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A Case of Double Infertility

by June Butlin(more info)

listed in fertility, originally published in issue 74 - March 2002

Background

Simon and Anne, a happily married couple, were desperate to have a baby and had been trying to conceive for two years without success. A visit to the doctor and specialist revealed the reasons why. Simon was infertile having a low sperm count of 9 million/ml of semen (average is 66 million/ml) with poor sperm formation and motility.

Anne was diagnosed by laparoscopy with severe endometriosis in the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Her ovaries had swollen to the size of small apples instead of being almond size, and her fallopian tubes were blocked causing infertility. If Anne was ever to conceive she was told that she had to have a major operation, and, if this was successful, there was still no guarantee of a pregnancy if Simon's sperm count remained low and unproductive. The only advice given to Simon was not to take hot baths or wear tight-fitting jeans and underwear. The impact of this news left them both with shattered hopes and dreams.

However, a small flicker of hope occurred on a routine visit to the surgery when they met a very understanding and caring doctor who suggested that Simon tried nutritional therapy to improve his sperm count. At first Simon was dismissive as he found it hard to believe that what he ate could have such an impact. But, as no other advice was given he decided to give it a chance. He rang me and after returning his completed, comprehensive, questionnaires attended his first consultation.

Simon's Case

Simon was in reasonable health apart from being over-fat and having digestive and elimination problems causing poor food absorption. He did suffer from colds, panic attacks and insomnia and on regular occasions frightened his wife by sleepwalking. His diet diary indicated that he ate lots of foods low in nutrient value such as processed, pre-packed meals, crisps, sweets, biscuits, fried food, and white bread, and that there was not a fruit or vegetable in sight!! He drank tea, coffee, sugary drinks and his alcohol intake was above 35 units each week.

We discussed the factors that can lead to infertility such as low immunity, caffeine, alcohol and some skin-care products such as aftershave and deodorant, which can exert toxic effects when absorbed through the skin. The greatest factor, however, was chemical additives in foods, particularly xenoestrogens found in hormone-fed animal products, drinking water, plastics, pesticides and chemicals such as dioxin, organochlorine, PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) and DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), which are known to cause low sperm counts in males. We also talked about the incredible capacity of the body to heal itself if given the correct nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, phytonutrients, bioflavonoids and essential fatty acids found in wholefoods such as fruits, vegetables, oils, grains, meats and fish.

With this newfound knowledge, Simon followed a quality wholefood diet, omitting wheat, dairy and sugar, with steel determination. His treatment involved boosting his immune system, a colon and liver cleanse, eliminating lead and mercury, and an exercise and relaxation programme. Supplements taken included a multivitamin and mineral with extra vitamins C and E to support the immune system and protect the sperm from free radical damage, zinc and Panax ginseng to increase sperm formation and motility, and magnesium to help his sleep pattern.

After six months, Simon felt very well and his sperm count reached 70 million/ml with good formation and motility. The specialist was amazed at this incredible improvement and wanted to know how Simon had achieved it.

Anne's Case

Meanwhile, Anne had her operation (laparotomy) successfully, but was horrified that she had to take drugs for twelve months: gestrinone (to stop her periods and allow any other endometrial tissue to die) and zoladex (to balance the hormones). She was worried about the side effects and decided to try nutritional therapy herself. Apart from the pain and menstrual difficulties associated with endometriosis, she was suffering from an irritable bowel with symptoms of bloating and diarrhoea, candidiasis and fluctuations in energy.

Her individualized programme was designed to deal with her presenting symptoms and prevent the reoccurrence of the endometriosis. To deal with the symptoms, Anne ate a wholefood vegetarian plus fish diet, low in saturated fats and high in essential fatty acids and fibre. She omitted oranges, dairy, sugar, wheat and foods containing yeast and mould. Herbs were used to cleanse the colon and liver, and to kill the candidiasis, and beneficial bacteria powder was taken to re-establish the gut flora. This process took four months at which time Anne's health had improved.

To prevent the reoccurrence of endometriosis, we focused on reducing the high oestrogen to progesterone ratio by taking the following factors into consideration: reducing stress, raising thyroid and adrenal function, balancing blood glucose levels, increasing phytoestrogens (plant hormones), raising liver, gut and immune function and balancing nutritional deficiencies through foods containing the minerals, zinc and magnesium, and vitamins B6 and B12 which are involved in oestrogen production.

Anne's case history of candidiasis, low immunity and irritable bowel plus kinesiology tests suggested that her flare-ups of endometriosis were caused by the reabsorption of vast amounts of oestrogen back into the enterohepatic system from the gut. To fully explain: the liver's phase II pathways bind excess oestrogen to compounds, one of which is glucuronide. Glucuronide bonded to oestrogen is then secreted into the intestines via the bile for elimination. However, if there are yeast overgrowth and imbalances in the gut flora, as in Anne's case, an enzyme called glucuronidase is produced breaking the bonds and causing the release of oestrogen, which is then reabsorbed back into the enterohepatic circulation. To prevent this happening, we used an intestinal maintenance formula[1] containing garlic, Aloe vera, biotin, and butyric and caprylic acids on a daily basis, plus a special herbal formula for endometriosis called Endex.[2]

Happy Conclusion

Exactly two years and nine months after being given their diagnosis of double infertility, Anne and Simon welcomed their baby son, Jack, into the world, giving hope to other infertile couples and proving that dreams do come true.

References

1. Biocare Healthcare specialists Lakeside, 180 Lifford Lane, Birmingham B30 3NU. Tel 0121 433 3727.
2. Herbal Research PO Box 60 Royal Tunbridge Wells Kent TN2 3ZA. Tel 01892 528628.

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About June Butlin

June M Butlin PhD is a trained teacher, nutritionist, kinesiologist, aromatherapist, fitness trainer and sports therapist. She is a writer, health researcher and lecturer and is committed to helping people achieve their optimum level of health and runs a private practice in Wiltshire. June can be contacted on 01225 869 284;  junebutlin@btinternet.com

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