragement.  Women over 40 can actually be very fertile given the right circumstances.  The media focuses so much on how fertility declines that many women over 40 think they're too old and they get a little lax with their birth control.  Here are a number of stories of women who got pregnant without even trying:

SEE ALSO: SURPRISE PREGNANCIES OVER AGE 50 (getpregnantover40.com)



Sarah Munro, 44, a barrister, took a laid-back approach to birth control and has a five-week-old son,
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Monty, as a result. Incredibly, she was almost six months pregnant before she realised she was expecting.‘Looking back, of course, it sounds ridiculous but it just didn’t occur to me that I could be pregnant,’ she says.
And like so many other women her age, Sarah has also had a wake-up call — just because she is old enough to go through the menopause doesn’t mean she is too old to fall pregnant.

dailymail.co.uk

Sunday, January 27, 2019

PREGNANCY BLOOD PRESSURE: ASSOCIATED WITH BIRTH DEFECTS

Pregnancy Hypertension Complications

When I was pregnant, my blood pressure was monitored quite closely.
 Although older women tend to have problems with blood pressure in pregnancy, thankfully, min was normal.  As far as blood pressure medications, in the past, there were concerns that ACE inhibitors were associated with birth defects. However, this article also talks about how high blood pressure itself may also be a risk factor. Read more:

Researchers behind a new, larger study suggest it’s the high blood pressure itself that is responsible
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for the higher risk of birth defects, not the medications.

Compared to women without high blood pressure, those with the condition were more likely to have babies with congenital heart, brain or spinal-cord defects regardless of whether they were taking ACE inhibitors, other medications, or getting no treatment at all, the study found. The study was published online this week in the journal BMJ.

De-Kun Li and colleagues from Kaiser Permanente in California examined data covering more than 460,000 pregnant women and their babies from 1995 to 2008 for the study, which was paid for by groups including the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

from: 
theglobeandmail.com

DOES IVF CAUSE GENE MUTATIONS?

As time goes on, and more couples go through assisted reproduction, the scientific community is discovering that the fertility procedures themselves may put children at risk of genetic mutations.
 I know there are couples who have no choice but to go through assisted reproduction, however, it's important to go into any procedure knowing all possible outcomes. I was never informed of any risk of birth defects or pregnancy complications as a result of the actual fertility treatments (the only risk I was informed of was age related). It's possible these genetic risks were not known at the time I underwent treatment, but it makes me question whether or not couples really give informed consent.   Luckily, I did finally get pregnant naturally and I realize some couples must go through assisted reproduction, but it's important to know the risks.  Read more:


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The use of in vitro fertilization (IVF) or another assisted fertility technique called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to conceive appears to increase the odds of Y-chromosome defects or "microdeletions" in male offspring, Chinese researchers report.

Such deletions could result in defective sperm production and possibly also hypospadias -- a common birth defect of the penis that occurs when the urinary outlet develops on the underside of the penis rather than at the tip.

Although this study was small, it "at least sounds an alarm about the genetic safety of assisted reproductive technology," the investigators conclude.

Prior research has tied assisted reproductive technologies with low birth weight, preterm delivery, cerebral palsy, and major birth defects, leading some researchers to hypothesize that these therapies may induce gene mutations.

In the new study, Dr. He-Feng Huang, from Zhejiang University, and colleagues sought to answer this question by testing for genetic mutations in 19 male infants conceived through IVF, 18 conceived through ICSI, and 60 conceived naturally. The fathers of the infants were also tested. In an effort to isolate the impact of the fertility treatment, the researchers only studied infants whose parents had a normal genetic background.

Huang and colleagues found Y-chromosome microdeletions in one infant conceived with IVF (5.3 percent) and in three conceived with ICSI (16.7 percent). By contrast, no Y-chromosome deletions were seen in the control group.


From: 
dalje.com


Thursday, January 24, 2019

INFERTILITY AT OLDER AGES IS EXAGGERATED!

If you have been reading my blogs and website, you know that I constantly try to paint the REAL picture of how it is possible to get pregnant at older ages naturally.  I have been researching this for years and what I do know is that the media loves to present the "doom and gloom" picture rather than looking at the glass half full.  In the words of a a friend and science teacher:  "the glass is always half full"....of course she was talking about the other half being full of air, and I am talking about the media being full of HOT air!

