Sunday, November 7, 2010


I know I don't update often, but I don't feel there is a need until something new happens. And here it is....something new....

In the last post I had a change of heart about things. I've stuck to a good portion of them. I have been continuing with the Metabolism Miracle diet which has brought my energy level back up, and I just feel better in general. I started taking a prenatal vitamin, fish oil to help my skin, B6 to help with hormone balance, and continuing with the metformin to help with insulin resistance.

I have been taking all these for quite awhile. Since the start of school I have not been able to exercise as much as I would like so that is something that has suffered. I have continued using the Creighton model NFP. However, after all of this, I still didn't feel things were doing what they were supposed to. I definitely felt better from better eating and I'd been dropping some extra fat around the middle, but I still wasn't seeing an ovulation or menstation.

I did some research on herbs to add. I wasn't sure if I should add something without checking with a Dr. but I wanted to find things out anyway. I kept running across the herb "Vitex" or Chasteberry. It, apparently, is used a lot in Europe for female infertility. I kept finding more and more sites that recommended it with studies to back it up. I decided to give it a try. I ordered it (quite cheap) and added it in the end of Sept.

By the end of October I had ovulated on my own for the first time in a very long time. I started menstruating today and although it's been a bit painful I couldn't be happier to see this. My only fear is that I will become anovulatory again, but I'm hopeful that the Vitex is making the difference. Feel free to check out some of these websites for more information:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A new take on life

I took a break from this blog feeling defeated as I'm sure many do with this syndrom. However, I come back with a new feeling, a feeling of possibility.

After trying natural progestrone and being completely let down by the results I took a break from the world of PCOS. I almost wonder if it was more of a "if I ignore it maybe it will go away." Of course, that didn't happen. My husband and I started talking about talking with my doctor about trying to conceive. I spent some time researching and met with my doctor who decided to put me on clomid because I haven't ovulated since I've been off of birth control.

I started doing tons of research, because this is what I do when I start something new. I started researching clomid, researching PCOS and clomid, how to take care of my body to get pregnant...the list goes on and on. I started taking a multi-vitamin with folic acid and my doctor had told me to start B6 to help with cervical mucus observations while on clomid. The more I researched the more I realized my body was no where ready to handle a child. Not only was I not ovulating, but my nutrition was no where where it was supposed to be. I was supposed to take vitamins long before the month we decided to try to conceive. What else did I need to do? Then I started thinking, maybe I could solve this without using clomid.

Of course I started researchin and ran across the PCOS Challenge website and found her podcast. I learned a ton from that little podcast. I learned what was going on in my body more, I learned about diet, fertility, natural solutions. I also looked at the Pulling Down the Moon institute in Chicago which specializes in natural solutions for PCOS.

So what have I learned from all this research. Well, only time will tell, but here is what I have started.

1. Exercise - it is probably the most important thing. I have started the Couch to 5K program and am 3 weeks away from being able to run a complete 5K. I find as many things as possible to do throughout the week running every other day.
2. Diet - I've started the Metabolism Miracle Diet by Diane Kress. I've heard some phenomenal things about this diet. I don't have a lot of weight to loose, but I definitely have fat to loose. She is a dietician and her book directly talks about PCOS. It is possible this alone could help turn my numbers around.
3. Yoga - I've ordered a DVD that is specifically dedicated to Yoga and Fertility. This was one of the recommendations from Pulling Down the Moon. Relaxation is something everyone needs when trying to conceive.
4. I'm thinking about seeing a Naturopathic Doctor to add some herbs to my regimin. I think that this could be the last straw that pulls everything together.
5. Massage/Accupuncture - Two things that were mentioned in Pulling Down The Moon. In North Dakota there is no specific accupuncturist for fertility, but I believe that even a regular accupuncturist has some benefits.

Will it all work? I have no idea. I feel that this is a step in the right direction. The more I thought about it the more I felt that Clomid should be much more of a last resort than it has been. It's not going to be easy doing all this on a regular basis, especially when I go back to school. However, I feel this is a step in the right direction and could prove to be beneficial for others.

