Posts

11
Sep

Clomiphene Citrate

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Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid)

pills
Clomid citrate is commonly the first medication that is pre­scribed for patients who are unable to ovulate on their own with unspecified infertility in combination with insemina­tion. Women who have normal fallopian tubes, regular 28 day cycles, and partners with a normal sperm count, but are still experiencing infertility, are termed as having ‘unspecified’ infertility. The pituitary gland regulates the amount of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (leutenizing hormone) in the system. These two hormones play a key role in ovulation. The levels of these hormones determine when and how many eggs are developed and re­leased. LH is responsible for the further maturation and re­lease of the egg(s).

Clomid citrate is an anti-estrogen medication. This means that it tricks the pituitary gland into thinking that the levels of estrogen in the body are low, causing the pituitary gland to secrete additional FSH and LH. This increase of FSH and LH stimulates the development of the follicles which contain the egg(s). Clomid citrate is taken as a pill, and is generally pre­scribed as one (50mg) pill each day for 5 days in the beginning of the menstrual cycle (days 3-7). A mature follicle is usually found around day 12 of the cycle. If ovulation does not occur, the medication can be changed to reflect the patient’s needs. Ultrasound is the best way to determine the number and maturity of the follicles. Ovulation predictor kits can be used to measure if there has been a surge of LH mid-cycle, indicating ovulation has occurred. Ovula­tion occurs about 24-28 hours after the detection of the LH surge in the urine. Once ovulation has occurred, natural or artificial insemination is performed in an attempt to fertilize the egg(s) that have been produced.

11
Sep

Reproductive Dysfunction

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Hi this is Dr. Rob talking about reproductive dysfunction, infertility, the inability to conceive and recurrent pregnancy loss. All these things affect our ability to conceive and deliver a healthy baby.

A 20% delivery rate per month is normal. After one year it may drop down to the 5-10% per month range and after two years it may drop to 1-5% per month range, but it doesn’t drop to zero! Keeping at it, I’m finding, is the key to all of this and I believe that stress, anxiety and fear are some of the major causes of reproductive dysfunction.

I believe in treating the patient as a whole entity, not just treating their reproductive organs. The mind, body and spirit play a huge role in each person’s day to day wellness and quality of life. Incorporating things like yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and maya abdominal massage are some steps from eastern treatments which work toward healing and normal reproductive function. Certainly it’s also important to look at western medical treatments for things such ovulation failure, pelvic adhesions, endometriosis, tubal factors, uterine factors such as uterine fibroids or intrauterine adhesions and diminished ovarian reserve from age factor infertility. All these can all affect egg function and implantation.

Let us not forget the male and sperm factors. There are two important halves to healthy reproductive function, and sexual dysfunction for many of us, can begin with the very basic inability to come together at the right time. There may be an inability to deposit sperm in the right place. There is also the question that if the sperm is properly placed, is the semen of normal count, motility and function?

In reality it all comes down to function, even though everything looks normal, regular cycles every 28 days, a normal hysterosalpingogram that documents that the fallopian tubes are open and the uterus is normal. A semen analysis that documents that there are at least 20 million sperm with 50% motility and the morphology is fantastic and normal. It’s all about the function of our organs (including the brain!), and the gametes. With unexplained factor (idiopathic) infertility there are unknown components preventing conception. It could be a genetic or chromosomal issue, a immunologic factor or a hormonal issue. We can treat these all with eastern and western treatments. We should start with the mind in all of these. With visualizing exactly what we want, we want – a baby, a family. There is an instinctual natural drive for these things. We do harbor fear, anxiety, worry, regret, guilt and judgment. Through yoga, meditation, acupuncture, massage, herbs, support group, connecting positively with other women and sharing stories, often sharing our pain, we can let it go.

I believe that journaling each and every day, a simple five minute journal entry, is helpful. Just write down how you are feeling. Then continue with working on the positive mantras of the day with meditation, which is really important. It can help. Studies by Ali Domar, of the mind body institute at Boston IVF have shown an increased success for patients who included a mind-body-spirit regimen with fertility treatments. Randine Lewis has shown with eastern treatments, significant improvements in outcomes that often do not require shots or pills or surgeries, both for the male and the female.

