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Archive for September, 2009

I am excited to announce a group for women going through infertility treatments or just dealing with the options.  We will support each other in this journey as well as work on coping strategies to keep the stress level down.  I have extensive experience in Mindfulness as a therapeutic tool and plan to bring that aspect into the weekly groups.  If you are interested contact me or the clinic here in Oakland.

East Bay Integrative Women’s Health

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Learn about the normal responses to infertility. The first step in reducing the stress of infertility is to stop feeling panicky about feeling rotten!

Another step in overcoming isolation is to build a bridge back to your family. All but the least sensitive can be educated about infertility, and can be taught by you how to be helpful and supportive. Ask them to do some reading on infertility. Also, be sure to let them know how you want to be treated.

Give yourself permission to cry and be angry. Don’t try to shut off your feelings. If you need to cry about the unfairness of one more pregnancy announcement, go ahead. If you need to pound a pillow or pummel a punching bag, do it. When you try to “snap out of it,” you waste all your energy.

Give your spouse/partner permission to feel and cope differently than you. If you’re a wife, don’t waste energy trying to get your husband to feel as devastated as you do. If you’re a husband, don’t try to get your wife to be “more like a man,” forgetting about infertility except when she’s at the doctor’s office or in the bedroom.

Improve your communication about infertility. You might try what I call “The Twenty Minute Rule,” which forces you to limit the amount of time you talk about infertility in a given evening. Tell your spouse/partner how you want to be helped. But partners are mere humans, incapable of mind reading. If you need to pass up the family gathering that features five nieces and nephews under two, then say so. If you want to be hugged, or massaged, or left alone for a few minutes, or just listened to without any response, you’ll be more likely to get what you want if you ask.

Get more information. One of the worst facets of stress is uncertainty about the future. You can’t get a crystal ball, but you can reduce some of your uncertainty by collecting information.

by Resolve.org

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1) Omega-3s Beneficial for PCOS

Omega-3 oils, especially from marine animals such as fish, are beneficial to your health in a number of ways. In this article, we’ll describe three specific ways a product such as fish oil can help you.

(1) The first reason to take fish oil is “fatty liver degeneration”, otherwise called “nonalcoholic fatty liver disease” or NAFLD, which doctors still tend to ignore. NAFLD is a disease you don’t need and should get rid of.

A study at Cornell University has shown that 55% of PCOS women have NAFLD. Fatty liver disease is not restricted to overweight women. In this study, nearly 40% of the women with NAFLD were lean.

We have previously reported research showing the fish oil is effective for reversing this disease.

A new study of PCOS women from the University of Western Australia has confirmed the previous research. In this study, 25 women with PCOS were given 4 grams daily of omega-3 fish oils for eight weeks. The women experienced reduced liver fat content, triglycerides and blood pressure.

The researchers concluded: “Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation has a beneficial effect on liver fat content and other cardiovascular risk factors in women with PCOS, including those with hepatic steatosis.”

(2) A second reason to take fish oil is that it helps to relieve depression, according to a number of medical studies. Depression is a common symptom of PCOS. Depressed people tend to have lower levels of omega-3 fats.

(3) A third reason is that it may improve your lung function. We previously reported that women with PCOS are more likely to have impaired lung function when compared to other women.

The National Research Center for Environment and Health in Germany has reported a correlation between lung capacity and the level of DHA, which is one of the omega-3 fats found in fish. People with the highest DHA levels also had the best lung capacity.

The authors of this study concluded: “A high concentration of [DHA]…may have a protective effect on lung function. Because this long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid is almost exclusively derived from marine oils, fish might have a beneficial effect on lung diseases.”

When you sum it all up, supplemental fish oil sounds like a very good idea.

Bill Slater, Editor
PCOS Health Review

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For many women, infertility is a personal trauma.

Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has outlined five stages of grief people go through when dealing with trauma.  This has traditionally been used in the context of dealing with the loss of a loved one.  However, grieving your fertility goes through much of the same process.  Outlined below are examples of some typical thoughts people have while going through this process.

1) Denial and Isolation

You keep hearing these stories about couples that had tried for years to conceive and “bam”, they get pregnant while on vacation.  All it took was some relaxing.  You desperately want to believe that this will be you. Your denial prevents you from crying about what is really happening.

You start withdrawing from your everyday activities.  It seems like no matter which direction you turn, there is another pregnant woman.  You can no longer handle going out with your friends that have kids. 

2) Anger

You may feel angry at others and yourself.  You are fed up with your friends who accidentally get pregnant.  It’s not fair; you’ve been trying for years now.  You deserve it. They don’t.  Giovanna, a veterinarian, admitted even feeling jealous that her mom had conceived so easily!

Self-anger may appear as guilt in this stage. Is this some kind of karmic retribution? If you hadn’t had that bout of bulimia in college, or hadn’t socially smoked in your early twenties, or maybe if you hadn’t waited until your career took off… then you would have a child.  Be willing to feel your anger. 

3) Bargaining

Okay, so now it is time to make deals with God. You seek in vain a way to change your situation. If God lets you get pregnant, you will start volunteering at food banks, you’ll stop cussing at other drivers, you’ll go to church more.

4) Depression

The prominent feeling during this stage is numbness. You have pretty much given up any hope of having your dream family. In extreme cases you may even feel suicidal.  This stage has been described as “acceptance with emotional attachment”.

5) Acceptance

This is the best stage!  Once you have reached this stage you are ready to accept the reality that you cannot conceive on your own.  Okay, so you are in the twelve percent of the population dealing with infertility.  It’s time to be proactive, to make an action plan. This may consist of fertility treatments, adoption, or choosing to not have children. 

These stages are not always felt in a linear fashion; it is common for people to flip flop between them.  It is important to experience each of these stages in order to be whole again, to heal from this profound hurt.   

Sometimes the hardest part about dealing with infertility is communicating to others how devastated you may feel. If you or someone you love is going through this process, there are support groups.  I am facilitating one in Oakland at the East Bay Acupuncture Center starting in October.  Contact me for more information. amoreena@gmail.com

If you find yourself feeling suicidal contact your doctor immediately.

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What is considered infertile? If a couple has been actively trying to conceive a child for a year or more without success then it is possible one (or both) of them is infertile. Realistically a couple must also ensure they’ve tracked the woman’s cycle correctly and had the proper timing of intercourse around ovulation.
When a woman is faced with infertility it can be very stressful and she may find it difficult to believe she will ever become a mother. It may even put a strain on her marriage since it tends to take over a couples’ life. It is common that everything in their lives revolves around getting pregnant. The rollercoaster of emotions is tiresome especially if she has gone through multiple fertility treatments and hormone testing and still sees negative pregnancy tests month after month. This process is very disheartening and can discourage a couple.
Primary infertility refers to the inability to conceive or maintain a pregnancy.  If a woman has experienced a miscarriage or recurrent miscarriages then this may play a role in determining her fertility. Secondary infertility means a couple is having those same concerns after having a successful pregnancy.
There are several fertility treatments that a woman may receive which includes in-vitro fertilization (IVF), fertility drugs, surgery, and intra-uterine insemination (IUI). Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that has been around for thousands of years and can be used solely as an alternative treatment for infertility or used in combination with those mentioned above.
Women in the Bay Area who have been struggling with infertility may find it reassuring to visit East Bay Acupuncture Clinic who specializes in fertility care. They are compassionate towards women who are dealing with this challenge. Their facility is located in Oakland near Kaiser and Alta Bates Hospital.  Within the next few weeks they will be launching an infertility support group that I will be facilitating along with individual therapy sessions as part of the clinic’s optional treatments.
Kim Shaieb

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