In the good ole’ days, fertility experts believed that the only factor that determined ovarian and egg quality was age. Based on newer studies, we now know that is not true… And many of us with PCOS know from personal experience that that’s not the case!
To be perfectly honest, I’d never given much thought to my egg quality until recently. Even though I have PCOS, I had always assumed that, since I was young and relatively healthy, my eggs were young and healthy too. It was not until our egg retrieval during IVF, when I learned that my eggs were poor in quality, that I even considered them at all… Ironic, since our eggs are obviously crucial to fertility.
There are several factors that impact egg quality and ovarian health, including environmental factors, hormones in the diet, and stress. Since egg quality plays such a huge role in our fertility, it’s important for us to protect the eggs that we have, through diet, herbs, supplements, and increased circulation to the reproductive system.
The cycle of an egg is about 90 days, so anything we do to help support our ovaries and eggs needs to be done for at least 90 consecutive days if it is going to have any chance of being effective.
So, here are the factors that can affect our egg quality:
1) Blood Flow and Proper Oxygenation
Oxygen-rich blood flow to the ovaries is essential for our eggs’ health. In order to ensure that we are getting both adequate blood flow and proper oxygenation, we can do the following:
- Drink LOTS of water… the more, the better! Dehydration can cause the blood to become thick, which decreases circulation in the body.
- Exercise. This increases blood flow and improves oxygenation.
- Get abdominal or fertility massage (massage of the uterus and ovaries.) Start the day after your period has ended, and continue all month long, about 4 times per week. Click here to learn more about this, and to learn how to give yourself a fertility massage.
2) Hormonal Balance
Hormonal balance is necessary because if the hormones are out of balance, the eggs may not respond, and ovulation may not occur. Many of us with PCOS are painfully aware of this!
- Follow a proper fertility diet. If you have PCOS, follow a proper PCOS diet.
- Avoid xenohormones. Don’t drink out of or microwave out of plastic. Avoid toxins and chemicals, in favor of natural, homemade products instead.
- Consider using Maca, which helps control estrogen in the body, and increase progesterone (and progesterone is essential for a viable pregnancy.) You can use Maca in powder or capsule form.
- Utilize essential oils to your advantage. I use Young Living essential oils, and they have been life changing for me, for my family, and for our TTC journey!
Simply put, our eggs depend on our diets in a HUGE way! Here are some top foods for egg health:
- Royal Jelly (should be taken daily)
- Broccoli (cooked)
- Dark, leafy veggies (I also supplement with Young Living’s Multigreens)
- Sesame seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
***It is important to avoid non-organic meats, as the added hormones can throw ours out of balance. Also, if you have PCOS, you may want to consider cutting out gluten and/or dairy.
Supplements can also play a key role in improving egg quality. At the very least, we may want to consider taking the following:
- Prenatal multivitamin
- CoQ10 (improves egg health and fertilization rates. One of the main ingredients in OmegaGize, one of my favorite supplements.)
- L-arginine (shown to increase ovarian response, endometrial receptivity, and pregnancy rates in IVF patients, when taken in large quantities)
- Young Living’s OmegaGize, or something comparable.
Stress can be detrimental to fertility. Women who are under constant stress produce prolactin and cortisol, both of which can interfere with, or even prohibit, ovulation. Do what you need to do in order to reduce your stress levels. Here are some of my favorite stress releases:
- Read a book.
- Go for a walk, or do some yoga.
- Take bubble baths.
- Essential oils. Seriously, some of the best stress therapy I have found. Young Living’s Stress Away is my favorite oil in the starter kit!
Of everything on this list, the things I’ve decided to concentrate on right now are nutrition and avoiding toxins/chemicals/xenohormones. I recently cut gluten out of my diet, AGAIN! And I should probably eliminate dairy too. Buying only organic meat is difficult financially, but based on everything I’ve read, it really is necessary. I’ve also started using my own skin products and household cleaning products in an effort to avoid unnecessary chemicals.
For avoiding toxins/chemicals/xenohormones, I have found that Young Living’s Thieves line is AH-AMAZING. We have replaced literally EVERY cleaner in our home with something from the Thieves line. Dish soap, laundry detergent, DIY dryer balls, hand soap, disinfectant, floor cleaner, shower cleaner, hand sanitizier. The crazy thing about Thieves is that it provides a boost for the immune system. So every time you use it, you are not only avoiding chemicals that contain hormone disruptors, but you are also strengthening your immune system.
I’m feeling really motivated to get my health on track… eggs and all! (:
You probably noticed that I referenced Young Living products A LOT in this post, and that is because they have been so transformative in my health, and in my family’s lives. If you would like more info on them, CLICK HERE, or contact me. I love oily talk!!!