I love this article that presents some widely reported statistics and how they scare women needlessly:
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The widely cited statistic that one in three women ages 35 to 39 will not be pregnant after a year of trying, for instance, is based on an article published in 2004 in the journal Human Reproduction. Rarely mentioned is the source of the data: French birth records from 1670 to 1830. The chance of remaining childless—30 percent—was also calculated based on historical populations.
In other words, millions of women are being told when to get pregnant based on statistics from a time before electricity, antibiotics, or fertility treatment. Most people assume these numbers are based on large, well-conducted studies of modern women, but they are not. When I mention this to friends and associates, by far the most common reaction is: “No … No way. Really?”
theatlantic.com

Saturday, January 19, 2019

ZINC FOR FERTILITY IN MEN AND WOMEN

Zinc in your supplements and diet may be critical for men and women who want to enhance their fertility.  In women, zinc helps to manufacture and balance reproductive hormones.  It also helps with protein metabolism and egg quality and maturation.  Once a women does get pregnant, zinc can help support a healthy pregnancy

In men, zinc can help with healthy sperm production and maturation and normal chromosome
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development.  Testosterone production is also helped by zinc.

Good sources of zinc include pumpkin seeds, beef, chicken, pork and beans.
The flood of zinc appears to flip a switch so the egg can progress through the final stages of meiosis.(Meiosis is when the egg sheds all but one copy of its maternal chromosomes before it can be fertilized by a sperm and become an embryo.)... Zinc seems to be a key switch that helps control whether the egg moves forward in its development stage. ”

from:  futurity.org

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

FERTILITY SMOOTHIE RECIPE, EASY TO MAKE IN MINUTES

Fertility Smoothie Recipe

This smoothie recipe contains some powerful superfoods that can help your egg quality and fertility.  Here's the recipe (watch the video for instructions):
1 cup plain unsweetened greek yogurt (full fat dairy has been found in at least one study to be better for fertility)
1 cup water or milk
1 cup frozen berries and bananas
a few pieces of ice
2 packets of stevia (or a few squirts of liquid stevia)
Handful of raw (unroasted) almonds and walnuts (buy in the refrigerated section of healthfood store)

Blend in blender until desired consistency is reached (more ice will give it a sherbet consistency)
Watch video:





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Monday, January 14, 2019

HAVING A BABY, HOW OLD IS TOO OLD?

Are you Ever Too Old to Have A Baby?

I always hate when I see articles about being "too old to get pregnant".  First, let me say that I had my daughter with a natural conception and a totally normal delivery at the age of 44.  I had no complications and in my totally unbiased opinion, my daughter is perfect.
Second, let me say that I got pregnant again by surprise at the age of 49 (See: 49 and Pregnant) which I swear must have been the immaculate conception since we all had the flu immediately preceding my positive pregnancy test.  I miscarried very early, but it does go to show you that age is just a number and if you ovulate, you can still get pregnant.
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If a pregnancy happens naturally (which it does even in women over 50, then obviously your body doesn't think you're too old!)  If you ask your grandparents how old they were when they had their last child (or how old their acquaintances were when they had their last child), you'll most likely find
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that a high percentage of them were over the age of 40.  Before the days of reliable birth control, tubal ligations and vasectomies, families were large and it was nothing to see pregnant women well into their 40's.  Granted, it was their last child instead of their first, but they still had a baby!
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 If a pregnancy is achieved through IVF or donor eggs, then of course a women's health needs to be taken into account.   Who am I to say who can have a baby and at what age?  Now would I want a baby at the age of 60?  No, I wouldn't, but I can't tell you how many grandparents I've met who, for one reason or another, are raising their grandchildren.  Somehow they manage, and the ones I've seen do a pretty good job of it.  What about the argument that you won't be around to see your children grow up?  Well...statistically speaking, women who have their first child over the age of 40 are four times more likely to live to be 100!

So, all of the naysayers out there who think there's some type of cut off to have a baby, mind your own business!!

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

MY STORY OF INFERTILITY AND PREGNANCY AT AGE 44

Pregnancy Over 40, Get Pregnant Over 40 Naturally, Have A Baby Over 40

If you are over 40 and trying to conceive without success, or if you continually miscarry, you start to believe that a successful pregnancy over 40 is impossible. I’m here to tell you that it was possible for me - naturally.

In my late 30’s, after failing to conceive for over a year, I tried assisted reproductive technologies. I tried medications, inseminations, and IVF twice.

IVF Over The Age Of 40 Isn't Always Necessary

Even after investing so much emotion, time and money, tragically my IVF cycles and fertility
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treatments ended in miscarriage and the removal of one of my fallopian tubes. Fertility treatments left me physically, emotionally and financially drained, but I knew in my heart I could get pregnant and I knew I could do it naturally. Assisted Reproduction may be necessary for some women, but there are many, like me, who can and do conceive without fertility treatments. I’m also amazed by the number of women I meet undergoing the rigors of fertility treatment only to get pregnant naturally between treatment cycles!

This is my story of how I stopped viewing myself as a victim of infertility. I stopped asking “why me?” I realized that I was in total control of my body, my mind, and my ability to attract the things I wanted in my life.

