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What You Need to Know About Fertility Testing After Miscarriage

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10348901_10208769996348615_8200032926178177830_o What You Need to Know About Fertility Testing After Miscarriage

Our story

It’s been a few months since we lost our second baby. I still feel like it was just yesterday but so much has happened as we continue to advocate to try and find answers for our multiple losses. To be honest, I remember the day after getting the news that we had lost another baby and laying in bed reliving the exact same nightmare I had already lived through just a year ago. I started to really think about how crazy it was to have the exact same thing happen not once but twice and then it hit me, “something must be wrong.” Followed by the scary question, “Will I ever be able to carry a baby to term?” and a lot of feeling like a failure.

Both times I held my pregnancy until 10 weeks, the baby passed away around 6.5 weeks, and I had to have D+C procedures (though I miscarried at home the night before my second procedure.) With our second loss, we collected what we could to bring in for testing only to find out that the medical field won’t do testing until you’ve had 3 documented miscarriages on your medical record. At this point, we knew we were going to have to advocate for ourselves and seek help outside of our traditional resources using money out of our pockets.

My Doctor

I met Dr. Noel in January and truth be told, she had written me a note saying: “I will help you with your fertility” with her phone number below it. Little did I know that after our second loss, I would be taking her up on that offer. Lauren is a naturopathic fertility doctor based in San Diego but since I have a personal connection with her and was able to talk through things with her, I knew she would be the perfect fit for us. Working remotely with her meant consults over the phone but since I know her and have gotten to see her a few times this year in our mastermind, she knew me and my body and it wasn’t awkward at all.

When we miscarried again I was bombarded with messages/suggestions/stories and it was SO encouraging hearing from so many women who have walked in my shoes and then went on to have healthy pregnancies but it was also truly overwhelming and I found myself googling too many things trying to figure out what COULD be going on inside of me. On my first call with Dr. Lo she said,  “You are going to know your body so much better after all of this,” and for the first time I felt relief that I was at least looking at things from every angle and not just “guessing” what was happening and hoping for the best.

The Tests

MTFHR Gene Mutation: Negative

Researchers have looked at MTHFR gene mutations as being a possible factor in recurrent miscarriages with quite mixed results. Some studies find that MTHFR gene variations increase the risk of miscarriages while others find no link.

Right now, some doctors test for MTHFR in patients with a history of miscarriage and offer aggressive treatment to everyone with MTHFR gene mutations. Others do not ever test for MTHFR variants. (Source) 

Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) Antibody Tests: Positive

Blood tests for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibodies are used to help diagnose EBV infection, the cause of infectious mononucleosis (mono), if a person is symptomatic but has a negative mono test. (I came back positive on this in that I have had undiagnosed mono at some point in my life but not currently.) (Source)

Regular Blood Work: Normal

Most everything came back in the green on these tests but there was a lot of below the functional ranges that could easily be tweaked with natural supplements or nutrition. One of the biggest takeaways here was that Dr. Noel told me that traditional medicine compares results to that of an average American (which is a pretty unhealthy person) but naturopathic doctors compare you to optimal results so while nothing here was too alarming, there were a few places I could improve. This also discounted our initial thoughts of thyroid issues.

Adrenal Testing: Issues Found 

I was ready for this one to come back wonky and boy was I right. Dr. Noel almost called the testing center to make sure the results were accurate because I was off the charts. The hormones produced by your adrenal glands, particularly the stress hormone cortisol, play an important role in regulating your immune system. If your cortisol levels go too low or too high, this can lead to regular infections, chronic inflammation, autoimmune diseases or allergies.  One of cortisol’s many functions is to reduce inflammation. When your body encounters a pathogen, the immune system responds by quickly attacking it. This causes inflammation, which is often a good thing (it means the immune system is working). (Source) 

We found my cortisol levels were SUPER high and that I need to really focus on regulating stress in my life which also looks at the stress I am putting on my body internally (more on that in a sec!) This test also revealed that I am estrogen dominant and progesterone insufficient which can contribute to miscarriage. Many women take supplement progesterone in their first trimester. My goal is to get my body back into equilibrium so it can product progesterone without the need to supplement.

