Click a topic to learn more about:
- Irregular periods
- Cysts and PCOS
- PMS / PMDD / Depression
- Postpartum depression
- Hormone imbalance
Treating reproductive disorders
If you’re having trouble with your menstrual cycles, you’re not alone. These difficulties may include cramps, irregular cycles, irregular bleeding, recurring ovarian cysts. Generally, medical providers prescribe hormonal contraceptives in response to these problems. These drugs take over the natural cycle and in effect mask the actual hormonal imbalance behind these symptoms. They can also cause discomfort and may even harm some women.
Most medical providers can’t offer you any better options: if they can’t tell what is really going on with your individual cycle, they can’t design the treatment accordingly.
The fertility awareness approach takes the opposite approach—identifying the problem with the cycle and addressing a precise treatment. This alternative medical approach called NaProTECHNOLOGY (Natural Procreative Technology) has opened a new path of diagnosis and treatment of many common conditions. Developed over the last 30 years by Dr. Thomas Hilgers, it is supported with extensive peer-reviewed research data.
If you suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) you’re not alone. The most common symptoms include fatigue, mood changes, irritability, and abdominal bloating. Serious PMS affects 20-30% of women, and 2-10% of women experience symptoms so debilitating that their ability to function is impaired. The most serious form of the condition is called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and is often treated as a mental disorder. However, the origin of this condition is hormonal and not related to a woman’s emotional state, stress level, or mental stability. It can be treated without the use of anti-depressants.
PMS or PMDD are caused by a hormone imbalance and the resulting effects on the brain. Normally, after ovulation, the body generates progesterone and estrogen in certain amounts. If the wrong amount is produced, it can cause PMS. This problem can be treated effectively through:
- Knowledge of the exact time of ovulation during each cycle,
- Use of natural hormones (not the synthetic ones used in contraceptives)
The rate of effectiveness of such a treatment is 95.2 %. It requires charting so that you can know exactly what is happening during your cycle and so that the treatment can be customized to your needs.
Cysts and PCOS
If you experience chronic pelvic pains, on one or both sides, you may be suffering from ovarian cysts. Different types of cyst conditions exist and it is important to know what you’re dealing with. Knowing the cause of the cysts will enable you to avoid surgery in most cases. Surgery creates the potential for scar tissue and increases the risks of future infertility. However, in some cases it is necessary.
Recurrent ovarian cysts begin with normal growth in the ovaries that become problematic, tending to reappear regularly. In some cases, the ovary starts to release the egg from the follicle (the envelope of the egg), but the egg is not actually released, and forms a cyst. A careful evaluation, which includes review of menstrual charts, pelvic evaluation and possibly a pelvic ultrasound, will help determine the type and treatment of this cyst.
In most cases an appropriate progesterone treatment will eliminate the pain within hours and normally the cyst will naturally dissolve on day 5 of the menstrual period. However, a followup is necessary because in some cases the cysts will persist and surgery may be required.
The second kind of cyst formation is diagnosed as PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) which affects 5-10% of women of reproductive age. In this case, multiple cysts grow at the same time and cause a number of side effects, such as irregular periods, infertility, acne and hirsutism (excess body or facial hair growth), and insulin resistance. It is associated with endometriosis about 50% of the time. This is a serious condition which requires more intensive examination, including a diagnostic laparoscopy, and surgery.
Charting your cycle with the help of a Creighton Fertilicare Method Counselor is the key to determining the type of cysts you suffer from. Moreover, it will enable a trained physician to track the evolution of the cysts and detect if additional treatment is necessary.
In some cases cysts are associated with risks of cancer. It is therefore imperative to understand the type and root cause of these cysts.
If you suffer from some of the symptoms above, it is important to take action. While the use of contraceptives may work in controlling some of the effects of these cysts, contraceptives are not a long-term solution and may even mask other, more serious problems.
“Infertility is a symptom of an underlying disease,” writes Dr Hilgers, the founder of NaProTECHNOLOGY, a revolutionary way of treating the root causes of most women’s health disorders.
Infertility has a number of causes that can be indentified and treated successfully. In fact, the NaProTECHNOLOGY approach shows success rates between 56.7% and 80%, depending on the cause of the disease, a higher rate than other methods. NaProTECHNOLOGY is also more cost-effective and addresses root problems such as endometriosis, PMS and PCOS at the same time. With IVF the the risk of multiple births is 32% while it is only 3 % with NaProTECHNOLOGY.
How does it work? Since the mid-70s, we are much better able to understand the various factors that contribute to the fertilization of an egg and to a successful pregnancy. We’re able to know the exact time of ovulation and therefore target intercourse time to increase chance of fertilization. We know that the production of cervical mucus and the quality of that mucus is critical because it allows the sperm to survive in the uterus and to successfully fertilize the egg. We know that certain hormones help prepare the lining of the uterus so that the embryo can attach to it and begin to grow. If the lining is not adequate, the pregnancy will be followed by an early miscarriage.
