Category Archives for "Getting Pregnant"

Supporting Your Body’s Fertility When you Have PCOS

PCOS is one of the most common contributing factors of infertility today, and many women don’t understand why it happens to them.

I’d like to share both the types of imbalances that ultimately can lead to a diagnosis of PCOS as well as tips and tools to unravel these imbalances so that you can be proactive in improving your fertility and your overall reproductive health.

When we begin to discuss PCOS, it’s important to note that while of course there are the factors that Western medicine would note, such as elevated LH levels and possibly cysts on the ovaries, in Eastern Medicine, which includes herbal/ botanical/ plant medicine, the focus is more on how energy is living in your body. This is important to note because this is the level at which plants and “energetic” type medicines like acupuncture, moxibustion and womb massage work.

These energies can eventually also manifest at the physical level, such as in the case as actual “cysts,” but the energy that contributes to the physical cyst typically exists long before the actual cyst develops.

I want to simplify this idea as much as possible, so imagine that energy should ideally move through your body like air. Imagine how the air feels on a crisp, brisk fall day. You might feel energized. You might feel a spring in your step.

Now imagine a foggy day. There’s more moisture or dampness in the air. When you have PCOS, instead of your energy moving through your body briskly and easily, it’s almost as if a fog descends. There’s moisture and dampness in your body, which actually blocks the movement of Qi. In order for your energy to move, it has to work a lot harder, which may slow down many of your body’s functions.

Because everything slows down energetically, you might not ovulate. Your body’s ability to have that burst of energy you need for ovulation to occur isn’t available. Some women feel this sluggishness. Their limbs may feel heavy. They may gain weight.

If you think about the progression of the accumulation of dampness in your body, eventually it becomes almost like a sludge, like a thick accumulation of phlegm. The dampness can accumulate to the point that it actually solidifies into a cyst.

In treating PCOS, processing this dampness is essential.

Here are a few important methods for reversing the imbalances that contribute to PCOS.

1. One of the most accessible (do it yourself) ways to do this is to focus on balancing blood sugar. This is why so many women with PCOS are on Metformin.

It’s common to have a dis-regulated insulin response with PCOS. Sugar cravings may be high because when you have the fogginess that is common in PCOS, sweets can give you a quick burst of energy. While that energy does cut through the dampness, ultimately sugar creates more dampness, and it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.

It’s best not to have any sugar when you have PCOS. While I don’t like to recommend restrictive diets for my patients and clients, unfortunately when you’re trying to conceive and have PCOS, stabilizing your blood sugar is incredibly important. In this instance, I do recommend a super low-sugar, low carb diet. It’s necessary to help to stabilize blood sugar and reduce the inflammation that can be contributing to difficulty conceiving.

This isn’t forever, but I recommend cutting out all grains, all tubers like potatoes & sweet potatoes and reducing starchy foods. Some women are okay with some fruit sugars like grapefruit or berries. For some women I recommend a Ketogenic diet, and most of my patients with PCOS immediately feel more stabilized.

Again, this doesn’t have to be your diet for the rest of your life, but if you have PCOS, it can absolutely be helpful. While this is not a diet I recommend for all of my fertility patients, the women in my fertility practice with PCOS who have adopted this diet are the ones who have gotten pregnant most quickly.

2. Avoid Dairy

Dairy is the enemy of PCOS. When you have PCOS, it’s essential to omit dairy from your diet. Milk and milk products can be extremely damp-producing, which is exactly the imbalance we are trying to correct in PCOS. If you’re continuing to drink milk and consume dairy, it’s virtually impossible to eradicate the dampness that contributes to the formation of cysts.⁠

Replace dairy products with non-dairy alternatives. My favorites are almost and cashew milk. I buy the unsweetened version and, if necessary, sweeten with a drop or two of liquid stevia.⁠

3. What to Drink?

Often, women with PCOS will feel that drinking water doesn’t really quench their thirst. This is because water tends to just contribute to more dampness, and it does little to support processing of the dampness.

Because supporting the processing of dampness by the liver is our ultimate goal, consider adding lemon juice to your water. The acidity can help to penetrate some of that dampness and can support the liver.

4. Focus on “cutting through” the Dampness

All of the products in my PCOS Bundle are formulated to help invigorate your energy. This is done by encouraging your liver to process that “dampness” or “fogginess” (which on a more Western Medicine level, can support hormone balance). The following are all different “avenues” to get to the damp accumulation, and work on both the energetic and physical levels. 

  • Botanical Medicinals (Herbs, Plant Medicine)

Other self-care items that should be on your shelf are liver-cleansing herbs like milk-thistle, dandelion and nettle leaf. The liver is the organ that helps to process the hormones and dampness that contribute to PCOS, so it’s imperative to support and detoxify your liver. In my PCOS bundle, I have two teas, the Detox and Fertile moon Tea, which contain those ingredients and many more.  The Detox Tea is to be used for 7-10 days to really support invigorating the energy of the liver to cut through this dampness, and then the Fertile Moon is used after the Detox has ended to continue to energize and nourish the liver, and also contains herbs that support the uterus and ovaries to help regulate ovulation.

