Restorative Gynecology: A Revolutionary Approach
It is well-known that ovulation is the female's fifth vital sign (for more information, check out the blog “The Female Fifth Vital Sign"). Ovulation is a consequence of a number of coordinated hormonal events. When ovulation is not happening, we must consider two important things.
Lack of ovulation is a consequence of an imbalance in the body. There are multiple causes for ovulatory dysfunction including alterations of thyroid hormone production, excess insulin or androgens, excess or lack of cortisol, eating disorders, low follicle reserve, high prolactin, and more! When ovulatory dysfunction occurs it results in alterations of the menstrual cycle, such as abnormal uterine bleeding, irregular cycles, infertility, painful/heavy bleeding, among others. In addition, each hormonal alteration can cause a variety of symptoms such as acne, hirsutism, weight gain, loss of energy, infertility.
The ovulatory dysfunction itself also produces a hormonal imbalance, especially on the hormones that are produced in the ovary and pituitary gland, which is responsible for stimulating follicular growth. Therefore, when an ovulation issue is present, we see alterations mainly in the production of Estradiol and Progesterone. This causes a variety of problems, such as excessive bleeding, mood alterations, and PMS (premenstrual syndrome) which can be associated with cramps, nausea, breast pain, fatigue, irritability etc.
The important question is……how do we treat a patient that is having ovulatory dysfunction?
In many cases, a “medication” is given-birth control.
You may be asking, how can birth control be the solution to almost all of the potential causes of ovulatory dysfunction? Well, it is not. Birth control will help regulate the bleeding and manage some of the symptoms, but it is not going to restore ovulation or treat the root cause of the problem. Instead, birth control stops ovulation from occurring. In addition, if a patient is having trouble conceiving, ovulation inductors are sometimes given immediately without understanding why the patient is having ovulatory dysfunction. Some of these women may have been on birth control for years, without really knowing their diagnosis. When they stop taking the pill, their symptoms will return as the root cause of their ovulatory dysfunction was never addressed or treated.
The restorative approach focuses on restoring the woman's normal body function. At RHM, we find the root cause of ovulatory dysfunction and treat that specific problem (or problems) that is causing her symptoms. When we treat the root cause of ovulatory dysfunction the body's balance will be restored, and therefore, ovulation and reproductive function are also restored. This can be achieved by focusing on certain areas that impact reproductive health, such as endocrinology, physiology and immunology. All endocrine causes should be explored, and after treatment, the changes should be reflected in the patient´s reproductive cycle. Therefore, teaching patients to recognize their fertility biomarkers is essential to see how patients respond to the treatments. Finally, we must explore physical, immunological and lifestyle factors, including food choices, stress levels and regular exercise.
The restorative approach has become increasingly popular over the past few years with new groups researching and creating protocols for treating patients such as FEMM/RHRI, CrMS/Napro, Marquette University, and others. The focus is to restore women’s health in a more definitive and natural way. This new way to approach reproductive issues has been revolutionary and women are in desperate need of this care. Women deserve to feel better, fully recover and understand more about their health and fertility.