I spent years reading and doing research on natural methods to enhance fertility. I wanted to get pregnant on my terms without relying on more costly consultations and treatments by paid professionals. My research led to a specific pregnancy protocol which prepared my body, changed my lifestyle, and cleared my mental roadblocks. Much has been written about how to get pregnant naturally, however, a great deal of it is contradictory, confusing and difficult to follow. I’ve weeded through the literature and I give you what turned out to be the winning formula for me - best of all, everything is inexpensive and can be done in the privacy of your own home. I got pregnant 4 times after embarking on my natural journey and as I got healthier and more hormonally balanced, I finally carried my last pregnancy to term without complications! I was 44 when I had my beautiful daughter who is perfect in every way.

Don’t let your age (or your doctors) discourage you from trying to get pregnant. You simply have to maximize your body’s readiness to take full advantage of every ovulatory cycle. Remember, I only had one fallopian tube, and I got pregnant 4 times over the age of 40 – just think what might have happened if I had both of my fallopian tubes!

Vanessa Cullins, vice president of medical affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said, "It's very common that women don't realize they still need to worry about birth control even after they hit their 40s and move into their 50s." She added, "Until they complete menopause, which means going 12 months without menstruating, women should consider themselves to still be fertile" (Bennett, Wall Street Journal, 5/3).

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

ALKALINE OR ACIDIC FOODS FOR FERTILITY?

SHOULD YOU BE EATING ALKALINE OR ACIDIC FOODS TO GET PREGNANT?

Many of my readers have asked about the connection between fertility, cervical mucus and the type of foods that you should eat.  Fertility is enhanced by eating more alkaline type foods. Many women and couples have also heard that a more acidic environment will help them conceive a girl. There does not seem to be scientific proof of this, but proponents of this theory believe that sperm that determine a female gender are heartier than sperm that determine a male gender and more likely to survive in an acidic environment. However, most couples experiencing infertility would be elated with either gender and they want to do everything possible to make conception of either a boy or a girl possible. This article, although written from a body building standpoint, does a good job of explaining the difference between acidic and alkaline foods and gives examples of each.  Read more:

Alkaline Foods - Acid Foods - The 80/20 Acid Alkaline Ratio

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By Jamin Thompson
Many of us get so caught up in eating to look good that we often forget to stick to the basics and focus on our health. Without our health in line, we won't ever achieve that dream physique anyways so it is always best to focus on health first. Our typical mode of focusing on the outward physique and less on our insides tends to ruin most attempts for a stronger, leaner, healthier body. Out of all of
the processes essential to a head turning physique, a well functioning body is likely the most important and neglecting your health at the expense of a temporary gain is a recipe for sure failure. In order to keep your body functioning at its peak you must make sure that all of the processes involved aren't overloaded with toxins and overwhelmed by bad lifestyle choices. Most of us do not live the right way, we eat the wrong foods, we don't get enough sleep, we are stressed out, and we don't get enough fresh air. With all off the abuse we put our bodies through, we can't expect it to function how it's supposed to. It is funny how most of us get so frustrated when our bodies do not respond how we want them to when all we have to do is just listen to what the body needs. Similar to a high performance race car, the human body must be given the proper fuel, maintenance, and service in order to ensure high performance and longevity. If we take care of the body, the body will take care of the rest. Today I want to discuss the acid / alkaline balance and how maintaining the proper balance can help you improve your health, well being, and get leaner faster. First the basics. Water has a pH (measured according to the potential of hydrogen scale) of 7.0. This range is considered neutral, as water is neither alkaline or acid. Any substance with a pH greater than 7.0 is alkaline, and any substance with a pH lower than 7.0 is acidic. For a human to maintain a proper balance, it is best to shoot for a range between 6.0 and 6.8. The acid-alkaline balance of the blood must be stabilized via the food we eat and, as such, we must give the body a constant supply of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium because these important minerals help neutralize the acid wastes that accumulate when we consume proteins, sugars, and starches. Acid wastes can also be especially dangerous because they are believed to cause a variety of health problems and chronic diseases. If you have suffered with chronic symptoms such as water retention, migraines, low blood pressure, insomnia, sunken eyes, bad breath, tooth sensitivity to acidic fruits, and/or alternating diarrhea and constipation you may be suffering from acidosis. This term (acidosis) means that your body chemistry is likely imbalanced and overly acidic. Various changes within the body can also throw off the natural acid balance, which can cause an acidic surge in body fluids and cause metabolic acidosis. Various disorders and diseases like stomach ulcers, obesity, kidney disease, liver problems, anorexia, adrenal disorders, diabetes, and fever can rob the body of its natural alkaline base, but typically, a bad diet plays the key role in creating an acidic environment within the body. Note: Studies have shown that the over consumption of aspirin and vitamin C can also deplete the natural alkaline base.

