Unexplained infertility diagnosis
After a year or more of trying to conceive (TTC) without success you may decide it's time to go see your family doctor or a fertility specialist. This is a great idea. A Western medical professional can recommend blood work to check your hormones and imaging (an abdominal or endovaginal ultrasound) if there is reason to believe there might be a problem in your reproductive organs. Fertility clinics can also test your partner’s (if you have one) sperm to see if male factor infertility might be at play.
If something is found to be ‘abnormal’ with your test results you may be relieved to learn you now have something to work on or fix. But, for many couples, the results often come back saying that there is nothing wrong, leaving a feeling of frustration about this ‘unexplained infertility’ diagnosis.
Many of my client often find themselves asking the question: “If the Western medical system says there is nothing wrong with me, then why can't I get pregnant?”
Here is my answer for you from an East meets West perspective.
The 5 Koshas (layers of the body)
The Western medical system uses a system of inquiry and chemical tests that look only at your physical body: ie. your organs, tissues, and systems (mainly reproductive and endocrine). However, according to Eastern medicine and the yoga tradition, everyone of us has not only a physical body, but also 4 other bodies or sheaths (you can read more about it in this article from Yoga International) called Koshas.
In this model, optimal health and wellness is dependent on the proper functioning of all 5 sheaths (Koshas) and therefore infertility could be caused by a dysfunction in any of the sheaths (and not just in the physical one). Unfortunately the Western medical system does not have tests to look for dis-ease in the non-physical sheaths of the body, therefore we must turn to Eastern medicine or holistic practitioners who specialize in this domain.
Here is a summary I’ve assembled of potential imbalances or dysfunctions you may have in any given Kosha as well as what type of holistic practice/practitioner might be able to heal that imbalance.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or confused by this table, do not despair! Take some time to wrap your mind around it and let it fuel your curiosity to gather more information. Also note that yoga and meditation can help heal each sheath. This is why yoga is so transformative: because it is one practice that works on all the koshas at the same time.
Over the years I’ve noticed that many of the women who come to me for private fertility consultations seem completely overwhelmed by all the information and misinformation out there on holistic fertility practices. The number one recommendation I have for them is: work with only ONE holistic practitioner at a time. Often, there seems to be a need to do ALL the things at once- but you don’t need to do all the things: you only need to do the right thing for YOU. And sometimes determining what that 'right thing' is takes time. In the scientific method we change only one variable at a time, so we can accurately determine if that variable is giving us results. I urge you to do the same.
If you are currently TTC with an unexplained infertility diagnosis, please know that there is hope. And know that you have more options than IUI/IVF. Although natural fertility practices may not have tons of peer reviewed studies to support their effectiveness, that doesn’t mean they don’t work. There are many, many success stories out there of women who changed their diet, or lifestyle, or beliefs, and became pregnant naturally against all odds.
I spent over half my life studying the sciences, specifically physiology and neuroscience. Then, while teaching science to high school students, I developed an interest in yoga. It was the only activity I found that was able to help my migraines and debilitating anxiety. I have devoted the last decade of my life to 1) becoming a mom and 2) immersing myself in the study of yoga and Eastern medicine. Today, I am passionate about bridging together Western and Eastern sciences to better understand the reasons why many women have difficulty becoming and staying pregnant.