Blood-sugar, Hormones and Fertility

Blood Sugar

As you’ve probably already learned, your diet has everything to do with your fertility. Let’s explore more about why your blood-sugar levels matter. It is well established that irregular blood-sugar, insulin resistance and diabetes have a negative effect on fertility outcomes for all involved so it is very important that we address this head on.

How to Identify if you have Blood-Sugar Issues

Many of us have trouble with blood-sugar levels without really knowing it, and these can cause physiological problems well before your test results will lead your doctor to inform you that you are at risk of developing diabetes. Once you get to this stage, you’re well down the path of disease development.

You are likely to be pre-disposed to blood-sugar problems if you have:

  • A family history of Type 2 diabetes.
  • PCOS.
  • Experienced gestational diabetes with a previous pregnancy. 

You are likely to be struggling to control your blood-sugar levels if you suffer from any of the following:

  • Eat a predominantly carbohydrate diet.
  • Have energy slumps in the afternoon.
  • Get regular headaches.
  • Crave sugary foods, cordial or fizzy drinks, chocolate or carbs.
  • Have energy drinks, colas or coffee to give you a lift.
  • Easily become ‘hangry’ (angry when you’re hungry), shaky, or faint.
  • Faint or foggy-brained.
  • Have an ‘apple’-shaped body

How to Blood-Sugar Issues Affect My Fertility?

Blood-sugar issues not only lead to an increased risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia and some cancers, your blood-sugar is directly related to many causes for suboptimal reproductive health and infertility as well. There are a number of ways your blood-sugar can create problems with your fertility including impacting your hormonal imbalance and creating inflammation. The good news is that this is totally within your control! What you put in your mouth dictates what happens to your blood-sugar levels on a biochemical level.

Carrying extra weight negatively affects your fertility. In fact, one of the main suspected causes of impaired fertility related to weight is the underlying issue of insulin resistance, affecting hormone expression and inflammation. This can lead to compromised ovulation and egg quality, and impaired sperm production. Not only will managing your blood-glucose levels through diet and exercise help you to lose the extra kilograms but getting your blood-sugar and insulin sensitivity under control will improve your hormones and fertility.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you’re not overweight that your blood-sugar is spot on. If you tend to crave sweet, sugary or carbohydrate-rich foods, get shaky or irritable if you are late eating or miss a meal then this is still highly relevant for you.

Do I have blood-sugar issues if I only get sugar cravings before my period? 

Many people experience a particular increase in cravings for sugar and chocolate when they are pre-menstrual. Of course, hormones play a role here, and following our advice on balancing your hormones usually helps with these premenstrual sugar cravings. But just as importantly, managing your blood sugar fluctuations by following the dietary recommendations here will also help to improve your premenstrual symptoms, plus benefit your early pregnancy outcomes should you happen to have conceived in that cycle. 

Sugar and stress

Eating excess sugars and refined carbohydrates can also contribute to higher stress levels. Blood-sugar spikes trigger your adrenal glands to produce higher levels of cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone. A common experience when ‘quitting sugar’ is one of improved stress tolerance and relaxation, plus broader benefits such as concentration and productivity. Higher levels of cortisol can adversely impact your fertility, so breaking the sugar habit is crucial in improving your fertility when you have blood-sugar issues.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Some people with weight problems and insulin-resistance issues find they are diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS. This is the most common endocrine disorder affecting female fertility, with 8-13% of women of reproductive age having the syndrome. (1) It seems to have a significant genetic component, and you are likely to find your mother, sisters, aunts or cousins have similar symptoms, or that you have a family history of Type 2 diabetes. But there is no need to despair if you’ve been diagnosed. Successful management of PCOS is something we regularly achieve in our practice, very often resulting in improvements in symptoms and successful pregnancy within months of treatment. 

Common symptoms of PCOS include long or absent menstrual cycles, acne, male-pattern hair growth, weight gain especially around the abdomen and upper body (the apple shape), and a tendency to crave sugar and carbohydrate-heavy foods. PCOS is diagnosed via ultrasound to confirm the presence of multiple cysts on the ovaries, taking a patient history to determine irregular or absent periods and related hormonal signs and symptoms, and blood tests to confirm high testosterone (or symptoms like acne and hirsutism). You only need two out of these three criteria to be diagnosed with PCOS – you don’t have to have multiple cysts on the ovaries to have PCOS.(2)

Being a ‘syndrome’ rather than a ‘disease’, symptoms and test results vary from person to person. It is not uncommon for someone thin with irregular cycles to be diagnosed with PCOS, or for someone with irregular cycles and multiple cysts to show normal blood-glucose and hormone levels. Clinically, we often find these people present with some of the other secondary symptoms (hair growth, acne), and respond well to breaking their sugar addiction with a low carbohydrate diet. These individuals are often told they have polycystic ovaries, but without the syndrome (PCO). 

It’s important to remember that every person with multiple cysts and ovulation problems can have a different presentation, and it is unlikely you would have all the signs and symptoms commonly listed. 

The signs and symptoms of PCOS 

  • Infrequent ovulation and irregular, prolonged or absent menstrual cycles.
  • Subfertility and fertility issues.
  • Weight gain, especially associated with abdominal fat deposition, but just as often under or normal weight women can present with PCOS. Weight and body shape changes after stopping the oral contraceptive pill are common.
  • Excess dark body hair around the nipple, chest, belly, chin and upper lip. 
  • Hormonal acne. 
  • Poor blood-glucose control with frequent cravings for carbohydrates and sugary foods.

What makes a person susceptible to PCOS?

Unfortunately, you may feel as if your biology is working against you. PCOS is more likely if you have a family history of Type 2 diabetes or if your mother had gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with you. You are also at increased risk of developing gestational diabetes once pregnant and Type 2 diabetes later in life. But it’s important to remember that you have some control of your health outcomes at the end of the day. The tools available to you to learn to help manage your PCOS symptoms and improve your fertility will also benefit your health long term and reduce your risk of developing disease later in life.

For more information or to get help managing PCOS generally, or for fertility and / or pregnancy care

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References

  1. Teede HJ, Misso ML, Costello MF, et al. Recommendations from the international evidence-based guideline for the assessment and management of polycystic ovary syndrome. Hum Reprod. 2018;33(9):1602-1618. doi:10.1093/humrep/dey256.
  2. Fritz MA, Speroff L. Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility. 8th edn. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams
    & Wilkins; 2011.