Table 1.0 Alkaline Forming Foods

When training to build a great physique, we so often get caught up in eating proteins and trying to build lean muscle, that in the process we disrupt the natural acid/alkaline balance in the body and become overly acidic. It is hard to train and recover effectively when suffering with the annoying effects of acidosis. As I mentioned earlier, proteins are acid forming foods and we must eat alkaline forming foods to neutralize the acid wastes from protein consumption. This means that you should probably be eating a bunch more veggies with that chicken breast than you usually do. Finding a perfect balance can be challenging and confusing at first, but a good way to approach it is to try to maintain an 80% alkaline and 20% acid ratio. That means that in order to maintain a healthy, balanced pH, you need to eat a diet that consists of 80% alkaline forming foods and 20% acid forming foods. Proteins and starches are acid, vegetables and fruits are alkaline. Just about all of the metabolic wastes of the body are acids so we need to eat alkaline forming foods like fruits and vegetables to help neutralize these acid wastes. Recent studies have shown that the average American diet only consists of about 15-20% fruits and vegetables. This means that most people in this country are getting the majority of their calories from acid forming foods. In light of the current health crisis in America, I think that it is safe to say that there is a strong correlation between acidosis and disease. For optimal health, fruits and vegetables should make up 80% of your diet. Starches and proteins should make up the last 20%. This guarantees your diet will be 80% alkaline and 20% acid. Here is a list that outlines the foods that are alkaline and the foods that are acid.

---Vegetables---

* Artichokes
* Broccoli
* Cabbage
* Cauliflower
* Celery
* Cucumber
* Green Beans
* Kudzu
* Lettuce
* Mushrooms
* Onion
* Radish
* Rutabagas
* Sprouts
* Spinach
* Watercress
---Fruits---

* Avocado
* Banana
* Coconut
* Grapefruit
* Lemon
* Tomato
* Watermelon
---Nuts---

* Almonds
* Pumpkin
* Sunflower
* Sesame
---Fats & Oils---

* Avocado
* Borage
* Evening Primrose
* Flax
* Hemp
* Olive
Table 2.0 Acid Forming Foods
* Alcohol
* Aspirin & most drugs
* Asparagus
* Beans
* Brussels Sprouts
* Catsup
* Cocoa
* Coffee
* Cornstarch
* Cranberries
* Eggs
* Flour based products
* Most meats
* Milk
* Mustard
* Olives
* Pasta
* Pepper
* Sauerkraut
* Shellfish
* Soda, soft drinks
* Sugar
* Tobacco
* Vinegar


Now, just because a particular food is acid forming does not mean that you should completely eliminate it from your diet or avoid it for an extended period of time. It just means that you shouldn't over do it, and that you should only choose about 20% of your foods from the acid forming foods list. Many foods that are acid are, in fact, quite good for you with the exception of a few. So in closing, try as hard as you can to stick to the 80/20 rule. Your health and physique will greatly improve as a result. Train hard and expect success. Jamin Thompson is the author of the best selling six pack abs e-book, The 6 Pack Secret: Fat Burning Secrets of The World's Top Fitness Models. He gives men and women from all over the world unique and little known secrets for six pack abs without using bogus supplements, gimmicks, or crash dieting at http://www.the6packsecret.com Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jamin_Thompson http://EzineArticles.com/?Alkaline-Foods---Acid-Foods---The-80/20-Acid-Alkaline-Ratio&id=3731782