  • Womb Massage

Fertility Womb Massage is important when you have PCOS, as you can manually move the energy that gets blocked, invigorating the flow of Qi and blood to your reproductive organs. I have free womb massage tutorials on my YouTube channel, so be sure to check them out. It’s ideal to perform the womb massage with my Womb Healing oils and castor oil, as they can both help to nourish the reproductive organs and energetically pull out some of that dampness. It’s normal and okay if you have diarrhea the first few times you perform the womb massage (this is the excess dampness leaving your body!)

  • Detoxification

Another important way that you can detoxify this dampness through your body is via the skin, your largest organ! The Mermaid Bath soak is another way to increase movement of Qi to cut through some of that dampness. The salts and the seaweed can grab onto that excess dampness as well, and the herbs added to the blend are all supportive of reproductive health. 

You can absolutely use my products with common PCOS and fertility supplements, such as inositol (either form) and even if you’re using Metformin to balance blood sugar.

I have quite a few YouTube videos about PCOS, so be sure to check them out (the channel name is Ariele Myers). In them, I discuss the overall imbalance in the body that tends to contribute to PCOS, and ways to support your body’s coming back into balance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can Acupuncture Help You Get Pregnant?

Many women express surprise when they learn that acupuncture can support reproductive health and improve fertility. Often, they believe that acupuncture just relieves pain or muscular tension and maybe reduces stress. In reality, “Fertility Acupuncture” can significantly support a woman’s efforts to conceive, increase the likelihood of her carrying to full-term, benefit and ease labor, and help post-partum healing, including improved lactation, hormone rebalancing and emotional wellness. 

While I have treated women in their efforts to conceive for almost 20 years, I have always hesitated to call myself a “fertility acupuncturist.” I see reproductive health as simply a product of total body/ mind/ spiritual wellness, as a part of the whole woman. I try to meet each woman who walks through my door exactly where she is. My goal is to support every woman with whatever she is experiencing, from infertility to menopause and everything before, after and in between. 

When it comes to infertility, I see women at varying stages in their journey. Many women are initially only open to what I see as the “surface” or physical level of the process. In this case, often they want me to review their labs, see what’s off hormonally and help guide their body into balance. Dietary and lifestyle changes combined with weekly acupuncture can improve any underlying imbalances in the body that might be impeding conception or sustained pregnancy. This is a completely valid way to rely on acupuncture to conceive, and usually within 3-6 months, we notice significant improvement in a woman’s hormone levels as well as her uterine and follicle health. My online fertility course begins with this level of balancing the body, improving reproductive health and restoring egg quality.

In my practice, I have about a 75% success rate working with women at this level.

Of course, I always love to go deeper, and I’m starting to see more and more women who recognize that their reproductive health is related to so much more than just what is physically apparent. Out of balance hormone levels, “unexplained infertility,” PCOS, endometriosis, “swollen uterus,” recurrent miscarriage. On a deeper, emotional and energetic level, it’s all connected to not just how a woman relates to (patriarchal) society and the Earth, but even how she is holding the trauma and wounding from her maternal lineage.

In these instances, we often dive deeper into what it means to be a fertile woman on this planet. We look at past trauma, generational wounding, the deep-seated beliefs about the value of the feminine. We look at how a woman presents herself in the world, how her body internalizes her values and beliefs about “Mother” energy. We look at her connection to nature and how the energies of the elements (wood, water, fire, metal, earth) are held in her body.

I recognize that this might sound like a foreign language to many of you, so I’ll give you an example. I had a patient who first came to me after she had been trying to conceive for almost a year. She had been diagnosed with “unexplained infertility” and also mentioned, in passing, that she had been suffering from chronic left-sided hip pain. 

In Chinese Medicine, the left side is related to the feminine, the right to the masculine. She said she felt like her leg was just hanging on, not really connected to her body. We discovered that her left side was actually much weaker than her right. It was tightening up to defend against injury from that weakness. Her right side was much tighter, rigid and tense, although not experiencing pain. 

In beginning to explore how her body might be holding her core beliefs, we looked into her ideals about the masculine and feminine. She was a professional woman, viewed herself as an entrepreneur, and greatly valued the more “masculine” or “yang” expression of presenting herself in the world: as productive, busy, rational, efficient, intellectual and effective. 

When we discussed how she related to more “yin” or feminine energy, she recognized that she felt completely disconnected. They felt foreign to her. “Yin” energy tends to be about the darker, more intuitive and receptive modes of being. It’s about trusting, BEing, intuiting on a more energetic level, relating to the world and to people and to ourselves from an almost mythical and magical perspective, as opposed to the more mental consciousness of yang energy. 

