Improve Ovarian Reserve to Get Pregnant After 40
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In this video, I’m going to be talking about how you can improve your ovarian reserve and get pregnant, even if you’re 40 or older. So keep watching if you want to improve your fertility.
Hi, I’m Dr. Marc Sklar, natural fertility expert, and I work with couples from all over the world, helping you get pregnant naturally. If you want more information on how you can get pregnant, then I want you to subscribe to my YouTube channel and hit that bell right there, so that I can help you get pregnant too. Ovarian reserve is such an important topic, and one that I get asked about all the time, “How can I improve my fertility, my egg quality and my ovarian reserve?” Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today. But before I do that, I do want to let you all know, that if you want help in creating a customized plan to help you get pregnant naturally and to support your fertility, then my team and I are here to help you. You can apply for a discovery call to see if we’re the right fit in helping you on your fertility journey.
If you want to do that, then just use the link in the description below to apply for a discovery call with me and my team. All right. So ovarian reserve or in this case, the diminished ovarian reserve is defined by a lower number of follicles than you should have at any given age. Now that typically, you would give that definition of diminished ovarian reserve to women who are younger, and should have a higher amount of follicles and eggs, but they don’t, based on their hormone tests or scans. Sometimes, you can also get that diagnosis, if you will, for those of you who are a bit older and you’re still seeing a decreased or a diminished amount of follicles or egg reserve than you would typically get. Now, there’s potentially several reasons for this. One is that you’re just older and so you’re aging a little bit faster, and so your egg reserve is decreasing a little bit quicker than we would like to see.
Another one is genetics. Hereditarily things have been passed down, and so you are more likely to have less egg reserve than maybe somebody else of the same age, due to the genetics that have been passed down to you. One of the other variables that often doesn’t get discussed when it comes to this is autoimmune issues, immune-based concerns that compromise your body and your fertility. So, these are the main reasons why you might see a decreased amount of follicles or egg reserve than you would normally like to see. Actually, one more item, I would say, is toxic exposure. You’ve been exposed to something over time or at one moment in time that has actually inhibited your ovaries from functioning optimally and nurturing and creating the healthy ovarian reserve that it should have. You’ve let go of it a little bit sooner than you would have liked.
So, how do you know if you have diminished ovarian reserve, other than the fact that maybe you walked into your OB-GYN’s office or your reproductive endocrinologist and one of them said, “You know what, we’re going to diagnose you with a DOR, diminished ovarian reserve”? Now, hopefully they’ve done all the evaluation and testing to determine this. Often I find that, that’s not necessarily the case. But let’s assume that they have. What are the things that they’re using to evaluate your ovarian reserve? Well, here are some key things. One is your menstrual cycle. Do you have a regular cycle that’s coming regularly or has it been irregular or being missed frequently? Now, typically we would see that your cycles become more irregular or you miss a cycle when you get a little bit older. But this would be one variable, one check marker so to speak, that they would raise their concern about your ovarian reserve.
The real definitive markers are going to be labs and ultrasound. So blood work, what’s the main blood work that you would want to run? The two main variables that we’re looking for, are going to be FSH, follicle stimulating hormone and AMH, anti-mullerian hormone. Follicle stimulating hormone is the hormone that tells us the quality, primarily of the eggs that you’re producing and AMH, anti-mullerian hormone is the hormone that tells us theoretically, how many eggs you have left. Now, if we’re going by the old theory that you have as many eggs as you’re ever going to have when you’re born and that they only decrease as you age, then yes, there is no way to rejuvenate these eggs and what those numbers tell you are the case. I would beg to differ on that just a little bit, and here we’re just using a little bit of logic. Okay?
First and foremost, when we’re looking at AMH, which is the primary marker for ovarian reserve, that number should theoretically only go down with time and never go up, but we do see it go up. So why do we see it go up? Is the number accurate? Is it factual? Is it telling us what we think it’s telling us? Well, I would say, maybe it’s a combination of all of those things. I do think it’s a good variable, a good hormone to test to give us some baseline. But often, I find that this number actually does rise. So then why does it go up when we retest it? Well, there have to be other variables that are influencing AMH numbers. So is it really an accurate number? Is it really telling us all the information we need, to know about our ovarian reserve?
