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Fertile Ground

Drop in and explore Tempdrop’s fertile ground of science-backed insights covering a wide variety of women’s health and fertility-related topics, from menstruation and mental health to PMS, PCOS, and perimenopause.
A woman with pain in her pelvic region, holding a model of a reproductive system.
Health conditionsEndometriosis vs. PCOS: Understanding the Impact on FertilityFertility can be impacted by a number of factors. This includes these two prevalent women's health conditions: endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Endometriosis affects about 10% of women of reproductive age globally, whereas PCOS affects an estimated 8-13%. Endometriosis is when tissue—similar to the uterine lining—grows outside the uterus, which causes severe pain and hampers fertility. PCOS, on the other hand, is a hormone-impacting condition that can create imbalances, cause irregular periods, and led to difficulty with conception. So, although both impact fertility, there is a clear difference between endometriosis and PCOS. Let's dive into causes, symptoms, and treatment options for these common conditions and their impact on women's cycles and reproductive health. Endometriosis vs. PCOS at a Glance EndometriosisPCOSCausesUnknown, but occurs when tissue similar to the uterine wall is found outside the uterusUnknown, but occurs when excess androgens are present Risk factorsFamily history, heavy and long cycles, short monthly cycles, early period start (before age 11)Family history, insulin resistance, excess androgensParts of the body affectedPelvic area and sometimes other areas of the bodyOvaries, sometimes other parts of the bodyAge groups affectedAny age, typically triggered at or after puberty and can last after menopauseReproductive agePrevalenceEstimated 10% of womenEstimated 8-13% of womenDiagnosisPositive diagnosis through explorative laparoscopic surgeryRotterdam criteria - 2 of 3: high level of androgens not caused by other conditions, irregular or absent periods, ultrasound testing for polycystic ovariesPotential ComplicationsSevere pain during period or throughout cycleInfertility based on anovulation and/or irregular cycles Symptoms of Endometriosis vs. PCOS Although both conditions are different, they have distinct similarities, most notably infertility issues. And women can suffer from both conditions at the same time, so it's beneficial to understand the symptoms of both. Endometriosis Endometriosis is characterized by tissue similar to the uterine lining being found in growths (called endometriosis lesions) outside of the uterus. This tissue grows on and between organs, can bind organs together or squeeze organs, and even leave behind scar tissue. Because it can grow almost anywhere, symptoms are incredibly varied, depending on severity. Endometriosis symptoms include: Trouble conceivingPain during or after sexPelvic painSevere menstrual painPainful bowel movementsStomach problems, like nauseaFatigue Can endometriosis cause hair loss?While endometriosis itself doesn't cause hair loss, many medications prescribed to manage the condition can lead to hair loss. This is particularly true for GnRH agonists and antagonists. PCOS PCOS is a collection of symptoms that have been characterized as a disorder. There are different types of PCOS within the diagnosis, and each has different symptoms and treatments. Common symptoms include: Irregular or no periodSubfertility, characterized by irregular or lack of ovulationHeavy periodsHirsutism (excess hair growth)Cystic acneWeight gain and/or trouble losing weight Can PCOS cause painful periods?Yes, women with PCOS can experience painful cramping during menstruation. However, this pain can occur during other stages of their cycles too. According to research, pain-related symptoms are most common.Can PCOS cause bleeding during intercourse? Bleeding after intercourse or bleeding/spotting between periods are common examples of menstrual irregularities. These can both occur due to hormone imbalances typical with PCOS. » Having period troubles? Check out these surprising causes of irregular periods Impact of Endometriosis and PCOS on Fertility Getting pregnant with endometriosis and PCOS can be difficult, but luckily understanding how they cause fertility issues can help you find the correct course of action to successfully become pregnant. Endometriosis Conceiving with endometriosis is complicated by the highly debated effect it has on infertility. Possible causes of infertility associated with endometriosis include: Distorted pelvic anatomyFallopian tube dysfunctionInflammationHormonal imbalancesReduced egg quality due to lesions PCOS