Vitex for Fertility.....does it work?
Well let me tell you.
Vitex is a popular herb used for treating fertility problems and hormonal imbalances in women.
Vitex also known as Chasteberry or Agnus-castus is a leading herb known to help relieve the symptoms of female hormonal imbalances. Hormonal imbalances such as depression, cramps, mood swings, water retention, weight gain and other Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms associated with Menstrual Cycle.
So How Does Vitex Work For Fertility?
Scientific research shows that vitex works by balancing female sexual hormones.
These Female Sexual Hormones(estrogens,progesterone) are the keys to reproductive health including menstruation, fertility, menopause and sex drive (libido).
Any imbalance in any of the female hormones (estrogens, progesterone) can lead to irregular or missed periods and infertility. This is where Vitex comes in as a natural herbal remedy for treating fertility problems.
The use of Vitex for treating fertility issues,works by regulating the Pituitary Gland. The Pituitary Gland is found in the front of the brain and it is responsible for sending chemical signals to other glands, such as the ovaries to tell them how much of a particular hormone to make.
For Instance if the ovaries produce too much of the estrogen hormone, the pituitary gland detects this and instructs the ovaries to produce just the required amount. Cool isn't it?
But in some women the pituitary gland doesn't function as required or as expected.
Benefits of Vitex for Fertility are:
1. Vitex Helps to Shorten or Regulate the Luteal Phase
The Luteal Phase of a woman's menstrual cycle is the number of days after ovulation until the next period begins. In order words it is the part of a woman's menstrual cycle after ovulation has occurred until the next period starts.
The Menstrual Cycle is made up of two phases: Follicle Phase and Luteal Phase. Luteal Phase is the second half as shown in the diagram below.
A short Luteal Phase is one of the causes of infertility in women.
A short luteal phase leads to fertility problems because progesterone is the key hormone that operates in the luteal phase and it is this progesterone hormone that tells your body to produce a thick uterine lining to sustain pregnancy or that is shed as period if no pregnancy occurs after 12-16 days.
Women with short luteal phase(less than 10 days) find it difficult to get pregnant due to the fact that the progesterone levels start to decrease before the fertilized egg is fully implanted into the uterine lining.
With a decrease in progesterone levels, the uterine lining starts to shed as menstruation and the next cycle starts.
Women who have a normal or long luteal phase (12-16) have sufficient time for the egg or embryo to implant and signal the body to produce HCG, which is the hormone that is detected in most pregnancy test sold in stores.
Vitex is a natural herb to lengthen the luteal phase to ensure that pregnancy can occur by making sure there is enough time for a fertilised egg to implant to the walls of the uterine before the progesterone level starts to decrease to form the next period.
2. Vitex Helps To Increase the Production of Progesterone Levels
Low Progesterone levels makes it difficult for women to get pregnant or carry a baby to full term.
Progesterone is a female hormone produced after ovulation.
The main purpose of progesterone is to prepare the uterus for pregnancy after ovulation as occurred by thickening the lining of the uterus.
If there is no fertilized egg then the progestrone level drops and the uterus lining is shed as menstruation.
If a fertilized egg is implanted in the uterine wall, the progestrone hormone is needed through out the pregnancy to carry the baby to full term.
Women with low progesterone level will find it difficult to get pregnant because the fertilized egg is unable to implant to the uterine walls or uterine lining.
Even if a woman with a low progesterone level gets pregnant it may lead to miscarriage because a decent amount of progesterone level is needed to sustain pregnancy.
Vitex, when used for fertility treatment has been shown to help balance and increase progesterone levels in women especially with luteal phase defect.
In a study of 18 women with infertility problems, these women took vitex everyday for 3 months.
The result showed that 7 women successfully became pregnant and 25 out of the 48 women had a balanced progesterone level which increased their chances of getting pregnant.
3. Vitex is Used in The Treatment of Mild Endomentriosis
Endomentriosis occurs when the cells that make up the lining of the uterus spread outside to the other parts of the body.
Even though these cells are located outside the uterus they are still stimulated by a woman's reproductive hormone each month and shed as menstruation or period.
Endometriosis can be really painful and it is one of the main causes of infertility in women.
Vitex has been shown by german gynaecologist to treat mild endometriosis.
Vitex also helps to prevent the advancement of endometriosis.
4. Vitex May Help Prevent Miscarriage
Vitex helps in progesterone hormonal balance, with the right level of progesterone hormone a woman is able to become pregnant and carry the pregnancy to full term.
Should Vitex be used during Pregnancy? Vitex can be used during pregnancy for the first 3 months (1st trimester) but it is not recommended after this. This is so that the pregnancy hormones can do what they need to do naturally.
Using Vitex after the 1st 3 months can cause your milk to flow too early.
Also if you need to use vitex during pregnancy please do contact your doctor or healthcare provider who can better advise you, if it is right for you or not.
