THE FERTILITY STRUGGLE
Infertility……something that many of our female sistas may be familiar with. Shockingly I learned recently it affects 1 in 6 women and sadly I know 5 very close freinds and family members who have experienced it.
Last night on Channel 9 News the wonderful T-Vo (Tracy Vo) did an amazing story on the infertility struggle. Being female (well at least last time I checked I still was 😊) and having worked with many women who are on their fertility journey as a Pharmacist, and the emotional rollercoaster it takes them on, I feel it is my duty to help support these women and inspire them to be happier and healthier firstly for themselves and then their conception. It can be an isolating, lonely, sad and frustrating path that can leave even the best specialist helpless.
In this special report Tracy raised several key points that those on the fertility journey should consider including an interview with Fertility Specialist Professor Roger Hart who stated ‘that the preliminary data suggests that exposure to plastics and environmental pollutants have shown to have negative impacts on the egg and the sperm’.
Professor Hart has conducted early studies tracking couples over a number of years. These studies found exposure to chemicals, in particular phthalates (commonly known as plasticisers), in household products and makeup significantly reduced the size and number of sperm count in their male children when measured at age 20. It also revealed a similar result in girls who displayed reduced sized ovaries.
This research is hoping to prompt the need to reduce not only the female but male exposure to toxic chemicals during the preconception, conception and pregnancy stage.
So let’s put this into perspective.
By the time we step into work we could have put over 300 different chemical stressors/toxins on our body alone. A typical day could look like something this…..
You get up. Have a shower with a chemical-based body wash and wash your hair with a chemical based shampoo and conditioner. This act of ‘cleaning’ could place up to 100 different chemicals on your body. You then brush your teeth with your fluoride toothpaste, pop on your makeup which consists of over 10 different products each with their own chemical formulation. You then pop some chemical based product in your hair to style it, deodorant, and perfume before getting dressed into clothes that have been washed by a chemical washing powder. You make your bed (hopefully) and head to the kitchen, where you eat your breakfast and once done will wipe down your benches with a chemical-based spray. You head out, lock the door and get into a car that has remnants of carbon monoxide from the previous drive and a little fragrance diffuser attached to your air-conditioner vent that consists of a synthetic chemical perfume. And you’re off………
It’s shocking that the average person receives 72% of their toxin load burden from the chemicals they are exposed to in their home.
So, for women who are trying to conceive this is something they need to consider especially when some of these chemicals have a similar structure to our own hormones and may potentially be mimicking them inside their body.
I understand that the fertility journey is difficult and that wondering if things are safe is yet another stress in itself. So, rather than feeling afraid of toxins I encourage women to feel empowered that they have a choice as to what they decide to expose their body to. And although we cannot completely remove toxins from our lives, it’s about reducing the load and feeling confident knowing that every bit helps, something Professor Hart agrees with too.
So here’s my advice.
Don’t feel overwhelmed!
It’s OK, you haven’t ruined anything!
Reducing chemicals in your home is only part of the journey.
And the good thing is you can start making a difference today.
Swap out a chemical-based product once it is finished. Finishing it isn’t going to do more harm but removing everything in one go can be costly and overwhelming. So, make the change gradual, pick one product at a time and go from there.
Find healthier, plant-based alternatives that works for you. And keep it simple. Less is best, you don’t need a myriad of products. For example, I get asked all the time what is a great moisturiser to use. I recommend coconut oil, perfect to help lock in moisture and nourish the skin, has amazing anti-inflammatory properties and can help prevent stretch marks for that beautiful belly you will grow. It can also be applied to the hair as a treatment with a few drops of peppermint oil. Bonus, you also smell like a delicious cookie!
Although going free is not possible, keep your exposure minimal. Every day I stick to my natural alternatives (please note that natural ingredients although safer can still affect pregnancy such as essential oils and herbs so always seek the advice of a medical practitioner before using them), but I understand that on a big occasion I will pop a little bit of perfume on. Let’s face it no one wants to smell like a hippie in a sexy dress 😊 So balance is key, don’t let it consume you and find where you sit on the spectrum of living more natural. Whatever decision you decide to make, own it and feel confident in your decision.
I’d love to know our comments on the topic of infertility. Are you experiencing it now? Have you got a fertility journey you’d like to share.
Pop your comments below or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are experiencing issues with fertility, please speak to your medical practitioner or seek referral to a specialist. Here’s a fantastic resource to help https://www.fertilitywa.com.au/