I also am thinking about the fact that I don't have PCOS that bad. I have some Acne and Irregular periods with my FSH and LH levels reversed. However, I do not suffer from obesity, hirstuism, hair loss, or the entourage of other symptoms. I really feel this should be able to be regulated with diet and exercise. We'll see how things go and I will post in about a month.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ultra Sound Results

On Thursday I went in for my Pelvic ultra sound. I had one done vaginally about 2 years ago, but not a lot of information came from that one, besides the reconfirmation that I had polycystic ovaries. This time she was looking for the production of the endomerial lining (the build up before a peroid). She was also looking for structural problems. It's always nerve wracking when you're not sure what they will find.

Thankfully she got back to me that same day. I think in my head I was hoping that this was going to show something differen, that I either didn't have PCOS or there was a super easy fix that would make everything right again. This is probably why I was let down.

I found out that I had a very thin endometrial lining, which means my body is also not producing enough estrogen. So, she could give me both hormones, but I would essencially be back on birth control again. It may be a more natural form, but it really wasn't going to do anything besides mask the problem again. She said that health wise I could take progestrone once every 3 months and it would be enough to clear anything that had built up out.

However, there remains the question of ovulation. It is very unlikely that I will ovulate on my own so I will need a medication like Clomid to induce ovulation. I think this is what upset me the most. I was hoping NFP would take me down a different road, but it ended up bringing me back to the same thing that others with PCOS have to go through or are still going through. She upped my metformin to 1500. I've heard that the combination between metformin and clomid is better than clomid alone.

After discussing things with my husband we're going to wait until fall to start trying just to give our marriage some time to grow. Until then I will just stick to the metformin and progestrone every 3 months. I'm going to start working out a lot more, not only to deal with the stress, but I want to be in the best shape I can be when we do start trying in hopes that it will help with conceiving.

One other thing that Dr. A. mentioned was that the NaPro facility down in Omaha also does some amazing things if medication does not work for ovulation. I don't know what all they do, but she said they hae had success with people she thought had no hop for acheiving pregnancy. I guess I have options, but I'm hoping I don't have to use all those options.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

More testing

After 2 rounds of progestrone my body is still not functioning normally. After talking to my dr. she is setting me up with a pelvic ultra sound. She is checking to see if there is something structurally wrong or if my body is just not producing an endometrial lining. If there is no endometrial lining then she will need to also put me on some estrogen. I hope that things work out soon!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Getting closer

I ended my second round of progestrone pills on Monday. I've noticed my mood being less than pleseant the last two days. I've also had some spotting, but it's been nothing by brownish in color. According to our NFP training brown in color still means a lack of progestrone. Although, with my body it's hard to know what anything means. I'm hoping this spotting will lead to an actualy menstration. This means I would be heading in the right direction. If I don't mensturate by Tuesday I will need to go in for more testing and an ultra sound.

I think the most frustrating thing right now is how much success the doctor has had with other women starting progestrone. She had told me a story of one girl who took it once and had on track cycles from then on. My body apparently is not going to work like that. It makes me nervous that there is another underlining problem that hasn't be caught. I guess as a woman it is just in my nature to worry about things. I really hope my body can figure this whole cycle thing out soon!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

2nd round of Progestrone

I'm on day 4 of my 6 days of progestrone and still see no changes. I'm starting to read the book "A Patient's guide to PCOS" I don't know how much it will help, but I figure the more knowledge I have the better. I hope that at some point this blog and my knowledge will be able to help other women with this problem and find a solution instead of just a band aid.


I took the progestrone for the prescribed amount of time and have seen no changes in anything. This makes me a little nervous. Is it working?

I noticed some change in mucus the day after I stopped the progestrone, but no period. After a week of no period I called Dr. A. and she told me to go on progestrone for another 6 days. It is possible that because it has been so long it may take a bit more of a jolt to make a period occur. She said if the second dose doesn't do it I will need to go in for an ultra sound to see if there is something else that may be causing issues.