The fertility evaluation should start with sharing your story with your practitioner, whether it’s a Reproductive Endocrinologist, an OBGYN, family doctor or a Traditional Chinese practitioner. Share your story, or even if it’s with your partner or friend, share your story. There is guidance, there is assistance there.

Some blood work may be important for both the male and female. Patients may benefit from testing hormone levels, looking at immunologic factors, karyotyping and chromosomal factors. Performing a hysterosalpingogram to look at the fallopian tubes and uterine patency can add to the diagnostic picture. A pelvic ultrasound can be performed to look at the uterus, ovaries, ovarian reserve and fibroids. Additionally a laparoscopy and hysteroscopy could be recommended. These are operative procedures to look into the woman’s pelvic organs and uterine cavity. Through these procedures we are able to look for adhesions which may affect the transport of the egg and sperm. Both hysteroscopy and laparoscopy are out patient procedures, often done in the office.
Endometriosis is an infertility factor which we believe is the implantation of the glands from the endometrial cavity, either coming directly out of the fallopian tube or just spontaneously growing on the reproductive organs, causing inflammation and scar tissue and sometimes diminishing ovarian reserve. Via the laparoscopy, endometriosis and adhesions can be removed and increase a couple’s odds of delivering a baby.

It may be that the cycles are regular, the fallopian tubes are open and the semen analysis is normal. It may be as simple as trying a few timed clomiphene citrate cycles with intrauterine insemination, which will bump your delivery rate from about 1-5% per cycle to 5-10% per cycle. There are some side effects from medications. Clomid has an anti-estrogenic effect and can often cause some emotional upheaval, some depression, anxiety, PMS type symptoms, or premenstrual syndrome.

There are many options available to couples experiencing infertility, both invasive and non-invasive, Eastern and Western, and each offers some benefit to the patient guiding them closer to parenthood. I believe that doing something is always better than doing nothing, especially when trying to create a family. For more information about any of our services you can call CNY Fertility Center and CNY Healing Arts and speak with our highly knowledgeable staff.
Have a spectacular day!
Dr. Rob

25
May

All About Injectables

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Injectable medications are used for IVF or IUI cycles. One of the main processes in an IVF or IUI treatment cycle is the controlled stimulation of the ovaries, to produce eggs. The medications used in ovulation induction are called gonadotropins. Brand names include Follistim, Gonal-F, Menopur, Bravelle, and Repronex. Gonadotropins are primarily used to treat two types of women: 1) those who do not ovulate, ovulate irregularly, or have failed to conceive using Clomiphene citrate (Clomid) and 2) women who ovulate on their own, but may need help in producing multiple eggs, and whose bodies would benefit from the enhanced hormonal environment.
How do they work?
Gonadotropins are natural hormones that trigger the ovaries to make eggs. They are generally safe to use, but do require experience and careful monitoring.In a natural menstrual cycle without any medications, a woman produces one or two follicles, which are fluid filled sacs that contain an egg. The growth of the eggs and their release from the follicles are influenced by the secretion of two hormones from the pituitary gland: Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH); and Luteinizing Hormone (LH), both known as gonadotropins.When a woman becomes menopausal, her pituitary gland secretes large amounts of these hormones in an attempt to stimulate the ovaries, which no longer function. Gonadotropins (other than Follistim and Gonal F) are manufactured by extracting FSH and LH from the urine of post-menopausal women. Menopur contains both FSH and LH, while Bravelle contains only FSH.For a woman going through infertility treatments, these extracts must be injected and cannot be taken orally, because they would be digested by the stomach.Recently, gonadotropins (Gonal-F, Follistim) have been manufactured in the laboratory using recombinant technology, which allows a pure form of FSH to be produced. This is not a human tissue or urinary by-product, it is a recombinant FSH. Since it is more pure, it may be self-injected, using a small needle just under the skin.