Updated: 2 days ago
Chaja van Boesschoten meets with Dr Lilla Fiumi DiFlorio, a natural fertility specialist, to discuss how a holistic approach can optimise our fertility.
Naturopathic Doctor Lilla Fiumi DiFlorio’s interest in health was nurtured by growing up in Italy where it was natural to use home remedies to make yourself feel better. This stimulated her whole understanding of the resilience of the body and its self-healing capacity.
Her radiant appearance, being a meditation teacher and her natural gift of deep listening and intuitive understanding, are important additional qualities to her medical background for creating a comfortable atmosphere to address infertility problems.
As Lilla tells me, infertility is on the rise worldwide. This is a matter of concern, but offers an opportunity for naturopathic doctors like Lilla to help.
“Fertility touches upon something so primal in our being," Lilla tells passionately. "Because as part of the human race, we are still animals with the aim to reproduce. Life can only happen if there is flow of energy.”
Working with Lilla
In her work, Lilla strives to identify and treat the cause while gently educating her clients on how to enhance their full fertile potential. The woman as well as her partner, whether that is a man or a woman, are collaborators in this search of understanding the cause(s) related to infertility and in finding the least invasive treatment.
When working with heterosexual couples, she always works with both partners, since the cause of infertility is around 30% female, 30% male, 30% a combination of the two and 10% unexplained. In addition, from a mental-emotional perspective, having both partners involved creates a more nurturing experience.
Through understanding the history of her clients, Lilla strives to gain a clear picture of the couple, from preconception care and day-to-day lifestyle, to where and how the couple lives, family history as well as any auto-immune issues and the functioning of the thyroid and hormones.
“Once you start addressing the causes, it starts optimising the fertility potential,” explains Lilla.
In her work, Lilla addresses three important aspects to enhance fertility and remove the obstacles to getting pregnant: the mental, emotional and spiritual woman, her hormonal life and her environment.
The mental, emotional and spiritual woman
Lilla has an inherent belief in an inner healing capacity in every single being. She also believes that optimum health in our body, mind and spirit provides the best environment for optimal fertility.
“In general, who we are, is already complete with all our possibilities and potential inside,” she says. “Nurturing this understanding could take away the pressure of a woman who is having infertility problems.”
As Lilla explains, it’s important to take away the stigma that lies on infertility when working with couples.
“Infertility often triggers shame, which complicates the whole process of (self-)cure. One of the major issues is that women very often suffer behind doors, which magnifies the issue.
"From a mental, emotional and spiritual perspective, it is very complicated and heavy, even more so if you realise that women are more apt to share a cancer diagnosis than an infertility diagnosis.
“Energy and blood have to flow through your body, including to your reproductive organs. Negative emotions like fear are constrictive, for instance, and so should be tackled to let the opposite happen: release.
Lilla gently encourages people to actually change the process and to become less goal focused.
“This inherent feeling of creation of life can be approached differently and it’s important that a woman stays connected with herself, which sometimes goes together with accepting difficulties, but can let other opportunities grow," she says.
“It’s important to transform the relationship to this challenge that the couple has. You are perfect as you are, you are a source of wholeness.”
Your hormonal life and diet
The next step for Lilla is to find out how a woman has been embracing her fertility. This includes looking at her belief systems, at the relationship she has with her body and the curiosity, acceptance and pride of being a woman.
“In this whole history and development of a woman, the hormonal life is of major importance," explains Lilla. "Hormonal life and diet interrelate highly. For fertility in general, maintaining a Mediterranean-style diet, which is highly plant-based, making it rich in antioxidants, together with a right amount of good fats and an adequate amount of proteins is really key.”
Lilla further explains the physiological perspective, clarifying that both sperm and egg are specifically sensitive to oxidative stress. A diet high in antioxidants is very protective of the egg and sperm. In an ideal situation, the couple would re-inform the health of both egg and sperm three months before they would like to try for a baby. It would be even better to detox prior to that, to eliminate toxins that interfere with fertility.
Also, cholesterol is the backbone of the steroid hormones, like estrogen and testosterone, which are your sex hormones. If women are obsessed with being thin and avoid fat in their diet, it can negatively affect their hormones. Nonetheless, our body is extraordinary in how she adapts, how she can restore and how she is resilient to influences.
Lilla stresses the environmental impact on fertility.
“Environmental pollutants are essential to mention, given that we live in such a toxic world," she says. "Any interference in the functioning of our hormones is going to cause problems, so also for fertility.”
She highlights endocrine disruptors, which can be found in plastics, in pesticides found on our food and in skin-care products.
“In the US, regulations are less strict than in Europe, but it is important to educate people on how to avoid endocrine disruptors, like BPA found in plastic bottles, for instance.” she explains.
“In minute amounts it affects the hormones. The same goes for toxicants in skincare products. Our skin is our biggest organ and absorbs enormously, so putting creams, shampoos etc. containing endocrine disruptors on the skin, interferes with your fertility.”
At a bigger environmental scale, polluted air and water have a similar impact on fertility.
To conclude from a holistic point of view, women have ample opportunities to embrace, enhance and nourish their fertility.
“However, you can have a perfect looking egg and a perfect looking sperm, but it is not going to be a guarantee that they are going to conceive,” admits Lilla.
“There is still something unknown about the mystery of life. But if you can welcome flow in, the more flow can happen.”
Find out more about Lilla's work at nurturingfertility.com
About Chaja van Boesschoten
Chaja is a Hatha yoga teacher, international project manager and started recently as a digital writer. She has become so captivated by the knowledge of yoga science and the immense possibilities of the breath, that her life has become devoted to yoga. Chaja was born in The Netherlands, she is married to a Scottish man and has two sons who were born in two different countries. She now lives in Italy and finds it beautiful to use the knowledge of different languages and experiences to transmit yoga. Yoga is available to everyone, but she sees the importance to bring it to people who are possibly unaware of it, to people who live in socially vulnerable situations, to people suffering mentally (as a consequence of the pandemic e.g.) and to influencers.