Free 10 minute Introduction Consults

Free 10 minute introduction consults, Fertile Ground Health Group, The Melbourne Apothecary

We believe that bodies and minds thrive when given the right ingredients. We are dedicated to boosting our community wellbeing and this is why our brilliant team of practitioners offer free 10-minute introduction consults on rotation, so that you have access to expert care.

These sessions are designed as an introduction to what is possible whilst working with your chosen practitioner.  They are a great way to virtually meet and discus your needs to see how they can help your individual circumstances, fertility and health care needs. You will , of course, be referred if they think another practitioner will better suit your needs.

With health and fertility, there is endless possibility, multiple angles for fine tuning and a plethora of ways to start to feel better. We want to help you feel your radiant vitality shining through.

Click on each modality to find your practitioner

Acupuncture

Registered Acupuncturist – Meghan Smith
Registered Acupuncturist & Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioner – Kiah McGowan

Coaching

Buteyko breath coach / Financial Health Coach – Carly Woods

Counselling

Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor – Suzanne Hurley
Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor, Accredited Mental Healthcare Social Worker – Chanel Keane

Naturopathy

Senior Fertility Naturopath – Charmaine Dennis
Senior Fertility Naturopath – Gina Fox
Senior Fertility Naturopath & Nutritionist – Georgia Marrion
General health & Postpartum/Postnatal Naturopath – Shantini Iyngkaran
General health & Skin Health Naturopath – Lucy Moores

Register for your free 10 minute Introduction Consult

Simply head to our bookings page, navigate to Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Counselling, Coaching or Midwifery and choose ’10-minute Free Acupuncture/Naturopathy/Counselling/Coaching/Midwifery Introduction TELEHEALTH’

Note: If you are interested in fertility, IVF support or trying to conceive, please book with a Fertile Ground naturopath. For general health concerns and questions, please book with a Melbourne Apothecary naturopath or nutritionist.

ACUPUNCTURE

Meghan Smith

Registered Acupuncturist

 

Meghan Smith Fertile Ground Health Group Acupunctdure

Meghan Smith is a registered Acupuncturist with a Bachelor of Health Science (Acupuncture) from Endeavour College in Perth, Western Australia. 
 
Meghan first fell in love with Chinese Medicine after being faced with her own health challenges in her early twenties, which inspired her to re-evaluate a career in design and pursue her fascination for Chinese Medicine. From the beginning she found herself drawn to helping women and individuals trying to conceive, throughout pregnancy, labour/birth and into parenthood. 
 
Meghan is passionate about assisting people through the major transition of becoming parents, in particular educating new parents or parents to be about the importance of postnatal care during the fourth trimester, also known as Zuo Yuezi. 
 
Before relocating to Melbourne, Meghan worked in a fertility focused clinic in Perth, WA, supporting individuals and couples going through Assisted Reproductive Technology and IVF. Meghan emphasises the importance of acupuncture alongside IVF treatment following evidence-based treatment planning to optimise outcomes with her patients whilst focusing on providing emotional support and stress relief too. 
 
Meghan is a knowledgeable and confident acupuncturist with a great skill for putting her patients at ease during acupuncture. She is passionate about continued learning and has plans for further education in birth and postnatal support to continue to be able to educate and empower her patients at a high level.
 
Aside from fertility and IVF support and reproductive health generally, Meghan is also passionate about preventing illness and burnout. She loves to provide support to people who suffer from auto-immune conditions, digestive issues, mental health, anxiety, fatigue or immune support when feeling out of balance. Meghan’s evidence-based treatment plans will often be combined with Chinese diet therapy and other advice to help patients maintain harmony and general health.
 
Meghan is a caring and empathetic practitioner who understands the challenges people face when trying to conceive and is dedicated to provide a welcoming and safe space for all her patients.
Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Registered Acupuncturist, Meghan by navigating to Acupuncture / Chinese Medicine  > 10-minute Free Acupuncture Introduction TELEHEALTH

 

Kiah McGowan

Registered Acupuncturist & Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioner

 

Kiah McGowan, Fertile Ground Health Group, The Melbourne Apothecary, Cosmetic acupuncture, acupuncture

Kiah McGowan is a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner who completed studies at University of Technology, Sydney, as well as at the Chengdu University of TCM in China. In their 4 years of practice, Kiah has developed a deep understanding and respect for holistic health, and treating people as whole beings rather than just their symptoms. Their goal is to cultivate a space where you feel valued, heard, and supported in your journey toward balance.

Kiah has a personal passion for mental health – initially finding Chinese Medicine in their teenage years as relief for anxiety and insomnia, they now find it incredibly fulfilling to help those struggling with stress, depression, anxiety and sleep issues. Kiah quickly began to discover their fascination with female reproductive health early in to their studies, and enjoys seeing people along their journey through all aspects of hormonal health: from regulating hormones and cycles, promoting optimal fertility and conception, assisting during pregnancy, supporting mothers through the postnatal phase and the transition to menopause. Kiah also provides Cosmetic Acu-facials, having developed a signature combination of traditional Chinese facial tool massage and cosmetic acupuncture to enhance the skin’s natural radiance.

Kiah is your go-to general health acupuncturist, employing holistic approaches for all health concerns, including common conditions such as muscular pain or tension, fatigue, and digestive issues. Kiah has special interests in areas of hormonal health (from balancing cycles, to fertility, pregnancy and menopause), mental health (stress, anxiety, depression and sleep), and offering rejuvenating cosmetic acu-facials for radiant skin. Kiah is committed to nurturing a sense of understanding and self-awareness within all their clients, so that they may recognise the ways their body speaks to them through their symptoms.

Kiah loves to balance the ancient intricacies of Chinese Medicine with their love for modern science and research, and enjoys practicing in an evidence-based manner. Kiah believes in empowering individuals on their path to health, both inside and outside the acupuncture room. They do this through creating highly structured treatment plans which highlight weekly at-home self care tasks, so that patients can take an active role in their healing journey.

Ready to get your journey started and find out if acupuncture can help you? Book your free 10-minute Acupuncture introduction consult with Kiah by navigating to Acupuncture > 10-minute Free Acupuncture Introduction TELEHEALTH.

 

 

COACHING

Carly Woods

Buteyko breath coaching for total health / Financial health coaching for women

Carly Woods Buteyko Breath Coaching / Financial Health Coaching

Buteyko Breath Coaching with Carly for total health

Carly is passionate about teaching people simple and powerful ways to be able to regulate their nervous systems and enhance healing using Buteyko breathing therapy and Naturopathic lifestyle support, because these are foundational aspects that have been so profoundly transformative to her own health. Carly believes in making health fun, engaging, and practical. She loves to give you simple tools to help resolve your stress and anxiety, optimise your respiratory health, enhance your sleep and soothe your digestion.