Subfertility is one of the most common symptoms of PCOS. Without ovulation, you don't release an egg and, therefore, cannot become pregnant without intervention. Trying to conceive with PCOS is made challenging by issues such as: Irregular or absent ovulationHormonal imbalancesInsulin resistanceFollicle developmentIncreased risk of miscarriage Treatment of Endometriosis vs. PCOS So what are treatments available for endometriosis and PCOS? Because they have different underlying causes, their respective treatments vary too. EndometriosisPCOSMedicationsPain management medication, hormonal therapiesOvulation-inducing medication like letrozole, insulin medication like metformin, hormonal therapiesSurgeryLaparoscopy* or laparotomyOvarian surgery**Assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs)IUI, IVFIUI, IVFLifestyle changes and holistic approachesDiet, exercise, weight and stress managementDiet, exercise, weight and stress managementChartingFertility awareness and basal body temperature (BBT) monitoringFertility awareness and BBT monitoring *Laparoscopic surgery involves a skilled surgeon removing lesions. When done properly, it allows any anatomical blockages or abnormalities caused by the lesions to resolve. **Surgery is usually only a last resort for PCOS patients with longstanding fertility struggles. » Find out about healthy nutrition to help conception Overcome Infertility Caused by Endometriosis or PCOS Both endometriosis and PCOS have symptom-management options that can help increase your chances of conception and healthy pregnancy. After doing preliminary research of your own, it's advisable to consult with a qualified medical professional about diagnosis and treatment. However, you can take charge of your health by setting health goals and understanding your body, cycle, and fertility. This can be as simple as tracking your BBT and charting your periods, no matter how irregular. With Tempdrop's wearable sensor and intelligent app, the stress of fertility monitoring is eliminated.
A woman holding her stomach due to chronic pain.
Health conditionsGetting Pregnant With PID: What You Need to KnowPelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is the inflammation of the pelvic area and lower tummy, specifically by the upper reproductive organs. It generally entails pain from internal tissue swelling, fevers, and sometimes unusual discharge and vomiting in extreme cases. The infection isn't visible but like other inflammatory responses there is increased redness and heat internally. PID occurs when pathogens are admitted via the lower genital tract causing irritation and infection in the upper genital tract consisting of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. This upper tract is imperative when trying to fall pregnant and keep a pregnancy to term. Studies estimate that it's most common between ages 15 to 25 and often occurs in sexually active individuals. So, if trying to conceive, managing PID and understanding your fertility is crucial. To better grasp the connection between PID and fertility, we spoke to infertility researcher, healthcare professional, and author of Pregnancy After Infertility: A Guide to What’s Next & What’s Different, Natasha Hogan, to learn from her insight and make navigating PID and pregnancy easier to follow. Understanding PID Typically, PID may cause generalized discomfort, bloating, bleeding between periods or after sex, heavy periods or painful periods, or unusual discharge. Sometimes discharge can even be a different color or have a distinct smell. PID can also sometimes feel like a really full bladder. PID Causes There can be more than one pathogen that can lead to PID. Previously, it was associated with two major diseases, gonorrhea and chlamydia. But now, in addition, anything that can use or uses pressure that moves fluids (that could contain pathogens or bacteria) into the pelvic area can be linked to causing PID. This also associates PID with sexually transmitted infections or diseases. Some other causes include: Infections after contraceptive IUDs are placed in the uterusInfections after gynecological procedures, such as D&C for an abortion or miscarriageGastrointestinal and respiratory infections, such as streptococcus, E. coli, and certain influenza typesPathogens carried through water streams for bidetsHigher susceptibility if you have other health conditions or complications, especially if your immune system is compromised When it comes to PID, more research is needed on various levels. Therefore, screening, diagnostics, and treatment strategies need to be considered early on. Some people may simply experience fatigue or not even know they have PID as no other clinical symptoms are