In my early 20’s I always joked that I was having menopausal hot flashes. I would feel my whole body begin to flush and the sweat would start dripping from my forehead. I thought I was prone to blushing. Little did I know that I was headed toward early menopause. Slowly my periods began to disappear. At the time I really thought this was great, because I didn’t need to deal with the monthly hassle. Then I began to experience other symptoms such as vaginal discharge, pimples on my previously flawless skin, dandruff and a small weird fungal rash on my chest. Yep, some pretty sexy stuff, but I didn’t think it had anything to do with my fertility, so I didn’t take the symptoms seriously. My life plan was always to get married at 25 (married my first love), have a baby at 28 and have a fabulous career too. Like many women, I wanted it all and didn’t think anything would get in my way. We started trying right away and nothing happened. I began to wonder why it was that I only got my period 2 or 3 times per year. Suddenly my lack of periods became a major red flag. What was going on with my body? I didn’t wait long until I consulted my family doctor and had my hormone levels tested. At the age of 28 I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure. Premature Ovarian Failure is the loss of function of the ovaries before age 40. I remember leaving my ObGyn’s office with the In Vitro Fertilization brochure in my hand, in shock and not really sure what just happened.
After letting the news sink in and discussing the options with my husband I immediately went into action. Looking back I didn’t take any time to grieve or really listen to what my body was trying to tell me. The signals were right in front of me. The weird health complaints like vaginal discharge, adult acne and the chest rash, but I was not yet able to connect the dots. We decided to pursue the In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) route and opted to use a donor egg I began to look at women around me and wonder why it was so easy for her to get pregnant and not me. Why had my body failed me? Not one time after my diagnosis of Premature Ovarian Failure did I think to question the diagnosis and seek alternative treatment.
Finally the donor profile arrived in the mail, about one year after we signed up. My husband and I reviewed the information and felt it was a good match. Luckily at the age of 30, I got pregnant with our daughter on our first try. I was one of the fortunate ones, and didn’t have to endure years of fertility treatments. About 1 year after my daughter was born we tried again with the frozen embryos. My son was born three years apart from my daughter with a live embryo. We were so thankful and grateful that finally, our family was complete.
Fast forward years later and my health began to suffer. Although, I could still function, my immune system was so low that I began to experience many chronic health complaints. The vaginal discharge was still there, chronic bladder infections (I became allergic to many different types of antibiotics), and chronic sinus infections (every cold I got and I had a lot of them turned into a sinus infection). I had frequent headaches, moodiness, brain fog and extreme fatigue.
After learning how food can affect our health and discovering a little known fungi called Candida, I finally decided to consider some alternative treatments. It took me over 12 years to figure out that root cause of my infertility was due to a food intolerance, that caused an overgrowth of candida in my system which lead to many other health issues. I don’t have many regrets in life, but I wish I had questioned my infertility diagnosis and had considered natural treatment options.I believe that our body will whisper to us and when we ignore the signals it will start shouting at us in the form of disease, and infertility is a disease.
I have since become a Fertility Coach, written a book and cookbook (Fabulously Fertile- Supercharge Your Fertility Naturally and Fabulously Fertile Cookbook – Real Food to Boost Fertility) and help couples make dietary and lifestyle changes that dramatically impact the chances of conception. www.fabfertile.com