Archive for May, 2009


If you are diagnosed with PCO/PCOS there is a great newsletter that comes out every month with the latest research and information on fertility.  This article is from the PCOS Review by Dr. Nancy Dunne.

New Cause of PCOS Discovered?

We recently came across some new research which reveals a possible cause of polycystic ovaries, lack of ovulation and PCOS. Although it’s pretty technical, we thought it best to bring it to your attention because almost no one has been talking about it.

A study of female mice is suggesting that ovarian cysts may at least partially be the result of an immune system dysfunction. The gland involved is the thymus gland, which is responsible for the management of major aspects of your immune system. One of the functions of the thymus gland is to produce T-cells, which are white blood cells that help protect you from infection and also perform other important activities.

The researchers reported that ovarian cysts in the female mice did not develop unless there was an absence of regulatory T-cells.

Excessive estrogen appears to be the cause of the problem. When very young mice were given estrogen, they all developed polycystic ovaries. It is thought that estrogen alters the function of the thymus gland, thus preventing the full development of the regulatory T-cells.

The thymus gland in humans is also sensitive to sex steroid hormones such as estrogen.

The authors of the study concluded: “We propose that in utero exposure to excessive levels of steroids such as estrogen has a long-term effect on the ability of the thymus to produce regulatory T cells. In female offspring this can lead to PCOS.”

In other words, it’s possible your hormonal environment while you were in your mother’s womb may have affected your thymus gland and contribute to the development of PCOS.

Polycystic ovaries and polycystic ovary syndrome are multi-faceted disorders, not just simply a little problem with your ovaries. In this research example, it appears a dysfunctional immune system could be involved.

This article is especially relevant if you plan to have a child. It’s advisable to normalize your hormones as much as possible before conception and while pregnant. Consult with Dr. Nancy Dunne or any other licensed naturopathic physician or qualified healthcare provider.


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One of the things I have found by talking with couples about their infertility experience is how little others know how to support their friends or family going through these issues.  RESOLVE.ORG is a great resource that has put out some great information on the topic.  Below is the article from Resolve’s website.

How Can I Help? The Dos And The Don’ts Of Support

By Diane Clapp, BSN, RN and Merle Bombardieri, LCSW

Coping with Infertility can be extremely difficult for the family and friends of the couple going through infertility. As with any crisis it is difficult to know what to say. Because infertility is such a sensitive topic it is important to understand what you can and cannot say.

Let’s start with what doesn’t help, because the more you continue to say the wrong thing inadvertently, the deeper the rift will be between you and the couple. There is a universal list of No-No’s that most infertile couples agree on. The following do’s and don’ts should help you support the individual or couple who is struggling with infertility.

Don’t Try to minimize the problem by saying, “Don’t worry. At least you have each other and don’t have cancer.”

Do Listen to what the couple has to say about their experience and express empathy for their difficulties.

Don’t Tell a couple who has had a miscarriage that it wasn’t meant to be or that you know that they will be pregnant again soon and it will work the next time.

Do Realize that the couple has just lost a specific potential child who will never come again, no matter how wonderful the next pregnancy may be. Acknowledge how sad they must feel. Use the words “loss and sorrow”; don’t be afraid to use the words that probably describe how the couple must feel.

Don’t Give medical advice or doctor referrals without being asked or hearing the couple say they are looking for new information or referrals.

Do Tell the couple know that you’ll be happy to listen to any details they want to share with you and that you would like to offer support during any procedures by a phone call or by offering to go with them to a medical appointment.

Don’t Assume that new medical breakthroughs you read about in the paper will solve the couple’s problems. The breakthrough announced by the news media may be irrelevant and if it is relevant, chances are the couple has seen the article and their medical team is knowledgeable about it.

Do Ask the couple if there are any books or articles that you could read to understand what they are going through medically.

Don’t Expect the couple to act happy about attending baby showers, christenings and other family events that feature pregnant women and new babies.

Do Give them plenty of opportunity to decide whether to attend an event or whether to come late or leave early. They will not feel the need to avoid babies forever, but less contact right now may be a necessary part of their healing process.

Don’t Start a discussion about infertility without paying attention to timing and to the couple’s openness.

Do Choose a time when the couple’s privacy is assured and ask the couple if they would like to talk. Couples experiencing infertility often feel out of control. Your letting them choose whether and when to talk about it gives them back some control.

Don’t Assume that it is fine if you talk to your son’s wife or your daughter’s husband about their situation.

Do Respect the privacy needs of each individual and do not assume that they both want to talk about it with you.

Don’t Offer unsolicited stories about others who have been successful at treatment or adoption. DO Tell them if they are ever interested you could put them in touch with a couple willing to talk about their infertility experience or adoption process. Let them decide whether they want to pursue that information. As a parent, family member, or friend, you want to make it better for the couple, to take away the pain. But probably the greatest gift you can give your loved one or friend is to be a listener, a sounding board. Instead of erasing the pain, you can diminish it by your caring. One of the hardest questions to ask someone is, “How can I help you?” It is such a difficult question because you should be prepared for their answer and not the answer that you think they will say or should say. To ask that question and to trust the response that you hear is a powerful step in your efforts to help the couple struggling with this kind of crisis.

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Welcome to my blog on Infertility Issues with couples.  I recognize that receiving fertility treatments can be a very stressful and emotionally difficult journey. To address the psychological aspects of infertility, challenges in decision making, and other reproductive considerations, I offer individual and couples support at my private practice.


With this blog I wish to bring more awareness and resources to those going through the challenging journey mostly because I have noticed a lack in this area.

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