Why it is important to fix your digestion when TTC

Meal that promotes digestion and fertility

“A woman’s fertility hangs off her digestion like a bell” – Chinese saying

When a TCM practitioner refers to the digestive system they are essentially referring to Spleen and Stomach Qi. Spleen’s role is to transport and transform. It transforms the food we eat into substances (like yin) and transports them to organs that need these substances for their bodily functions. 

When Spleen Qi is weak, you see symptoms like fatigue, low appetite, abdominal bloating, and distension. A malfunctioning Spleen also leads to damp conditions in the body. It quite literally means that damp moist conditions prevail in the body. A damp environment will impair circulation and leads to inflammation and other degenerative diseases. 

Fertility is very closely associated with the Spleen function. Spleen Qi directly depends on the Kidney yang for its digestion and enzymatic functions. A weak Spleen draws heavily from the Kidney yang, eventually depleting it. Also, the abuse of Spleen due to poor food choices profoundly depletes Kidney qi and essence. A deficiency of kidney yang, essence or qi breaks communication between the hormone signaling pathways causing imbalance. 

How digestion affects reproductive functions

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  1. Since Spleen Qi is responsible for making blood from the food we eat, a weak Spleen can lead to scanty or absent periods. Spleen Qi is also responsible for regulating menses. 
  2. Kidneys control fertility. Depleted Kidneys can lead to unbalanced hormones, luteal phase defect, period pain, and heavy bleeding.
  3. Spleen Qi is responsible for holding firm. Sagging skin, uterine prolapse, and even miscarriages can occur when Spleen Qi fails in its action to hold and lift. 
  4. Damp conditions in the body can contribute to sperm irregularities and erectile dysfunction in men. 
  5. Spleen Qi can also be seen as the collective action of your gut flora. Starting with salivary gland activity, your gut microbiome dictates the production and metabolism of some crucial hormones. 

The good news is that improving your digestion will not only boost fertility, but also sub-health conditions like poor sleep, anxiety, and inflammation. 

Tips on how to boost fertility by improving digestion 

  1. Avoid Dairy. All forms of dairy are damp. Dairy from goats is less damp.
  2. Avoid cold/uncooked foods like shakes and smoothies. Eat mostly warm cooked foods to support Spleen function and digestive fire.
  3. Avoid processed foods and baked goods. 
  4. Avoid sugars and fried foods.
  5. Buy organic when you can.
  6. Eat with the seasons. Eat warming foods during colder months and vice versa.
  7. Follow the circadian rhythm. Every organ in the body gets a 2-hour window where it performs optimally. The digestive organs perform best between 7-9 am.
  8. Don’t eat 2 hours prior to bedtime.
  9. Eat freshly made food as much as possible.
  10. Add probiotics and enzymes to supplement digestion.

In a nutshell – you cannot improve your fertility potential without improving digestion.

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