Stacy Brindise, 30, was eager to have children. But after trying for several years to conceive, she and her husband, Mike, were still childless. Like millions of couples, the Brindises were faced with what doctors refer to as “unexplained infertility.” Couples diagnosed with unexplained infertility are typically active, health-conscious people of childbearing age who find themselves—for no apparent reason—without a crib or a bottle in the house. Like many, the Brindises followed a familiar route, first consulting doctors who recommended hormone treatment, which Stacy reluctantly decided to try.
The arduous six-cycle program involved daily medications, self-administered hormone shots, and monthly intrauterine insemination with a catheter. But the Brindises still couldn’t get pregnant. Physicians next suggested that Stacy try in vitro fertilization. It would involve doses of medication, a considerable price tag (starting at $12,000), and increased chances of her having twins—factors that gave the couple considerable pause. Nothing had worked and it was time, Stacy decided, to change her approach.
“When people have a medical problem, everybody seems to jump right to drugs as the solution,” she says. “I wanted to see if improving my overall health and well-being would increase our chances of getting pregnant naturally.”
Stacy is not alone in her gut feeling that first addressing her overall health and well-being—before investing in more invasive solutions—might be a key element in her health care. High-tech, high-cost approaches clearly have their place, and modern medicine can boast many silver-bullet solutions. But millions of Americans feel that’s not enough. They spend more than $30 billion a year out of their own pockets for alternative treatments, according to data compiled by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Funding for NCCAM— the U.S. government’s “lead agency for scientific research on complementary and alternative medicine”—hit $128 million in 2012, a 156% increase since its inception in 1999. “Complementary and alternative” is the federal government’s current label for approaches that lie outside the mainstream. However, a nationwide survey shows that approximately 38% of U.S.adults aged 18 years and over use some form of complementary and alternative medicine—anything from acupuncture to meditation. That’s starting to look pretty mainstream, which is one reason many doctors prefer the term “integrative” health care.
Read on at Psychology Today.
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