Tag Archives: pregnancy

Hormonal? Fertility Issues? Have You Addressed the Adrenals?

Being a practitioner that places a heavy amount of emphasis on nutrition, I’d be remiss if I didn’t continue to elaborate on the far reaching hands of the adrenal glands.  Being a beaming new father who has been blessed with a beautiful and healthy wife and baby, I’d also be remiss if I didn’t go into more detail about how adrenal dysfunction can influence the sex hormones responsible for reproduction and beyond.  Well, nobody wants to be labeled as remiss, so here we go.

In the simplest terms, the adrenal glands are our stress glands.

(For a review on these essential workhorses feel free to refresh: https://clarkechiropracticwellness.com/2013/03/12/de-stress-your-life-part-1/


https://clarkechiropracticwellness.com/2013/03/19/de-stress-your-life-part-2/ .)

When they are overworked for any of a variety of reasons (mental or physical stress, food intolerances, etc.) they shift towards an overproduction of cortisol in order to help us deal with stress.  One of the many downsides to this is that the production of hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone decreases.

In order for the adrenal glands to make cortisol in response to sustained levels of elevated stress, it ends up stealing the cholesterol precursor that would normally be used to make something called DHEA, which is the precursor to our sex hormones.  This is a phenomenon called pregnenolone steal and can result in hormonal imbalances, PMS, infertility, male menopause, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Your hormone production is also dampened by overactive adrenals on a cerebral level.  As we’ve discussed in the past, the adrenal glands are under control of a part of the brain known as the hypothalamus, which in turn directs the pituitary gland.  The pituitary gland either makes, pumps out or sends the signal to trigger hormones like growth hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone, oxytocin, as well as hormones that signal the adrenals.

The anterior pituitary is also responsible for LH (luteinizing hormone) and thus progesterone, and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and thus estrogen.  These hormones are intracle in properly regulating the menstrual cycle, reproduction and beyond.  Adrenal overdrive overworks the pituitary causing it to be sluggish in its output of other hormones, like LH or FSH.

Another fact to be cognizant of is the fact that an inflammatory diet or unknown food intolerances will also have the adrenals logging extra hours at the office.  This not only attenuates hormone production for reasons described above, but it also downgrades the immune system.  This is critical for us all, but especially for a mother and her un or newborn child.

When dealing specifically with pregnancy, studies have shown that a mother with adrenal dysfunction can actually pass it on to her unborn baby by drawing hormones through the umbilical cord.  We’ve illustrated the systemic effects of adrenal dysfunction in the past, so a newborn child with this condition is highly susceptible to immune and gut dysfunction, allergies, eczema, food intolerances, even autism.

The best thing to do if you are having issues that have been deemed or you presume are hormonal is to consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner.  Cleaning up the diet and repairing the gut, identifying potential food intolerances, providing adrenal support if necessary, making lifestyle changes, making sure the nervous system (which ultimately controls ALL) is balanced, and just taking a deeper look inside for the root of the issue is the logical course of action.

If you or anyone you care about is going through any of this, please give us a call (321-848-0987) and we’ll work through it together.

On a personal note, as I prefaced in the intro, my wife and I are proud new parents.  Going into 2013 we didn’t have a time table to begin trying.  However, my wife is a patient of mine and we actually had her on various adrenal support and supplements due to symptoms she was having and the results of an exam.  After that we both partook in a fast/detox/cleanse together, while congruently sticking to an elimination/provocation diet.  A couple of months later we decided to “stop not photo 4trying” to get pregnant.  A month later Ashley was pregnant. And 9 plus months later we have a healthy baby boy.

I realize there are always other factors that contribute to hormonal imbalances and things such as pregnancy.  But don’t rule out these seemingly simple things. Don’t fall victim to the current status quo and believe that “that’s just the way it is,” or you need a pill to fix that. Keep hope alive.  Trust the body and treat it well and most likely it will return the favor.  This goes for the current topic or any other.

Good luck and do not hesitate to call for a consult if any of this resonates with you.

Improving Pregnancy with Chiropractic

Of all the biological processes, there is none more astounding than the miracle of birth.  Consequently, before, during and after this process, the mother’s body is exposed to a phenomenal amount of stress, both mental and physical.  While many remedies exist for coping with the inevitable side effects of child bearing, one of the most effective continues to be collaborating with a qualified chiropractic physician.

For a variety of reasons, this marriage can be advantageous for both the mother AND child to be, starting with the need to address the drastic body changes for our mother.  These dramatic changes lead to alterations in center of gravity and compensatory postural adjustments all the way up and down the kinematic chain.  The average gain of 25-35 pounds disbursed throughout the body leads to overworked muscles and segmental misalignments.

This stress is particularly intense throughout the spine and the low back, with current studies reporting that at least half of all expecting mothers will experience low back pain at some point throughout their pregnancy.  Studies have also found that as high as 84% of pregnant mothers reported relief of back pain during pregnancy when receiving chiropractic care.

Other studies have shown women receiving chiropractic care through their first pregnancy had 24% reduction in labor times and women giving birth for the second or third time reported 39% reduction in shorter labor times. In another study, the need for analgesics was reduced by 50% in the patients who received adjustments.

In addition to having to tote the extra weight, improper alignment is further facilitated by the release of hormones like relaxin, which as the name implies, relaxes the ligaments in order to make room for the growing baby.  This can be problematic due to the fact that the hormone affects all ligaments and can contribute to your misalignments, imbalance, and fixations.

There is no other profession more aptly trained to identify and correct these issues than chiropractic.  Being consistently checked and when needed, adjusted during the strenuous pregnancy, can not only lead to a more comfortable pregnancy, but a less painful childbirth and decreased likelihood of chronic, postpartum pain conditions.

The pelvis in particular is a major focus when evaluating and treating the pregnant patient.  When misaligned, it can actually reduce the amount of room available for the developing baby, preventing the baby from getting into the best position possible for delivery.

This creates a phenomenon called uterine constraint or mal-presentation, which can lead to a breech positioning or eventual C-section.  Due to the uterus’s direct and indirect attachments to the spine via various ligaments, a technique known as the Webster Technique has been utilized with great success.  The technique involves a specific analysis and adjustment in order to balance the pelvis, relieving stress to the uterus and ligaments and potentially clearing the way for optimal fetal positioning and a natural birth.

This all natural technique has withstood the test of time and continues to be utilized by many, and for good reason.  As far back as 2002, The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported an 82% success rate of babies turning vertex when doctors of chiropractic used the Webster Technique. Further, the results from the study suggest that it may be beneficial to perform the Webster Technique as soon as the 8th month of pregnancy when a woman has a breech presentation.

In addition to these examples, the neurological, nutritional and lifestyle support a chiropractor can provide should not be understated.  As we know, the nervous system controls all and the food we provide our bodies fuels that nervous system.  Working with someone who properly addresses both of these two factors, while implementing the necessary chiropractic care, can truly be one of the best options for attaining a smooth, all-natural birthing process.

Outside of the obvious physical alterations, the majority of changes takes place within the body and are governed by the proper release and amount of hormones.  This is all under direct control of the nervous system, which is something we as chiropractors assess and treat in order to obtain optimal function.  This is crucial for the mother, her reproductive organs and child. Many times it is the reason for those “chiropractic miracles” that assist those couples who were having fertility issues.

This topic is particularly near and dear to my heart these days due to my wife being in her second trimester.  We have been working together with great success and are overjoyed to have been blessed with this experience.

If you have any questions about any of the subject matter presented or are interested in pre or postpartum care, as always, please feel free to contact me.