Infertility & Hormones
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Karen Botha MAR reflexologist at Essential Feeling Gidea Park, Romford who specialises in fertility

Tell me about infertility & hormones

Infertility and hormones are two unique entities that need individual attention before we do a thorough analysis into how hormones can affect your ability to conceive.

Fertility reflexology specialises in improving your hormonal balance, so ultimately you get pregnant.

Reflexology to improve fertility works in the same way as standard reflexology because it uses acupressure points on your feet to remove blockages from your system that prevent your body from working optimally.

Your MAR fertility reflexologist, Karen, can work alongside your doctor. All you need to do is feed their diagnosis through to her and she will adapt to support their work. This applies whether you’re undergoing infertility treatments such as IVF, IUI or IXY. She can also advise of ways to improve your BMI to improve your chances of a successful fertility treatment.

However, if you’d prefer to have reflexology independently of formal treatment to help you conceive naturally, we can focus on improving your chances of a natural conception. Either is fine.

Karen Botha MAR

Your Association of Reflexologist’s Therapist


Questions & Answers


Understanding Hormonal Imbalances and Infertility

Hormonal imbalances play a pivotal role in the journey towards conception, acting as both facilitators and barriers. A harmonious balance of hormones is crucial for ovulation, fertilization, and implantation to occur seamlessly. Disruptions in this balance can lead to conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and thyroid disorders, which are significant contributors to infertility. Recognizing the signs of hormonal imbalances, such as irregular menstrual cycles, excessive weight gain or loss, and unusual hair growth or loss, is the first step towards addressing these challenges. Consulting with healthcare professionals for a comprehensive evaluation, including blood tests to measure hormone levels, can provide insights into underlying issues and pave the way for tailored treatment options. Embracing a holistic approach that encompasses lifestyle modifications, medical interventions, and sometimes assisted reproductive technologies (ART) can enhance fertility outcomes and support the journey to parenthood.


The Role of Specific Hormones in Fertility

Fertility is a complex process governed by a symphony of hormones, each playing a distinct role in the reproductive cycle. Key hormones such as Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) are instrumental in regulating the menstrual cycle and ensuring the maturation and release of eggs. Progesterone prepares the uterine lining for implantation, while estrogen helps regulate the growth of the uterine lining and supports early stages of pregnancy. Thyroid hormones, though not directly related to the reproductive organs, significantly influence fertility by affecting overall metabolic health and menstrual regularity. Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) serves as an indicator of ovarian reserve, providing valuable insights into a woman’s remaining egg supply. Understanding the intricate roles these hormones play not only demystifies the process of conception but also highlights the importance of maintaining hormonal balance for optimal fertility.


Diagnosing and Treating Hormonal Imbalances

Diagnosing hormonal imbalances involves a comprehensive evaluation that includes a detailed medical history, physical examination, and targeted blood tests to measure levels of key reproductive hormones. Advanced diagnostic tools, such as ultrasound and MRI, may also be employed to assess the health of reproductive organs and identify potential physical causes of infertility, such as fibroids or polycystic ovaries. Treatment strategies for hormonal imbalances are multifaceted and tailored to the individual’s specific needs. They may include lifestyle interventions, such as diet and exercise modifications, to improve overall health and hormonal regulation. Medications, such as clomiphene or gonadotropins, can stimulate ovulation in women with ovulatory disorders. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to address structural issues. Assisted reproductive technologies (ART), including in vitro fertilization (IVF), offer hope to those for whom other treatments have not been successful. By addressing hormonal imbalances head-on, individuals can significantly improve their chances of achieving a successful pregnancy.


Let's start with infertility

We know the feeling. You’re trying your hardest, and yet all those fertility tests are still negative. Every month. If this devastating cycle has been ongoing for 12 months or more, then officially you’re classed as ‘infertile’. That doesn’t mean that you can never get pregnant. Just that they officially acknowledged your struggle. This is the start of your infertility journey with the doctors.


Secondary infertility

Secondary infertility is when you’ve already had a baby, but this time around you’re struggling. Again, the 12 month mark is the marker in the sand.

While all health authorities have their own rules about when you can apply for NHS fertility treatment they will require you to have been trying to get pregnant for a minimum of one year. Often more.

By the way. You can begin this reflexology any time you like to improve your overall wellness and natural fertility. It also prepares your body for e.g. IVF.

In terms of hormones, these are the essence of the causes of infertility because they are the messages that inform us we need to get pregnant. If they run in the wrong order, at the wrong time, too many or too few, they’re just like a tube carriage. They don’t do their job properly, and our body doesn’t get the message that we want to get pregnant.

Reflexology can balance hormones. So then the process of our body running smoothly improves our natural fertility.



This is important. ‘Fertility hormones’ do not just relate to female infertility. Hormones affect a man’s fertility too. In fact, a poor sperm test is often easier, and faster, to solve than female fertility issues. We can help men with nutrition and lifestyle advice in their fertility reflexology session.

reflexology for infertility & hormones

Imagine it like this

You have a big football match and all the supporters are travelling through London to attend the game. So, imagine your fertility hormones are these supporters.

