The Infertility Epidemic
Several common conditions can make it difficult to conceive
By David Pollack, DC
We all know someone who’s had trouble conceiving or miscarried. The number of women who come to my office with fertility complaints has risen dramatically over the past decade, for a number of reasons. Here’s what I’ve found while helping many of them achieve the goal of a successful pregnancy.
Many women run to a gynecologist or fertility clinic when having trouble conceiving. While this seems perfectly appropriate, most end up stuck in a system that doesn’t seem to have a goal of finding out why conception is not working.
For example, I find it astounding that most gynecologists and clinics don’t check patients’ complete hormone profiles. Someone whose hormones are out of balance will have difficulty conceiving. While modern medicine can force their hormones into a conception state using shots, pills, and injections, this is not the same as having their hormones balanced naturally.
Patients should receive a complete hormone panel, including estrogen, progesterone, pregnenolone, LH, FSH, and testosterone, among others, as well as a complete thyroid hormone panel, not just a TSH.
The body is designed to control hormone levels second to second; restoring that control naturally is critical not only for pregnancy but for optimal health.
Blocked Fallopian Tubes
The most important test conventional medicine does not run immediately in women having trouble conceiving is to check for blockages of the fallopian tubes. I’ve had women tell me that only after multiple rounds of IVF or IUI—and tens of thousands of dollars and many tears—did they finally learn they had a blockage. This is the only step I generally need done by my colleagues on the medical side. Women with fertility problems should have this checked if they have not done so already.
Another concern involves autoimmune diseases, which people can have without realizing it. This is particularly true of Hashimoto's hypothyroid, which accounts for 70 percent of thyroid problems. Joint issues are often autoimmune related. Anyone with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, pernicious anemia, or a positive ANA test has an autoimmune disorder. I’ve helped many women (and men) get their immune function back to balance, greatly improving the fertility situation.
Ever had mono? There’s a long-term version called chronic Epstein-Barr virus, which can interrupt conception in men and women. Its most common symptoms are fatigue, joint aches and brain fog, but it also seems to cause hormone issues, affecting infertility. I've had several couples where the man had chronic EBV, and within a month or two they were able to get pregnant. Many doctors don’t test for this.
The quality of the menstrual cycle is extremely important. Most women think theirs is “normal,” but this is generally not true. While menstrual problems are common, a period should be easy and painless. There should be four to five days of bleeding, including all spots, and the monthly cycle should be 28 days every time. There should be no clots, no breakthrough bleeding, no blackish or rust-colored blood, no breast tenderness or back pain, no mood swings. My patients call it a “nonevent.”
I’ve witnessed this transformation in hundreds of women over my career. They had every possible variation when beginning care: heavy cycles, light cycles, no cycles, polycystic ovary syndrome, cysts, fibroids. These problems can often be improved or eliminated using techniques available at my office, including acupuncture, supplements, diet, moxibustion, and more.
I truly feel that a body that’s not in great health will intentionally make conception difficult, to protect both parent and future child. The ultimate way to improve the chances of successful and easy pregnancy is through optimizing health in general. That is completely achievable, and there’s no better time than now.
David Pollack, DC, is the founder of Pollack Wellness Institute, 66 Commack Rd., Ste. 204, Commack, NY. For more information, call 631-462-0801 or visit PollackWellness.com