The first key to achieving pregnancy is the knowledge of your own ovulation time, which you discover by charting. Studies conducted by Dr. Hilgers showed that by simply knowing this and targeting intercourse, 76% of couples achieved pregnancy in the first cycle, and 98% did by the 6th cycle.
If this doesn’t work, then you may have other disorders that affect your ability to get pregnant. Without going into the variety and complexity of these conditions here, among the main causes of infertility are:
- organ dysfunction affecting cervix mucus production,
- ovulation disorders,
- hormonal imbalance
Contrary to common belief, women who have regular cycles still can suffer from ovulation disorders. To make matters worse, it is not unusual that several of these conditions can occur at the same time. So the diagnosis and treatment must always address all these fronts to be successful.
For instance, Jeanine, a patient of Dr Hilgers’ from Illinois, reports how she had struggles getting pregnant and then had several miscarriages that no one could explain. Charting her cycles followed by the thorough examination conducted by Dr. Hilgers’ institute led to the discovery that:
- she had very low estrogen and progesterone levels, which also explained why she suffered from depression, anxiety and insomnia,
- she had extensive endometriosis and pelvic adhesion, which also explained the pelvic pains she had lived with for years.
Her treatment was three-fold: removal of the endometriosis by laparoscopic surgery, Vitamin B6 protocol to increase the production and quality of the mucus, and then monitoring of hormone levels and administration of hormonal treatment all the way until week 37. Finally, after 7 years of struggle and three miscarriages, Jeanine was able to give birth to Robert Thomas (1).
What can you do? First, consider learning to chart to identify exactly when you’re fertile, with the help of a Creighton FertilityCareMethod counselor. If this doesn’t work after six months, contact a NaProTECHNOLOGY Medical Consultant. The answer to your infertility and other disorders will be available there for you.
(1) source: The NaProTECHNOLOGY Revolution, by Thomas W. Hilgers, MD, Beaufort Books, 2010
While the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy prior to the 20th week affects over 15% of all pregnancies, this traumatic experience for couples is neither a “normal” turn of events nor something that can’t be avoided in the future. In fact, the causes of the conditions that cause miscarriage can sometimes be identified and treated.
There can be a number of underlying abnormal issues that lead to a miscarriage. These issues can be detected with key biomarkers such as:
- Limited production of cervical mucus or absence of it,
- Pre-menstrual spotting,
- Lower hormonal levels around the time of ovulation, which often leads to higher incidence of PMS among patients who suffer miscarriages,
- Irregular length of time between ovulation and first day of the next period.
The actual biological causes that lead to a miscarriage include the following treatable conditions:
- Ovulation disorders are associated with 40% of miscarriages. These disorders include immature follicles at the time of ovulation.
- Endometriosis, an inflammation of the uterus lining cells, is often found in women who miscarry. In a study with 192 patients with a previous history of spontaneous abortion, endometriosis was found in 85.4% of them (when using a “near contact” laparoscopic method of detection),
- Insufficient progesterone levels.
How can the underlying causes of spontaneous miscarriage be diagnosed? The first step is charting. Charting your cycle with the help of a Creighton professional will allow a NaProTECHNOLOGY Medical Consultant to identify the possible cause and treat it accordingly. In many cases, the appropriate hormone treatment is successful. In some cases, the diagnosis and removal of endometriosis will be required and substantially reduce the risk of miscarriage.
As many as 1 in 7 women suffers from postpartum depression, according to a study published in the May 2013 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Psychiatry.
How is postpartum depression (PPD) defined? It is a major depression that usually starts within the four weeks following the delivery of a baby. The severity and duration of this illness vary widely. Symptoms include depression, anxiety and panic, crying, fatigue, insomnia, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, change in appetite, feelings of helplessness, agitation and suicidal thoughts.
A rarer, more severe form of PPD, Postpartum Psychosis (PPP), includes symptoms such as serious delusions, hallucinations, rapid mood swings, and obsessive ruminations about the baby. PPP may occur in only 1-2 cases per 1,000 live births, and is usually seen in women with a tendency toward major depression or psychosis. It usually begins one to two days after childbirth. PPP is a psychiatric emergency that requires hospitalization for the safety of the mother and the child.
Because of the type of symptoms seen in PPD, mothers are often referred to mental health professionals for diagnosis and treatment. Psychotherapy can help but is expensive and not always readily accessible. Anti-depressants are also often prescribed, but they are generally not recommended with breastfeeding. Anti-depressants can take four to six weeks to take effect and must be continued for 16 to 20 weeks after the symptoms disappear.
Strong evidence indicates that PPD is related to a deficit in hormones after the birth of the baby. Studies conducted by the NaProTECHNOLOGY Research Center demonstrate that a progesterone treatment results in a marked improvement in 81% of the cases treated, and some improvement for another 11%. The results were often dramatic, as patients recovered a sense of peace within a short period. The treatment usually takes effect rapidly and lasts less than two months. It is also allowed with breastfeeding.