What is inflammation and how can functional medicine help reduce it?
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is a natural response of the body to injury or infection, but when it becomes chronic, it can have negative impacts on your health and certainly on your fertility.
Several factors can contribute to chronic inflammation, including poor diet, stress, and smoking, as well as in certain medical conditions, such as autoimmune disorders.
Some of the most common signs of chronic inflammation are:
- Body discomfort
- Sleep disorders
- Weight gain or unexplained weight loss
- Skin rashes
- Digestive issues
- Mood disorders, like depression and anxiety
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Chronic Inflammation and Fertility
Chronic inflammation can damage the reproductive organs making it difficult for eggs to mature and be released. It can also cause the ovaries to become swollen and painful, making it difficult for the eggs to be fertilized.
Chronic inflammation can also cause the fallopian tubes to become blocked, preventing the eggs from reaching the uterus and affecting the production of hormones necessary for ovulation and pregnancy. For example, inflammation can disrupt the balance of estrogen and progesterone, which are needed for a healthy menstrual cycle.
Inflammation can also negatively affect the sperm. Sperm cells are sensitive to inflammation, and exposure to chronic inflammation can lead to a decrease in the number and quality of sperm. This can make it difficult for a couple to conceive.
The Functional Medicine Approach to Reducing Inflammation
To improve fertility, it is important to address and reduce the sources of inflammation. You can do this by eating a healthy diet, managing stress, and avoiding smoking. All of that can reduce inflammation and improve fertility.
Lastly, your overall lifestyle can impact your body’s level of inflammation. This includes how you manage stress and how much sleep you get. We highly recommend 7-9 hours of sleep and incorporating mindfulness practices like meditation into your daily routine.
It’s also important to work with a healthcare provider to manage any underlying medical conditions contributing to chronic inflammation. Some of these conditions that can impact inflammation include heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and bowel diseases.