Begin to experience the effects of healthier breathing ahead of time by accessing Carly’s Free Buteyko Breathing Starter Pack. Maximise your healthy life by rewiring the patterns of your respiratory tract, nourishing your nervous system, resting easy with better sleep and easing your digestion by using these simple Buteyko breathing techniques.

Financial Health & Business Coaching for women who want to take more control of their lives

Carly is co-director of Fertile Ground Health Group and The Melbourne Apothecary alongside her partner, Charmaine Dennis. To say that Carly is obsessed with empowering women financially and contributing to the uplift and wealth cultivation of women in our community for the betterment of the planet and all life on it, would be an understatement.

Carly helps women identify what stage they’re at, where they want to be, and develops strategies to help them get there. Carly coaches on everything from the foundations of money management (budgeting and assessment for present and future),  to options to grow your wealth leveraging the capacity of your money to make money on itself (and how to stop trading your time for money), to getting more out of your superannuation for long term security, money mindset (understanding your unconscious money behaviours and blocks), business growth techniques (marketing, engagement and evaluation), personal growth tools to help you polish your capacity for change, and even offers education about how to invest in the stock market according to your ethics and values for long term gain and asset diversification.

Carly wants to first empower women to satisfy their own financial needs then secondly, to help women make MUCH MORE MONEY so they can feel safe enough financially to take chances and bold action toward creating a better world in the ways they feel inspired to. Access Carly’s free 30 minute talk – “How to Make More Money

Read more about Carly and book in for a free 10-minute introduction consult with Buteyko breath coach / Financial health coach, Carly by navigating to Coaching  > 10-minute Free Coaching with Carly Introduction TELEHEALTH

COUNSELLING

Chanel Keane

Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor

Accredited Mental Healthcare Social Worker

 

Chanel Keane Fertile Ground Health Group Counsellor

Chanel Keane is an accredited mental health social worker and counsellor with 23 years experience in private practice and a variety of community based and health care settings. She is passionate about being a counsellor – particularly the therapeutic benefits her clients experience of being heard and engaged in a human relationship that is respectful, safe, honest, and focused on their needs and resolution of their struggles.

Throughout Chanel’s counselling and social work career she has been dedicated to supporting women through many life challenges particular to women. This includes experiences with infertility, IVF, unplanned pregnancy, pregnancy loss and perinatal and postnatal mental health issues. She believes deeply in the importance of reproductive choice in a woman’s life and that women’s reproductive journeys are complex and can be fraught with challenges.  So often women can feel very alone and isolated in these experiences which in turn compounds some of the distress and suffering they feel.

Her engagement with clients is passionately grounded in a person centered, feminist counselling practice. Chanel respects that the lives of people are complex – your needs are diverse and always influenced by the broader social, political and economic realities in which you live. Her approach to supporting you is to listen to your experiences and needs in an open, non-judgemental and empathic way, providing counselling, information, options, advocacy and therapeutic interventions in partnership with you. She honours each person’s subjective experience of their struggles, and lived experience, exploring how these experiences intersect with their identity and sense of self.

Chanel has extensive experience  in working with people whose lives have been affected by childhood and adult trauma, mental illness, drug and alcohol dependence, sexual assault, and family violence. It is her hope that through therapy, you can develop a greater self-awareness of your emotions, thoughts, strengths and supports, and in so doing feel an improvement in your overall well-being, connection with yourself and with others.

Chanel  believes that you feelings and struggles are not signs of weakness or ill health, but are most often normal responses in trying to cope with challenging life experiences. She likes to encourage the use of diverse mediums such as creative writing or journal writing and other creative forms of expression to explore and  express your experiences.

Chanel’s employment experience includes roles at Adora Fertility, CASA House (Centre Against Sexual Assault), The Royal Women’s Hospital, Pregnancy Advisory Service (RWH), Marie Stopes Australia, Headspace, Sexual Assault Crisis Line, 1800 Respect.

Areas of counselling experience

  • Women’s mental health and well-being
  • Infertility and IVF
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy options
  • Reproductive loss
  • Parenting
  • Childhood and adult trauma
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Relationship concerns
  • Interpersonal violence
  • Grief and loss

Chanel offers face to face, phone and zoom consultations.

Medicare rebates may apply for up to 10 sessions per year – this requires you are referred from your GP or medical practitioner with a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan and have a valid medicare card. The rebate is $77.80 for Mental Health Accredited Social Workers. 

Private Health Rebates may also apply – please check with your health fund. The amount you can claim depends on your level of cover.

Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor, Accredited Mental Healthcare Social Worker, Chanel by navigating to Counselling > 10-minute Free Counselling Introduction TELEHEALTH

 

Suzanne Hurley

Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor

 

Suzanne Hurley Free 10 minute health introduction consults

Suzanne Hurley is a Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor, Supervisor & Dance/Movement Therapist. She attends to those who may be unhappy, distressed, afraid or otherwise impacted by fertility related events where additional support may be needed. She has an impressive level of expertise having worked with varying degrees of reproductive loss, including pregnancy options counsellinginfertility and IVF supportperinatal mental healthabortion counselling, parenting and with reproductive health issues. She has provided her clients with counselling, group support and presented to health professionals in various perinatal settings. Her expertise and understanding of the issues women, couples and families face when immersed in the perinatal period is highly specialised. She knows that when confronted by the unexpected you need someone by your side.

Suzanne brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience after having worked in multiple settings where perinatal mental health has been the focus of her work. This has included time on the PANDA Helpline (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia), at Carrington Health in the Community Outreach Perinatal Support Service. She spent 10yrs at The Women’s Hospital’s Pregnancy Advisory Service and other periods of time at Marie Stopes Australia National Counselling Service for unplanned pregnancy, Melbourne Pregnancy Counsellors and at Adora Fertility.

Suzanne also works at Austin Health Psychiatric Unit in the Parent Infant Program as a Dance/Movement/Play Therapist. She has also run groups Pregnant Pause and Moving Stories: explorations of the pregnant body, past present and future, through movement.

Suzanne provides clinical supervision to health professionals often working with perinatal mental health, reproductive loss, grief and infertility and in other areas of public health and community services.