I’m not so sure. So I wouldn’t put all my eggs in that basket, so to speak. I don’t mean that to be a pun in any way. But the other thing that we have to think about, most if not all of our other cells in the body do rejuvenate over time. So why wouldn’t the cells in the ovaries able to reproduce or recreate new follicles over time? I would say that I do believe that there is some ability to do that. Now, are healthy functioning ovaries going to be able to do that? I would say probably yes. Are ovaries that aren’t getting enough blood circulation, enough nourishment able to do that? I would probably say no. So we still need to give them the support, nourishment and circulation that they need, so that they could theoretically and hopefully produce new eggs for you.
The other variable that we do need to look at is, what’s called an antral follicle count. It’s an ultrasound of your ovaries at the beginning of your cycle to tell you how many eggs you’re going to have that cycle, potentially to be used. Now, I don’t want you to think that, that means that is exactly the amount of eggs you’re going to get every cycle. It’s not the case. You may actually see that number fluctuate, that from one cycle, you might see it at five. Another, you might see it at eight, another you might see at 10 or six, so that’s going to move. Just because it’s five one month, first and foremost, doesn’t mean you only have five eggs left. And secondly, it doesn’t mean that’s all you’re always going to get every cycle. So now, I’m going to go over some of the key things that affect ovarian reserve and hopefully you can make changes and improvements in all of these areas to influence and affect ovarian reserve.
Okay. Number one might sound like it makes common sense, but cigarette smoke. That’s right. So smoking cigarettes can impact dramatically, both the quality and the quantity of the eggs that your ovaries are producing. So cigarette smoke has a lot of… Or tobacco and cigarettes, for that nature, have a lot of chemicals in it, and that can impact how many follicles your body is losing regularly. It can also affect the DNA, the quality of the eggs that you are producing. So cigarette smoke is a no-no for so many reasons, but absolutely also, it can hinder the quality and quantity of the eggs that your body will produce.
Number two, stress. Okay, we’ve got to manage our stress. I’ve talked about this many, many times. And sorry if I’m just looking down, I’m just looking down at my notes, so I don’t forget anything. But stress can produce other hormones that impact and interfere with ovulation and regular cycles like cortisol and prolactin. And these two variables are important. These two hormones, prolactin and cortisol are important for managing a regular menstrual cycle and the quality and quantity of the eggs. So this is really important, because it will impact production, quality, and the regularity of your cycle. So stress can affect so many different things. I talk about stress often in many of my videos, I talk about the way impacts it and that, what we call that adrenal, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, that’s the stress response axis, and how that can influence and affect hormone regulation, ovulation, and quality of eggs. So don’t underestimate stress. These first two points are big ones. And you might think that, yes, this is common sense, but I can’t tell you how many people still have issues in these areas.
Now, stress is not going to be something that you could just wipe off the bat and get rid of and never return. It’s not about getting rid of stress, it’s about managing stress. So what are you going to do to help yourself manage stress better, so that these hormones don’t fluctuate so dramatically and affect your fertility and the quality and quantity of the eggs that you are producing? I will tell you, one of the key things that I’m going to mention later on in one of these points will dramatically affect these two hormones, cortisol and prolactin, and that’s been seen through research. But I’m going to keep you waiting for that one, in just a little bit, because I’m going to hold onto that till the end.
So eating healthy diet, number three, this one is very important. I know, I talk about it all the time. But there’s plenty of research that shows that what you eat today dramatically impacts the cells of your body and impacts the aging process. If you go through that drive-through at McDonald’s every day, you’re going to age much faster. You’re going to hinder the quality and the health of your cells, and that’s no different with egg quality, actually even more so. So diet is super, super important. And the better you eat, the better quality food you eat, and the better nutrients you provide to your body to nourish your body, the better off you’re going to be, and the quality and quantity of your eggs.
There was one research that they took a family who had been eating terribly and they gave them only organic food for several weeks. They were able to see a huge difference in their blood work and in their cellular health in just a short period of time, which shows you how much food impacts your health and the health of your cells and your fertility. So if you haven’t made the necessary steps to improve your health, your fertility and your diet most importantly, this is one of the key factors that you have to take into account.
