Why Your Ovarian Follicles Matter


With infertility rates growing every year, most people don’t even realize that there is a problem until they’re ready to have a child. As of 2017, statistics show that there is an increase in conceiving for women 40 and up. Once conceiving becomes difficult, this may be the only time in a woman’s life when she is prompted to check how her reproductive organs are functioning. However, with infertility on the rise, shouldn’t fertility functionality monitoring begin as a preventative measure much sooner in a woman’s life? Most doctors only remind women of the decrease in egg production after the age of 35.

When a female is born, she has a specific amount of eggs made in the ovaries by her ovarian follicles. These follicles often lay dormant awaiting initiation for up to 50 years and with every cycle, a woman is expected to release a mature egg. However, about 99% of follicles do not release eggs and are absorbed by the body naturally.  Because the follicles start off nearly invisible, it may be impossible to know exactly how many follicles a woman potentially has. When the follicles are activated by hormonal signals, they become visible on a ultrasound only after a certain stage has been reached. A vaginal ultrasound is the easiest and most affordable way to check the follicle count in an Ovarian Reserve test.  This test should be done sooner than the age of 35, especially for those with uterine diseases such as Endometriosis, PCOS, Ovarian cysts, PID, Fibroids, etc. 

An Antral Follicle test will be able to determine the total number of Antral Follicles (22 to 35=normal, 9 to 21=moderate and 0 to 9=low), the reserve for egg retrieval, expected response to ovarian stimulating drugs, successful pregnancy with IVF, and pregnancy rates.

When the numbers are low, pregnancy, fertility treatments, IVF, and egg retrieval may become difficult. Although a doctor may suggest egg-stimulating drugs, there are many alternative and natural therapies women are turning to help increase their egg production and fertility with much success. These include: 

  • Avoid NSAIDS (Ibuprofen, Aleve, Advil, Aspirin (NSAIDs dramatically reduce  Ovulation With Consistent use. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been shown to inhibit ovulation and reduce progesterone levels in young women, which could seriously undermine fertility.)
  • Avoid toxic ingredients found in beauty products and house cleaning supplies such as phthalates, parabans and sulfates. 
  • Invest in the Daysy Fertility Tracker.  Not everyone ovulates on day 14, some women ovulate on day 5!
  • Acupuncture to increase blood flow and address underlying problems linked to infertility.
  • Maca to nourish the endocrine and pituitary glands that aid in fertility.
  • CoQ10 to stimulate follicles and make better quality eggs.
  • Royal Jelly to balance hormones.
  • L-Arginine to increase blood circulation in the ovaries and uterus.
  • Massage to reposition a tilted uterus, increase blood flow, stimulate ovaries, and break up scar tissue.
  • B complex, B6, and B12 to avoid deficiency symptoms of poor egg production and irregular ovulation.
  • Selenium to promote egg production and reduce miscarriage.
  • Zinc to balance estrogen and progesterone levels.
  • Vitamin E rich foods such as nuts to increase blood flow to ovaries.
  • Egg yolks (especially duck) contain folate, zinc, and B vitamins to support the reproductive organs.
  • Iron through organic liver, duck, grass-fed beef, lamb, and white meat chicken.
  • Iodine in the form of sea veggies like kelp, dulse, and wakame.
  • DHEA increases the quality and quantity of eggs.
  • Folic Acid increases ovulation and progesterone.
  • Integrating Traditional Chinese Medicine and Herbs help regulate hormones and stimulate ovaries.
  • Essential fatty acids such as fish oil, avocados, walnuts, and chia to regulate reproductive hormones and increase cervical mucus.
  • Seeds and legumes to regulate blood sugar and balance hormones.
  • Organic foods to avoid pesticides.
  • Organic bone broth to eliminate extra hormones and reduce estrogen dominance.
  • Eat Deep sea wild fish such as Arctic cod, sole, wild salmon, oysters, and sardines.
  • Avoid farmed or high mercury fish such as tuna, swordfish, and sea bass.
  • Avoid refined sugar. Eat local honey, 100% maple syrup, stevia, coconut sugar, and monk fruit.
  • Avoid processed foods, gluten, soy, wheat, and corn.
  • Eat healthy fiber to eliminate extra estrogen.
  • Eat Berries to protect eggs from cell damage.
  • Take DIM to reduce estrogen dominance.
  • Reduce alcohol, caffeine, and smoking.
  • Avoid chocolate while trying to conceive and pregnant. It contains alkaloids which may be toxic.
  • Avoid birth control pills and other forms of contraceptives.
  • Drink raspberry leaf tea to rejuvenate all reproductive organs and follicle function.
  • Eat sweet potatoes and yams to help balance progesterone and hormone health.
  • Drink tea such as peppermint, lemon balm, nettle, and hibiscus to support reproductive health.
  • Utilize essential oils such as geranium, calendula, frankincense, German chamomile, clary sage, yarrow, rose, and sweet fennel to balance hormones and promote fertility. 

Although the focus is always on the physical aspects of keeping reproductive organs healthy and functioning, creating a healthy emotional environment is just as important. Craft a positive daily mantra practice, write constructive affirmations and journaling, work on root and sacral chakra energy fields,  heal old wounds and traumas, and create a positive, stress-free sexual relationship to help increase fertility naturally. Hormones are reactive to other human beings hormonal output and those organs function at their best when being used with a loved one, emitting the same energy.

By @JenaCovello and Natasha M