presenting, so testing is important. Diagnostics include swab cultures, biopsies, pelvic exams, and laparoscopic procedures. Negative results from swabs or ultrasounds don't exclude a diagnosis as other factors can point to PID. Another tool for potentially detecting PID is a tubal examination. Many women who have not fallen pregnant may undergo a tubal flush test. This test involves injecting a fluorescent dye and using ultrasound to visualize the flow of the dye through the fallopian tubes. It helps determine if there are blockages that could be preventing pregnancy. How long does it take to develop PID?Because PID's an infection, it can develop and build significantly within 5 days. But testing and treatment as early and as often as needed are crucial to avoiding any long-term effects. However, timelines can differ since some cases develop in a couple of days or weeks and others take up to a year. Effect on the Reproductive System Inflammation in any part of the body creates stress and pressure on the nearby tissues, and therefore the rest of the organs, nerves, and anything in the general area of the infection. This can result in increased pressure on all cells, leading to pushing and pulling, which creates scar tissue, adhesions, and obstructions, especially in the fallopian tubes. The fallopian tubes are quite intricate, fine, and detailed, so they can be easily obstructed. This obstruction can create issues for anything trying to get through, such as the egg being released. You may also lose a lot of the delicate tissue, like the little hairs (cilia) along the fallopian tubes that help push the egg further into the uterus. Once the cilia are lost, they don't necessarily regrow. Effect on Fertility and Pregnancy With PID Many PID symptoms have an impact on fertility and the likelihood of pregnancy. So, can you get pregnant with PID? Simply put, yes. However, there may be complications. For instance, women with PID may experience ectopic pregnancies (fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, often in a fallopian tube) due to obstructing scar tissue. Does PID cause infertility, and if so, how long does it take?The uterus has a remarkable regenerative capacity monthly to differing degrees, but the delicate tissues along the fallopian tubes don't recover in the same way. In fact, tubal factors account for 25-35% of female infertility, with PID being a major causative factor. The time it takes for PID effects to lead to infertility can vary. "Having PID, especially more than once, significantly increases the risk of infertility, sometimes threefold," explains Hogan.Can PID cause miscarriage?PID is known to cause damage to the fallopian tubes and other reproductive organs, leading to infertility or reduced fertility and potential complications with childbearing in general. Because the chance of an ectopic pregnancy is six times more likely with PID, the likelihood of a miscarriage is much higher. So, if pregnant with PID, it can be very dangerous to your life and requires urgent monitoring. PID and Fertility Treatments Missed Diagnoses Concerns Any in-vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic will likely accept you for treatment if you have PID. Although the risks may be higher, and it may take longer to conceive, most people don't often hear about a diagnosis of PID if it has been asymptomatic. Instead, clinicians may find another reason, like tubal issues or the presence of an abscess. Hogan expresses the issue with this: "There's a need to have more focus on PID classification. Doctors may say, "You have this in your uterus, and we need to clear it up," followed by a course of antibiotics. They usually assume that the antibiotics will resolve the problem. This is great if the pathogen is eradicated, but not if there are existing abscesses and growths, or if the body's immune system has already become accustomed to an inflammatory situation. It can set off a process that resembles an autoimmune disease." Fertility Treatment Options Some possible treatment options, although not necessarily designed for PID exclusively, can help. But ultimately, all treatment plans should be made under strict advisement and monitoring of your doctor and fertility specialist. Observation of certain cells: Cells, such as CIN2, and growths like tumors or abscesses should be checked for STDs, HPV, and more, which can affect fertility. These observations also help monitor intrauterine cancers. Ensure you have all your regular checkups and request these for yourself for your future fertility precautions if needed.IVF: IVF is a medical procedure where an egg and sperm are combined outside the body in a laboratory. This process takes out the