Trying to conceive? If ovulation abnormalties, progesterone deficiency, or mild endometriosis underline your fertility challenges, vitex is a magic herb that can help you
Have you and your partner been actively trying to have a baby, but so far without success?
Do you feel a strong sense of letdown every time you get your period? There’s also a strain on your relationship, right? Something you just can’t talk about without getting into a fight…
You both feel frustrated, and helpless at times.
If this describes your situation, stay with me. Let’s take a deep breath, put the emotions aside, and try to figure out the causes and some possible solutions.
Why Are You Not Getting Pregnant?
First, you should know that you’re not 100% responsible for your fertility challenges.
Of all infertility cases, one-third of the issues are linked to males, one-third to females, and the remaining third are associated with both partners or have unexplained causes.
So while trying everything you can to increase your chances of conception, you should also ask your partner to get tested and see if there is any issue on his side.
Now that we’ve put things in proper perspective, let’s talk about female related fertility issues. There are 6 main ones, as follows:
1. Ovulation Abnormalities
If you’re not releasing a mature egg during each menstrual cycle, your chances of getting pregnant is diminished.
You may have irregular periods (a clear sign of sporadic ovulation). Or in severe cases, your ovaries develop a string of follicles surrounding the eggs, which prevent a mature egg from being released regularly (a conditioned called polycystic ovaries or PCOS).
Or perhaps your body produces too much prolactin (the hormone that stimulate milk production). This may also intervene ovulation, as your brain mistakenly thinks you’re a breastfeeding mother.
2. Low Progesterone
If you don’t ovulate regularly, or for some other reason your ovaries do not produce enough progesterone (e.g., due to a sluggish thyroid or adrenal fatigue), you’ll have difficulty with implantation – and sustaining a pregnancy.
If your endometrial tissues grow outside of the uterus (a condition called endometriosis), you’re likely to have irregular menstrual bleeding, and have difficulty getting pregnant (with implantation and sustaining a pregnancy).
4. Early Menopause
This goes without saying, if you’re not menstruating, you’re not going to get pregnant.
Although an average woman will cease to have her periods at age 49-51, some women may enter menopause in their 30s or early 40s, either because their ovaries run out of eggs, or stop working due to surgeries or various health issues.
5. Structural Problems
Certain structural issues can block the egg from travelling down the fallopian tubes to make home in the uterus. This may include the shape of the uterus, abnormalities with the opening of the cervix, or polyps, fibroids or scar tissues in/around the uterus.
6. Health Conditions
Certain health issues can also interfere with your ability to conceive. For example, pelvic inflammatory disease can damage or block the fallopian tubes, impairing fertility.
So can cancer treatments and other health conditions, including celiac disease, poorly controlled diabetes, and some autoimmune diseases such as lupus.
If ovulation issues, progesterone deficiency, or mild endometriosis (the first 3 above) underline your fertility challenges, there is a magic herb that can help you, which I’ll discuss below.
For other reasons, it’s best to see a fertility doctor to get a thorough checkup,
Vitex Fertility Benefits
Vitex, also known as Vitex Agnus-castus, Chaste Tree, Chasteberry, Abraham’s Balm or Monk’s Pepper, is perhaps one of the best fertility herbs available to us when it comes to balancing hormones and regulating menstrual cycles.
Vitex can help enhance your fertility in the following 5 ways:
1. Increase progesterone
Researchers believe that vitex increases the release of LH (luteinizing hormone) from the pituitary gland, which raises progesterone and normalizes the second half of the menstrual cycle. It may also reduce prolactin, which suppresses the production of progesterone.
Even though the exact cause is still unknown, vitex has been proven to help treat low progesterone in more than 60 years of clinical research, including 5 randomized trials.
2. Promote ovulation and regulate the menstrual cycle
Progesterone nourishes the uterine lining and prepares the uterus for possible implantation, which is crucial if you want to get pregnant.