In Counselling Suzanne can address:

Contemplating Pregnancy
  • Fear and worry about pregnancy, birth, baby.
  • Relationship issues including Family Violence
  • Infertility
  • IVF
  • Single women contemplating using donor sperm
  • Another baby after difficult perinatal experiences
  • Health issues
Unintended Pregnancy
  • Pro Choice, unbiased pregnancy options counselling
  • Unplanned/planned/IVF, wanted/unwanted, complexity in circumstances
  • Unplanned and unwanted with beliefs against abortion
  • Unplanned, wanted but am I sure?
  • Difficulties deciding
  • Pregnancy the result of sexual assault
  • Considering abortion later in pregnancy
  • Abortion support; pre and post
Pregnancy Support
  • Anxiety and or Depression
  • History of mental illness
  • Unhappy
  • Change of circumstances during pregnancy
  • Birth preparation
  • Foetal abnormalities
  • Harmony testing at 10wks
Life With Baby
  • Birth debriefs
  • Not enjoying your baby
  • Not feeling like yourself
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Isolation
  • Family issues
  • Postnatal Anxiety and or Depression
  • Missing work or thinking of return to work
  • Who we are as a family?
  • Who am I as a mother/father?
  • Unexpected outcomes
  • Grief and Loss
End of Reproduction
  • Who am I if I am not a mother?
  • Childless not by choice
  • Health issues impacting fertility
  • Hysterectomy counselling
  • But I wanted more children

Suzanne’s approach to counselling:

What I believe…

I firmly believe compassionate, early counselling intervention for all reproductive trauma events, including unbiased abortion support, will establish parents both today and in the future with the best possible outcomes for managing the unexpected realities for if they do, when they do and during having their babies. This can be done alone, isolated and uncertain or accompanied with honour, good humour, and grace. You get to choose…Read more about Suzanne

Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor, Suzanne by navigating to Counselling > 10-minute Free Counselling Introduction TELEHEALTH

 

 

 

NATUROPATHY

Charmaine Dennis

Senior Fertility and Oncology Naturopath 

 

Charmaine Dennis

Charmaine Dennis is a naturopath, fertility and health expert, mentor, writer, mother, and businesswoman with 20+ years of experience. She is the founding director of Fertile Ground Health Group and The Melbourne Apothecary, co-author of Create A Fertile Life and The Breakfast Project and co-creator of the Be Fertile relaxation CD series, among other health inspired projects. Her greatest gift and inspiration is making health, wellbeing, and passionate living accessible, inspiring and achievable for everyone. 

Through her own health crisis at 34 years old (a shocking and life-threatening diagnosis of acute leukaemia in 2010) Charmaine experienced first-hand immersion into the medical system.  This transformative, life-affirming, challenging time has refocused and reinvigorated her drive for good health and living life to its fullest. Undoubtedly this experience has deepened her passion for collaborative health care.

Charmaine’s naturopathic career has followed a special interest in working with people with fertility issues requiring IVF support since 1999.  She has assisted many in realising their dreams to conceive healthy, beautiful babies in collaboration with GPs and fertility specialists, acupuncturists and other health modalities. Since her own cancer experience, she can see the gaping need for more collaboration between natural and medical oncology approaches and enjoys working with people who need support for wellness and advocacy through their own cancer journey at any stage of treatment or recovery.

As well as mentoring and supervising students, naturopaths and other practitioners at Fertile Ground Health Group, Charmaine is running retreats, immersions and workshops for anyone to support their personal or business development.

Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Naturopath, Charmaine by navigating to Naturopathy – Fertile Ground > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

 

Gina Fox

Senior Fertility Naturopath

 

Free 10 minute introduction consults Gina Fox Fertile Ground

Gina Fox is a naturopath with over 20 years’ experience. She trained under Francesca Naish (author of Natural Fertility Management and Better Babies) and has a Masters in Reproductive Medicine. As well as being an experienced clinician she is a speaker, naturopathic lecturer and student clinic supervisor.

Gina is highly skilled in providing naturopathic care for women’s health issues, pre-conception health, infertility, IVF support, pregnancy care and through menopause. She treats a wide range of issues including recurrent miscarriage, thyroid, auto-immune antibodies and she has seen good results working with men to improve sperm quality. She also enjoys the post birth appointments with mother and baby, maximising wellness for the whole family and educating parents on how to manage many common childhood illnesses. Her professional approach involves working in collaboration with doctors and specialists to create an effective co-ordinated treatment.

Gina loves to help couples achieve full-term pregnancies and give birth to beautiful healthy babies. She excels at addressing underlying stressors while couples achieve their optimal fertility. Her own meditation practice led her to become a meditation instructor and co-develop the Be Fertile series of guided relaxation meditations for women around conception, IVF and pregnancy support, which is now available for free to everyone to access and download.

Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Naturopath, Gina by navigating to Naturopathy – Fertile Ground > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

Georgia Marrion

Senior Fertility Naturopath & Nutritionist

Georgia Marrion Free 10 minute health introduction consults

Georgia is a naturopath of 19 years’ experience with a Degree in Complementary Medicine and a Masters in Nutrition. Along with extensive clinical experience in reproductive health and fertility, Georgia is also an experienced writer and well regarded speaker.

Initially embarking on reproductive health as a clinical speciality following her own personal experience with sub-fertility and pregnancy complications, she has a strong curiosity and passion for supporting people who are experiencing reproductive challenges. Georgia specialises in supporting individuals and couples during their journey through preconception, conception, pregnancy and postpartum life stages.

Areas of focus  include menstrual cycle irregularities, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) , pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) and histamine issues as well as male fertility and sperm health issues.

With 2 children of her own in their primary school years, Georgia can help to expertly guide you through the early years of family health issues, and enjoys treating babies and children with recurrent infections, failure to thrive, digestive issues at all ages and any challenges that you need support with for your baby or child’s best health.

Georgia also enjoys treating women and individuals during the transition to menopause including peri-menopausal imbalances.

Her clinical approach involves supporting and guiding you to optimise your health physically, mentally and emotionally using an approach blending traditional and scientific knowledge. This is based on an integration of her many years of clinical experience with ongoing education to stay up to date with new research and treatment strategies. Along with gaining her Masters Degree, this includes post graduate mentoring and training with Rachel Arthur, Rhiannon Hardingham, Leah Hechtman, Dr Andrew Orr and The Fertility Mentoring Program (The Baby Maker Network) among others.

Georgia believes that a team approach gets the best outcomes for all. She works in close collaboration with her patients’ medical care team to ensure the most effective, appropriate evidence-based treatment plans for each individual.

Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Naturopath, Georgia by navigating to Naturopathy – Fertile Ground > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

 

Shantini Iyngkaran

General Health & Postpartum/Postnatal Naturopath

 

Shantini Iyngkaran Free 10 minute health introduction consults

Shantini Iyngkaran is a Naturopath whose practice focuses on maternal care including pre and postpartum experiences. She believes the vitality of a mother is the result of unconditional support, attuning the mother to her body and replenishing all her cups, emotionally, physically, and relationally.