issues related to fallopian tube damage or other PID-related problems, and the fertilized egg can be implanted directly into the uterus.Fertility medications: These can stimulate ovulation, potentially improving the chances of conception.Intrauterine insemination (IUI): This assisted reproductive technique involves sperm being placed directly into the uterus, making it easier timing-wise for the egg to release hopefully without traveling up through the fallopian tube.Surgical procedures: If surgery is required, it's crucial to research your surgeon, looking at their recommendations, past cases, and experience level. Because of possible complications and irreversible damage to the reproductive system, such as non-pliable uterine lining due to scar tissue or excessive thinning of the lining, surgeries to remove abscesses or adhesions should be approached with extreme caution and not as a first resort. But for women who may have more extensive fertility-related issues due to PID that prevent them from carrying a baby, there are other options for motherhood, such as: Surrogacy: This offers the possibility to have a biological child. A surrogate carries the baby on behalf of the intended parents, and IVF may be used to facilitate the pregnancy.Adoption or fostering: For those who find that biological parenthood is not an option, adoption and fostering present opportunities to build a family. How Soon Can You Get Pregnant After Treating PID? Some IVF clinics may suggest that it's possible to conceive within a couple of months after treatment. However, the timing can vary significantly and depends on multiple factors, such as the severity of the infection, the symptoms presented initially, and the response to treatment. Before attempting to conceive, it's advisable to look for signs of recovery and stability, such as: Reduced painFewer interruptions or irregularities with menstrual cycles (Unexpected menstrual bleeding might indicate the condition is not resolved)Return to normality in terms of sexual function (Persistent pain during intercourse could be a sign that the condition is not fully cleared) Given the complexity of the situation and the potential risks, a cautious approach is recommended. A waiting period of at least 3-6 months post-treatment may provide a safer window to attempt conception. "Close monitoring and possibly more extended treatment or follow-up care may be required if symptoms don't clear up, so consultation with healthcare providers and adherence to their guidance is essential," says Hogan. » Curious about other conditions that also impact fertility? Check out the difference between endometriosis and PCOS Safety Measures to Lessen PID Development Sex education: This is especially important before women become sexually active. Examples include discussions about avoiding multiple partners, wearing condoms, and understanding the potential risks and benefits of different contraceptive methods, such as IUDs.IUD awareness: While IUDs may have been promoted more casually in the past, now it's recognized that they can lead to complications like PID. Due to heightened awareness and education, women are now better informed. Lessen smoking: This is particularly true if other risk factors are already in play, such as having multiple sexual partners or underlying health conditions, since the risk of infertility increases and will only worsen if PID also develops. "When individuals know that they are clear of PID and understand the importance of precautionary measures, they become more resilient in adhering to safety practices. This includes being mindful of their future plans, such as having children and avoiding behaviors that might increase the risk of infection," explains Hogan. » Discover how charting your cycle can help identify pregnancy concerns early Understand Your Body to Help With Pregnancy Reducing the risks of PID and preserving fertility involves more than just lifestyle choices. It's a complex issue that demands a careful balance between medical intervention and natural healing, always keeping in mind your unique circumstances and desires. Further education and research on PID, including on individuals who aren't necessarily sexually active, is needed. Luckily, comparisons with swabs and pathology might help in understanding and preventing PID for now. And consultation with experienced medical professionals is key to making the best decisions for your reproductive health. To start small but impactfully, you can utilize tools like Tempdrop's wearable fertility tracker to pinpoint your basal body temperature (BBT), track cervical mucus, and identify your optimal fertility window.
A woman holds a bowl of salad and  a box of fried food.
