When my husband and I decided we wanted to start a family, it was easier said than done. Like many couples, we didn't get pregnant right away, and when we did, it took several attempts for our pregnancy to make it past those crucial first weeks. I'm sure many women can share my frustration when the attempts to count days, check signs, eat right, and planning just don't pay off.
Instead of going to a doctor and getting on a drug to push my body into a state it clearly wasn't ready to be in, I decided to plug myself into the non-toxic, safe alternatives that nature has to offer to treat infertility. With that being said, infertility, miscarriages, and pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) can be caused by any number of things and infertility actually effects just as many men and women; so to keep this post on topic, I will focus on what I would consider the #1 cause of infertility in women, early miscarriage, and PMS...progesterone imbalance.
During the month women undergo vast hormonal changes that most of us aren't even aware of. During ovulation when a woman is most fertile, progesterone is at its highest. If an egg doesn't get fertilized, the progesterone level drops and a woman starts her period. It is this quick drop in progesterone that causes our men to hide from us for a few days each month.
On the other hand, if the egg gets fertilized, progesterone levels do not drop but continue to rise, a woman misses her period and baby starts developing. If a woman's progesterone levels are low, its very hard for an egg to be fertilized in the first place and can even prevent ovulation all together - thus causing infertility.
So what does progesterone have to do with miscarriages during those crucial gestation weeks (9-13)? To make things as simple as possible, progesterone is produced by something called the corpus luteum for about the first trimester. Then it is time for the placenta to take over the production of progesterone. It is often this "switch" that causes a miscarriage because the corpus luteum stops producing progesterone but the placenta doesn't pick up the task so a miscarriage occurs. Usually, if a woman has made if past her first trimester, she can be assured that the placenta took over the job and progesterone levels are where they should be.
If you are someone who has had any of the above three issues, you know it can be very frustrating, saddening, and troubling all at the same time. If you were to go to a doctor, they would recommend taking progesterone either through a shot or cream. This is un-natural to the body and often interferes with the body's ability to regulate hormone levels once a pregnancy occurs. It can also have side effects for both mother and baby. In addition, even if you get your hormone levels checked at the doctor, that doesn't mean progesterone imbalance is not the cause of your fertility problems as these hormone levels are always changing and the lab test isn't geared towards the individual person.
As someone who has experienced all three issues, I decided to search for an alternative that could FIX the progesterone issue all together and to my amazement, there was such an herb...wild yam! Wild yam has been used as a "medicine" since the time of the Aztecs and has since been used widely in Japan, Central America, and by American herbalists. Its no secret to pharmaceutical companies either - who made the first form of birth control from an ingredient called diosgenin found in these yams. It was the discovery of wild yam properties that also allowed pharma companies to produce both corticosteroids and hormones.
Now let's clear a few things up:
The biggest difference between the plant source wild yam and prescription progesterone is that the prescription version is not only a hormone, but is synthetic. In other words, its made in a lab, hard for the body to use, and most times it is given in incorrect amounts. It also doesn't fix the underlying problem of why enough progesterone isn't being produced in the first place. The body, now being overloaded with synthetic progesterone, stops sending the signal to make its own (or it makes less than it should), eventually leaving a woman in a worse state then she was before.
In contrast (and what many people mistakenly believe), wild yam itself does NOT contain hormones nor is it converted into a hormone in the body. The hormonal properties of these yams can only be converted in a lab! It is a substance in wild yam called diosgenin that mimics progesterone and helps the body balance its own hormone levels. Whatever is not needed or used is easily excreted from the body and it does not interfere with the body's own ability to produce its hormones.
So if you suspect your infertility or early miscarriage might be due to a progesterone issue, or if you can't handle the swing that accompanies Aunt Flo every month, try a little wild yam. I personally took this herb for two months before I found out I was pregnant with Mea. I then continued to take it through the first trimester to prevent miscarriage - which worked out great because it is also a morning sickness remedy.
There you have it, my #1 recommendation for infertility in women, early miscarriage, and PMS!