5. Vitex is Used To Reduce Symtoms of Premenstrual Syndrome
Premenstrual Syndrome is experienced by some women each month from 2 to 14 days before their period starts. Several Studies suggest that Vitex (Chaste berry) helps to relieve this Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms including headache, irritable bowel and breast tenderness.
6. Vitex Helps With Amenorrhea
Amenorrhea is lack of menstruation in women of reproductive age when their menstruation suddenly stops without having attained menopause yet.
Vitex or Chasteberry is one of the old remedies for treating Ammenorrhea ( lack of menstruation)
Lack of menstruation is caused by different factors including:
- Pituitary malfunction,
- Lack or reproductive Organs such as uterus, cervix
- Chromosone Abnormality
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding
Vitex Agnus Castus or Chasteberry is an herbal and natural remedy which helps with pitutiary gland to function as normal and may reduce prolactin levels.
For Vitex to really work for Amenorrhea it must be taken for 12-18 months.
7. Vitex Helps To Increase Breast Milk Production In Nursing Mothers
Vitex is a traditional and natural herb to increase breastmilk in Nursing Mothers. It may also restart menstruation in Nursing Mothers.
7. Vitex Helps To Reduce Uterine Fibriods
Uterine Fibroids are non cancerous tumors found in the muscles of uterine walls. The true cause of uterine fibroid is still unknown, but Estrogen promotes the growth of uterine fibroids.
This natural herb is one of the most efficient remedies for the treatment of Uterine Fibroids.
Vitex chasteberry helps to reduce uterine fibroid by properly balancing hormones Estrogen and Progesterone.
Scientific research has shown that vitex does this by reducing the level of estrogen produced by the pitutairy glands and increasing the progestrone level produced for a proper hormonal balance.
8. Vitex Helps To Control Acne
Several Studies shows that vitex helps to control acne in teenagers, among both young women and men. Hormone plays a major role in the development of Acne.
Hormonal Acne usually occurs during a woman's monthly cycle. Vitex is natural herb that is used in the treatment of Acne.
Hormonal Acne is caused by low progesterone levels.
For Vitex to be successful in the treatment of Acne, ensure you adopt a healthy lifestyle, a diet high in natural fibre and limited refined foods containing oil and sugar.
'So what is the recommended dose of Vitex to take to get pregnant"you ask?
The Recommended dosage of vitex or chasteberry to take for fertility is between 500mg to 1000mg. Some women take 500mg while others take 1000mg.
The Dose of Vitex you take depends on what you are using it for (PMS,Infertility,Uterine Fibroid,Endometriosis)
You should consult your herbalist or Physician for the right dose to use, depending on the level of hormonal imbalance and individual chemistry.
When Choosing a commercial or over the counter Vitex Product ensure to read the label for the recommended dose or ask the consultant where the Vitex is sold.
How do I take Vitex to get pregnant and how Long does it take for vitex to start working?
How To Take Vitex and when to take during cycle
Vitex or Chasteberry should be taken once a day in the morning on an empty stomach (about 30 mins before breakfast).
For best results Vitex should be taken for a long period of time.
Clinical research as shown that it Vitex may start to work after 10 days but for maximum results, full benefits is realised after 6 months or longer.
When taking Vitex for infertility problems make sure you start taking Vitex everyday for atleast 3 months before trying to conceive of optimal results.
Where To Buy Vitex
Vitex or chasteberry can be purchased in many local health stores (Boots, Holland and Barrett) and online.
Vitex can be found in various forms such as Liquid, Capsule and tablets even as Vitex Tea.
The Vitex Tea could be on its own or combined with other natural herbs.
The high quality brand of Vitex, I recommend is the Gaik Brand which can easily be found online. You can either buy the capsule form or the liquid form.
Can Vitex increase my chances of having Twins?
Vitex works in a different way to other prescribed fertility drugs.
While other fertility drugs causes more than one egg to be released, thereby increasing your chances of having Twins.
Vitex works by producing a healthy balance of your Estrogens and Progesterone hormone to make sure that pregnancy can occur.
Vitex doesn't help to produce or release multiple eggs.
Vitex Side Effects
Vitex or Chasteberry is a really safe herb to use for fertility or any hormonal imbalance problems. It has been used for over 2000 years with no known significant side effect.
While Vitex has no major side effects, uncommon side effect include: stomach distress, nausea, itching, headache, rashes, Acne, problem sleeping and weight gain.
Please note that Vitex may interfere with some medications such as birth control pill, antipsychotics, estrogen supplements for IVF Treatments.
Vitex interferes with Clomid. So don't take vitex while on Clomid or other prescribed fertility drugs.
If you have endometriosis or breast cancer talk to your doctor before taking Vitex or If you are currently on any of the medications listed above.
Let me know how you have used Vitex for any sort fertility issues and how successful you were especially if you are over 40.
If you have a fertility related problem, I highly recommend using Vitex as a natural fertility treatment.