In all people, male and female, yin and yang must be in relationship for a person to feel “whole.” Most people are more naturally in touch with one or the other, and typically males are more connected to Yang, masculine, energy. But I’ve been finding that many women, too, tend to view this Yang mode of operating — effective, productive, intellectual — as having more value than the more yin mode of being.

Communing with nature, gardening, being with the land, with animals, in deep, intuitive connecting with other people — these are not things that have been valued in our society for centuries, or since Judeo-Christian religions began to overtake the more aboriginal communities and their nature-worshiping belief systems. Consider the witch-hunts, where connecting and communing with nature resulted in being burned at the stake. I strongly believe that, at the root of our society’s epidemic of infertility is this lack of valuation and even fear of the yin aspects of our selves.

Upon further exploration, my patient remembered that, as a child, she had felt connected to animals and enjoyed being in nature. She loved art. But she recalled being told she was “overly sensitive” and whether consciously or not, worked to suppress those qualities that were deemed inappropriate or lacking value.  

By the time she came to see me, she didn’t even recognize that those qualities could still be a part of her.  She expressed that even if she had felt curious about them, she wouldn’t have felt like there was time to do explore them:  to reflect, relax, meditate — it felt “lazy” or “indulgent” or like a “waste of time.” 

While working together, my patient was able to explore how, in her family of origin, the male role was all-important, and her stay-at-home mom was not really valued. She “learned” that the more yin qualities of nurturing, receptivity, connection, mothering were not rewarded, so she abandoned them. We uncovered a deep wound of rejection of the feminine. 

In defending against being totally disconnected, the feminine/ yin had been calling out for attention, calling out with left-sided physical pain. It was spasming and tightening up in resistance against being ignored, forgotten, neglected, rejected. 

Her right side/ masculine/ yang, by default, was carrying her whole being. It was holding it all because it wasn’t balanced by the feminine/ yin. 

We worked together to bring her energy and attention back to her womb space, so that she could explore and experience the intense power that is held there.

My patient began to recognize an energy within her womb, her divine feminine wisdom, which she could experience as being where much of her feeling of “self” resided. She began to explore various ways she could work to continue to connect with this aspect of her being. She began spending time in nature and with animals, focusing on her breathing, connecting to her womb via womb massage and deep listening, recognizing how and where she had been subjugating this important aspect of her self. 

This patient did become pregnant and has gone on to have 3 children. But more importantly, she connect

ed to herself as a fertile, creative being on the planet. While she doesn’t desire to expand her family at this time, she continues to do her womb work, continues to explore and work to cultivate these more yin aspects of herself. She recognizes that this connection helps to remind her of who she is, guiding the way she mothers, the way she connects with the people with whom she is in relationship, and how she feels most present in herself.

While I haven’t treated her since I moved out of state, we have stayed in touch. Recently she expressed to me that when she first came to me for acupuncture, she was doing it as a “last-ditch” effort before moving on to IVF. She felt like maybe, if anything, it could improve her stress level so that IVF could have abetter chance of being successful.

She shared that, instead, her acupuncture treatments felt like they opened up an entire consciousness that she had never before experienced. It helped her feel more connected to her body, so that she could feel how and when she was getting out of balance, and have the tools to do what she needed to continue to find balance in her life. She knows that she’s a more conscious and aware mother and woman than she might have been otherwise.

 

1 Can I Still Have a Baby at 40?

Can I Still Have a Baby at 40?

I’m turning 40 next month.

Forty.

I remember my parents turning 40. I was ten. I remember it being a “big deal.” They were kinda old. I remember registering that they were both feeling, then, that it was the end of something. Their youthfulness, perhaps. I remember “Over the Hill” cards, as if they had reached some pinnacle of something and there was no going back. “All downhill” from there.

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Best Herbs for Female Fertility

B*tch’s Brew

My very best-selling herbal tea blend, B*tch’s Brew, is such a huge hit because it works with women of all ages, from young girls just figuring out what it means to be a woman with a period, to all of my fertility patients trying to conceive, to women starting to experience the symptoms of menopause. 

Why is it so awesome? And why do I personally drink a cup or two every day of the 2nd half of my cycle?

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Which Exercises are Best for Fertility?

My current fertility practice is based in the mountains of Boulder, Colorado. Even though I saw patients for 15 years right outside of NYC, where exercise was a pretty “standard” part of my patients’ daily life, I’ve never seen exercise like I see exercise in Boulder. I have patients who are marathoners; not just 26.2 mile marathons, but 100 mile marathons!! Overnight running! It’s a thing, I guess. Tri-athletes, rock-climbers, ecstatic dancers, Buti Yoginis, Cross-Fitters, extreme skiing, etc. Everyone here seems to exercise to the max

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