Category Archives: Medicine & Health 疗池

Infertility

by Dr. Mecherl Lim, MD (MA) Naturopath (ND), Holistic Kinesiology

Absolute infertility is where there are no eggs and no sperm. This is rare, so most couples are really experiencing partial or sub-infertility, or they can’t conceive within their proposed time frame.

A general definition of infertility is when a couple does not conceive after one or two years of regular, unprotected sex.  This assumes the couple are sexually active at the woman’s fertile time, which is typically from day nine (day one is when menstruation starts) to day 21 in a 28 -day cycle. The peak fertility day is usually 14 days before the beginning of menstruation (in a regular 28-day cycle) and at this time there are around three successive days of high female fertility where the vaginal mucus is clear and slippery or stretchy and there’s at least a sensation of lubrication.

The Website Infertility BBT Charts shows the correlation between all indicators of fertility. If it seems too complicated, or if you have an irregular cycle, discuss this with your GP or Naturapath Practitioner.

WHO IS AFFECTED?

About 15 per cent of couples have difficulty conceiving and this figure doubles where the woman is over 35 years of age. In about 40 per cent of cases the infertility problem lies with the man, and in 40 per cent of cases with the woman. In 10 per cent there is a problem in both partners and in 10 per cent there is no known cause.

Some researchers say that in 25 per cent of cases there is a problem in both partners, and the majority of researchers say sperm quantity and quality are declining.

HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?

Sometimes couples get anxious because they can’t conceive when it’s suitable for them and they need reassurance. A medical diagnosis is needed to establish the cause of infertility, which may involve blood and sperm test, ultrasounds and laparoscopy.

WHAT CAUSES IT?

In women and men

  • Ageing
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Immune problems
  • Sperm antibodies (the body does not appropriately recognise sperm)

Contributing factors:

  • Poor general health and unhealthy lifestyle
  • Severe stress, including anxiety about conceiving
  • Insufficient restorative sleep

In Men

Low sperm count or problems with the shape or activity of sperm

Blocked spermatic cords

Testicular disease and infections

In Women

  • Endometriosis
  • Blocked fallopian tubes caused by infections, disease or tissue (Many natural therapies have successfully treated women who have been told their fallopian tubes are blocked, which confirms there are degrees of blockage).
  • Ovarian problems such as polycystic ovarian disease.
  • Disorders of the uterus such as polyps
  • Problems with the shape of the cervix or in the texture of the mucus.
  • Early menopause in young women.
  • Obesity.
  • Oral Contraceptive (over the years) I have seen a number of women who do not return to normal ovulation and menstruation and this seems to be linked to long term use of oral contraceptives).

HOW THE DOCTORS TREAT IT

Medical treatments depend on the cause of the problem.

Following a basic check, your doctor may refer you and your partner to a fertility specialist.

  • Hormonal pharmaceuticals may be prescribed.
  • Surgery may be recommended to remove polyps, cyst blocked fallopian tubes or endometriosis.
  • In Vitro fertilisation (IVF) involves a surgical procedure for collecting the egg, together with pharmaceutical hormones. It involve sperm or eggs from donors and the conception rate is about 20 percent. Before undertaking IVF, most centres organise a counselling session and provide written details so you know what to expect from the treatment, the cost involved and, the risks and outcome.  

THE HOLISTIC APPROACH

HERBS FOR WOMEN

A combination of a few herbs such as Dong Qui for abdominal pain, False unicorn for bleeding, Paeonia if Oestrogen is known to be high, Ginger to improve digestion and circulation & Chaste tree is commonly prescribed- use two capsules in the morning & two at night after food. The capsule is named as SHE 18,  if you need more info, send a message to http://www.drmecherherbs.com for more advice. The remedies are discontinued as soon as you know you are pregnant.  

Caution: If you are taking pharmaceuticals there may be interactions and I would not advise self treatment with herbs in this case.

It is also a must to take a combination of Nutrition Supplements such as Multi-Vitamin /minerals, Fish Oil, B complexes and Folate. In a scientific study of 30 women who had been trying to conceive for 6 to 36 months, half were given a placebo and half were given a combination of Herbs & Nutrition Supplements. After 5 months 5 of 15 women taking the complete course were pregnant compared to the ones without.