Tuesday, January 01, 2019

PROBIOTICS CAN HELP YOU CREATE SPERM FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT FOR CONCEPTION

PROBIOTICS FOR VAGINAL HEALTH AND FERTILITY

What exactly are probiotics and how can they help you get pregnant? Most of us think that bacteria are bad, but many bacteria and yeasts are actually good for your digestive system. The term probiotics refers to the good or helpful bacteria. The medical profession is really trying to cut down on the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics not only kill off bad bacteria, but they can also kill off helpful bacteria (not to mention encouraging the growth of so called "superbugs" that can be deadly. What are good sources of probiotics? This guest post from Brad Douglas can help answer some of those questions:
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Urogenital Probiotics For Women
Guest Post By Brad Douglass
Probiotics are useful for more than just gastrointestinal health. In fact, there are specific probiotic products that can help prevent and treat female urogenital conditions like bacterial vaginosis, vulvovaginal candidiasis, urinary tract infections and related complications of all three.
This should not come as a huge surprise. The amount of good research being conducted on gastrointestinal probiotics continues to increase every year. And although the vaginal tract is not internally connected to the alimentary canal the two are intimately related. Bacteria that pass through
the digestive system can ascend via the perineum to the vagina. So it's almost a no-brainer to expect what promotes gastrointestinal health to have relevance for urogenital health. However, they are not the same. Even though the intestinal microbiota has similarities to the vaginal microbiota, simply taking care of the intestinal microbiota may not be enough to ensure urogenital health.
Vaginal Microbiota: What Is It?
The microbiota typically found in the vagina consists of large numbers of lactobacilli (gram-positive rods) and small numbers of gram-negative rods and gram-positive coccobacilli. A milliliter of vaginal fluid contains, on average, around 100 million microorganisms from 5-10 species, 95% of which are from the genus Lactobacillus (Anukam, 2006).
The bacteria that live in the vagina are substantially similar in all women around the globe. This is indicative of a relationship that was established long ago and which has remained robust over time. From an evolutionary perspective, such a trend suggests an adaptive advantage for both bacteria and humans. But why? A simple answer is that certain bacteria get a warm, moist place to live and in exchange, protect the vagina and help inhibit the growth of pathogens.
Health From The Few
It has been a long held belief that lactobacilli, in bulk, promote vaginal health by helping to maintain an acidic pH in the vagina. The logic seems sound: increased vaginal pH and decreased numbers of lactobacilli are symptomatic of various infections ergo lactic acid producing lactobacilli likely prevent infection by maintaining a low vaginal pH. This rationale has led to recommending the consumption of yogurt with the expectation that the lactobacilli, particularly L. acidophilus, and other "active cultures" should promote vaginal health.Poking under the hood of this theory led to some interesting observations. Researchers discovered that the interaction of microorganisms in the vagina is more complex than simple pH modulation. The watershed: finding healthy women who appeared to lack colonization by lactobacilli. If large numbers of lactobacilli were necessary to regulate vaginal pH in most women, how could these exceptions be reconciled? It turns out that these women did not lack lactobacilli, they were merely present as an extremely small minority. But the fact that they existed in such small quantities suggested that there were mechanisms of vaginal health more potent than simple lactic acid production.
Lactic acid production was not found to be unimportant; rather something akin to a urogenital 90:10 rule had been identified. Most lactobacillus strains produce lactic acid, but only some strains produce bacteriocins and other specific regulating factors that inhibit the adhesion, colonization, growth and survival of undesirable species. Such specific factors can have prominent effects even at very low concentrations. And the strains that produce them can be present in minuscule amounts, but still have a large effect on urogenital health. Those healthy women with very few lactobacilli helped elucidate this.
Bacterial Vaginosis: Under the Radar
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal infection and is believed to be a problem for roughly 10-29% of the female population at any given time (Allsworth, 2007; Reid and Heinemenn, 1998). It is important to be aware that lactobacilli levels tend to track estrogen levels. This means that even for women that feel healthy, there can be an increased risk of infection when estrogen levels are low, like at the beginning and end of the menstrual cycle, or after undergoing menopause.
BV is estimated to burden the health care system to the tune of more than 4 million office visits per year in the U.S. alone (Van Kessel, 2003). Yet despite these numbers, it is believed that many cases of BV still go untreated or mistreated.BV can be one problem that arises when the vaginal microbiota becomes unbalanced. BV is characterized by a shift in the vaginal microbiota from predominantly commensal microorganisms like lactobacilli, to others such as species in the genera Gardnerella, Atopobium and Prevotella. Some of these organisms produce amines that raise the pH in the vagina and cause a "fishy" smell. Clinically, the Amsel criteria or Nugent scoring is used to diagnose BV.
The symptoms of BV are somewhat similar to those of a yeast infection, of which more women are aware. Since these symptoms tend to be a sensitive topic and because over-the-counter anti-fungal treatments are readily available, many women attempt to treat BV with anti-yeast remedies. Unfortunately, anti-fungal treatments do not help treat BV and can even make it worse.
