Dr. Paul Bergh has just made history.
Earlier this summer, one of RMANJ’s founding partners became the first reproductive endocrinologist to earn a certification in functional medicine, a branch of care that focuses on the root of medical conditions instead of the symptoms.
But what does functional medicine have to do with infertility? More than you’d think.
Functional medicine looks at how diet, environmental exposure and lifestyle factors impact physical health, and Dr. Bergh has been interested in the field for several years. His interest coincided with seeing several patients who experienced inexplicable recurrent implantation failure. Both partners were healthy, egg and sperm were normal, and the embryo being implanted was chromosomally balanced. But something was still causing the uterus to reject the embryo.
Dr. Bergh took a functional medicine approach to the problem. Functional medicine research has shown some non-communicable diseases like eczema, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome and celiac disease can cause increased intestinal permeability, also known as leaky gut. This is when food and toxins we ingest leak into our bloodstream and cause inflammation, autoimmunity and food intolerances.
Dr. Bergh figured that if these common conditions may be related to leaky gut, and leaky gut caused inflammation and other problems in the body, the chances of leaky gut affecting the uterus were pretty good. In other words, leaky gut could be contributing to patients’ rejection of embryos due to autoimmunity or inflammation. In that case, changes to diet, environmental exposures and lifestyle could heal the gut and reduce inflammation that could be preventing embryo implantation.
So, when it came to the patients experiencing recurrent implantation failure, Dr. Bergh decided to tackle leaky gut. He suggested changes to diet, primarily, and, after some time, saw promising results: one of his patients got pregnant naturally and several others finally accepted their embryos and got pregnant.
As for Dr. Bergh, he got his certification in functional medicine, committing to further solving challenging infertility cases by taking a holistic approach.
Congratulations Dr. Bergh!