A woman is considered to have an infertility or sterility problem when she is unable to conceive a child after at least one year of unprotected, regular, well-timed intercourse.
Infertility also includes an inability to maintain a pregnancy or carry a child to live birth, as described by the World Health Organization.
Female infertility accounts for approximately one-third of all infertility cases, according to the American Pregnancy Association. In fact, it affects an estimated 48 million women worldwide.
In women, fertility can be affected by various health problems, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine fibroids, anemia, thyroid problems, blocked fallopian tubes, Candida and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Other factors, such as heavy drinking, smoking, age (older than 35), obesity, excessive stress, a history of irregular or painful periods, a poor diet and intense physical training, can also increase a woman’s risk of infertility.
Experiencing infertility is emotionally painful for any woman and can lead to anxiety, isolation, extended periods of depression, and an inability to concentrate on daily tasks.
With techniques such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or surrogacy, many women struggling with infertility are eventually able to have a child. However, these techniques are very expensive and some women simply cannot afford them.
There are natural and herbal treatments that also can help fight the root cause of infertility and increase your chances of getting pregnant. Lifestyle factors, such as regular exercise and following a healthy diet, can also help.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for female sterility.
Ashwagandha, also called Indian ginseng, is very helpful for women having difficulty conceiving. This herb is effective in maintaining hormonal balance and promoting proper functioning of the reproductive organs. It also helps tone the uterus for those who have recurrent miscarriages.
Plus, this herb helps reduce your stress level.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of ashwagandha powder in a glass of warm water.
- Drink it twice daily.
Note: Due to possible side effects, it is recommended to use this herb under medical supervision.
Pomegranate also boosts fertility in women. It helps increase blood flow to the uterus and thickens the uterine lining to reduce the chance of miscarriage. Plus, it promotes healthy development of the fetus.
According to a 2015 study published in Pharmacognosy Magazine, pomegranate could be used as a supplement to enhance longevity, fertility and growth rate. However, the dose should be carefully adjusted to avoid adverse effects.
- Mix equal amounts of finely powdered pomegranate seeds and bark and store it in an airtight jar. Take ½ teaspoon of this mixture with a glass of warm water twice daily for a few weeks.
- You can also eat fresh pomegranate fruit and drink pomegranate juice.
Cinnamon can help with proper ovarian functioning and thus be effective in fighting infertility. It even helps in the treatment of PCOS, one of the main causes of infertility.
A 2007 study published in the Fertility and Sterility journal showed that cinnamon supplementation can help improve menstrual cyclicity in women with PCOS.
It is also used to treat problems such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids and amenorrhea (absence of menstrual periods) that can affect a woman’s fertility. Plus, cinnamon may help prevent yeast infections.
- Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder to a cup of hot water. Drink it once daily for a few months.
- Also, include cinnamon in your diet by sprinkling cinnamon powder on your cereal, oatmeal, and yogurt.
Note: Do not consume more than 2 teaspoons of this spice per day.
If infertility is due to a hormonal imbalance in the body, an effective remedy is chasteberry, also called vitex.
This herb helps improve ovulation due to its high prolactin levels. Plus, it combats PCOS.
- Add 1 teaspoon of fresh or dried chasteberries to a cup of boiling water. Cover, steep for 10 minutes and strain it. Drink this tea once daily for a few weeks or months.
- You can take chasteberry supplements, available as capsules, liquid extract or tinctures. For proper dosage and suitability, consult your doctor.
Note: As this herb affects certain hormones, it may not be suitable for women with a hormone-sensitive condition like breast cancer or those who are taking antipsychotic drugs. Plus, do not use this herb if you are undergoing in vitro fertilization.
Dates contain several nutrients that can help boost your ability to conceive. They are rich in vitamins A, E and B as well as iron and other minerals and that are essential for a woman to conceive and to carry a child through a full-term pregnancy.
As an added benefit, dates also help with regular bowel movements and treat constipation.
