3 Reproductive-Health Issues NaProTechnology Solves Better Than the Alternatives
Got endometriosis? There’s a pill for that! Got PCOS? There’s a pill for that! Painful periods and bad acne? Why—you guessed it—there’s a pill for that, too!
It seems like the solution to a lot of issues in women’s health boils down to the Pill. But the dirty little secret about the Pill, and the IUD, and other forms of hormonal contraception, is that they don’t actually address the root causes of any of these common issues in women’s reproductive health. They also come with a host of health risks and side-effects.
For too long, women who would never think of trying on a pair of one-size-fits-all jeans have been accepting this one-size-fits-all drug, because often, that’s all that’s been offered to them for very serious (and oftentimes very painful) conditions like endometriosis and PCOS.
Unbeknownst to many of these young women, there are natural solutions that get to the root problems.
NaProTechnology (often called “NaPro”) is a medical innovation that doctors and medical professionals can get certified in, that has revolutionized women’s health, especially for women suffering from PCOS, endometriosis, infertility, and other reproductive health issues. As a result of Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABM) and NaPro, women are finally benefitting from a targeted approach that both respects their fertility and sexuality and treats them as patients with unique issues as opposed to one-size-fits-all cases.
Over the past few years, I have been fortunate to witness firsthand the remarkable power of NaProTechnology to address multiple issues.
What is NaPro? Pioneered by Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers, director of the Pope Paul VI Institute, NaProTechnology, also known as Natural Procreative Technology, is:
“a women’s health science which has, as its main principle, the ability to work cooperatively with the woman’s menstrual and fertility cycle. NaProTECHNOLOGY relies on the CREIGHTON MODEL FertilityCare System (CrMS) biomarkers to monitor easily and objectively the occurrence of various hormonal events during the menstrual cycle. CrMS provides valid information that can be interpreted by a woman and by physicians who are specifically trained in this system… NaProTECHNOLOGY identifies the problems and cooperates with the menstrual and fertility cycles that correct the condition, maintain the human ecology, and sustain the procreative potential.”
To put it simply, NaPro physicians work with a woman’s fertility data—gleaned from her FABM charts—to pinpoint and treat the underlying causes of her condition. They do so without using the Pill, IUD, or other hormonal contraceptives that act as mere band-aids, masking the symptoms and preventing women’s bodies from cycling altogether.
NaPro and Infertility
A few years ago, I was successfully treated for infertility by a NaPro physician. My regular primary care physician refused to diagnose me with infertility after my husband and I had been trying to get pregnant for 6 months—despite the fact that studies have shown that 90% of couples who use Natural Family Planning (NFP) or Fertility Awareness-Based Methods to chart their cycles and have targeted intercourse become pregnant by the 6-month mark of trying for a baby.
Because my doctor was using the mainstream clinical standard of 12 months of random, “unprotected” intercourse before diagnosing a couple with infertility, I could not get insurance to pay for a fertility specialist, and my husband and I felt stuck. Fortunately, after we moved a few months later, I was assigned a new primary care physician knowledgeable in Natural Family Planning and NaPro treatments. With the help of this new physician and the help of another NaPro-trained physician, I was finally able to conceive and sustain a full-term pregnancy.
One of the most important tools in NaProTechnology is, of course, your Fertility Awareness-Based Method charts. Although most NaProTechnology physicians work with the Creighton model of Natural Family Planning, we were fortunate to find NaPro physicians willing and able to interpret our Sympto-Thermal Method charts. Watching the changes in my charts as I underwent NaPro treatment was remarkable. It was obvious to me and to my doctors that from looking at my changing charts (and from experiencing how much better I was feeling physically) that my infertility had been a symptom of a larger hormonal imbalance. Once we identified this, the NaPro treatment easily corrected the imbalance.
Had I gone the route of an intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) (as at least one physician recommended to me) to address my infertility, the larger issue causing my infertility would likely have never been addressed—and we could still be trying unsuccessfully to have a baby today.
NaPro and Endometriosis
NaProTechnology has become a game-changer in the treatment of endometriosis as well. After years of painful, highly irregular periods, my college-age, younger sister went to a regular primary care physician at a campus clinic, who immediately wanted to put my sister on birth control. When my sister expressed faith-based misgivings about the Pill, the doctor gave her no options for alternative treatment, while condescendingly admonishing her that “the Pope wouldn’t find out” if she went on the Pill.
Thankfully, my sister had heard my success working with fertility awareness-based methods and a NaPro physician, so she knew there were other options.
First working with a Creighton FertilityCare Practitioner to learn how to track and chart her cycles, my sister became able to make major lifestyle changes and changes to her diet that made a big difference in how she was feeling. She was then able to take her charts to a NaPro physician, who, after additional testing, was able to diagnose her with endometriosis (no small feat for a disease that can sometimes take 12 years to properly diagnose), and to treat her surgically for the disease.
Now, my sister’s cycles are far more regular, and the intense pain she experienced with each period prior to her treatment is all but gone. But she is one of the lucky ones. Far too many girls and women with endometriosis suffer for years of pain without a proper diagnosis or real treatment, on the Pill or with an IUD.
NaPro and PCOS
Finally, NaPro is also making progress in the treatment of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). A close friend of mine was recently diagnosed with PCOS by a NaPro physician and treated surgically for the disease. While the surgery was not curative, it did provide her with temporary relief without having to resort to the Pill or and IUD, which would have prevented her from cycling altogether—which she did not want.
While she is still in the midst of her journey with PCOS, she is hopeful that future treatments with a NaPro physician and working with a Creighton FertilityCare practitioner will someday provide her with the long-lasting relief she needs. For many, the surgical wedge resection procedure (which reduces the size of the ovaries) coupled with a balancing their hormones does provide long-lasting relief of their PCOS.
Now that researchers believe they have discovered the cause of PCOS (an excess of fetal exposure to a particular hormone), the future looks brighter for the many girls and women currently suffering from this disorder for which there may now one day be a cure. There is little doubt that NaPro doctors—who work extensively to get their patients’ hormones in balance—will be at the forefront of using this new information to better their patients’ lives.
For those who understand the value of fertility awareness-based methods and Natural Family Planning, it’s no surprise that NaPro-trained doctors are able to understand reproductive issues more fully than those who are ignorant of charting.
The hallmarks of NaProTechnology are that it is a “fertility-care based medical approach rather than a fertility-control approach,” and that it gives girls and women “the opportunity to know and understand the causes of the symptoms from which they suffer.”
Just think of the many millions of young women who come to their doctors at the age of 15 (or younger) with complaints of acne, painful and heavy periods, and other menstrual issues, and are immediately prescribed the birth control pill as the solution to their condition. Perhaps you are (or were) one of them. If so, can you honestly say that you were given “the opportunity to know and understand the causes of the symptoms” from which you suffer? Consider what happens to those same girls when they decide to have babies, and come off of the Pill for the first time in 10, 15, maybe even 20 years, and discover that their menstrual issues never actually went away, and were actually signs of a bigger issue now affecting their ability to get pregnant? Unfortunately, that tragic reality is all too common for millions of girls and women today.
Thanks to fertility-awareness inspired medical technologies such as NaPro and the medical protocols of FEMM, there are other, safer, more effective natural solutions to address the root causes of issues like endometriosis, PCOS, and infertility, and other reproductive health issues. With the help of a specialized doctor, women can have the confidence their treatment will improve not only their reproductive health, but their overall health as well.