Woman's advocate offers fertility tips

April 22, 2005|by Lisa Tedrick Prejean

The desire for a baby often makes women seek answers.

If you don't conceive after a year of trying, you're directed to fertility experts who try to tackle the questions that seem always to be with you.

Is it my husband? Is it me? What's going on with my body?

Those were the questions that sent Lesa Childers on a personal quest that transformed her into a women's health advocate. Childers is CEO of PCOStrategies Inc., a national nonprofit organization focusing on fertility enhancement and life management for women with polycystic ovaries and Syndrome O.

Syndrome O is a condition that causes a woman's metabolism to be out of whack. It's a direct result of diets with too much sugar and fat combined with sedentary lifestyles.


"What most women don't know is that they can diet and exercise their way to fertility," says Childers, now a mother of three. "Excess eating and lack of, or not enough, exercise causes excess sugar or insulin in the blood, disrupting hormones and thereby making it difficult to conceive."

There are three main hallmarks of Syndrome O, according to "Healing Syndrome O: A Strategic Guide to Fertility, Polycystic Ovaries, and Insulin Imbalance" by fertility specialist Ronald F. Feinberg:

· Overnourishment - a chronic mismatch in how calories are taken in and burned, leading to insulin overproduction and a tendency toward obesity.

· Ovarian confusion - causing the wrong balance of male and female hormones.

· Ovulation disruption - blocking the development and release of eggs.

Women who have Syndrome O might be overweight, might notice an increase in facial hair production, might battle infertility and might be at risk for diabetes and heart disease.

In some cases, Syndrome O can strike after a woman has had a child, especially if she gained excess weight during the pregnancy and feels she no longer has time to take care of herself properly because she's busy caring for her little one.

That's a struggle all mothers face, squeezing in time for ourselves in between caring for our loved ones.

While maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not the answer to every fertility problem, it certainly won't hurt a busy mom's chance of conceiving again.

Here are some lifestyle tips recommended by Childers:

· Organize: Decide on goals and develop a plan of action.

· Optimize: Make lifestyle changes gradual and practical. Change one thing at a time.

· Get educated: Learn how to have a healthy, balanced diet.

· Get a medical evaluation: Don't try to self-diagnose. Seek appropriate medical care.

· Find support: Let trusted family and friends know about your goals and new lifestyle plan. Ask for their support.

· Take it one day at a time: Don't expect overnight change. Your body didn't get in its present state overnight. Real change takes time.

· See each day as a new opportunity: We all make mistakes. Don't give up over one lapse.

· Recognize your beauty no matter what size you are: Wear attractive clothes, put on makeup, fix your hair and show everyone that lovely smile. You are beautiful, and attitude is everything.

· Get help when you need it: Don't be afraid to admit when you reach a low point. Look for a professional to help if needed.

· Reward yourself: Have pound parties when you reach a personal weight-loss goal. Enjoy a fun time with friends or celebrate alone. Do something you love. You deserve it.

For more information, go to on the Web.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at

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