Ounce of Prevention
Although not internally connected, bacteria that pass through the alimentary canal can ascend to the vagina over the short external distance of the perineum. This is entirely normal and not an issue of poor hygiene. In fact, this is the typical route to the vagina for most inhabitants. Knowing this, it stands to reason that a healthy urogenital environment can begin with a healthy digestive tract.
Beneficial intestinal microbiota, are more apt to flourish when exposed to a diet high in fiber (especially prebiotic fibers) and low in simple sugars and refined carbohydrates. Pathogenic bacteria tend to proliferate at a greater rate than probiotic bacteria when exposed to these hallmarks of a diet high in processed foods. The healthier the intestinal microbiota is, the lower the concentration of disruptive organisms that pass from the digestive tract to the vagina. Eating yogurt with live active cultures may help, although the clinical evidence to support this is somewhat equivocal. Digestive health may be better served by taking a probiotic product or supplement that contains multiple strains which are clinically documented to support health.
Women can also act preventatively against BV with probiotic products that have been specifically evaluated for vaginal health and found to promote healthy vaginal microbiota. An ideal choice would be a strain that was originally isolated from a healthy woman and is well characterized to act against vaginal offenders. There are very few products on the market made with probiotic strains that actually meet this standard. Two strains that do are Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14. Used together, L. rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14 have been shown to promote healthy vaginal microbiota which is important in helping prevent BV (see "Research Review").
BV Treatment & Probiotics
Standard treatment for bacterial vaginosis involves antibiotic therapy, either orally administered or locally applied. The oral route typically involves daily ingestion of metronidazole or clindamycin for one week. Locally, a metronidazole gel or 2% clindamycin cream may also be prescribed for a similar duration. Some reports find that using clindamycin leads to a greater rate of recurrence than metronidazole. In addition, local use of clindamycin is contraindicated for pregnant women because of a possible connection to birth defects. Regardless of which antibiotic option is used, statistics show that roughly 30% of BV infections recur within one month and approximately 80% within 9 months.
Increasing numbers of physicians are recommending that their patients follow a regimen of antibiotics with a course of probiotics for gastrointestinal health, to bolster beneficial bacteria that have been killed off. The same advice applies to urogenital probiotics. The vaginal microbiota is just as susceptible to broad-spectrum antibiotics as the intestinal microbiota. And although there is not any solid evidence to suggest probiotics alone are effective as treatment for an existing infection, probiotic supplementation can provide dividends before, during and after antibiotic treatment. As summarized in the "Research Review," some probiotic strains can even improve the effectiveness of BV treatment with antibiotics.
Secondary Effects of BV: Preterm Labor & STI Acquisition Risk
Awareness about BV is particularly important because it can cause health concerns that are more serious than the immediate symptoms that women tend to notice: irritation, decreased well-being, and diminished sexual health. BV can lead to local inflammation, increased susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections and a heightened risk of preterm labor in pregnant women.
In the U.S. 7-10% of all babies are delivered preterm, while it is estimated that women threatening preterm labor cost the U.S. healthcare system $360 M annually. The total number of preterm deliveries has actually risen in the U.S. over the past ten years, as well. This is a bit troubling, although not incredible. Pregnant women are increasingly being given antibiotics to fend off group B streptococci found in their vaginas and also as a precautionary measure when the amniotic sac ruptures prematurely. Increased antibiotic use on average means more frequent assaults on the vaginal microbiota of pregnant women leading to a greater overall risk of BV.
Despite medical science not having a good grasp of what causes preterm labor, it has been known for some time that there is a correlation between the incidence of BV in an expectant mother and preterm delivery (Chaim, 1997; Hillier, 1992; Purwar, 2001). As mentioned above, antibiotics used to treat BV or other conditions can cause complications during pregnancy and disrupt the microbiota of the mother. Disruption of the microbiota is a concern because transmission of endogenous bacteria from mother to newborn occurs during birth and shortly thereafter, helping to establish the newborns own microbiota and immune system. Because of this association, the use of antibiotics to treat pregnant women has drawbacks. It has previously been hypothesized that probiotic therapy could help eliminate the conditions that cause preterm labor and hence avoid preterm labor itself (Reid, AJOG, 2003). Some preliminary research suggests that urogenital probiotics can help diminish the risk of preterm labor (see "Research Review").
Sexually Transmitted Infections
The incidence of BV has also been associated with a greater occurrence of sexually transmitted infections like HIV (Anukam, Sex Transm Dis, 2006; Sewankambo, 1997), cytomegalovirus (Ross, 2005), chlamydia (Nilsson, 1997; Joesoef, 1996), gonorrhea (Joesoef, 1996) and pelvic inflammatory disease (Brotman, 2007). For the most part, the connection between BV and increased risk of STI remains a question of causation or correlation. Research continues into understanding the mechanisms of BV and STI acquisition and the connection between the two.
