How to Be Your Own Fertility Health Advocate

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Many years ago, I worked in medical research.  I was a clinical research coordinator who conducted drug studies alongside doctors focused on diabetes and arthritis.  

One of my jobs was to discuss patient’s symptoms and reactions to the drugs that were being studied.

I learned a lot during those years working closely with patients and doctors. 

The most important thing I learned was the importance of communication. 

Specifically, communication about health.

As women, our fertility health is important to our overall well-being and vice versa.  We should work alongside our doctors to take care of our fertility health. 

Our doctor can be an important part of the puzzle of good health.

How do you work alongside your doctor?  How do you best communicate?

You can be your own fertility health advocate! 

Top Ways You Can Be Your Own Fertility Health Advocate:

  • Find a supportive doctor

This can be easier said than done depending on where you live.  A NaProTechnology doctor is the best choice for a fertility doctor. 

NaProTechnology doctors are trained to find the underlying cause of the fertility health issue and treat it.  All of this in cooperation with a woman’s fertility cycle.

There are other wonderful doctors who are trained in NFP and Fertility Awareness methods and have chosen not to prescribe contraception.  These doctors are also a good choice because they support you working with your body and your fertility and not suppressing it.

If there are no NaProTechnology doctors or NFP-only doctors available, the next step is to find a doctor who will at least supports your use of a natural system of family planning.

Remember, doctors work for you.  If you do not find support or are not satisfied with your care, you can switch to another doctor.  There are even a few NaProTechnology doctors who will take patients long distance!

  • Chart your fertility

Your body shows you signs of health and abnormalities.  Think of when you have the cold or the flu.  You have a fever, runny nose and body aches.  This lets you know that your body is having problems and to contact your doctor.

The same is true for your fertility.  Your body will produce signs that let you know when things are off.  By charting your fertility, you will see the abnormalities in your chart.  

Some examples would be unusual bleeding or dry cycles.  This can notify you that you should contact your doctor. 

Your chart can also be used as a medical tool by NaProTechnology doctors to personalize testing and treatment to you and your fertility.

  • Keep a PMS symptom chart

I highly recommend keeping a PMS symptom chart found here, especially if you suffer from PMS.  It is a great tool to help know when and how severe your symptoms are in relation to where you are in your fertility cycle.

By filling out the PMS symptom chart and bringing it to my doctor, I was able to get the right testing and treatment for my severe PMS.

  • Keep a general symptom chart

Sometimes your fertility chart’s coding system may not be able to cover all that you are experiencing since it is focused on your fertility signs only.

I highly recommend to my clients that are struggling with PCOS, Endometriosis, PMS, premenopause, or irregularity, to keep a general symptom chart. 

You can even use your fertility chart to mark your symptoms and use a key.  You can mark some symptoms such as cramping, extreme fatigue, bloating, hair loss, etc. 

If you have unusually heavy bleeding and the coded system for that does not accurately capture the information, you can make a note either on your chart or on a separate piece of paper.

The information may or may not be useful to your doctor, but I believe that the more information you can provide about your fertility health, the better the diagnosis and treatment.

  • Ask lots of questions

If you are confused about a protocol, medicine or procedure, ask questions.  This is your fertility health and you are ultimately responsible for your own health.

Your doctor is there to aid you and help you improve your health, but you are the one to make final decisions on your care.  Do not ever feel pressured to take a medicine or do a procedure you are not comfortable with.

If you do feel pressured, then it may be time to find a new doctor who will support you in your decisions.

  • Keep a food journal

This advice is more for yourself than for your doctor.

More and more people are developing food intolerances.A food journal can help you figure out if any foods are contributing to your health symptoms.

I discovered 3 years ago that I was intolerant to gluten and dairy from making note of how I felt when I ate foods that contained both.  I spoke with my doctor, did some tests and found that my health is better without them so I no longer eat foods that contain gluten or dairy.

There are also many nutritional recommendations for women with fertility health issues such as PCOS, endometriosis, infertility, premenopause syndrome and more.

Food is medicine! You can help heal and nourish your body with food.

Nutrition is often an overlooked but necessary part of your fertility health.

Keeping a 3-day food journal can give you a lot of insight into how well you are nourishing your body.

It can tell you if you are getting enough water, enough vegetables and protein. It can show you if you are relying too much on junk food which can wreak havoc on your body.

The goal of Fertility Care is to empower you to take charge of your fertility health.   We want you to be an active participant in the monitoring and maintaining of this fertility health. 

By being your own fertility heatlh advocate, you can work alongside your doctor to help improve and maximize your fertility health.