She also has a special interest in gut and immune health. As someone who has struggled with her own health challenges in these areas, she approaches this with lived experience and compassion.

Shantini values time and presence in her consults as she learns about the individuals physical, spiritual, emotional, and home health. She discerns a variety of modalities, techniques, herbal, and nutritional knowledge to identify and support health needs.

Shantini brings insights to her work from her multifaceted career as a solicitor, entrepreneur, personal trainer and yoga teacher. Her multi-passionate approach to her career and life, allows her to provide a holistic and tailored naturopathic practice.

When she isn’t working at the Melbourne Apothecary, you will either find Shantini walking in nature, with her beloved pooch, Sir Waffles, creating in the kitchen, serving her local community, enjoying a matinee at the cinemas or relishing the company of her friends. She is a connoisseur of hugs, so if you feel like a warm embrace book in with her.

As someone who deeply values connection and community, Shantini is currently offering free Naturopathic 10-minute consults to help to get you started towards better health. These sessions are a chance for you to make sure the therapeutic relationship is a great fit and get clarity about what you want to achieve on your health journey.

Book your free 10-minute health consult with Shantini by navigating to Naturopathy – Apothecary General Health > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

Lucy Moores

General Health & Skin Health Naturopath

Lucy Moores, The Melbourne Apothecary, Skin Health, Naturopath, General Health, Nutrition

Book a free 10 minute introduction consult with Lucy Moores

Lucy Moores is a passionate nutritionist and naturopath dedicated to helping you achieve optimal health and wellness. She has a particular passion for helping her patients rejuvenate, protect and balance one of the largest and most exposed organs of their body – the skin. Lucy helps you not only with skin as it relates to restoring your natural healthy glow and addressing dermatological issues, but also as relates to immune health, your microbiome, your hormones and your vaginal health.

With her expertise in nutrition and naturopathy she can offer a unique perspective and comprehensive support to guide towards a balanced and vibrant life.

After dedicating 8 years of her life to studying and immersing herself in the field of natural healing, Lucy’s passion for this transformative approach to health burns brighter than ever.  As a qualified nutritionist, Lucy has a deep understanding of the vital role that proper nutrition plays in optimising well-being. Having personally experienced the challenges of autoimmune disease, she knows firsthand the impact this can have on quality of life. This personal journey ignited a passion for exploring the intricate connection between nutrition, autoimmunity and inflammation and she believes that food can be one of our most powerful medicines.

Additionally, as a qualified naturopath, Lucy combines the best of traditional healing with evidence-based natural therapies. As mentioned, Lucy has a special interest in all types of dermatological skin concerns as well as vaginal health, menstrual irregularities and general immune or inflammatory conditions.

She is passionate about collaborative health care and integrates functional testing alongside natural healing principles, enabling a comprehensive understanding of your body’s unique needs.

Lucy’s greatest joys come from witnessing transformations with her patients as they make positive changes in their lives. She provides compassionate guidance and unwavering support throughout your wellness journey, empowering you to take control and live your best life.

Lucy takes her passion beyond one on one consultations and educates and inspires the wider community through workshops and patient education. Her goal is to create awareness and empower you to gain a deeper understanding of your body and equip you with the tools to make positive changes that promote optimal health and radiant skin.

Embark on a transformative journey with Lucy to revitalise your quality of life, restore your skin from within, reclaim your vaginal and hormonal health and/or nourish your immunity!

Lucy is available via telehealth and in person.

Book a free 10 minute introduction consult with Lucy Moores by navigating to Naturopathy – Apothecary General Health > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

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Zucchini and Chilli Pepita Salad

Zucchini Salad with Josephine Cabrall from Fertile Ground Health Group

Zucchini and chilli pepita salad is a simple dish that I love for shoulder seasons where we are still having some nice days but the weather is getting colder. It’s still got a lot of freshness about it but the grilled zucchini is easier to digest than raw salad and the chilli pepitas give it some warmth. The lemon, dill and feta really get your tastebuds going.

This dish is super yummy as a BBQ side salad with just about every type of protein – fish, tofu, tempeh, chicken, red meat, falafel, chickpea or lentil burgers. If I have some leftover I often have it for breakfast on a slice of dense wholegrain bread with a poached egg on top.

Zucchinis are very high in fibre, which feeds beneficial gut bacteria and helps you to feel full and satisfied, as well as aiding healthy bowel movements. They are also very low in carbohydrate. All of these things are great for hormone balancing, general health and are compatible with a PCOS diet, if that is what you are aiming for. Being dark green in colour, they are a natural source of antioxidants and folate, making them great for fertility and pregnancy.

Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) add a good source of zinc – helpful for skin, hair, immunity, fertility and so much more.

Ingredients
  • 4 large zucchinis, sliced lengthwise
  • A large handful of pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • A pinch (or more as desired) of cayenne pepper (chilli powder)
  • Half a bunch of fresh dill, leaves picked
  • 30-40g of goat’s chevre or goat’s feta
  • Half a lemon, juiced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
Method

Brush zucchini slices with olive oil and cook them on a grill plate until soft and browned, flipping halfway. You could also roast them in a 200 degree oven on trays (don’t overcrowd the trays or they’ll go soggy before they brown).

Toast the pepitas in a fry pan with a splash of olive oil, pinch of salt and the cayenne pepper until just starting to go light brown, then remove from heat to cool on a plate.

Assemble the salad by tossing the zucchini with the dill, lemon and olive oil, crumbling the feta on top and sprinkling over the pepitas.

Want more? Download your free PCOS & diet guide, filled with delicious and healthy recipes specifically for people with PCOS – Written by Naturopath Josephine Cabrall.

Weight loss and PCOS

PCOS and weight loss with Josephine Cabrall from Fertile Ground Health Group

Weight loss improves just about every aspect of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Whilst it is often more difficult to lose weight when you have PCOS, even modest weight reductions can have a significant impact on PCOS symptoms plus reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

How do I know if I need to lose weight?

Being overweight, especially around the waist, causes insulin resistance (even if you don’t have PCOS) because fat cells release substances that mess with insulin sensitivity. This means that being overweight increases insulin levels even more, worsening PCOS signs and symptoms. In short, being overweight is bad news for PCOS.

Body mass index (BMI) is a good guide to determine if you are in the overweight range or the healthy weight range. You can calculate your BMI using a simple online calculator and plugging in your height and weight (there are many available).