As we know some women have a deficiency in B vitamins, especially B12, B6 & Vitamin E.

The trials confirm my clinical experience from 1989 when I began working as a Natural Therapist Practitioner. I was surprised at the number of middle age pregnant patients. They, too, were surprised, because most have teenage or older children and have not used any form of contraception for many years. I myself, had a baby boy at the age of 40. I concluded that pregnancies resulted from improved health and the high intake of correct prescribed nutrition.  

Caution: Women, particularly those with vegan or vegetarian diets, may be infertile because of vitamin b12 deficiency, however deficiency symptoms may be masked by high folate diets or folate supplementation.

GOOD ADVICE:

Don’t leave it till it is too late to try to conceive. It will actually be quite difficult for the egg and the sperm to get together. You may have many competing needs such as careers and financial security, but nature may not coincide with these.

Before investing time and money in extreme fertility processes, get your body as healthy as you reasonably can so you will be able to create a healthy baby. However, no amount of healthy living will achieve conception if the sperm are absolutely dead or both fallopian tubes are completely blocked. 

Endometriosis

by Dr. Mecherl Lim 

MD (MA) Naturopath (ND), Holistic Kinesiology

Endometriosis occurs when tissue comparable to the lining of the uterus is found in other areas of the body such as on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, bowel and vagina.  

The misplaced tissue may grow and is occasionally found on the organs and other parts of the body. Endometriosis affects 10 percent of women of childbearing age. 

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS?

  • Pain before and during menstruation, at ovulation (midway between periods) and during intercourse.
  • Painful urination and pain in bowel movements during menstruation.
  • Bladder discomfort and urinary frequency.
  • Gastrointestinal upsets such as irregular bowel motions, flatulence and bloating.
  • About 30 to 40 per cent of infertile women have endometriosis- commonly because the fallopian tubes are blocked. Sometimes infertility is the only symptom.
  • Heavy or irregular bleeding, sometimes with large clots.
  • A number of women have endometriosis but no symptoms and occasionally there may be unusual symptoms such as sciatica- caused by pressure of the endometrial growth.  Some women may experience fatigue, especially if they are bleeding heavily and become iron deficient.

HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?

Diagnosis is by laparoscopy; That is, under anesthetic a small telescopic instrument is inserted into the abdomen.

WHAT CAUSES IT?

Basically, the misplaced tissue behaves like the lining of the uterus and each month it swells, breaks down and sheds. This may cause inflammation, pain, pressure, internal scar tissue formation and abdominal problems such as bowel congestion.  In severe cases bands of scar tissue (adhesions) may develop.  There are no known causes of the misplaced tissue and below are some of the suspected causes:

  • Menstrual back flow, either via the uterine wall and blood circulation or via the fallopian tubes.  Some suggest tampons may encourage back flow, so it may be wise to use external pads, at least during the night.
  • Hormonal imbalances, especially high oestrogen levels or inappropriate oestrogen metabolism. It can recur or start when postmenopausal women go on hormone replacement.
  • Other possibilities include genetic predisposition, immune imbalances, following abdominal surgery, or the body may reactivate some “embryonic ability” to make new tissue.

HOW THE DOCTORS TREAT IT?

Pharmaceuticals

These may include painkillers, progesterone, anti-progesterone, and testosterone derivatives such as Danazol. GnRH agonist (such as nafarelin) suppresses the body’s production of reproductive hormones and reduces symptoms, but has many potential adverse effects, including pseudo-menopause. Other analagesics may be used for pain relief. Hormone therapy that disrupts the secretion of estrogen and may be employed to limit growth is also used.

Currently, prescribed pharmaceuticals rarely help  endometriosis. 

SURGERY

The type of surgery now available varies from minor “day surgery” to cauterization of endometriosis spots, laser technology and extensive removal of scar tissue and microsurgery. If it is possible to remove all endometrial tissue, regrowth is unlikely to recur or cut out visible growths, and to reduce adhesions between pelvic organs.