Health conditionsFood & PCOS: What to Avoid and What to Enjoy Guilt-FreePolycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder—It is the most common one among reproductive-aged women, affecting roughly 8-13% of women. PCOS affects hormone balance, fertility, health, and appearance as it can increase the likelihood of obesity, metabolic syndrome, or diabetes. There are four types of PCOS: Insulin resistantPost-pillInflammatoryAdrenal Not all types are treated in the same way, and some (like post-pill PCOS) are temporary and reversible. The most common type is insulin-resistant PCOS, and the information in this article is mainly geared toward that type. Although, those with other versions may also benefit from the advice. PCOS can be largely managed through diet and lifestyle changes. So, let's go over some diet changes that can help you! Disclaimer: The advice in this article is generic. You should consult with your medical provider before making any changes. » Struggling with PCOS? Find out more about unusual signs and symptoms of PCOS Worst Foods for PCOS If the foods on this list are your favorites, it's totally okay—any food is fine in moderation. However, for those with PCOS, inflammatory foods can exacerbate symptoms. So you should enjoy these as a special treat rather than on a daily basis: Fried Foods Foods fried in oils are high in saturated and trans fats, which are particularly negative for those with insulin-resistant or inflammatory PCOS since it can fluctuate your blood sugar. Some examples include french fries, potato chips, fried chicken, and tempura. These fats can have the following effects: Raises the LDL cholesterol (the "bad" type) in your blood, which can increase the risk of heart diseaseIncreases inflammatory responses within the body and can cause weight gainSpikes your blood sugar, causing an energy rush followed by a crash Many fried foods can be alternatively cooked in an air fryer, which is a much healthier option. The final product will contain a much smaller amount of these fats but generally will be crispy and flavorful. Processed Meats Common examples of processed meats are deli cuts, hot dogs, bacon, and any preserved meat, most of which are high in saturated fats and sodium. If your total intake of sodium is too high, it increases your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasize that less than 2,300mg per day is optimal. Alternatives for these largely depend on what it is you're eating, but you can switch them out for peanut butter, hummus, and homemade burgers. Alcohol Alcohol affects the body in numerous ways: Increases inflammatory responseDecreases blood sugar levels (and the ability to regulate them if often consuming alcohol)Boosts testosteroneLowers nutrient absorptionAlters body temperatureIn terms of trying to conceive, it can decrease blood flow to reproductive organs and delay ovulation If you enjoy social drinking, try alternating between virgin and regular drinks to keep your alcohol consumption moderate. Refined Carbohydrates Refined carbs, which are stripped of most nutrients except simple carbs, are not an ideal energy source. Eating more than the occasional item with refined carbs can lead to weight gain or inability to lose weight, increased insulin production, and inflammation, worsening PCOS symptoms. Try making treats at home using whole grains when you do have a craving or find a local bakery with these options. Sugary Foods Many women with PCOS crave sugary food and beverages—like energy drinks, sodas, and pastries—throughout the day. But consuming too much sugar will spike insulin levels and increase the risk of diabetes. In general, natural sugars from fruits, honey, and maple syrup are considered healthier options than sugars in processed and refined foods. Try getting your sugar allotment (usually around 100 calories per day) in with fresh fruits and berries. PCOS Fruits to AvoidWith PCOS, there are fruits to steer clear of, including overripe bananas, dried fruits (like apricots and figs), and canned fruits. » Check out these nutrition tips for people with PCOS Best Diet for PCOS The best low-carb diet for PCOS offers the right nutrients. With fewer carbs, your blood sugar spikes less and you have improved weight control since carbs impact hunger hormones. On top of minimizing the foods above, you should make sure you are eating varied types of fruits, vegetables, and meat (or other full proteins). A PCOS insulin-resistant diet should prioritize stabilizing blood sugar levels since high insulin levels lead to inflammation and weight gain. This includes eating low glycemic foods in smaller amounts throughout the day, rather than large meals a few times each day. Low GI Diet for PCOS The best diet for high cholesterol and PCOS is a low GI diet, which doesn't have any refined carbs. This shouldn't be confused with no carbs at all, as carbs are an incredibly important energy source. Some examples to incorporate into your diet are: Fish: Is tuna good for PCOS? Yes, and so are salmon and sardines. These are all full of vitamins and help decrease insulin resistance.Whole grains: These healthy carbs include steel-cut oats, quinoa, and barley. Ingredients like this contain important nutrients and fiber that their counterparts lack and can be used to make the best bread for PCOS.Lean proteins: Lean proteins are packed with nutrition, will help you feel full longer, and reduce inflammation. Some to include are eggs, poultry, and lentils.Healthy fats: Necessary for a balanced diet, these fats won't spike your blood sugar or slow down digestion. These include avocados, walnuts, cheese, eggs, and full-fat yogurt.Non-starchy vegetables: The best vegetables for PCOS include spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and snow peas, which are full of fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Plus, they promote healthy gut bacteria for better digestion. » Take a look at these Instagram accounts to follow for PCOS recipe ideas Making Changes It's completely understandable that these diet changes may seem drastic. However, they're also incredibly helpful in managing unpleasant PCOS symptoms and preventing long-term health problems. Making little changes over time—rather than trying to go cold turkey—can make you feel better and get pregnant faster (if you're trying). Overall health and vitality impact fertility, so establishing fertility awareness and tracking your ovulation can help you understand your body better for increased chances of conception. Tempdrop makes it easy with their wearable device and intuitive app. So, why wait? Start making changes today for a healthier tomorrow.