The adequate and regular release of progesterone also provides a fertile soil for the next cycle, which will encourage the production of estrogen and regular ovulation. Ovulation will in turn trigger the release of progesterone. This creates a healthy and virtuous fertile cycle.
On the other hand, without the regular release of progesterone, the endometrial lining will become too thick, which may hinder the ovulatory process due to the negative feedback mechanism (e.g., thick lining – high estrogen levels – low follicular stimulating hormones FSH – low LH – no ovulation – low progesterone) – a vicious cycle.
Note: Vitex can be very helpful If you’re getting off birth control pills. It helps to stabilize the cycle and induce ovulation more quickly.
3. Lengthen the luteal phase
One of the manifestations of low progesterone is a luteal phase defect (LPD), which occurs when the corpus luteum fails to produce enough progesterone during the two-week period spanning ovulation to menstruation.
You may be diagnosed with LPD when the second half of your menstrual cycle is 10 days or less, or if you have low progesterone on day 21 of the menstrual cycle, or both.
LPD is found in about 10% of women with infertility and 35% of those women who experience recurrent miscarriages. By promoting the release of progesterone, vitex may help lengthen a short luteal phase.
4. Balance estrogen dominance and associated PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, and fibroids
When progesterone levels are low, estrogen levels will become relatively high. This creates a condition called estrogen dominance, which underlines many menstrual disharmonies, such as PMS, fibroids, endometriosis, and PCOS.
By promoting progesterone production, vitex also indirectly helps with many of these issues. For example, vitex is used in Germany by gynecologists to treat mild endometriosis and prevent it from advancing. It has also been found helpful in reducing uterine cysts.
5. May prevent miscarriage
Miscarriages are commonly linked with insufficient progesterone levels. By promoting progesterone production, vitex may help prevent miscarriages caused by progesterone deficiency.
How to Use Vitex for Fertility
As you can see, vitex is really a super herb for women’s reproductive cycles. It harmonizes and nourishes and works behind the scenes to restore balance in a gentle way. But it’s slow acting and can take months to see meaningful effects.
To reap the full benefits of this wonderful herb, commit to taking it for at least 6 months. It’s generally suggested to take vitex once a day in the morning on an empty stomach (half an hour before breakfast).
Capsules or tinctures are the best ways to use vitex. Unlike many other herbs, it doesn’t make a popular tea. I tried to make tea using raw vitex once. It had a very bitter taste and only became bearable after a lot of sweetening.
Precautions When Using Vitex for Fertility
Vitex is considered a pretty safe herb with only mild side effects. Common side effects include mild digestive upset or skin rash. Uncommon side effects may include rapid heartbeat, hair loss, headache, dry mouth, nausea, rash, itching and bleeding between periods.
So you know the usual drill, if you notice any side effects while taking vitex you should back off either by reducing the dosage or stopping immediately.
Like most herbs, vitex is generally not recommended for pregnant or nursing women. Even though German research shows that vitex can be taken safely through the end of the third month of pregnancy and may help prevent miscarriage, it’s best to consult your doctor to ensure it’s safe for you to do so.
Additionally, vitex should also not be taken with many medications that contain hormones in case it may interfere with their activities (since vitex has effects on many female reproductive hormones).
And always, if you have any health conditions or are taking hormonal supplements (including birth control pills), you should consult your doctor before taking vitex.
I hope you found this post helpful. Please share your experience with vitex, so we can all learn from each other. Thank you!
Vitamin Code RAW Prenatal Multivitamin (Specially formulated women’s multivitamin made from nutritious RAW whole foods)
Vitex (Supports progesterone, regulate the menstrual cycle, and prevent miscarriage)
Royal Jelly (The only food for the Queen Bee, which enables her to lay up to 2,000 eggs each day throughout her life, and outlive worker bees 30 fold)
Pink Stork Fertility Tea (Comprised of 7 organic herbs including red raspberry, nettle, and chasteberry, designed to support fertility)
Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Weschler
Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility, by Sami S. David