The practice of cleansing has been around for thousands of years as a way to help humans keep their bodies healthy. It is also one of the best tools we can use to increase fertility. The liver is an incredibly important organ when it comes to reproductive health, which means that cleansing the body of toxins and excess hormones will support both the liver and the uterus to achieve optimal function.
Springtime is a wonderful time to do a fertility cleanse, as spring in Chinese medicine represents the liver, new growth, and discernment. Cleansing is the perfect way to transition into a new season and is a wonderful way to increase your body’s fertility.
Living in an urban setting we are exposed to toxins and chemicals that are all around us. These may be from the use of hormonal birth control, toxins in our home and body products, pesticides on the foods we eat, alcohol, and simply environmental toxins from traffic fumes to industrial exhaust. Many of the toxins we are exposed to and consume get stored in the fatty tissues of the body. Often they are endocrine disruptors, hurting everything from reproduction to metabolism. Internally our bodies produce waste byproducts as a result of normal metabolic function. Although our body is designed to rid itself of these toxins naturally, it can become overburdened. Cleansing offers your body additional support to expel and metabolize these toxins, creating a healthy and nourishing environment for conception.
Cleansing is beneficial for a number of common symptoms and conditions including PMS, frequent colds, unexplained fatigue and congestion, acne, slow digestion/bowel movements, itchy skin, cramps and/or clots during menstruation, and other symptoms associated with hormonal imbalances. Cleansing is also a great way to regulate hormones when transitioning off of hormonal birth control. For those that are doing stimulation meds for IUI and IVF cycles, we like to take the opportunity after a stimulation cycle, if there is space, to cleanse pathways (the liver and kidneys) that are processing out the excess hormones, as well as cleanse the passageways (small and large intestines) where those hormones are excreted.
Why a fertility cleanse?
Not all cleanses are good for fertility. A good fertility cleanses is able to focus on uterine health and blood flow as well as primarily focusing on flushing out any excess hormones or toxins from the liver. The liver is a primary focus because it is the body’s natural cleanser. When we ingest foods and liquids, they are brought directly to the liver from the digestive system to be filtered, and at night when we sleep all the blood in our body returns to the liver to be cleansed as well.
It is important to pay special attention to cleansing that benefits fertility specifically when choosing a cleanse. A great method for fertility cleansing is to follow your menstrual cycle. General cleanses will not focus on the phases of your menstrual cycle. When menstrual bleeding has ceased until ovulation (the follicular phase) is the most optimal time to help nourish and focus on the liver, then from ovulation until the first day of bleeding (the luteal phase) the focus shifts to benefit uterine muscle tone, support hormonal balance, and increase circulation to the reproductive organs.
Cleanses we recommend
At Blue Ova, we recommend the Standard Process 21 Day Purification Program as it stimulates specific detoxification organs in the body—the liver, kidneys, and intestines. The cleanse involves eating whole, organic, and unprocessed foods; taking supplements with whole foods and other ingredients; and drinking plenty of water. Additionally there are certain inflammatory foods that we encourage you to avoid while on this cleanse/purification program.
Overall, cleanses for fertility should be gentle and not shock your system the way cleanses with strong diuretics do. We always encourage a healthy fertility diet as the appropriate support for a fertility cleanse.
Some wonderful gentle cleansing herbs are milk thistle seed for liver health and hormone balance, peony root for proper circulation and uterine stagnation, and raspberry leaf tea which aids uterine muscle tone and normalizes blood flow during menses to the reproductive organs. We also recommend Fertile Detox as a gentle detoxifier for our patients trying to conceive.
A couple things to remember before cleansing: if you are already pregnant or breastfeeding it is not the right time to cleanse, as you don’t want to expose your baby to the toxins you are expelling. In addition fertility cleanses should be completed prior to conception as some herbs and cleanse ingredients are not suitable for consumption during pregnancy.
Keep calm and cleanse on!