Vulvovaginal Candidiasis: Bacteria v. Yeast
More commonly known as yeast vaginitis or colloquially as a "yeast infection," about 75% of women have an occurrence of vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) in their lifetime. Recurring problems of the bacterial microbiota, like BV, can make VVC more common, recurrences more likely, and outbreaks more difficult to treat. Standard prescription treatment includes oral antimycotics like fluconazole used daily for two weeks. Local antifungal creams and pessaries are common by prescription or available over-the-counter. Topical treatments have a tendency to eliminate superficial parts without reaching embedded parts of the causative organisms. VVC treatment can also inhibit the growth of endogenous lactobacilli present in the vagina.
VVC results from an over proliferation of Candida species (Candida albicans accounts for 85-90% of infections), a group of organisms that are commonly present in the vagina at low levels. A Candida bloom often causes increased inflammation of the vaginal mucosa and can lead to vaginal discharge and irritation. VVC is often characterized by a thick, whitish and non-uniform discharge that does not typically possess a "fishy" odor. Irritation during sexual intercourse and itchiness/inflammation of the vagina and surrounding area is common. Clinically, microscopic examination of a vaginal smear after treatment with 10% KOH can allow visualization of Candida hyphae.
A healthy urogenital microbiota decreases the risk of VVC. As discussed previously, there are some steps women can take to promote a healthy urogenital microbiota including taking targeted probiotic strains. Prophylactic probiotic use is one way to support a healthy microbiota and inhibit the uncontrolled growth of Candida yeasts (Reid, 2003, FEMS). No probiotic studies to date have shown efficacy in treating an existing infection alone, but there have been some preliminary results that suggest standard antifungal treatment in combination with a L. rhamnosus GR-1/L. reuteri RC-14 probiotic resulted in significantly less symptoms of yeast infection as compared to standard treatment alone (see "Research Review").
Bacteria Out of Place
It is estimated that 25-30% of women between the ages of 20 and 40 have had at least one urinary tract infection (UTI). In 85% of cases, the bacteria responsible for a UTI originate in one's own intestine or vagina. Recurrent infections are common. Nearly 20% of women who have one UTI will have another.
UTI can be another casualty of an unhealthy urogenital microbiota. A UTI is a bacterial infection of the urinary system including the kidneys, ureter, bladder, and urethra. Urinary tract infections are one of the most common causes of doctor visits for women. UTI usually presents with a frequent need to urinate along with a burning sensation upon urination. Urine can appear cloudy or off-smelling. Pain, tenderness and pressure near the bladder are also common. Typical clinical evaluation involves urinanalysis to detect nitrites, leukocytes and leukocyte esterase.
Standard treatment for UTI involves a regimen of oral antibiotics for 7 days, typically trimethoprim or co-trimoxazole. Recurrences may be an indication of cystitis, where bacteria invade the umbrella cells making innate immune factors and antibiotics less effective. A healthy urogenital microbiota decreases the risk of urinary tract infections. A urogenital probiotic can be used while undergoing treatment with antibiotics to hasten recovery, to decrease side effects, and to begin establishing beneficial vaginal microbiota that will help guard against recurrence.
Overall, the message that needs to be reiterated to patients is that urogenital health is not about the absence of bacteria, but rather the proper balance. Probiotic strains that have been clinically tested for their efficacy in supporting urogenital health are an excellent option for promoting a balanced urogenital microbiota and preventing infection. Prevention deserves serious consideration as the treatment options for vaginal infections can sometimes be of limited efficacy, especially for recurring infections. Urogenital probiotic strains can also be a helpful adjuvant to standard treatment in many cases, helping mitigate side effects and in some cases bolstering treatment efficacy. Urogenital problems plague many women and cause much concern; women are often very relieved to learn that there is more they could be doing. Tell them.
Urogenital Probiotics: A Research Review
Effects on Urogenital Microbiota
Forty-two clinically healthy women were randomized into three treatment groups and one control group. The treatment groups received various oral dosage regimens of a L. rhamnosus GR-1/L. reuteri RC-14 (GR-1/RC-14) probiotic supplement and the control group received L. rhamnosus GG every day for twenty-eight days. All three treatment groups saw a significant increase in healthy vaginal microbiota, while the control group remained the same. The twice-daily treatment group accrued the most beneficial effects with 90% of patients retaining a normal vaginal microbiota two weeks after treatment. The study suggests that a daily dosage of about 1 billion (109) live GR-1/RC-14 organisms is adequate as a preventative regimen (Reid, 2001, FEMS).
Lactobacilli, Yeasts & Coliforms
Sixty-four clinically healthy women were randomized into two groups. The treatment group received a once-daily oral GR-1/RC-14 supplement while the control group received a capsule containing calcium carbonate for sixty days. Microscopy analysis on day 28 found that the treatment group had an almost 10-fold increase in lactobacilli over baseline and a significantly smaller increase of yeast and coliforms compared to placebo. In contrast, the placebo group showed decreased counts of lactobacilli and larger increases in yeast and coliforms (Reid, 2003, FEMS).