It's very frustrating to get your hopes up in something and then not have it work. I'm hoping this second dose does what it is supposed to do. My husband is so supportive. I wish I had a normal body...arg!

Blood Work

My blood work came back and most of it was very good. My insulin levels were at a 5 when normal is between 3 and 19. I was shocked by that as most PCOS people have high insulin levels. My progestrone level was .5, which is quite low. She wrote me a prescription for progestrone. I was to take it on days 18-24 of my cycle. Since I wasn't currently having a cycle I just needed to start. She said it was likely that I would have some spotting while on it since I hadn't had a period in so long. I'm hoping that this is the answer.

Meeting with Dr. A.

I talked with Dr. A. about my lack of ovulation and menses. After checking things over she decided to get some blood work on me. She predicted that my progestrone levels were very low and taking some natural progestrone may help ovulation and creating a period. She promised me this is different than birth control in that it was a natural supplement that works with the progestrone your body is all ready making. It may cause slight depression, but nothing compared to what birth control would do.

I made an appt. to get my blood work done and see what happens.

Continuing NFP

As I continued to chart my progress through NFP I got increasingly disappointed. It confirmed everything I had thought. I was not ovulating. Even thiough facing facts is sometimes hard I can't tell you how much better I felt after getting off birth control. I was happier, I wasn't as depressed, and I started just feeling normal again. Dr. A. put me on Metformin extended release, 500 mg, which made a huge difference in side effects. I felt so much better, but I still had to get to the bottom of what was causing my PCOS. After 3 months of no period, no ovulation, and many infertile days my Jana sent me back to Dr. A for another consultation to try out some natural treatment options.

First meeting

With NFP you are assigned a Nurse Practitioner to teach you all the ins and outs of the method and charting. You meet with her 8 times over the course of the year so she can view your progress with the method.

Our practitioner was Jana. She is the most experienced in the area. Our first meeting was simply to see how we were doing with charting after our initial introduction. I had one fertile day and the rest are what you call dry days, or days of infertility. In the back of the book the give several examples of charts. By charting they can determine the exact issue that you are having within your cycle. They use samples of what some of these issues look like. My chart was beginning to look like the chart for infertility, but I didn't want to come to any conclusions yet, it was only the first meeting. It was time to wait it out and keep charting.

Beginning NFP

I stopped birth control after my appointment with Dr. A. My husband and I signed up for an introductory course to Natural Family planning held at one of the Catholic churches in town. I should note, there are two types of natural family planning an older model called Sympto-thermal and the newer method which is the Creighton Model. The Creigton Model has been known to be the best for woman with POCS. These are the basics:

Natural Family Planning, Creighton Model can be used to avoid or achieve a pregnancy. You use a chart together with your husband to determine your days of fertility. The woman checks for mucus before and after urination and a bowel movement. I know this sounds gross and it was more than my husband could take for awhile, but sometimes the alternative isn't always the most classy, but it's worth a try. The woman looks for change, consistency, and color in the mucus. You look at the mucus on the toilet paper and then finger test it. The Creighton model has several different categories of mucus. There are certain types that are considered fertile while others are considered infertile. You check every time you go to the bathroom and at the end of the day chart the most fertile sign. With this model you do need to practice abstinence for periods of time throughout the month if you are choosing to not get pregnant.

The thing that made me want to use this method was how natural it was. It is not putting a band aid on my pcos. This method tracks every day and tells you whether you are fertile or not fertile. There are no pills that are shutting down my body's ovaries and making me bleed. It might take awhile, but in the end I believe it will be worth the time.

Finding NFP

I was not raised Catholic, but my husband is catholic. Therefore I went through the Catholic marriage prep. At the marriage prep weekend they introduced us to Natural Family planning. This is a system in which you daily track your fertility by checking for mucus. When I heard this presentation I was very upset. Here these peopel were telling me how I am making a poor decision by taking birth control pills, but I had no other option. This is what every doctor had told me I was supposed to be on and this is what I have to do. Believe me, I'd love to be normal and be able to do this, but I can't it is impossible. I was almost in tears by the end of that presentation and I just wanted to leave.

