Over the past week I have been getting a lot of information sent to me showing me articles by professionals stating that herbs can’t help assist you with your fertility, and don’t let anyone tell you any different. I know that information is out there and I also know that we have helped nearly 4000 couples become pregnant over the years with the help of the herbals so I thought it was time to dispel some of the myths that there are surrounding the use of herbs for fertility. I will cover many questions about this next week but this week I am going to discuss how you know what to believe when you are searching for something on the internet. As you know there is so much information available on the internet today, that many times it can be frustrating and confusing when you are attempting to search for an answer to your questions about fertility. I am constantly searching the internet for more answers to questions I have about the latest research that is out there re improving fertility. I run into the same frustration that many of you do when looking for information. So how do I know what to believe? First is consider the source. Just because its on the internet doesn’t mean it has to be true. Anyone can put up a website and say what they want to. So look for the source of the material and if there isn’t one, then be skeptical. If you are reading information about a topic look at who is writing it. I get many emails from people saying that my doctor said there is no way that herbs will work for us (believe it or not we get many positive comments from doctors too). My reply to that is consider this; How much time has the person suggesting that herbs can do nothing to help you spent researching the 1000’s of herbs that have been around for 1000’s of years? Where do they get their information? Most doctors do not have any training on alternative/natural ways of dealing with different issues. Today some med schools around the world are adding different courses on alternative health issues, but what does the source of your information know about the topic? For example, I don’t give advice about whether someone should start or stop a medication nor do I tell people it will or won’t work. If I have a question about whether the side effects of a medication are causing an issue or why the medication is being used (if the person doesn’t know) I will always gather as much information as possible for my client and have them go back to their doctor to discuss if what we talked about is valid and what the next step might be for them, if any. I haven’t spent years in med school learning about synthetic drugs so it isn’t my place to tell to someone to start or stop a medication or that it doesn’t work. The reality is is that most doctors are extremely busy and rely on pharmaceutical reps and medical journals, as well as attend conferences to give them information and provide them with studies about what is new in their field. The medical journals that the doctors read are full of published articles that report on the outcome of different studies. I read studies from these same journals as well. Many of these studies are paid for by pharmaceutical companies. Just because a company pays for a study doesn’t automatically mean its biased, but there are other factors to consider about these studies says the former editor in Chief at the New England Journal of Medicine (a very prestigious medical journal) Dr. Marcia Angell MD wrote the book “the Truth About Drug Companies”. The other factors are the fact that not only do drug companies pay for studies but they can have considerable control about how the research in that study is carried out. It used to be that for a study to remain unbiased the sponsor didn’t tell the researcher how to run the clinical trials. But things changed in the 1980’s. As Dr. Angell puts it, “Researchers do not control clinical trials anymore; sponsors do.” The medical conferences that medical professionals go to are also sponsored by drug companies and these conferences usually report on new information that has been carried out in the studies which in turn have been reported in the medical journals and sponsored by the drug company as well. So when taking information from a study its always important to find out who paid for it and was it independent information or was it carried out by someone who has something to gain by coming up with a certain outcome. And are there other studies done by other groups who are independent that support this same theory. How do you find this information? Its not that easy, let me tell you. But authors are becoming more responsible and some journals are requesting that they disclose any associations that they have with any companies and who paid for the studies. Hopefully this trend will continue. Realistically how do you know if the information that you are reading should help you make your decision about your next step toward having a child? Ask yourself the question, do I really want to do this? Do I really feel comfortable with this? What benefits can I get from this? Will it make me healthier? Are there any short or long term consequences that I should be aware of? I hear couples come in to me and say, “I really didn’t want to take that medication to help me ovulate but they convinced me to do it.” “I really didn’t feel comfortable with that procedure and wasn’t sure what they were telling me was right for me, but I didn’t have any other options.” So what we try to present to the couples that come to us is another way to look at the situation. The therapists and I at my clinic want you to have as much credible information as possible to help you make your decisions. We want you to have other options. And in the end, its got to feel right for you. If someone is pushing you to make a decision and it doesn’t feel right to you, step back for a moment and ask yourself, is this right for me? Is it right for us? At Sharkey’s we aren’t against the use of medications or having procedures done. We just want you to know the possibilities from both sides of the issue so that you can make an informed decision about what is best for you and your partner. Then we support you in whatever decision you make. And if its getting too frustrating searching the internet, give yourself a break, turn off the computer and instead do a little soul searching of your own to help you make the decision. There is a great saying out there… “If you don’t go within, you go without.” copyright Stacey Roberts and Positive Image Publishing