The Gut and Fertility: A Powerful Duo

Mar 10, 2016


Many people do not understand how our gastrointestinal health can affect fertility. Nor the fact that it may be the reason you’re not getting pregnant. I’m sure all of us have heard the phrase “you are what you eat” — but this does not only apply to weight or physical health, but to fertility as well. This is why it is so important to take priority in keeping your gut healthy to provide the best possible chances of conception. Leaky gut falls under one of many problems that may happen within the intestines. Several symptoms of a gastrointestinal condition include constipation, diarrhea, abdominal bloating, heartburn, sharp abdominal pain, gas, and urinary irritation — you know, the general “I don’t feel good” conditions. Specifically, Leaky Gut refers to a condition where the intestines are chronically irritated and, consequently, the protective barrier of mucus becomes eroded. In turn, this allows large food molecules to pass through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. But it is much more than that. For Leaky gut can lead to many other problems — your infertility included.

So you may be asking yourself, how in the world does this tie into my fertility? Well, Leaky gut can lead to chronic inflammation around and within the gut as the immune system attacks these “foreign” substances that should have never made their way into the bloodstream. Thus, Leaky Gut leaves the immune system in a constant state of “warning”. This isn’t necessarily ideal for one who is trying to become pregnant, as the body’s resources are diverted away from the job of reproduction to “protect” the body from these unwelcome molecules. This thereby compromises hormonal balance and, in turn, the quality production of sperm and egg.

Additionally, if one’s gut is not working properly, then proper digestion will not take place. This in turn will disable your gut from extracting all the nutrients from which you are consuming. Allowing this to happen can ultimately cause nutritional deficiencies. This is because when large, undigested food molecules escape into the bloodstream, they are never truly digested. And we already know, from previous articles, how important nutrients and vitamins are in relation to getting pregnant. This can also negatively impact other systems within our bodies. This includes the immune system, the reproductive system, the liver, as well as the kidneys — for proper nutrients serve as the foundation to good health.

Similarly, here is another topic that we love to talk about — bacteria! Not only are bacteria severely responsible for keeping us healthy, but is perhaps one of the most abundant organisms within our bodies. In fact, there are roughly 10 times more bacteria in the human body than human cells — 100 trillion of those bacteria being situated in the gut. This is another reason why gut health is so important to maintain, for beneficial bacteria is a necessity for conception. For the microflora in the gut can help digest food, synthesize nutrients, break down toxins, improve immune function, protect us from dangerous or infectious microorganisms, and ultimately put you on the path to pregnancy. If the healthy bacteria or gastrointestinal processes in the gut are compromised (Leaky gut being one of the factors to this) or overwhelmed by harmful bacteria, this leads to a condition of microbial imbalance, also called dysbiosis. This imbalance can affect the entire body — including your chances of conception.

Where reproductive health is concerned, vaginal flora helps maintain the pH balance within the vagina at a healthy level. This ultimately helps ward off infections from yeast and other pathogens. Frequent vaginal infections, bladder infections, or cervical inflammation can be a sign that the body’s microbes are out of balance; and that your gut is not in the condition it needs to be in. It’s especially important for women, who have already become pregnant, to consider this possibility before giving birth, since recent research and some of my previously written articles show that a natural birth jumpstarts a baby’s immune system and digestive system with microbes that will benefit that child’s health for decades to come. I hope you are starting to see how your gut plays heavily into pregnancy and the health of your future baby!

So, now that you have been revealed to all the negative affects an unhealthy gut can put on your chances at conception and the proper function of bodily process, it is time to learn how to treat it! As you may know, one of the very fundamentals to natural health is that of prevention. In relation to gut health, this means to drink proper amounts of water (about 8 glasses a day), reduce amount of sugar that is consumed, eliminate the consumption of foods containing harmful bacteria and replace them with foods such as coconut kefir or coconut yogurt, and to chew slower (as this jumpstarts the digestion process and puts less work on your gut). Just doing these simple things will make a tremendous difference in the health of your gastrointestinal tract.

Additionally, essential oils and various other botanical medicines can be used to achieve a healthy gut. One of the most popular herbs used for Leaky gut and other intestinal problems is that of Slippery Elm. This particular herb has been used in the United States as a gut healer for over a century — and not undeservingly. Not only is this herb soothing to the intestines, but has mucilage that stimulates the nerve endings in the intestinal tract and increases your body’s own mucus secretion. Ultimately, this will lead to the repair and revival of your gut! Other herbs that have similar effects include: Marshmallow Root, Licorice Root, Yarrow, Plantain, Chamomile, Aloe Vera, and Ginger. The joint impact of using these natural treatments and to undergoing preventative tactics will put your gut in a better state than ever before — and it will truly be worth it when you are finally holding a baby in your arms. For taking care of your gut will have enormous effects on your chance at conception and in caring a baby to term.

I hope that you now have a better understanding of how influential the gut is on one’s fertility. Not only in hormonal and immunal regards, but to nutrition as well. For your gut undoubtedly lays out the foundation for conception — it is just your decision to optimize it or not. So, what will you do to better improve your gut? You would be surprised as to what results you will get even with the smallest effort.

Sarah Clark empowers couples to discover how lifestyle and diet can dramatically impact their chances of conceiving.  She was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure at 28 and had both her kids with donor eggs.  Not until years later did she discover that the root cause of her infertility was a food intolerance.  Ready to gaze into your baby’s eyes….but struggling.  Download 10 step Checklist here