- Grind 10 to 12 dates (without the seeds) with 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander root to make a paste. Add ¾ cup of cow’s milk to the paste and boil it. Allow it to cool before drinking it. Drink this once daily for a week from the date of your last period.
- Eat 6 to 8 dates daily as a healthy snack and add chopped dates to milk, yogurt and smoothies.
6. Maca Root
Another effective herb that can treat infertility in both women and men is the maca root. This herb boosts normal hormone production and is particularly beneficial for women with hypothyroidism as it supports thyroid function.
It is also a good source of different nutrients that boost fertility.
- Mix ¼ to ½ teaspoon of maca root powder in a cup of lukewarm water or milk. Drink it once daily for a few months. You can also add maca root powder to your smoothies or breakfast cereal.
- Another option is to take a maca root supplement, but only after consulting your doctor.
Note: Do not take this herb during pregnancy.
7. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for pregnancy and for giving birth to a healthy baby. In fact, a vitamin D deficiency may cause infertility and miscarriage.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism indicates that vitamin D is an emerging factor influencing female fertility and IVF outcomes.
- Expose yourself to early morning sunlight for about 10 minutes daily to help your body produce vitamin D.
- Eat foods high in vitamin D, such as salmon, cheese, egg yolks and foods fortified with vitamin D.
- You can opt to take vitamin D supplements, but only after consulting your doctor.
8. Banyan Tree Roots
According to Ayurveda, the tender roots of the banyan tree are effective in treating female infertility.
- Dry the tender roots of a banyan tree in the sun for a few days.
- Grind the dried roots into a powder and store it in an airtight container.
- Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of the powder in a glass of milk.
- Drink it once daily on an empty stomach for three consecutive nights after your periods are over. Avoid eating anything for an hour after drinking it.
- Follow this remedy for a few months.
Note: Do not use this remedy during your menstrual cycle.
Yoga can be very helpful for women struggling with fertility problems. It helps maintain a healthy body weight, which increases the chance of fertility. In even helps calm your body and mind along with reducing stress, which is known to contribute to infertility.
A few yoga postures that help promote fertility include Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing), Bhramari Pranayama (Bee Breath), Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend), Hastapadasana (Standing Forward Bend), Janu Sirasana (Head-to-Knee Pose), Badha Konasana (Butterfly Pose), Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall Pose) and Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep).
Join a yoga class or get help from a yoga expert to learn these poses. Remember, yoga needs to be done properly to reap its benefits.
10. Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
Eating a well-balanced diet is another important factor for improving fertility. A healthy, balanced diet helps prevent health conditions or diseases that may cause sterility. Plus, it increases your chance of conceiving.
- Eat protein-packed foods, such as beans, spinach, chickpeas, peas and lentils.
- Eat carbohydrates that are low on the glycemic index, such as brown rice and whole-wheat bread.
- Eat iron-rich foods to prevent ovulation problems. Some good sources of iron include beans, lean meats, leafy green vegetables, beetroot, prunes, apricots, raisins and dates.
- Include eggs in your diet as they contain vitamin D, which plays a key role in boosting fertility.
- Eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants.
- Include healthy fats like monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet to help boost fertility. These fats are found in fatty fish, avocados, nuts and seeds.
- Avoid spicy foods, strong tea, coffee, white sugar, white flour, refined cereals, fried foods and seafoods that are high in mercury. These items may affect fertility in women.
You can always consult your gynecologist to plan a healthy diet to best meet your needs.
- Strive to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or underweight can contribute to infertility.
- Avoid drinking alcohol as well as caffeinated beverages, as these can make you less fertile.
- Stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke.
- Monitor your basal body temperature to know when you are ovulating and plan sexual activity accordingly. You can even use a free ovulation calendar as a guide to help you track your ovulation cycle and calculate the most fertile days to conceive. Here’s an ovulation date calculator for your help.
- Have intercourse every day or every other day during your fertile period to increase the chance of pregnancy.
- Reduce stress by practicing deep breathing, meditation and other relaxation techniques.
- Always drink water at room temperature, as it helps keep the reproductive organs healthy.