A doctor with a model of the uterus that has uterine fibroids.
Health conditionsUterine Fibroids & Fertility: Important Facts & Conception TipsUterine fibroids can occur in any woman of childbearing age, predominantly those aged 30-40. The root cause is unconfirmed, but most experts think that it's due to hormones or even genetics. Studies show this condition seems more prevalent in African-American women than in other women. These non-cancerous growths develop in the uterus and are sometimes called leiomyomas or myomas. They vary in size, from as small as a pea to masses larger than a golf ball. Michelle Tillman, a fertility educator and the founder of Fertility Freak, provides an in-depth understanding of uterine fibroids. She explores everything from detection and holistic treatments to removal surgery concerns, emphasizing the importance of fibroid education among women. Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids You could experience no symptoms. But more than likely, if you don't have symptoms, you may not even know that you have fibroids if they're present. Symptoms when dealing with fibroids are: Heavy prolonged periods Pain or pressure in your pelvisFrequent use of the bathroomReproductive issues that may interfere with your ability to get or stay pregnantPainful intercourseConstipationBloating » Struggling with a heavy flow? Check out this guide to better understand your bleeding patterns How Fibroids Are Detected During an OBGYN checkup, pap smears are usual but voluntary ultrasounds for fibroid detection aren't. Depending on their location, doctors could possibly detect fibroids through physical examination. "Sometimes the fibroids can be so large that your belly protrudes and you look like you're pregnant," says Tillman. Young women should understand their bodies early. Heavy periods, for example, might be a sign of an underlying condition but often get treated with birth control, despite the cause. But why not be proactive so it doesn't get worse? Advocating for further examination is crucial, particularly if there's a family history of fibroids. How Do Fibroids Affect Fertility? The main question you may have is, "Can you get pregnant with uterine fibroids?" You absolutely can get pregnant. "A lot of clients that I see and work with are actually able to get pregnant even with their fibroids," says Tillman. Can fibroids cause infertility?Which fibroids cause infertility depends on their location, how many you have, their size, and whether it can cause complications were you to try and get pregnant.Can fibroids outside the uterus cause infertility?If the fibroids are attached closer to your fallopian tubes and block where the egg would be released, that can prevent the egg from reaching the lining of the womb. Here, your doctor may recommend working on shrinking the fibroids before trying to conceive again. How Fibroids Affect Pregnancy Fibroids act like a baby—they suck up all the nutrients. But when pregnant, your baby is also trying to get nutrients. People often miss their deficiencies. They might be low on iron or vitamin D or have a lot of inflammation, making it harder for nutrients to absorb. In these cases, you need higher micronutrient levels to have a safe pregnancy. Do Fibroids Grow During Pregnancy? Fibroids can change and grow during pregnancy. "I always recommend a preparatory period of about 90 days before you get pregnant if you know you have fibroids," says Tillman. Your eggs change based on what you're doing in your life—whether it's on purpose or not. The effects of these changes will only show after those 90 days. Why do fibroids cause miscarriages?If it's on the placenta where your baby needs to feed, then the fibroids will be consuming extra nutrients, disrupting your baby's healthy development.Do fibroids shrink after pregnancy?Research shows that fibroids can reduce in size significantly post-partum, and 37.2% of fibroids may no longer be present. » Find out how charting your cycle can help you identify early pregnancy concerns 4 Treatment Options There are holistic ways that Tillman recommends as a first resort. So what happens if fibroids are not removed versus if you have removal surgery? Let's explore some treatments: 1. Diet Often, the importance of a nutrient-dense diet for overall health is overlooked at a younger age. Later on, when considering pregnancy, connections between health and lifestyle become clear, emphasizing the significance of preventive measures. You might only have a certain amount of eggs when you're born, but the quality of those eggs can change with lifestyle changes. Fibroids may worsen in women in their 20s due to lifestyle choices like late nights, unhealthy diets, and convenience eating. Some ways to improve your lifestyle include: Reduce sugarEat nutrient-dense foodsLimit caffeine intakeGet more sleep "A lot of people are drinking caffeine because they don't get enough sleep. So, if you get more sleep, you can reduce your caffeine," explains Tillman. 