Then after we balance your hormones, they can get on the tube, grab a seat and sit on a line that is running on time without delays in ultimate comfort. This means that when they reach the stadium, they are relaxed and ready to enjoy a good game.

However, if there is a delay and the tube becomes packed, then your supporters arrive late. But, also often their lengthy and stressful diversion means by the time they arrive at the stadium, they’re out of breath. And not in the right mindset to have fun.

So, when our hormones are out of whack, our system doesn’t cleanse effectively. This leaves our passengers taking the lengthy route to the stadium.

Karen, your reflexologist uses hormonal balancing reflexology techniques to remove these diversions and deliver your passengers to their destination on time and happy.

Many of the health problems that women suffer with such as endometriosis or PCOS result from an imbalance. Or poor functionality of our hormones. So by default, fertility reflexology can also help these. Karen herself suffers with endometriosis, although you’d never know because she uses reflexology to deal with its symptoms.

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What is age related fertility?

As we get older, our fertility changes. A woman is born with all the eggs she will every produce and as she ages these will effectively run out. We don’t all run out at the same rate, so some people may suffer with age related infertility in their e.g. thirties, and others may be dealing with this into their fifties. Throughout this change, the quality of the eggs that remain in her ovaries will deteriorate. This is due to our hormones changing.

So, reflexology can help, but only up to a point, because by this stage it obviously depends on the condition of eggs that remain in your reserve. Also don’t underestimate the effect of cocaine use on our reproductive abilities.


Are hormones, and ultimately our fertility, affected by stress?

Yes, they are. To use our tube analogy, stress loads the carriage likes it’s a constant rush-hour. There isn’t enough capacity to carry enough passengers (fertility hormones) to where they need to go.

So, they either get left on the platform as the overloaded carriage pulls out, or have to travel via a huge diversion which takes longer and means they’re less effective when they arrive.

When administered by a qualified and experienced reflexologist, fertility reflexology evens out that rush hour traffic over a longer period. It’s this that boosts natural fertility in males and females.

Just an hour’s treatment on your feet can help with tackling stress levels. Reflexology helps to reduce your blood pressure, settles your nervous system and promotes relaxing sleep. And this improves fertility.

Clients leave a fertility reflexology session feeling rejuvenated and more-able to take on the world. This aids your ability to conceive because your tube carriage gets from A to B with the minimum of hassle. This leaves more energy for a healthy pregnancy.


Fertility reflexology isn't just about us reducing stress.

All sorts of issues affect hormones, and this is where an experienced reflexologist will know how to blend your treatment to your specific needs.

Foot map showing some of the main reflexology points in different colours
reflexology romford

Conditions related to hormonal imbalances that we’ve seen respond well to reflexology

*Stress anxiety and insomnia
*Irregular/ heavy periods or interrupted or non-existent cycles
*PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome)
*Hormonal imbalances
*Dysmenorrhea (painful period cramps)
*Cervical problems e.g. overproduction of mucus and blocking
*Polycystic ovaries (PCOS)
*Pelvic inflammatory disease (inc. infection of any part of the female reproductive tract)

reflexology romford

Your glossary of some lesser explained terms

  • Ovulatory dysfunction: “Ovulatory dysfunction is a common cause of infertility, often stemming from hormonal imbalances that disrupt the menstrual cycle.”
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): “Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition characterized by hormonal imbalances, including elevated levels of androgens, which can significantly impact fertility.”
  • Thyroid disorders: “Thyroid disorders, which can lead to hormonal imbalances, have been linked to difficulties in conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy.”
  • Ovarian reserve: “Assessing a woman’s ovarian reserve through the measurement of Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) levels can provide valuable insights into her fertility potential.”
  • Assisted reproductive technologies (ART): “For couples facing infertility due to hormonal imbalances, assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as IVF offer a ray of hope.”
  • Menstrual irregularity: “Menstrual irregularity is a telltale sign of hormonal imbalances and can be a barrier to achieving pregnancy.”
  • Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH): “Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) plays a crucial role in stimulating the ovaries to produce eggs, making it a key hormone in the fertility process.”
  • Luteinizing Hormone (LH): “A surge in Luteinizing Hormone (LH) triggers ovulation, making its measurement valuable in fertility planning and treatment.”



Can a hormonal imbalance cause infertility?

Of course. Conditions caused by hormonal imbalances such as PCOS are among the leading causes of being infertile.

That’s not to say you can’t still get pregnant when you have PCOS, but it can be a big issue.


What are barriers to fertility hormones working optimally?

*PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)
*Hormone imbalance that affects ovulation
*STI’s and other infections/ growths
*Unhealthy body weight
*We will discuss your style of living

Your reflexologist at Essential Feeling, Karen, understands that it’s important to balance an ideal lifestyle scenario with what is realistic.