Wheat Zoomer Panel: Gluten Intolerance Found

I’m not going to lie, I called my sister before I went in for this test almost knowing what the results were going to yield… as Dr. Noel would say, “You have raging gluten intolerances.” When I got the results from this test which showed a whole lot of red, I knew that I’d be cutting gluten from my diet before Dr. Noel even told me to. I’ve shown signs of gluten intolerance in the past but you know me, I love my pasta and bread. This simple blood test showed me what I was thinking was something I needed to change.

When you partner this with a newly discovered leaky gut and the adrenal fatigue, it all makes sense. The gluten intolerance creates stress on my body where my adrenals release more cortisol to try and counteract it, my body is tired (so tired) and stressed out inside which is leading to both leaky gut and a hormone imbalance. I had NO clue gluten could play such a big role in overall health and fertility.

My plan right now

I am partnering with Dr. Noel to adjust to the new diet, to start to cut back on caffeine and get my body producing energy at a normal level. We are also looking at ways to reduce stress and get more relaxation into my life like daily long walks, massages, meditation and more. We want things to level out, my adrenal to reset, and the stress and inflammation inside of my body to go down. I am also taking many vitamins and supplements to help neutralize the blood screen results and we will be retesting in the future. The goal is to wait six months and stick to this plan for the next six months before “trying again” and we will be checking in, doing a few more tests, and then hopefully carrying a healthy little babe in the next year.

Expense of tests + dr: Under $3,000 (worth every penny)

Shine Natural Medicine // Dr. Lo’s Podcast

by Jenna Kutcher 

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  1. Amanda Washburn

    August 11th, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Glad to hear you are finding answers. While they aren’t always easy to process, at least they are helping you move forward. I have PCOS and found out that I was never ovulating on my own. I did similar things like you – started managing stress, eating healthier, walking, and tried to lose some weight. We combined that with progesterone to try and get me to get my period, we did that twice without luck of actually getting pregnant. I finally took a drug called Femara and got pregnant the first time. I am 25 weeks along and so humbled and thankful. It’s amazing how important it is to know about our bodies. Sending you healing and encouragement vibes.

  2. Abbie B

    August 11th, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Jenna, I am so so excited for you! I know you’re on the right path! May I ask what tests she ran to test your adrenals, and hormones? Better yet, can you share with us all the tests she took? I have battled adrenal fatigue, reactivated mono, and a host of other issues, and would love to know exactly what to ask my naturopathic doctor! Blessings and healing to you!

  3. Jenna Kutcher

    August 11th, 2017 at 10:20 am

    These ARE the tests we did! 🙂 That’s what the headings are, what tests we’ve run. The adrenal test was actually a test you can do at home where you have to spit saliva into a tube at different points throughout the day to check your cortisol levels. Just talk to your doctor but this is the list of tests I’ve done so far.

  4. Danielle

    August 11th, 2017 at 11:52 am

    I’m glad you got some answers to move forward with a game plan! I have a MTFHR mutation that is in the “normal” range, but they have me on a high dosage of folic acid to assist. I didn’t realize that Gluten Intolerance affected fertility, it makes sense. I may need to look into that.

    Thank you for sharing with us!

  5. Kaylee

    August 11th, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    My heart aches for you. It’s so hard knowing how it feels unless you yourself have been through it. I have MTFHR deficiency and take supplements to help with that. We are on 5 years infertility and one known miscarriage. I think it’s so brave of you to share your journey with others. I know that has helped me a lot as well as my faith in Jesus. Prayers for you all!

  6. Laura

    August 11th, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Agh, hang in there. We’re on our second round of IUI, so I know how mentally and emotionally taxing this can be. I’m so glad you are starting to get some answers for yourself.

    I know you said you want your body to start producing progesterone on your own, but I also know your an EO user. I’ve heard tons of good things about Young Living’s Progressence Plus if you want to check that out.

    I’ll be pulling for you guys!

  7. Mallory

    August 11th, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    I am so glad you are getting some answers and your body will come out healthier in a few months. Praying that you find God’s grace in every step of the journey and that He will grant to you what you seek. Thank you for sharing your journey so other women who are suffering losses might find some answers!