2. Supplements You can help reduce fibroid-caused inflammation through supplements, like magnesium, but you have to ensure you take it daily. So many people who have infertility issues deal with magnesium deficiency. There are lotions, pills, and other ways that you can get magnesium in your body. Even if you're not trying to get pregnant, magnesium can help eliminate PMS, cramping, and headaches. 3. Vaginal Steaming Some people may be hesitant about vaginal steaming, but it is one of the most natural things you can do. Even if you don't have any special herbs that you add, just the steam in your body can make a huge difference with inflammation. I have seen clients who have steamed every day and the size of their fibroids have shrunk to where the doctor was like, 'What did you do?' Steaming—even without herbs—with diet and lifestyle changes can reduce fibroids if you're consistent for at least 90 days. There are no specific herbs that are recommended, but if you're adding any, here are some to try: Peppermint oilOreganoVitex, which is supposed to help with infertility Tip: Ensure you're not doing vaginal steaming when trying to get pregnant or during ovulation. Only do it before, during the follicular phase. 4. Removal Surgery I don't recommend any surgical options simply because getting them removed can leave you with more scar tissue afterward that can make implantation and getting pregnant harder. But surgery can have benefits, depending on where your fibroids are: Shorter timeframe before your body is in a pregnancy-ready stateCan help with getting pregnant if the fibroid is blocking one of your tubes For example, if you have a softball-sized fibroid and do natural remedies for 90 days, that's going to take longer to shrink than something that's golf ball-sized or pea-sized. You can then work on your inflammation after the surgery. Make sure to ask your doctor the following before opting for surgery: Will this interfere with my ability to get pregnant?Can I still have a safe pregnancy after fibroid removal?What is the success rate after surgery?How long does it usually take to get pregnant afterward?Have you seen any complications? Does fibroid removal affect hormones?Research shows that the follicle-stimulating hormone and the luteinizing hormone levels may increase, which can impact ovulation. It's best to talk to your doctor about this. Tips on Getting Pregnant With Fibroids "With the whole 90-day rule, you need to start making holistic changes now so that your body can be in an optimal condition to get pregnant," says Tillman. "Make sure you know what you're working with too." Here are tips for preconception to help improve your chances of pregnancy: Have an initial exam with your doctor to find the location and size of your fibroids.Seek holistic help from someone who can guide you through the necessary lifestyle changes.Implement holistic changes.Stay consistent for 90 days.Have a follow-up exam to see if there are any improvements.Evaluate the effectiveness of the holistic changes.Ask your doctor if surgery is necessary or if you can wait to see further results.Ensure your mindset is right—seek counseling, spiritual, or religious guidance. "Your mindset affects your body as well. And once you do the steps to right it, you can be prepared to get pregnant even if your fibroids are not totally gone," Tillman explains. Fill the Knowledge Gap and Track Your Fertility Cycle "Fibroids are talked about but it's always reactionary instead of preventative," says Tillman. Quality of life should not be neglected until a woman decides to have a child. Painful periods are often dismissed as "normal," but they could be indicative of deeper health issues, like fibroids. The sooner symptoms are addressed, the better they can be managed or resolved without invasive treatments like surgery. More education is needed to inform young women about what is normal and what isn't in terms of their health. And one way of broadening education is through fertility trackers like Tempdrop's. It allows you to understand your cycle, identify your fertility window, and live harmoniously with your body's natural rhythms.
