Alternative Medicine/fertility/sore breasts

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Dear Sharon,
In 2005-2006, I had two (possibly three) miscarriages and went to a fertility doctor who gave me the drug Clomid since I had irregular menstrual cycles (6 to 10 weeks between periods).  I conceived and carried to full-term.  I then conceived two more children after that on my own with no problems.  I was almost 38 when I had my last. Now, I will soon be 42 and still hoping for one more child despite the odds.  I had a miscarriage again in 2012 and one in 2013.  All of them were "missed miscarriages” where the baby had died around the 5 to 6 week mark, but bleeding didn't happen spontaneously. I added supplemental iodine to my diet then and carried a baby last year to almost 12 weeks
when it died.  My cycles are usually always five weeks apart now (sometimes 6).  I used to always conceive on the first try, but now I have tried for six months and nothing.  I understand it could be my age or stress, as my mother has end-stage cancer. I am using natural/alternative means to deal with stress as well. I know the importance of diet and exercise, and I try to stay away from things like wheat, dairy, sugar and processed foods
as much as possible. I use progestelle progesterone oil for the second half of my cycle.  I started to take shatavari, tribulus, andfalse unicorn root a month ago.  Three months ago, I
started to take Femtrol by Enzymatic Therapy brand which contains dong quai root extract, chaste tree berry extract, hesperidin, black cohosh root extract, licorice root/rhizome extract, and fennel seed. I also drink red raspberry leaf tea and take maca root powder. I have taken just plain chaste berry for years which seemed to help my cycles a little.  I only take these herbs during the first half of my cycle only in case I get pregnant. I
also started having sore breasts and cramping during the premenstrual period last year which is something new for me, and I would like to get rid of that. So far nothing seems to have helped. My question is how long should I expect it to take for herbs to really work?  Thank you in advance for any information or advice you can give me.

Sincerely,

Melodie

Answer
Hi Melodie
That's quite a journey - and quite a complex history for a Q&A session such as this.  Consulting a naturopathic doctor or herbalist to get a complete overview of your situation is advisable in this situation - especially as time is not on your side. There are so many things that could be influencing your fertility - one example being the possible formation of antibodies against the foetus.
Chaste berry can be taken for the whole menstrual cycle - it is not contraindicated if you become pregnant.  Obviously you'd stop taking it if you did conceive, but as it aids in raising progesterone, stopping it in the second half of the cycle (when you need progesterone to be high) is counter-productive, even though you are also using the oil.
Sore breasts is a sign of a fatty acid imbalance - Evening primrose oil for the last week of your cycle should help to prevent this.
Cramping is an indication of a mineral deficiency - again, I really think you need to engage a health professional who has trained in herbal medicine to guide you on this.

I hope this helps.
Kind regards
Sharon  

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Sharon Erdrich

Expertise

Any health related question, particularly those related to an holistic approach, using nutrition, herbal medicine, aromatherapy and lifestyle options.

Experience

30 years as a registered nurse, Private health consultant and experienced educator of complementary medicine practitioners.

Organizations
NZAMH, NZ Nursing Council., AIMA (Associate member), Naturopaths of NZ.

Publications
Kai Tiaki Journal. Healthy Options Magazine. See my website www.houseofhealth.co.nz for downloadable articles.

Education/Credentials
Reg Nurse, Post Grad Cert Health Science (Nutrition), Dip Herbal Med, Dip Naturopathy, Dip Aromatherapy.

Awards and Honors
Best Research Paper, Top Naturopathic Student (2005)

Past/Present Clients
Varied, from all ages and with a range of health issues.

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