I am a Gynaecologist Obstetrician ( MD, DNB OBGYN )with an emphasis on INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE.
I recently interviewed a 32-year-old woman and wanted to share her lovely story. It is also a story of self-discovery and self-education which is at the core of my Truhealing protocol.
It is also the story of the heart-wrenching loss of a baby in utero, but also, a story of future hope for more children.
Nandhini came to me from her native with a pregnancy of 5 months. She was happy with the excitement of a second-time mom. She was already blessed with a baby of 5 yrs who delivered prematurely but was blessedly healthy. She also had suffered the tragedy of two more miscarriages before their baby of 5 years. On examination, I couldn’t locate the baby’s heartbeat and told her to get the ultrasound done immediately. The scan confirmed intrauterine demise at 5th month 20 weeks. We induced the pains and Nandhini expelled the dead fetus. Nandhini and her husband had to make it through the difficult time to let the baby go.
After their tragic loss, they didn’t want to go through more heartbreak and hence came to Bangalore from native. I did complete testing and noted some significant findings.
Through all of this, Nandhini kept thinking, “What is going on with me?” She had always been healthy, eaten healthily, and couldn’t quite understand why she’d had these issues. Her first pregnancy had gone perfectly and she had a regular period cycle.
Lab Testing Pointed To Some Issues
After the loss of her 5 months baby and suffering the two miscarriages, my detailed testing revealed the following:
1. Low progesterone levels
First, Nandhini’s progesterone levels were very low – in single digits. This is considered a luteal phase defect. What’s important about this?
Well, the length and quality of the luteal phase are directly linked to fertility and a healthy pregnancy.
If the luteal phase has less than optimal progesterone levels, a woman will likely have a difficult time getting or staying pregnant.
In her first pregnancy, her OBGYN supplemented her with progesterone but she still had a preterm delivery.
2. Thyroid issues
The other thing the testing found was that she had subclinical hypothyroidism. To deal with that as naturally as possible, I started supporting her with my natural protocols and supplements.
3. APLA antibodies positive
It was a significant finding which contributed to the recurrent miscarriages and BOH.
Nandhini started following the Truhealing protocol ( diet, lifestyle and natural supplements and Adrenal support)
After 3 months of Truhealing protocol, I did a day-21 lab to see what Nandhini’s progesterone levels were and they were now a 15! (In the past they had always been at 6 or 7). Her APLA also became negative.
Although I did not put her on progesterone, the diet lifestyle and stress management strategies improved DHEA which in turn increased the bioavailable progesterone.
DHEA levels improve as a result of balanced cortisol due to improved adrenal function, I believe. That would create a more natural hormone balance on Nandhini’s body as she was running heavily on cortisol due to the emotional stress from the death of her baby, miscarriages, as well as her ongoing concerns.
I have talked about this “progesterone steal” in the past. When we suffer from chronic stress our bodies start “stealing” progesterone to make cortisol! I knew that if you can decrease cortisol demands, that results in more progesterone availability; it addresses that progesterone steal phenomena.
There Is No Magic Pill
I think whatever you can do in terms of adhering to a Lifestyle is also important when you are addressing fertility challenges… or any other health issues! And yes, remember there is no magic pill to good health. You need to make better lifestyle choices all-around.
Nandhini did a little self-discovery on her family’s diet as well. She said her family had always eaten a healthy diet, BUT, that they were a family that ate a lot of whole grains and sandwiches. So she has cut down gluten and tried to eliminate as much processed sugar and carbs as possible so that she can prepare for a future attempt at pregnancy.
Another thing I prefer is natural progesterone over synthetic progesterone. Natural progesterone supports hormone balance… with protective and health-promoting properties
Improves sleep and your stress response (so important to counter the fertility robbing progesterone steal!)
Promotes a balanced mood (your husband and family will appreciate this!)
Supports bone metabolism… yeah, strong bones!
Most synthetic progesterone-like products contain progestins, which are synthetic analogues of progesterone; progestins are far more powerful than the body’s natural progesterone. Progestins can be metabolized into toxic by-products that may interfere with the body’s natural progesterone, creating other hormone-related health problems and further exacerbating estrogen dominance.
Natural progesterone, on the other hand, is identical to the progesterone that is produced by the body. It is manufactured in scientific laboratories from wild yams and soybeans (don’t confuse with “yam extracts).Pregnenolone levels, like many health-promoting hormones, drop with age. It is an important hormone for many aspects of health and ageing well, including bone and brain health.
With all the above strategies, Nandhini went on to have a healthy pregnancy and carried the baby for a full 9 months. She could skip her nightmare experience of having a preterm baby last time. I am so glad to be Truhealing aunt to another Healthy baby!
Originally published February 7, 2020 by Dr Disha Sridhar