Sure, you want to get pregnant, but Karen isn’t under any illusions about how challenging external pressures can be. You can’t give up work because you’d like to have a baby — we have bills and responsibilities. These don’t evaporate.

Karen will guide you within these parameters. She doesn’t expect perfection. She is there to give you options and help you make the decisions that are right for you. She can do this either individually, or together as part of a couple’s fertility treatment.

Book your reflexology session to balance infertility and hormones now


What hormones should be tested for infertility?

We’re not doctors, and we don’t pertain to be. We work with your medical consultant, using their diagnosis to direct our reflexology programme. We don’t do any medical tests and won’t direct your consultant on how to do their job. This complementary therapy works alongside medicine.

This collaborative approach is how we improve your natural fertility.

If you’re not getting the answers you need though, here’s a quick guide on some common tests for infertility.

* FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) releases the egg from your ovary, and along with LH (luteinizing hormone) stimulates ovulation.
If these reserves are low, as they tend to be in e.g. age related infertility, then this is an indicator that your natural fertility will be a problem.

Can too much oestrogen cause infertility?

Oestrogen levels affect whether and how well, you ovulate. This directly affects your fertility window. If your fertility window (amount of time you’re ovulating) is on the short side, there’s not enough time for your body to do everything it needs to before the window closes. So you move to the next stage without having done everything you needed in the preceding one.

Likewise, if you ovulate too early, then you haven’t had enough time to build up the hormone reserves you need to produce a follicle that contains an egg mature enough to be fertilised. Leave it too long and the egg has gone past its sell by date. Kind of. You get the picture.

High oestrogen levels can also prevent conception by leading to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis.

Karen at Essential Feeling has a track record of helping her client’s suffering with all the above issues.

* What is the pituitary gland?
The pituitary gland is part of the endocrine system, which is the collective name for all the glands in our body which deal with distributing hormonal messages.

This gland is a small, pea-sized gland at the base of the brain. It’s referred to as the body’s master gland because it controls/ stimulates all the other hormone secreting glands.

How does reflexology help to treat infertility?

By balancing your hormones, reflexology becomes one of the most relaxing of infertility treatments because not only are you ‘in tune’ at the end of your sessions, but you’re also dealing with the hormonal cause of female infertility.

What are the causes of female infertility?

As well as the list above, there are many lifestyle factors that can affect how easily it is for you to conceive.

These include what we eat, how we live and how we allow the actions of other people to affect us. Karen, your reflexologist will give you lifestyle hints and tips as you go through your sessions. She’ll combine this with counselling to help you through the tough times and overall ensure you are in the best mental place possible. This holistic approach to your fertility helps your body improve what is within your control.

Hormonal infertility can cause some common side effects.

Below are some side effects that may be a precursor to spotting infertility in women.

*painful sex
*heavy, long or painful periods
*dark or light menstrual blood
*Irregular periods
*hormonal changes, e.g. weight change, acne, facial hair
*underlying medical conditions

Can treatment for infertility result in pregnancy?

Approx 15% of couples struggle with running a full-term pregnancy. Whilst that’s many people, you can still end up feeling isolated. Because people dealing with infertility, don’t talk about it.

However, you don’t have to suffer in silence.

Karen is a certified counsellor. You can chat through your worst thoughts and fears with her within a safe and private environment.
This helps you feel better, before we even start with the intervention of reflexology on infertility and hormones.

That said, it’s important to understand that Karen isn’t a miracle worker. The system won’t work if all you do is come along to a session once a week. Well, it might, but you’re one of the lucky ones! To have the best chance of success, you will need to implement the recommendations.

For sure, we’ll work with you on solutions that fit your responsibilities. You are the only one who can put these into action.

We’ve known a lot of women over the years who turn up and then continue to binge drink, work excessively (really excessively) and then wonder why their fertility is still under strain.

Reflexology is great, but this is part of a package. We can give you the tips, but you need to create the behaviour that is conducive to improving your natural fertility.

Does reflexology help in IVF infertility cases?

If you’re having assisted conception, such as IVF, IUI or IXY, then reflexology alongside this is a brilliant choice. By balancing your hormones before you start, you’re giving your consultant a great base from which to start. Then throughout your drugs, we’ll leave your hormonal system alone and allow the doctors to do their work. Once you’ve had implantation, we’ll then pick up again to once again balance your hormones and leave you without the side effects of e.g. morning sickness.

How do I factor infertility and treating it into my life?

This is easy. When you have fertility reflexology with Karen, she will listen to you. Karen will chat with you until she understands the set of commitments that are unique to your life.

She will only make suggestions about how you can improve your natural fertility that are actually realistic for you to implement.

Karen believes that a series of minor changes that are easy for you to stick to, are better than a few big ones that create a level of stress that we’re trying to avoid. Adding to your stress levels is counter-intuitive.

It’s this pragmatic approach which helps improve your chance of carrying a baby full term.

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