How to get started on weight loss

It’s not so simple to just lose weight and if you have PCOS with insulin resistance, this can be even more difficult because insulin is a hormone that promotes fat storage. Both diet and exercise matter when it comes to weight loss but if you need to make changes in both areas, start with diet and once that is a routine for you work on your exercise routine – changing everything overnight is hard and you don’t want to set yourself up to fail.

When it comes to diet, head over here and get your copy of my free PCOS & Diet eBook. It outlines the dietary changes that have the most impact on weight loss for people with PCOS. If you check out the eBook but still need more help or have questions, you might need to work with a naturopath to work out the best diet for you as an individual.

What’s the best type of exercise for weight loss and PCOS?

There are two types of exercise that have been shown to be effective for PCOS and weight loss:

  1. Resistance training

Resistance training means moving your body against a resistance. The resistance can be your own body weight (e.g. push ups, planking or yoga) or equipment such as bands or weights. You can do resistance training at home if you’ve already got some experience with how to do it safely. If not, get help from a professional PT to ensure you adopt the correct posture and alignment, avoiding injury.

If you can’t afford a personal trainer, join a gym and ask the staff for assistance in getting your posture and alignment right on their equipment. If the gym is not your thing, join a strength yoga class such as Iyengar, Ashtanga or Vinyasa.

Resistance training is designed to build muscle mass. Increasing muscle mass has a positive effect on insulin resistance and boosts metabolism, meaning your resting metabolic rate is faster; you burn fat while at rest.

Research has shown resistance training can reduce androgens, waist circumference, body fat percentage and fasting blood glucose: all good things for PCOS. However, the best results come with doing a combination of resistance and aerobic exercise.

  1. Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise is also known as ‘cardio’ exercise and refers to any exercise that gets your heart and lungs to work faster. You breathe harder, your heart pumps faster and you work up a sweat. There are many ways to do this and lots of them are actually fun! Dancing, swimming, sex, aqua aerobics, team sports, cycling, HIIT, circuit training and jogging are just a few of them.

Beyond improving insulin resistance, aerobic exercise has many benefits. Aerobic exercise improves circulation, increases energy levels, increases endurance, reduces risk of heart disease and diabetes, reduces body fat, maintains a healthy weight, improves mood and improves sleep.

How much exercise do I need to do?

Based on the research you should do 1hr of resistance training three times weekly but you should start slowly and build up to this. On alternate days you should do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise. Have one day off per week to give your body a rest.

More is not better

If you push yourself beyond the above guidelines you run the risk of pushing your stress hormones too high, which inhibits weight loss and increases insulin.

My top 4 tips for success
  1. Get friends and family in on it

Making a time to exercise with friends or family increases your motivation and makes exercise more enjoyable. It makes you accountable for showing up. Likewise, a healthy diet, such as outlined in my PCOS & Diet eBook, is something that can be done as a family or with friends. It is a health choice that is beneficial for everyone, not just those with PCOS (if you have children they can eat the same as you, just let them eat freely of healthy carbohydrates rather than limiting their intake).

  1. Any type of exercise is better than no exercise

If all you can do today is just go for a walk then it’s better than nothing – you are still having a beneficial impact on your hormones when you exercise, even if weight loss is not achieved.

  1. Set realistic goals

If you can’t stick to a strict regime as outlined in the exercise section above, just do what you can. Any sort of increase in physical activity is better than none.

Set a goal of something you can do that is easily achievable. Once you can stick to that for 3 weeks, set a higher goal. For example, if you currently walk for 10 minutes per day, increase this to 15 minutes. Or get a pedometer and increase your daily steps by 2000 each week.

  1. Prioritise it

One of the excuses you might give yourself is that you simply don’t have time exercise and prepare food. This is when you need to sit down and make a list of all of the things that take up time in your life and prioritise which ones are going to make you the happiest. Chances are that being healthy is going to be near the top of your list.

Other things might have to take a back seat in preference of your health.
You might find that some things can be combined. For example, seeing friends and exercising could be rolled into one on some days. Preparing food and family time are other things that could be done together. How you shape your life is up to you but one thing is for sure: if you don’t prioritise time for weight loss, it won’t happen.

Need more help?

Losing weight can be really tough, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. Some great choices are personal trainer or exercise physiologist, naturopath, nutritionist, osteopath, acupuncturist and psychologist or counsellor. All of these professionals can help you tailor a plan that is most effective for you as an individual and help keep you accountable and motivated along the way.

Josephine is currently offering free 10 minute consults to everyone. These sessions give both practitioner and patient the chance to see if the therapeutic relationship is a great fit, as well as to get you started on the path to feeling better, whether that be prescriptions on the day, referral for testing, or simple extras that you can incorporate to support yourself even more. 

Book in with Josephine to get started > bookings > Naturopathy > Free 10 min consult

MA’s love letters – June 2021

MA Love Letter June 2021

We’ve been receiving MA’s monthly love letters from The Melbourne Apothecary since the beginning of 2020. These letters contain links to a variety of life enhancing freebies that our fabulous practitioners are constantly creating to help you cope during COVID and beyond.

The letters are also a fantastic and charismatic resource that share all the goings on within both The MA and Fertile Ground. So we thought we’d best share them with you here so that you can join in and receive the monthly intel from our delightful and ever wisdomous MA. Please enjoy.

Hello and a wonderful crisp sunny June to you!

I feel really thrilled to write to you this month (ahem – I feel thrilled every month actually because I just LOVE connecting with you about my favourite thing – health 🥳 ). I have 3 fabulous things to share.

Free preconception series
Firstly, this month Sage King, one of our expert fertility Naturopaths, has put together a 6 part article series designed to help you navigate your fertility journey and create your Fertility Plan. And what a wealth of information this is. I have had the privilege of sneak peeking a couple of Sage’s articles and I can tell you they are off ⚓️ the ⚓️ hook ⚓️ with information about options to proceed and succeed when creating your healthy family 💕

The way Sage writes is so comprehensive AND YET so digestible and clear. Find out more about what this series covers and then go ahead and register to receive all the freebies.

👉Sign up here for the Free Preconception series

World Environment Day
Saturday the 5th of June is World Environment Day 💕 🌏 💕 This day is designed to encourage awareness and action for the protection of the environment – which is SO glorious!🦚🐍🦧🦩🦥🕸🦜🐊🦓🦔🦙🐇🦕

I recently watched David Attenborough’s latest film, ‘A Life on This Planet’. It was completely motivating and deeply eye opening  👀  beyond the level that my plant farming, naturopathic, chemically free, environment loving eyes have been opened before…

The result? We started a Sustainability Action Group at Fertile Ground and The MA – SAG for short (because SAGging is what my heart ♥ does when I think of the health of our planet and what will happen if we, personally and as a community, don’t take greater responsibility for our daily actions that contribute to the devastation of this world).