  8. Ashley Spear

    August 11th, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Great news and answers! My husband and I pray for your family almost nightly 🙂 Thanks for being vulnerable and putting your story out to the world. Vulnerability is scary and not every receives it well and with grace and support but I can tell you that you are helping me show up in much more powerful ways for friends and family who are facing similar circumstances. Thank you. Xoxo

  9. Grace

    August 11th, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    Jenna,
    After having my first daughter, I had two miscarriages & found out the same as you- adrenal fatigue plus low progesterone. We did some work on it & I’m now snuggling our second daughter. I’d be happy to share my story and what worked for me along the way. Glad you have found some answers. It was relieving to me to have some answers and a plan!

  10. Meghan Birt

    August 11th, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Thanks for writing this and opening yourself up to people hearing your story. I will continue to pray for you as you bring yourself on this journey of healing your body and supporting your fertility naturally too. I love functional medicine doctors (I’m one but don’t currently practice because I stay at home), but I do miss sitting in front of people and being able to go over results and a plan to get their body healthier and reach their health goals. Hugs to you internet friend! Praying for a

  11. Pam

    August 12th, 2017 at 3:06 am

    Hi Jenna,
    I have Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease that attacks the throne among other organs. Two years ago I started to look into alternative medicine to compliment conventional medicine. I found I was intolerant to eggs, dairy and wheat, and had leaky gut. With supplements, cutting these foods from my diet and taking Reatore 4 Life (this helps to heal leaky gut and then protect you guy from any future damage, I highly recommend it) I managed to come off all medication and go into remission. So why am j telling you this. I have had two girls, my first pregnancy before this process was very difficult, I was very ill and on allot of medication and recover was very hard. My second pregnancy was so much better I was off medication, and recovered so much faster. Taking these steps definitely improved my life but also prepared my body better for a healthy pregnancy. I haven’t experienced loss, and can’t imagine how difficult it has been for you, my sympathies are with you both. I wish you all the best in your journey. It will be hard to adjust at first but will be come the norm as you adapt your lifestyle.

  12. Liz

    August 12th, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Good for you for advocating for yourself, and thank you for being so open and vulnerable with sharing about this sad time in your life. I’m sure there are plenty of women going through the same thing right now, and the courage you showed by sharing this will undoubtedly help other women!

  13. Diana

    August 12th, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Did you notice your symptoms are in you about me section? ???? Mac n cheese, coffee and a need for daily naps. (Craving carbs, and requiring caffeine for energy and naps for fatigue). Praying for you

  14. Amy Wilson

    August 12th, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Hang in there, Jenna! So glad to hear you’ve found so much great help from Dr. Lo. I haven’t had a miscarriage, but it’s one of my worst fears, aside from not being able to get pregnant at all. I too have dealt with leaky gut(paired with Candida), adrenal and thyroid issues, gluten sensitivity, etc. I can tell you one thing….you WILL heal and feel so much better. It takes time and patience, but you’re on the right path! One day at a time!

  15. Stephanie Court

    August 12th, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear the struggles you guys have been going through but what a relief to have some answers. I, too, am gluten intolerant and while it’s a big lifestyle adjustment at first, it’s a lot easier now than a few years ago since there are so many gf alternatives on the market. Annie’s makes an awesome gf mac-and-cheese so don’t worry, you don’t have to give up your favorite food! <3

  16. Morgan

    August 12th, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    Thank you so so much for sharing your story and this experience! It has been so helpful and you have made my miscarriage less isolating, and for that I will forever be grateful! Wondering if you would share what vitamins/supplements you are taking. I know everyone’s body is different. I am just struggling to find a prenatal I feel comfortable with and haven’t had much luck with my doctor’s Nature Made recommendation. Thank you and love love you posts and you!

  17. Jessica

    August 13th, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Hello your story sounds a lot like mine. Is your doctor also doing medicinal tinctures? I went with Doctor Flynn with the Wellness Way in Green Bay, WI. Keep the faith and hope-I just welcomed my second rainbow baby. XO.

