BPAs & your fertility - In conversation with Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, Dr Adriana Ramirez - Part One

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us, we'd love to hear a little bit about yourself and your journey into Chinese Medicine?

I moved from Colombia to Sydney 21 years ago with my daughter.

I have a background in media and journalism, which was my first degree. When I moved to Australia, I started working in corporate travel and spent close to 11 years in that industry but I hated my job and found it absolutely soulless. I had no passion for it. When you have no passion, you have no drive to succeed.

After years of not feeling aligned with my path in life, I started getting sick. You know, when your body is telling you something? Mine was telling me to find a passion, to have a focus in life.

I developed conditions that doctors couldn't give a name too. It's was like, oh, you've got Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue, there were many different labels for things but no explanation for where they came from. Nothing was showing up on scans.

It was like this for about a year of being very sick with no answers. And at the same time, I was questioning - what am I doing with my life? What do I even like? I knew that I wanted to help other people, something that would give me purpose.

I begun finding answers for my health through alternative medicine. I found it so stimulating when I was doing this that I put two and two together; this is it! This is what I want to do! So I went back to university to study Chinese medicine.

As I begun studying Chinese medicine so to begun my own healing process.

This is what I love about Chinese medicine; everything has answers. All the things that I experienced had an answer and a cause; there was no such thing as "we don't know what you have". Chinese medicine just made sense to my way of thinking.

So it was through my illness that I uncovered an absolute passion and love for Chinese medicine.

I graduated in 2017, and the whole process has taken me on a beautiful journey.

What is your speciality in Chinese Medicine?

I begun with a focus on cosmetic acupuncture but have more recently become inspired to help women with fertility. I'm back at university studying a Masters in Western medicine for reproductive medicine. It's powerful to combine Eastern medicine with Western medicine.

What is the research around Chinese medicine?

There is a lot of research, however, none to the scale of pharmaceutical drugs. The thing is, there's no financial motivation; there are no patents that could come from running a trial on a herb(s). Large studies cost a lot of money, and there is just no funding for things that can't be commercialised. There are still many good studies proving efficacy, most originating in China and Japan.

The beautiful thing is that a lot of the research that comes out for Western medicine has a connection to Chinese medicine. For example, one of the plants that we use is called Ma-huang. It is a traditional medicinal herb used to treat asthma, nose and lung congestion, and fever. It's been used for thousands of years and contains the same ephedrine alkaloids as Pseudoephedrine. We've seen the same results for thousands of years before it went under a microscope.

Is intuition & instinct important in healing?

Yes, I'm very instinctive. I get conflicted because it's good to have research. But seriously, do we have to have a research explanation for everything? Use your head, use your feelings, use your instinct. Is the treatment making you feel better? Yes. Then why question it?

Chinese medicine also has an acceptance of the symptoms and the relation to your emotions. So every organ, for example, relates to a different emotion. If you're a very angry person and get angry very easily, then you'll experience liver dysfunction. And on the inverse, if you're not looking after your liver, then it's going to make you feel angry.

And that's one of the things that I work a lot with my patients with, especially creating fertility, just getting them to develop that physical awareness of little subtle signs. It gets to the point that my patients tell me, 'I think I do feel when I ovulated, I thought that was impossible'. You have to start noting every change. And when they want to get pregnant, it's when they start noticing absolutely everything. It's a recognition of what your body is doing.

It's a principle and is one that you can apply to absolutely everything in the body. Everything has to be in harmony and movement, nothing is static, and nothing will be the same.

You’re now focused on fertility so can we talk reasons for infertility, chemicals and pregnancy?

It’s such a big issue. BPA's and fragrance that is included in pretty much everything. The law behind perfume is that you can call something a perfume, and you don't have to expose the chemicals in it. People have no idea what they're spraying or applying to their skin.

Perfume has a direct impact on fertility. For example, when women have IVF and are removing eggs or transferring embryos, they're told not to wear any perfume. Nothing with fragrance. It can't be in the environment, in the treatment room, in the surgical room.

So the chemicals in perfume can destroy an embryo; imagine what it's doing to your body.

Think of all the other products, cleaning products, soaps, shampoos, toothpaste. I'm not surprised that the whole fertility business is booming. And there are so many studies, BPA, for example, is associated with infertility for its effect on estrogen because BPA's mimics estrogen in the body. So your body thinks it has enough and stops making it. Women with high levels of BPA in their urine have low estrogen.

When looking at IVF, women with high content of BPA in their urine have less rate of implantation. So when they put the embryo back in, they don't implant. They don't get pregnant.

People think that BPAs have been replaced, but they've just changed the name of the same chemicals in the products.

All these chemicals are called endocrine disruptors because they stuff up your entire endocrine system, which is hormones. One hormone goes out of whack and it's like a cascade effect because this hormone is telling the other hormones what to create.

Anything that is an endocrine disruptor should be a massive no. It should be illegal.

Read more on endocrine disruptors and fertility here.

Part 2 on this much needed topic into what we woman use on our bodies daily and the effects of using a holistic approach to our health, coming next week.


Find out more about Adriana: 

Currently treating in Sydney:

Ola Wellness - 48 Clovelly road, Randwick 

The Fertility Suite in Manly.