Fertile Ground and The Melbourne Apothecary already have deep values of sustainability and supporting climate action ✨ 🌏 💓 however after watching this film📽we stirred into even greater action to identify all the ways that we must DO BETTER in the clinic – our revised mission being helping people to make healthy babies — AND a healthy planet for them to live on!

So please see our MA instagram posts to check out what we’re identifying and changing in the clinic to do better ourselves, and perhaps you’ll find some motivation and inspiration therefor things you can do at home to help healthify the planet even more too♥️

Food cravings?
The third thing I want to touch on is food cravings. It’s lockdown again here in Melbourne, and if you’re a person you are likely feeling emotions about that.😧😪😶😡😩🤨🧐🤯

Many of us use food as an emotional buffer🧀🌭🍕🥖🍔🥞🍫🍷

When things get a bit emotionally intense (hello the last 1+ years of COVID…)it’s a good idea to get some support around healthy eating ESPECIALLY if you know that you have a relationship with food that you’d like to change for the better, or one that becomes topsy turvy during stress.

Read this bang on article from Jane Holland, our MA holistic nutritionist, all about diving under the surface of food cravings. Remember that Jane is available for free 10 minute consults to you if you want to connect with her and find out how you can begin to create a healthier relationship with your food.

Read Food Cravings – what are you really craving? With Nutritionist, Jane Holland

Love & Wooly Jackets
Your MA💕

MA’s July 2021 love letter

July 2021 Love Letter

Welcome to MA’s July 2021 Love Letter. We’ve been receiving MA’s monthly love letters from The Melbourne Apothecary since the beginning of 2020. These letters contain links to a variety of life enhancing freebies that our fabulous practitioners are constantly creating to help you cope during COVID and beyond.

The letters are also a fantastic and charismatic resource that share all the goings on within both The MA and Fertile Ground. So we thought we’d best share them with you here so that you can join in and receive the monthly intel from our delightful and ever wisdomous MA. Please enjoy.

Hello hello,

I hope this July 2021 love letter finds you healthy, warm and feeling loved. Word on my MA vine is that there are 2 wonderful projects beginning to blossom in our town. I would love to invite you to be a part of either one in whatever capacity you like.

These projects really align with my desire to help to enrich our community, enhance collaboration, and support sustainability (because as I’m sure you’re aware, there is no Planet B).

Project 1 – Brilliantly Upcycled Beautiful Baby Apparel
(or BUBBA for short)

This is an initiative brought to you by the wonderful minds of the Fertile Ground Health Group team. The way it works is that everyone is welcome to bring in and donate any beautiful baby apparel that they no longer need (for newborns – apparel to suit up to 12 month old babies). This apparel will all then be available for any patients of Fertile Ground to take and use for their budding family.

This is an opportunity for you to either share apparel you no longer need, or receive lovely new baby apparel with and from people who not only share your health values but have also likely shared some similar struggles as you too.

By being a part of this initiative in any way you will be contributing not only to a circular economy (less waste), but also to rampant happiness on all sides.

If you would like to donate baby apparel, please drop it into the reception team at Fertile Ground when you’re next nearby. Feel free to write a little love note to accompany your clothes – we will be sure to pass it on.  And if you’d like to pick up free upcycled baby apparel for your growing family, please ask at Fertile Ground’s reception when you’re next in too.

Project 2 – Shared Holistic Health Library

You may have noticed the gorgeous library of health, fertility and self help books that lives on the wall of the upstairs waiting room at Fertile Ground. 

Did you know that it’s a shared library? Meaning – you are most welcome to take a book or two, read them and bring them back/keep them when you’re done. You’re also welcome to add any health / fertility / pregnancy / baby / self help related books you have at home that you wish to recirculate into the community. Take a wander through the Holistic Health Library next time you’re in.

Love & Snowflakes

Your MA 💕

Magic green sauces

Josephine Cabrall at Fertile Ground Health Group

We all know veggies are good for our health but who really feels like eating salads in the middle of Winter? The solution? Delicious baked Winter veg made interesting with magic green sauces! Green sauces are herbaceous, full of flavour and packed with immune boosting antioxidants and vitamin C. A little garlic adds a bang to the flavours whilst keeping those winter bugs away. Green sauces are a tasty way to sneak in some extra greens and jazz up roast veggies to make sure you are meeting your vegetable quota.

The best thing about green sauces is that you be sure to use up all of those half bunches of herbs that would otherwise sit and wilt in the fridge. They never have to go to waste again because there is no wrong or right way to make a green sauce – just throw in whatever you have and blend! Some guidelines are good to get you started though, and after some practice you can just use your instinct. Here are our favourites:

Rocket pesto

This twist on regular basil pesto is great for getting the digestion going as rocket has that gentle bitter quality to it. The bitterness is balanced out by the other ingredients though, making it a flavour party for your palate. Top any roast veg with it, such as sweet potato, cauliflower, eggplant, zucchini, pumpkin, beetroot, carrot, parsnip, fennel or red capsicum. If you chop the veg into bite sized pieces you can easily toss them into a salad with some green leaves and add the pesto on top as a wonderful dressing. A dollop of rocket pesto on top of your scrambled eggs is also wonderful.

  • 1 small garlic clove
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 25g pine nuts, walnuts or cashews very lightly toasted in a dry frypan or in the oven
  • 50g rocket
  • 1 bunch of basil
  • 25g Parmesan, finely grated (optional)
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 125ml cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
Salsa verde

This classic Italian green sauce goes wonderfully with any roast veg but also on fish, chicken, poached eggs or steak. You can swap the mint out for fresh coriander or rosemary as you please.

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2-1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil
  • 1 handful of fresh mint
  • 1 small handful of capers
  • 6 anchovy fillets
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 8 tablespoons cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
Zhoug

This Middle-Eastern version of pesto is traditionally made with green chilli and is quite hot. Its a wonderful winter warmer but feel free to modify the heat level or omit the chilli. You can also add lemon zest if you like a more punchy flavour. Zhoug is magical with roast pumpkin and labne, over roast eggplant and cauliflower, or on meatballs, felafels or boiled eggs.

