What's Behind Hormonal Imbalance?
Through Sakara's co-founder, Danielle, who just recently gave birth to a baby girl, we met the extraordinary Aimee Raupp, author of several books (including Yes, You Can Get Pregnant and the Body Belief System), herbalist, acupuncturist, fertility expert, and champion of women. Each time we chatted we were left wanting more, so she shed some light on the latest alternative health practices, dispelling myths on aging + conception, and much more. Today, she covers fertility, autoimmunue issues, and hormones.
In my practice as an acupuncturist specializing in women’s health, one thing has become very apparent to me: Most all fertility challenges and hormonal imbalances are due to an undiagnosed or mismanaged autoimmune condition. In fact, 1 in 9 women have an undiagnosed autoimmune condition and that up to 40% of unexplained infertility is a result of endometriosis, a common autoimmune disease.
In my 15 years of treating women’s health and fertility, I began to see a commonality between many of my patients. They would come to me with chronic (often mysterious) health complaints and unexplained fertility challenges. Western Medicine doctors often were not able to pinpoint any causative factors for their pervasive feeling of unwellness (as well as a myriad of their symptoms) and not able to tell them why they could not conceive or sustain a pregnancy.
With my extensive knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Functional Medicine I was able to start connecting some very crucial dots. I found that many of these women were living with an undiagnosed autoimmune disease. You see, normally, your immune system acts as a protector against foreign invaders (such as germs, bacteria and viruses), and its job is to attack these foreign invaders upon sight to keep us healthy. However, when someone has an autoimmune disorder, the immune system goes into overdrive and starts attacking non-foreign body parts, tissues and organs and causes your entire body to be inflamed and hostile. As you might expect, this has a negative impact on fertility. How could a body want to get pregnant or stay pregnant when its under a hostile attack?
Connecting The Dots
As a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, I am also trained to address the spiritual and emotional aspects that are often the missing components of true healing and reveal why the body is attacking itself. As I always say, your beliefs dictate your behavior, and your behavior dictates your health. When we reconnect with ourselves, we identify what those beliefs are and are able to challenge the harmful beliefs that are blocking us from our innate wellness and fertility. Once we are able to shift our beliefs to a place of hope, compassion and self-love, we begin making better lifestyle choices to support our health.
Let’s take my patient, Alison, for example. Alison had been trying to get pregnant for four years before discovering her autoimmune disease. Her first pregnancy happened quite easily and naturally, but she lost that pregnancy at 10 weeks. She then went on to experience two solid years of unsuccessful assisted reproductive techniques—a total of two IUI and six IVF treatments. Over that time she had two more miscarriages and still no baby. Through all of this she was also seeing a fertility acupuncturist, taking herbs, and she had tried all sorts of supplements and changed her diet. Nothing was working, and she felt completely broken.
After the fourth unsuccessful round of IVF, she sought out a reproductive endocrinologist who specializes in autoimmune fertility challenges. By chance, Alison met another woman in the waiting room of this doctor’s office who told her about me. As I did the initial intake with Alison, it was revealed that she had a long history of skin conditions, digestive issues, fatigue, inability to lose weight, joint pain, depression and seasonal allergies. She was an obvious autoimmune case and I was glad she was working with an autoimmune fertility doctor and that she made her way to me.
From what I could tell, the general dietary and supplement changes that had been recommended to her by her previous acupuncturist wasn’t specific enough—she was only 80% gluten and dairy free and still consuming many inflammatory foods (like gluten, soy, dairy, corn, sugar). Even more, she wasn’t eating enough fertility-boosting foods (like healthy fats- avocados, sprouted nuts and seeds, ghee, coconut oil or nutrient dense foods like bone broth), and she was still using a host of hormonally-disruptive skincare products (ones that contain parabens, sulfates and a host of other chemicals). I immediately gave Alison a plan of action to get her hormones balanced. I also requested her most recent blood work with her doctors so I could be certain she had all the tests she needed to get and stay pregnant.
After just three months of working with me and following my protocol, Alison had lost 8 pounds, her skin issues cleared up, her digestion was working smoothly, her seasonal allergies weren’t bothering her at all. Alison said her joints felt less ache-y, and her overall demeanor had shifted—she was more at ease and hopeful. She was using tapping (EFT) on a daily basis, journaling, and focusing on all the ways her beautiful body supports her. She told me one day, “I feel like a new person.”
By the next month, I felt her body and mind were ready to do another IVF transfer—Alison and her husband still had one frozen embryo left to transfer. A few weeks after the transfer, Alison got a positive pregnancy test. She was following my protocol to a tee along with the autoimmune protocol given to her by her new fertility doctor. (but keep in mind she did two previous transfers following her doctors autoimmune protocol and those transfers were unsuccessful).
Of course, we had a ways to go to get past those previous miscarriages. Alison diligently followed her protocols and she sailed through that first trimester. Just 13 months after our initial visit, Allison gave birth to a gorgeous and healthy baby boy. I have been blessed to work with thousands of women like Alison. Women who have harnessed their power and took control of their health and fertility.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can upgrade your health, renew hope, and heal your body, check out the resources on my website: www.aimeeraupp.com.