  18. Jean

    August 13th, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Jenna, this is all so interesting!! I’ve miscarried almost a year ago, October 21st to be exact. Not sure if it was a baby boy or girl as we miscarried at about 11 weeks. I still cry when I think about it. Your posts and podcast about this really touched my heart. I really just wanted to message and encourage you and know that we are praying for you and Drew as you journey through this. I have faith that God will make you a mama. These tests will surely help you. Don’t deny yourself the mourning and the pain. There is no shame in it. You didn’t do anything wrong. Sometimes the body just can’t keep a baby. I have 2 kids before my miscarriage and am undergoing similar tests to you because after my miscarriage I was unable to conceive. For me my blood sugar and stress and adrenal gland are way off the charts. Makes sense as my day job is a very high stress corporate job and I’ve gained a ton of weight. So now it’s prayer, exercise, and diet change. You are so brave to go through this online and to share it. It’s comforted and encouraged me so much more than the well meaning family members with their “something must have been wrong with baby” and all those other well meaning but deeply hurtful sentiments and “encouragements”.

    Prayers and love to you.

  19. Jessica

    August 15th, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Hi Jenna! Please feel free to ignore this comment if it adds to the knowledge overload!! Have you been tested for Celiac Disease? The reason I ask is because if you are showing gluten intolerances (I”m not sure what test your doctor used but if it was the tTG-iGa that is the one commonly used as the first step in diagnosing Celiac Disease) here’s the deal, I have Celiac disease, I found out about 3-ish years ago. There is a lot of misinformation in the medical community about who needs to be tested for Celiac Disease. A lot of doctors think if you don’t have diarrhea you don’t have it. That is false. I have never had that particular issue but I do have other issues, including endometriosis which is common in women with Celiac Disease. If you decide to be tested for Celiac Disease its very important that you keep eating gluten so that the tests can be accurate (the gold standard is bloodwork followed by an endoscopy). A lot of doctors are changing their minds and diagnosing people with just blood work and symptoms. Look, I am so sorry to be adding to the pile on. I really apologize. I want to encourage you. Going gluten free is hard but it is worth it for the benefit to your health. As someone who thought they just had a gluten intolerance until my doctor tested me I highly highly recommend getting tested for Celiac disease. It is a lot more common than people think (its as common as Type 1 Diabetes is) and it is an autoimmune disorder which plays into other health wonkiness.

  20. Jessica

    August 15th, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Please don’t hate me! I also just reread your post and saw where you mentioned possible potential thyroid issues. Jenna i am almost crying, this sounds like me. I had to have half my thyroid removed before I figured out I did not have thyroid disease I had celiac disease. Sometimes when our immune systems are attacking gluten they also attack our thyroid by mistake. which is exactly what happened to me. I wish you all the best, it sounds like you are getting the help you need 🙂

  21. Jillian

    August 15th, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    It’s so awesome that you found a fertility doctor with a holistic approach. I had to do all of the non-standard stuff on my own. I asked my doctor about food intolerances, MTHFR, and hormones, and he said none of it made any difference. But, I suspected all along that the food sensitivities and a hormone imbalance were contributing to our problems getting and staying pregnant. You’re definitely on the right track! I also used a few essential oils from Young Living. I don’t know if they helped or not, but I saw some major skin issues clear up when I started using them daily (and got pregnant in the first cycle).

  22. Rebecca

    August 16th, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    What are you doing to regulate your cortisol levels? I know mine are so out of whack, but I can’t seem to get my stress and anxiety under control!

  23. Jenna Kutcher

    August 17th, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    I am doing a few things: limiting screen time before bed, no phone in the bedroom, easing into my mornings (so waking up when my body wakes up), I am skipping Crossfit and instead doing yoga and walking with the dogs, more breaks during the day, trying to get a massage every other week, and incorporating meditation into my life! It’s small steps but so far I feel like things are working in the right direction and I’m being mindful of WHAT is stressing me out and then trying to take action to remove it from my life.

  24. Mallory

    August 17th, 2017 at 12:41 am

    Hi Jenna!
    Thank you so much for being willing to share your story. I know I and so many other women are encouraged by your vulnerability!

    Your story is very similar to mine, all of your test results are almost exactly what I experienced receiving after our first loss.