Number four actually goes and is tied to diet, and this is BMI, having a healthy BMI. BMI is body mass index. It’s determined by your weight and your height, and so this is a key component to having a healthy reproductive function. Okay? We want your BMI to be somewhere between 18 and 24 or 25. That’s that window, that’s that sweet spot that we’re looking for. If you’re not in there, if you’re too low or too high from there, then we want to make improvements in your diet, which we talked about in the last point, to improve your BMI. The other variable that will improve your BMI dramatically is exercise. So compounding or interacting your diet with your exercise will make a huge impact to benefit your BMI.
Number five, improved blood flow or blood circulation. I know this might sound strange and how do you affect this? But the reality is, with good, healthy, proper blood circulation, you can bring good, healthy nutrients and nourishment to any part of your body, and your ovaries, and your uterus are no different. So we want to increase the circulation throughout the body, and to the pelvic region to support healthy reproductive function. So what are some of the ways that you can actually do this? Well, exercise is number one, getting out, moving. It doesn’t have to be dramatic. It doesn’t have to be excessive. It just has to be consistent, that is key. So for all you women, we’re shooting for three to four hours per week of consistent exercise.
The other thing that can help with that, which also goes with exercise is yoga or tai chi. These two forms of moving, meditation help to increase blood circulation and you can actually direct the blood circulation to your reproductive organs, so that’s another way. Third way of increasing blood circulation is going to be castor oil packs or abdominal massage or something like that, and number four is acupuncture. All of these things have been known to support and improve blood circulation. So if you’re not doing these things, you’ve got to start incorporating those right now. What I’d love to know from all of you is, which one of these are you already doing, and then which one of these are you going to add into your protocol, to support your fertility and blood circulation? You comment below and let me know.
All right, number six. There’s nothing like improving ovarian reserve and quality like supplementation with proper nutrients. Some of the key ones that we’re looking for, for all of you are CoQ10 and fish oils. These are some of the basics. They’re foundational pieces that should be in every protocol that you’re using to support your fertility and egg quality and ovarian reserve. So if you’re not already taking those things, you absolutely should be. With CoQ10, depending on the quality of the CoQ10, you’re going to be taking anywhere from 200 to 800. It all depends on the quality that you’re taking. And for fish oils, I want a minimum of a 1000 milligrams, a good quality fish oil there, as actually not many good quality fish oils out there, but we will put a link below to the one we like for all of you. The other piece that I often get asked about when it comes to egg quality is, DHEA. That’s right, DHEA. Now, you’ve all probably heard, read or been told to take DHEA to improve egg quality.
I’m not here to say not to do it. What I’m asking all of you to do before you take it, is to test your DHEA. DHEA is an important hormone. It’s also a hormone that can influence your body and your reproductive function both positively and negatively. So I am not one to believe in just taking a blanket high amount of DHEA for everybody. I think we all need a little bit of customization. So my suggestion for all of you, before you jump on that DHEA bandwagon, is to get it tested and find out what your levels are, so that you know if you need it, and how much you should be taking if you do. Okay, these last two are some of my favorite. The next one, which for sure is on the top of my list is acupuncture. So remember before, when we were talking about prolactin and cortisol and how it can negatively impact ovarian reserve. Well, acupuncture has been shown in research to actually regulate both of those two hormones, if you have it done appropriately and consistently.
So that’s reason enough, to make sure you get on the acupuncture bandwagon. Additionally, it can help with so many of the areas that we discussed today, stress, it can help with blood circulation and there’s so many other wonderful things that acupuncture can do to support your health and your fertility. So I highly recommend it for all of you watching. And the last one is PRP. Yeah, this is a new form of ovarian rejuvenation. Excuse me, I couldn’t get it out. And it works well. Now, there’s not many places that do it and even less that do it right. So please make sure that you reach out to the right people, to get that therapy done. If you want more information on PRP, I have a video completely devoted to this topic entirely. You can check that out right here, after this video is done.
So hopefully, you found some nice resources, some different things to help you think about your ovarian reserve a little bit differently, and hopefully help you make the necessary changes to get the results that you’re looking for, and help you get pregnant naturally. If you like this video, then definitely give me a thumbs up. If you want to watch more videos like this and be notified when I put them out, then hit that bell to subscribe to my YouTube channel, so that I can let you know when I put them out. And for all of you watching, I just want to give a big thank you and shout out. I want to hear from all of you. I want to know what changes you’re going to start to make, to improve your ovarian reserve. Let me know in the comments below. And until then next video, I want you all to stay healthy, stay safe, and most of all, stay fertile.
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