Bacterial Vaginosis Prevention
In the previous study, Nugent scoring by a blinded technician was used to assess the prevention of BV. The GR-1/RC-14 group fared much better than did the control group. Of those possessing a healthy vaginal microbiota at the outset, 24% (6/25) of the women in the placebo group developed BV by day thirty-five of the study compared to 0% (0/23) in the treatment group (Reid, 2003, FEMS).
BV Treatment in Combination with Antibiotics
Following BV infection, combination treatment using GR-1/RC-14 (1 capsule, 10 billion CFUs, b.i.d.) with metronidazole (500 mg, oral, b.i.d.) more than doubled (88%) the effectiveness of metronidazole alone (40%) in returning the vaginal microbiota to a healthy state. Of the remaining 12% of patients in the treatment group whose microbiota were not judged to be healthy at follow-up, all were found to have an intermediate status with zero cases of BV (Anukam, 2006).
Preterm Labor
Thirty pregnant women, who were diagnosed with BV and identified clinically as being at high risk of preterm delivery, were randomized into two groups. The treatment group was given a once-daily oral GR-1/RC-14 capsule for 15 days. The control group was not given any type of lactobacilli, but was monitored according to the clinical standard. Upon follow-up one month later, the treatment group showed much better vaginal health with decreased indicators of BV. But more importantly, 100% of the mothers in the treatment group, as opposed to 67% of the control group, delivered at term. No adverse events were reported (Dobrokhotova, 2007).
Vulvovaginal Candidiasis
Sixty-eight women who were positive for VVC were randomized into two groups and blinded. The treatment group received fluconazole (150 mg) plus 2 gelatin capsules of GR-1/RC-14 (10 billion organisms) once-daily for 28 days. The control group received fluconazole (150 mg) plus a placebo at the same schedule. After 28 days, the treatment group showed more than a three-fold decrease in both yeast levels and vaginal discharge compared to the control group (Martinez, 2009).
Urinary Tract Infections
One study sought to compare the recurrence rate of UTI in women treated with either standard 3-day antibiotic therapy alone or along with a GR-1 combination probiotic. First, either norfloxacin or co-trimoxazole was prescribed to the 41 women in this study. The norfloxacin group had a recurrence rate of 29% while the co-trimoxazole group recurred at a rate of 41%. Afterward all women were then randomized into two groups and administered a GR-1 combination product or sterilized skim milk as a pessary. These vaginal suppositories were given twice a week for two weeks, with two additional instillations at 4 weeks and 8 weeks. The GR-1 group had a recurrence rate of 21% over the ensuing 6 months, while the skim milk group showed a 47% incidence of recurrence (Reid, 1992).
In another randomized, double-blind study, recurrence rates of UTI were again the primary endpoint. A weekly GR-1 combination probiotic (10 billion CFUs) was given as a pessary for one year. This resulted in a decreased UTI occurrence rate from 6 per year, for these patients in the year prior to the study, to only 1.6 per year during the study (Reid, 1995).
References
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Anukam KC et al. (2006) Augmentation of antimicrobial metronidazole therapy of bacterial vaginosis with oral probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14: randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Microbes and Infection, 8: 1450-1454.
Anukam KC et al. (2006) Lactobacillus vaginal microbiota of women attending a reproductive health care service in Benin city, Nigeria. Sex Transm Dis. Jan;33(1):59-62.
Brotman RM et al. (2007) Findings associated with recurrence of bacterial vaginosis among adolescents attending sexually transmitted diseases clinics. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. Aug;20(4):225-31.
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Dobrokhotova YE and Sci M. (2007) Modern approaches to the treatment of vaginal dysbiosis in pregnant of high risk groups. All-Russian Scientific Forum: Mother and Baby. October 2, 2007.
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Martinez RC et al. (2009). Improved treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis with fluconazole plus probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14. Lett Appl Microbiol Mar;48(3):269-74.
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Reid G, et al. (2003) Oral use of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and L. fermentum RC-14 significantly alters vaginal flora: randomized, placebo-controlled trial in 64 healthy women. FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology 35: 131-134.
Reid G and Bocking A. (2003) The potential for probiotics to prevent bacterial vaginosis and preterm labor. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 189:1202-8.
Reid G, et al. (2001) Probiotic Lactobacillus dose required to restore and maintain a normal vaginal flora. FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology 32: 37-41.
Reid G, Heinemann C: The role of the microflora in bacterial vaginosis. In: Medical Importance of the Normal Microflora (Tannock GW, ed.), Kluwer, London, 1998, pp. 477-486.
Reid G, Bruce AW, Taylor M. (1995) Instillation of Lactobacillus and stimulation of indigenous organisms to prevent recurrence of urinary tract infections. Microecology Therapy;23:32-45.
Reid G et al. (1992) Influence of three-day antimicrobial therapy and Lactobacillus vaginal suppositories on recurrence of urinary tract infections. Clin Ther; 14 (1): 11-16.
Ross SA, et al. (2005) Association between genital tract cytomegalovirus infection and bacterial vaginosis. J Infect Dis. Nov 15;192(10):1727-30.
Sewankambo N et al. (1997) HIV-1 infection associated with abnormal vaginal flora morphology and bacterial vaginosis. Lancet 350:546-550.
Van Kessel K, Assefi N, Marrazzo J, Eckert L (2003) Common complementary and alternative therapies for yeast vaginitis and bacterial vaginosis: a systematic review. Obstet Gynecol Surv 58:351-358.
Brad Douglass, Ph.D is the Education Manager for Jarrow Formulas. He obtained his Ph.D from USC in Organic Chemistry where his research efforts concentrated on drug discovery. He was also a postdoctoral fellow at USC where he investigated novel blood-brain barrier transport methods for use in drug delivery to the brain.

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