As an integrative acupuncturist, I understand the importance of looking into your menstrual cycle health and recognising imbalances such as irregular cycles, painful periods, PMS, excessively heavy or light menstrual flow, and of course the big one…your AMH. By now most of you are probably aware of your egg quality and would like to know how to improve it.
To improve egg quality, we need to establish if there is an imbalance of hormones, review your intake of nutritional supplements and have a look at your diet. It’s also important to look at your stress levels and assess how these may be impacting you. As an acupuncturist, I use palpation to assess the circulation to your ovaries and uterus by examining your abdomen. All of these things help paint a picture of your reproductive health.
So what can you do?
In TCM, we describe the process of ageing by how the kidneys are functioning. We look at how you live, whether you are getting enough rest, eating well, reducing stress, not abusing drugs/alcohol, having sex (but not too much!) etc – all of which can have an impact on how you preserve this material. TCM is an excellent way to help protect and preserve this material and to help it to be best expressed, particularly during the time while you are trying to improve your egg quality.
It’s important to give your body the necessary time for any changes you make to take effect.
You probably know that you are born with your eggs and that these numbers naturally decline as you age. However, the follicles sit in hibernation until around 100 days prior to ovulation. This means that those 100 days before the month you conceive are critical in the quality of your eggs.
An easy way to have a day to day impact on the quality of your eggs is by including some of the following foods into your diet:
- Berries (such as Blueberries)
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Dark leafy greens (and lots of them)
(Where you can, make sure your fresh veggies and fruit are organic and your salmon is wild caught and not farmed).
And of course, just as it’s important to work towards including more of the foods listed above into your diet, it’s equally as important to understand which foods will damage the quality of your eggs.
Try to eliminate or avoid as much as possible the following:
- Processed foods (consider anything in a packet as dead food.. You only want to be eating live foods)
- Low-Fat Foods (they contain a whole lot of nasties)
- Trans fats
- Non-organic meats and dairy
- Soft drinks
Unfortunately, our modern day world contains a plethora of toxins that are not fertility friendly. Look out for BPA, phthalates, and pesticides. These are all common offenders that are well known to disrupt hormone levels in our bodies.
Whenever you can, eat organic, avoid plastic food containers, avoid canned foods, avoid cleaning products and cosmetics that are full of chemicals, ditch perfumes or products with artificial fragrances and make the switch to organic essential oils.
Mayan abdominal massage is a non-invasive, external, massage technique that guides internal abdominal organs into their proper position for optimum fertility health and organ function. The main action Mayan has with improving egg health is that it is fantastic at improving blood circulation to the ovaries, providing optimal nourishment for growing follicles. Mayan therapy is also great at reducing menstrual and ovulation pain, menstrual blood irregularities and improving pregnancy outcomes.
So often the modern approach to health concerns is a symptomatic plan, which can offer short-term relief but fail to address the core issue at hand. We can learn from Chinese Medicine in this instance and our symptoms as a further opportunity to explore and dig deeper to make long-lasting changes towards our health.
The quality of your sleep has an impact on your hormones, mood and fertility. For those of you who find it challenging to fall asleep or have a good night’s sleep, Acupuncture has been consistently proven to be effective for the overall improvement of sleep quality, without the side effects of prescription medications. The use of diaphragmatic breathing can also be enough to switch us from the “being” and “doing” state of mind to a more relaxed and calm state, setting up for a good night’s sleep. Taking five big deep breaths before bedtime can help set the tone, allowing the body to relax.
If you’re not already, I cannot state the importance of ensuring you are taking a quality prenatal vitamin. It’s the first thing I recommend to anyone trying to conceive, or even to those considering it in the next few years. Prenatal vitamins are not just for when you’re pregnant, they contain several nutrients that improve how the ovaries function and therefore can improve egg quality.
Acupuncture and herbal medicine are so effective for a number of reasons. They help to balance hormones, improve circulation to the uterus and ovaries, reduce stress, inflammation, and curbside effects of hormonal medications. Unlike many other treatments, acupuncture and herbal medicine are completely customised to each individual client and are able they are able to best address what the individual body needs.