THE HOLISTIC APPROACH

There is not one single remedy that will significantly improve the symptoms of endometriosis.  You should find a practitioner experienced in treating the problem, that is, a herbalist, Naturopath, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner or Homeopath. 

TEA RECIPE

You can use chamomile and ginger, both of which help reduce inflammation. Simmer finely chopped ginger root in water for about 5 minutes. Use half to 2 teaspoons of ginger per cup of water, depending on your taste. Then add the chamomile and let it stand covered for a few minutes. For bloating, try combining peppermint and lemon balm tea. 

OTHER HOLISTIC SUPPORT

Effective results in the treatment of endometriosis involve replacing saturated fats in membranes with EFA. This is a slow process and can take months to reverse the concentrations of fatty acids in the membranes. Because of this, it may be necessary to take GLA for about 6 months before reasonable effects are observed.

Fish Oils can also be used for their PGE3 anti-inflammatory effect. The activity of Delta-6- Desaturase Enzyme can be increased with nutrients such as: Zinc, B6, C, and Magnesium, whereas vitamin A and copper will inhibit Delta-5-Desaturase Enzyme thereby inhibiting PGE2 and arachidonic acid production.

Oestrogen receptor density may be increased in hypothyroidism. Therefore, women should be checked for hypothyrodism or decreased utilisation of thyroid hormones.  

SUPPLEMENTATION such as DrMecherlHerbs SHE 18, (TCM herbs) Thyroid 17 (TCM) has been shown to decrease oestrogen effects and promote progesterone effects via anterior pituitary regulation which will regulate cell surface receptors that will benefit in these women. SHE 18 is also traditionally used in dysmenorrhoea, ovarian and uterine pain as an anti inflammatory and spasmolytic.

DIET

If you have high oestrogen levels, a diet rich in Phyto oestrogens may “crowd out” at least some of your stronger oestrogens- such as DrMecherlHerbs PhytoNutrients plus Soya food, linseed, sunflower seeds and an intake of whole grain food twice daily. 

HOW CAN YOU PREVENT IT?

According to a scientific survey, women with a higher consumption of green vegetables and fresh fruit have a 40 per cent relative reduction in the risk of endometriosis while those with a high intake of beef, other red meat and ham have an 80 to 100 per cent increase in risk.

  • reduce your meat intake, have two fish meals weekly and some nuts and seeds, as these foods provide essential fatty acids and help reduce inflammation.
  • Have a salad or soup with lunch, including green vegetables.
  • Include cooked vegetables with your evening meal.
  • Eat at least two pieces of fruit daily.

GOOD ADVICE

Endometriosis is a difficult and complex problem. Do your best to follow the dietary and lifestyle advice and get a practitioner ‘sadvice for specific treatment. 

Image courtesy of local.com

Melbourne Researcher Grows Mini-Kidneys in a Culture Dish

mini-kidneys.jpg

By Professor Melissa Little

Theme Director of Cell Biology and heads the Kidney Research laboratory

at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

The number of Australians with kidney disease is on the rise. More than 22,000 Australians rely on life-saving dialysis or live with a kidney transplant.

Kidney Health Australia predicts that as many as one in 10 Australians could soon show evidence of chronic kidney disease, but only a minority of people will receive a kidney transplant. The ground-breaking research of Professor Melissa Little means that one day it may be possible to grow new human kidneys from stem cells.

Prof Little, from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, has grown mini-kidneys, or organoids, from stem cells taken from adult skin or blood cells. The mini-kidneys are grown in a culture dish in a lab and have all the cell types and structures of a human kidney.

In another breakthrough this year, Prof Little and her MCRI team together with the Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, planted a mini-kidney in a mouse. Four weeks later, the kidney tubes and blood vessels appeared to be growing into adult kidney tissue.

Prof Little said mini-kidneys also had the potential to screen for the effects of drugs on human kidneys.

“We hope that in the near future drugs can be tested on these mini-kidneys,” she said. “This would prevent patients from exposure to drugs that could damage their own kidneys.  The organoids may also help researchers develop new drugs for kidney disease.”

Prof Little is known internationally for her research on kidney development and her pioneering studies into renal regeneration.