  • 4 jalapeño chillis
  • 4 cloves garlic (peeled)
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander (leaves and stalks but be sure to wash the sand out thoroughly)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste

Green Tahini

This sauce is addictive so consider making a double batch to keep in your fridge and spread over everything. Goes well drizzled on roast veg, roast chicken, felafel or on toast.

  • 150ml tahini
  • 70ml lemon juice
  • 150ml water
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 30g (or one handful) flat-leaf parsley leaves (you could also use coriander or a combination of both)
  • salt to taste

Chimichurri

This Argentinian green sauce with its dominant parsley and garlic flavour is an excellent sauce or marinade for meat and vegetables, or can be used as a condiment to spice up just about anything you can imagine.

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems removed
  • salt to taste

Written by Josephine Cabrall, Naturopath and Natural Fertility Educator at Fertile Ground Health Group. Josephine is a respected fertility practitioner with a special interest in PCOS treatment.

Find out more about Josephine and how she can help you.

How acupuncture helps PCOS

Written by Merna El Chaaban, FGHG acupuncturist

Do you have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)? Or have you recently been diagnosed with PCOS and are confused with what that means?

You’re not on your own. PCOS affects 12-20% (1) of women and for many cases women remain undiagnosed.

What is PCOS?
Many women will have polycystic ovaries (PCO) identified on an ultrasound but not all will have PCOS.

You may be asking yourself “what is the difference between PCO and PCOS?”

Many women may just have polycystic ovaries and have no other symptoms of the disorder. Though a pelvic ultrasound may reveal 12 or more cysts on one or both ovaries, women with PCO can ovulate and don’t have the other symptoms that go with the syndrome, PCOS.

PCOS is a common hormonal condition. There are a number of symptoms that the syndrome is based on, which can include:

  • Increased androgens, which may result in increased hair growth, acne or increased blood testosterone levels
  • Insulin resistance meaning your body struggles with regulating your blood glucose levels. This can lead to weight gain or women struggling to lose weight and keep it off.

Having PCOS may also mean that you do not ovulate and your periods may be irregular or absent. Some women only have one period a year, and in some cases it is not until women start to try to conceive that they begin questioning why things are not going to plan. It may simply be because they are not releasing an egg and ovulating regularly.

What can be done to help PCOS?
If you are trying to conceive it is important to understand that having PCOS doesn’t mean that you will not be able to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy. There are a number of ways you can help your body and manage your condition. This includes lifestyle and dietary changes.

One of the most common patterns of PCOS in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is phlegm and dampness. From a TCM perspective this describes the cysts and symptoms present which can include being tired, difficulty losing weight, heaviness, bloating, swelling and fluid retention in feet and ankles, slow metabolism, dizziness and poor appetite. Your acupuncturist will ask about your symptoms in detail.

The TCM diagnosis always takes into consideration the symptoms that manifest in every individual, as we understand that not everyone is the same and this is why TCM can be a great way to tailor each treatment to every individual person. What works for one person may not work for another and no two people are the same.

Now that you have this information, what can you do? Here is how acupuncture may be able to help:

1. It is a great way to naturally regulate your hormones (2)

2. Can induce ovulation by selecting specific points along the body which have a direct effect on the uterus and ovaries (2)

3. Assists in reducing your cravings, i.e. If your blood glucose levels drop throughout the day it can result in sweet cravings (3)

4. Supports metabolism and regulating your appetite. If you have a lack of an appetite this can affect your weight management as your metabolism maybe sluggish. When you have an appetite this is a great way to know your body is on track (4)

5: Chinese herbal medicine generally complements the use of acupuncture, a great way to support your body in targeting all your individual symptoms.

What to expect with acupunture treatments

When you see your highly qualified acupuncturist, a thorough assessment and TCM diagnosis will be prepared for you. In accordance with research based treatment guidelines, weekly acupuncture sessions may be needed as part of your treatment plan.

You should allow yourself a period of up to three months or more to help regulate your body. Remember that this condition has probably been years in the making and hormonal conditions cannot be regulated overnight, however, you may start noticing improvements right away.

The main role of Acupuncture is to encourage blood flow through the uterus and ovaries (5). This is performed by placing needles along different points in the body that correspond to different channels and organs. Your body responds to the stimulation of the points. In some cases there maybe blockages that need to be released.

Acupuncture for PCOS is generally placed in the abdominal region as well as hands and legs. Depending on your symptoms and where you are in your cycle these points may vary.

Understanding and listening to your body is vital for a good outcome. Your body is your most important asset. At times your body sends you signals that something isn’t right and when you have a better understanding of your condition, things start to make more sense and you can begin to relate the symptoms that you have been experiencing to your diagnosis of PCOS. Your acupuncturist will help to explain what is happening for you and provide you with tools to support your health outside the treatment room. Remember that although it can take a while, acupuncture can help to shift the hormonal imbalance underlying PCOS, so the sooner you can begin your commitment to the treatment the sooner you can reap the benefits.

Merna El Chaaban, FGHG acupuncturist

Merna colour

Merna is an experienced acupuncturist and traditional Chinese herbal medicine practitioner. She has developed a passion for treating women’s health and fertility as well as supporting women during pregnancy. Merna aspires to assisting women and men of all ages by providing healthcare advice to people seeking a holistic approach and acknowledges that your body is your most important asset. She is committed to supporting you through the journey of life.

References

(1)Boyle J, Teede H J, 2012,Polycystic ovary syndrome An update, https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2012/october/polycystic-ovary-syndrome/,RACGP Volume 41, No.10 October2012,Pages 752-756.

(2)Huang ST, Chen AP, 2008,Traditional Chinese medicine and infertility. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18460933,Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol, PubMed.

(3)Stener-Victorin E, Kokosar M, Maliqueo M, Sazonova A, Johan Behre C, Hojlund K, Benrick A, Tivesten A, Ohlsson C,2015,Repeated Acupuncture Treatments Increases Whole Body Glucose Uptake and Decrease Circulating Testosterone in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

http://press.endocrine.org/doi/abs/10.1210/endo-meetings.2015.RE.7.THR-099,Endocrine Society

(4)[ Zhou JY, Zhang XY, Yu ML, Lu SF, Chen X,2016,Effect of Transcutaneuos Acupoint Electrostimulation on Serum Sex Hormone Levels and Expression of Ovarian Steroid Hormone Metabolic Enzymes in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Rats],https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27141614,Zhen Ci Yan Jiu, PubMed

(5)Johansson J1, Redman L, Veldhuis PP, Sazonova A, Labrie F, Holm G, Johannsson G, Stener-Victorin E., 2013,Acupuncture for ovulation induction in polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial,Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, PubMed