If you’re like most of our patients, you love to use Dr. Google to help you help yourself. You’ve probably read articles on supplements, diet changes and yoga poses to help you get pregnancy-ready.
Unfortunately this well meaning advice might be heading you in the wrong direction! If you are relying on supplements to get you pregnant, taking birth control for non-contraceptive reasons, not treating your thyroid, skipping out on your vitamin D, or ignoring your emotions- this article is for YOU!
1. Relying on supplements or herbs without cleaning up your lifestyle habits:
If you’re only getting 6 hours of sleep per night, drinking more than 2 cups of coffee per day, not exercising and overdoing the sugar/carb intake; no supplement, herb or pill is going to fix you. The stronger your health foundation (ie: nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress management), the more benefit you’ll get from fewer and lower doses of all kinds of pills. Some of our patients come in with bags of supplements, taking 15 or more different pills in a day. These same people are sleeping 4-5 hours a night, working 100+ hour weeks, and drinking coffee to stay awake on their commute home. Unfortunately, supplements are never going to balance out the negative effects of these lifestyle choices.
2. Taking birth control pills for non-contraceptive reasons:
If you are taking birth control pills (or have an implant) to help manage heavy bleeding, cramping, or PMS then you are using a band-aid. We have seen those same medications CAUSE the very symptoms they are meant to fix. Finding out the root cause of WHY you have those symptoms is vitally important for your health and future fertility. Once we know the root cause of your symptoms, we can use an appropriate, safely dosed treatment plan to get you symptom-free, protect your fertility (or safely avoid pregnancy!) and keep your hormone health in tip top shape.
3. Not getting enough (or the right kind of) thyroid hormone replacement:
Many patients come in on low dose Levothyroxine (aka Synthroid). This may be enough medication to get their thyroid levels in the normal range, though almost never the optimal range, but it’s not enough. Often what they really need is either a higher doses to bring their TSH into optimal range and/or some kind of T3 support. T3 is the active hormone of the thyroid and is often overlooked in the hypothyroid world. Most patients feel better and have fewer hypothyroid symptoms when they are taking either Cytomel or Natural Desiccated thyroid replacement. We don’t always have to adjust medication levels either! Sometimes even herbal or mineral based supplements along with the thyroid medication they are already on can optimize thyroid function and balance many other hormones in the body.
4. Skipping the Vitamin D
While Climate change is warming up our summers, we are all still spending too much time inside and many patients are just too far north of the equator to get the full benefit of sun-based Vitamin D. Nearly everyone we treat reports improved mood and energy when their Vitamin D levels get into optimal range, so we really do think it’s one of our Top 3 Supplements for (almost) everyone. Remember that vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and is stored in the body; it is essential to be tested before self-treating. Another common refrain from patients: ‘I take my vitamin D, unless it’s sunny.” When we ask if they wear sunscreen on those sunny days, most say yes, not knowing that sunscreen is going to prevent activation of Vitamin D. But you can protect yourself from skin cancer AND have enough Vitamin D if you supplement appropriately, throughout the year.
5. Not working on your emotional health
You are a whole person; your physical and emotional health are constantly affecting one another through neurotransmitters and hormones. Very few people prioritize improving their emotional health and relationships until they are in crisis, and crisis means things have already gone to the extent of affecting your physical health.
Ignoring your own needs, continuing toxic relationships, and never setting aside downtime, create a breeding ground for the hormonal imbalances and mood disorders we see in clinic every day. Working on both sides of the equation (moods and hormones) makes your health stronger and more balanced.
Are you ready to kickoff your fertility journey?