I continued taking birth control and my sex drive plumetted. As you can guess, for a newly married couple this was devastating for my husband. He thought I was avoiding him. I never wanted to make him feel this way, but between the depression and lack of sex drive there was no hope for our sex life.

I finally confided in a friend of mine about my issues with PCOS. She brought up Natural Family planning (NFP). She told me that it is an amazing system that can be used for anyone and can actually help those women with odd cycles get back on track. She also told me about a Dr. who specialized in this method and that I should go to her.
I was skeptical about this, but I thought it was worth a try as I was not happy with myself as a person and wife.

In October of 2009 I went to Dr. A. and we talked about my battles with PCOS. She said there was absolutlely something we could do and it wasn't birth control. I honestly left that office in disbelief that there was an alternative to birth control, but at the same time super excited that there was something else that we could do.

My history with PCOS

When I was at the age that most women menstrate (13-14) I never got my period. At this age you look at a lack of menstration as a blessing. I didn't worry too much about it, but I did feel odd that I wasn't getting my period with the rest of the girls in my class. I didn't see my first period until age 17.

From the age of 17 I very rarely had a period. I would get it about 2-3 times a year. At the age of 20 I finally went to see an OBGYN to see if they knew why I wasn't getting my period regularly. Without doing any blood test, ultra sound, or any other testing this OBGYN said I had PCOS. I had never heard of this before, but she gave me a pamphlet, prescribed some birth control pills and sent me on my way.

As I read through the pamphlet I read many things that said, "will have trouble getting pregnant," "Leading cause of infertility" and a list of nearly every symptom I had: irregular bleeding, acne, and overweight. I was confused, frustrated, and scared that there was a possibilty I would not be able to have kids.

I started taking the birth control to bring on a period. It did what it was supposed to do, but I was super depressed, crying a lot for no reason, and just felt horrible. I finally made the decision to stop taking birth control because I felt so awful, but I had no idea what to do for an alternative.

I went for serveral years jumping from doctor to doctor. I had doctors that told me that I would need to stay on birth control forever and at the same time I had doctors tell me that it's not a big deal that I'm irregular. I didn't know what to believe, but I knew without birth control my periods were horrible and heavy when they would come. So I found Ortho-tricyclen low to work the best for me.

In 2006 I had moved to Ohio for schooling and had to go to another dr. I went to a dr. that was able to tell me more about PCOS and I felt more knowledgeable, but I still felt confused. There is so much out there, but nothing has been researched. This doctor kept me on birth control and that seemed to be the only solution anyone could figure out.

After coming back to ND I found a dr. who actually had PCOS and I thought I'd finally found the place that would work. She explained that there are two typed of hormones that should be looked for in the blood FSH and LH. Your FSH should be higher than your LH, but in PCOS the these hormone levels are reversed. Also, the hormone receptros for estrogen are the same as those for insulin which is what causes insulin resistance in women with PCOS. She put me on the birth control Yaz telling me that this was the best birth control for those with PCOS and she also put me on 500 mg of Metformin.

I was 6 months from getting married when I had met with this doctor and I'm very lucky my husband decided to still marry me. The Yaz birth control made me crazy. I went from one mood to another in a matter of seconds. It was making me seriously depressed to the point where my fiance thought I was going to commit suicide. I had called the dr to ask if there was an alternative and she said stick it out for awhile to see if the moods subside. They never did and then I sat and watched commercials for law offices advertising that Yaz was found to have several severe side effects. I couldn't take it anymore and finally was switched to another birth control called Azurin. I was still up and down, but not as much and the metformin continued to make me sick to my stomach. Was this really the life I wanted to lead for the next 50 years? There had to be a better answer and I soon found what that was....