a doctor holding a model of the utensil in his hands
Health conditions5 Unusual Signs & Symptoms of PCOS You Should Look Out ForPCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is the most common endocrine disorder affecting ~7% of the female population during reproductive years. While PCOS used to be viewed as a gynecologic issue only involving the ovaries, it is now seen as a complex endocrine + metabolic condition. Despite the fact that the condition is called polycystic ovarian syndrome, you can have PCOS without cysts on your ovaries, and you can even have regular cycles but still have PCOS. How Is PCOS Diagnosed? So what are the key things we're looking for to diagnose PCOS? There are 3 international guidelines commonly used to diagnose PCOS. The Rotterdam criteria is what is most commonly used to diagnose PCOS, and requires patients to have 2 out of 3 of the following: Hyperandrogenism (high testosterone) in bloodwork or symptoms of high testosterone such as acne, male patterned hair loss, facial hairIrregular ovulation/irregular cyclesPolycystic ovaries (ovaries with numerous cysts) on ultrasound Again, you need just two of the three to be diagnosed with PCOS based on the Rotterdam criteria, but there are many others, and many consider the diagnosis to be a spectrum rather than a specific set of criteria. When we are looking for signs of PCOS in a child or adolescent, we want to be mindful that irregular cycles are common at the start of cycling years. Therefore, a diagnosis of PCOS should not be given to an adolescent until at least 2 years after starting menses. While you need to meet a specific set of criteria there can also be clues or hidden PCOS symptoms that may be helpful to look for in addition to charting your cycles. It is important to diagnose PCOS because then we can support hormones and the body in the specific way it needs in order to decrease long-term risks such as obesity, insulin resistance, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, infertility, pregnancy/birth complications, anxiety/depression, endometrial cancer, and more. 5 Surprising PCOS Symptoms 1. Mood Swings or Notable Mood Symptoms2. Sweet Cravings3. Gut Imbalances4. Elevated cholesterol5. Low vitamin D These 5 surprising signs or symptoms commonly seen in women, combined with at least one of the above Rotterdam criteria, mean you should further look into the possibility of being diagnosed with PCOS. 1. Mood Swings Irregular cycles or abnormally high testosterone are common manifestations of PCOS. Both of these findings can cause there to be more PCOS mood swings or mood symptoms. In fact, depression and emotional distress are commonly reported symptoms in those with PCOS. 2. Sweet Cravings PCOS often involves insulin resistance where our body is not properly responding to insulin, a hormone that helps control our blood sugar levels. While it is not fully understood why, many women with PCOS will have sweet cravings or binge eating behaviors that cause them to eat more carbs or sugars, which worsens the insulin and blood sugar picture. Insulin resistance is also known to cause more weight gain and difficulty losing weight. When PCOS is untreated or out of control we can see a vicious cycle between cravings, eating things that worsen blood sugars, and difficulty losing weight. 3. Gut Imbalances There is increasing research on how connected and important our gut is to our overall health. With PCOS, it is thought the gut could be tied to mood symptoms, eating patterns/cravings, obesity, inflammation, and maybe even insulin resistance. By looking at the health of the gut we may have great potential to improve the symptoms and risks associated with PCOS. 4. Elevated Cholesterol Women with PCOS tend to have abnormal lipid panels (cholesterol) on bloodwork compared to the average population. This too is thought to be related in part to the insulin-resistance. In addition to mood symptoms or irregular cycles, this may be a helpful clue to do a further workup to look into PCOS. 5. Low Vitamin D Levels Like the other more subtle or more surprising symptoms that may be linked to PCOS, it is worth considering vitamin D levels. Studies have shown supporting low vitamin D levels may improve insulin resistance, high cholesterol, and hormonal function in women with PCOS. Understanding PCOS Is Key to Alleviating Symptoms While PCOS is a complex disorder that involves numerous different signs and symptoms, the key is to seek support and speak to your doctor. This can help you improve your hormones and your symptoms to prevent long-term risks associated with PCOS. The above, unexpected, symptoms can be used in addition to criteria (like the Rotterdam criteria) to help you get a diagnosis and the treatment you deserve. Remember that your entire body works together and PCOS symptoms can be improved with the correct approach.