    I will say that I am nearly certain that the Lord used progesterone to bring my baby boy to full term. I took the suppositories well into my 2nd trimester, and noticed a SIGNIFICANT chance in my energy levels, depression/anxiety symptoms and stress levels. Estrogen dominance is a very real thing, and progesterone worked wonders for me.

    I know we are two totally different people, but I just wanted you to know it sounds like you are really onto some good things here. Best wishes to you and yours <3.

  25. Cate

    August 17th, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    Girl, I’m walking this same road. I’m 7 months post-miscarriage. And working with various doctors to get things in range and inflammation down! It’s always encouraging to hear about someone else on this journey!

  26. Michelle Huffman

    August 17th, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    Jenna, I’m so glad that you’ve finally found some answers. I, too, was diagnosed with gluten intolerance about 3 years ago, and after cutting gluten out of my diet, it was like getting my life back. I was so sick prior to finding out, every single day. I also miscarried almost 2 years ago, and while I’m not sure if a damaged system due to gluten was the root cause, I’d bet every dime I have that it played a part. I SO hope that this is the info you guys needed to heal your body in preparation to have your rainbow baby. Good luck with everything, and warm wishes to you and your husband!

  27. Kara

    August 18th, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    Jenna, not sure if you have heard or read about Whole30 but it is life changing! I struggle with food intolerances and after a cancer scare at 23, I really needed to reevaluate how the food I was ingesting was affecting immune response/whole body. The 30 day program is a great reset, but the lessons you learn about how different foods make you feel in what makes it so worth it. Read “It Starts with Food”… they have an entire chapter on hormone imbalances and gut responses! My uncle was pre-diabetic and through Whole30, has now turned his health completely around!
    Also, (I’m sure you’ve been told this thousand of times but…) lean on loved ones and stay hopeful! My sister struggled with infertility and had a couple of miscarriages over a 3 year period before having twins via IVF and watching her go through that made my heart hurt…we all wanted to take that pain from her. You’re not alone! Thank you for sharing so much of your life and wisdom with us!

  28. Katie Musicco

    August 22nd, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Hi Jenna, Thank you for sharing your journey with your fertility and miscarriages. I have to say I have been in your shoes many times (actually 4) over a 3 year period. It has been my mission to bring awareness to do this and let women know that they are not alone on their journey. I know that so many women are feeling supported and inspired by your message. I have my Dr. in Chinese Medicine and I’m a health coach inspiring women just like you to care for themselves as it’s the most important thing. This is something I have lived and breathed on both ends. Being a busy entrepreneur and going through this myself I can say that you are doing amazing love! I am sure you are getting a lot of people reaching out to you but I was guided to you for a reason and wanted to say if by sharing with you my history can help you in any way please feel free to ask. I am an open book about it. Sending you some huge vitural love and hugs! Keep shining through and through, you are doing some amazing work!
    xo Katie Musicco

  29. Katie Olsen

    August 23rd, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Jenna – thanks so much for sharing this with us. I second Kara’s comment about Whole30 – it’s a life-changing program, and the great thing is all you need to do is eat real, delicious food with lots of healthy fats. I couldn’t recommend it more – you’ll feel amazing. Best wishes to you on this journey and know we are all cheering for you!

  30. deb

    October 6th, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Oh Jenna, I am so sorry you are going through this, I have a somewhat similar background, including PCOS, so your story totally resonates with me. I am sending positive thoughts and healing prayers your way.
    Just to share a little about what worked for me… I found that a DF/GF diet helped so much with reducing my overall inflammation and hormonal imbalance. I used supplements loaded with adaptogens to reduce my cortisol levels. A magnesium oil spray helped with keeping my body calm throughout the day, and also helped me sleep much better. Hot yoga became a way for me to find more inner peace and feel more connected to what was going on with my body. I completely went into self care mode, and was really good about taking care of ME for the first time…..diet, nutrition, mind health and all the good stuff…. Today I am happy to report that I have 4 beautiful children. I wish YOU all the best always and look forward to reading more updates from you. Stay positive most of all. You are in good hands with excellent health care providers and your body is a miracle! Sending you positive thoughts and energy!

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