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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think this my first time posting in this forum. I've always had very irregular periods. I didn't reach menarche until I was 14, and have probably 3-6 periods a year since. One doctor said I had hypothyroidism. The next doctor said nope, it was PCOS. The next doctor said it was neither - it was just "unexplained". That doctor wanted to start me on Clomid, but I refused because I wanted to see a reproductive endocrinologist to get some real answers, and also because we weren't planning to actively try to get pregnant for another year or two. Well, surprise surprise, I was already pregnant. Glad I said no to the Clomid! I changed doctors yet again last year (we moved) and he basically said irregular periods = some degree of PCOS. After I had DS I nursed him for 19 months, so I wasn't expecting my periods to normalize for a while. Last March (2009) I started keeping track of my cycles, hoping that they actually were regular, just longer than usual. No such luck. I just looked back at my records and saw that I've had 5 periods since March 29 of last year.<br><br>
March 29 was the first one I charted. My cycles followed from there:<br>
75 days<br>
46 days<br>
97 days<br>
106 days<br>
and it's currently been 103 days since a period.<br><br>
I did get on BCP for 1 of those cycles - the one that was only 46 days - but I didn't continue it.<br><br>
I feel like I have symptoms congruent with PCOS and with hypothyroid. Most noticeably, I've gained 60lbs from 124 to 184. I'm 5'6''. I eat better/less than I ever did when I was thin and still pack on the lbs almost as fast as when I was pregnant. In fact, I was down to my pre-pregnancy weight of 150lbs within a couple of months after delivering, and have packed on the last 35 lbs in about the last year. I can't manage to stop it.<br><br>
Someone please tell me this sounds like your story, and you have found something that works for you. DH and I would love to have another child in the next year or so, and I worry that it will be difficult for us. Also, I worry about going into it already at the weight I was when I delivered DS.<br><br>
I will say that after sex last night I had some very light pink spotting, but no signs of my period starting, so I might take a test just to be sure, but I don't feel at all like I did when I got pregnant with DS so I don't think that's the case now either. There's always hoping though...<br><br>
EDIT: I thought of a couple of things I wanted to add. I did have an ovarian cyst rupture about 8 years ago, and another one rupture about 3 months ago. When the most recent one ruptured, I had an ultrasound and the ultrasound tech said that one ovary looked completely normal, and the other one showed some follicles that COULD be consistent with PCOS - similar to the "string of pearls". Also, I've long experienced some amount of digestive trouble during my periods, but since having DS they are much worse. (TMI) Now, right before my period starts I get very abnormal BMs that lead me to believe my bowels are quite inflamed. I don't think more description is needed there lol. In any case, I've wondered if it's possible I could have endometriosis? I have mild cramping and lower back pain during periods, but nothing remarkable.
 

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I always feel loony telling people this, but you asked for what has worked for others, and this is it for me.... Eliminate all chemicals from your personal care/cosmetics. No shampoos, hair products, nail polish, makeup (I use mineral makeup), soaps, lotions (natural soap and coconut oil or glycerin for moisturizer), etc.<br><br>
My cycles were like yours my whole life. It was awful. Then I tried to get pregnant, got the "it's PCOS"/"no, it isn't PCOS" diagonoses from various doctors. Everything is "unexplained."<br><br>
While I was going through all the testing, fertility treatments, etc. I was reading about how nail polish can affect the development of the baby in utero. So I started looking into what else I should be careful of, in the even that I got pregnant, and found that most cosmetics contain chemicals that can be endocrine disruptors.<br><br>
I quit everything cold turkey and went all-natural. If it can't be eaten, it doesn't go on my skin/hair! It took nearly a year, but all of a sudden my periods became regular. Like every 28 days exactly. Never had that happen before in my life.<br><br>
I think that in addition to doctors, etc. it can't hurt to try getting rid of all the possible hormone disruptors in your routine so your body can be clean for the pregnancy and maybe even help yourself conceive. I'm sorry if this sounds kooky -- believe me, if you knew me you'd know I'd be the first in line to say, "That woman is a nutcase." I'd never have believed it myself. I hope that whatever you do, you can find something that works for you!<br><br>
ETA: I totally forgot to say that you also should get a blood test to measure your hormone levels -- all of them, not just estrogen and progesterone. After 4 years I just found out I have low testosterone, and my new internist thinks that could be at least part of the reason I never got pregnant. Well, you'd think that my OB/GYN and fertility specialist would have tested for that, but apparently not... So get all your levels checked out too.
 

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I have had very irregular periods since my first mc 1 1/2 years ago. Anywhere from 32 days (I think this is my normal cycle) to 55 days.<br>
I am healthy, am a normal weight, exercise, eat mostly organic and take sooo many supplements. It still wasn't helping me. If anything it was getting worse. I didn't know what else to do, I felt like I was already doing everything I read about.<br>
All the more reason the irregular cycles have been driving me nuts! I mean, I was doing everything "right".<br>
With the irregular cycles I felt like I fit PCOS dx as well initially, but the doc said no. Each cycle was nearly a week longer than the last.<br><br>
Anyway my last cycle was gearing up to be about 52 days, but I got pregnant on cd38 but then promptly lost the baby. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
I just started accupuncture and herbs about a month ago and I swear I can not believe the difference. I ovulated on day 17, so this would be a 32 day cycle! OK it may be a fluke, so we'll just see what happens with next month.<br><br>
If you suddenly started gaining weight I would certainly get my thyroid checked. Whether you are TTC or not, it is still something to check into for your general health.
 

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I also have very irregular cycles. I don't know the length of them, it's been years since I've tried tracking them. But, back them, it really wasn't worth it. They were probably about 90 days or so.<br>
I'm undiagnosed.<br>
I also had a cyst rupture when I was 19. Very painful!<br>
I ended up with medical issues that were very close to cancer - pre cancerous cells due to my lack of menstruation. I believe it can happen regularly to those who don't have regular cycles, so you may want to stay on top of that.<br><br>
Sorry, I don't have any magical herbs or environmental changes to recommend. Those pp's have listed sound good, worth a try. I agree with your decision not to go on clomid with an OB. A RE can do many tests and give you better answers.
 

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The pattern you listed could mean you ovulate infrequently, or it could mean that you are not ovulating at all. (You can still have periods even if you don't ovulate -- at some point your body decides to shed the uterine lining and start over. I think technically it's called an anovulatory cycle.)<br><br>
So if you aren't in a terrible hurry, one thing you can start doing is taking your basal body temperature every morning right when you wake up and chart your temperatures. You need a basal thermometer which measures smaller increments of temperature -- they sell them at drug stores for around $10. After you ovulate your waking temperature will shift up by half a degree or more. That way you can tell if you are even ovulating. Google "natural family planning" for details on how to chart.<br><br>
If you are not ovulating, or even if you are, but only 5x a year -- obviously you would not be able to, or would have fewer shots at, getting pregnant in a given time frame. In that case, clomid could help force you to ovulate so you have that chance. Or, chinese herbs and acupuncture as the PP suggested -- it worked pretty well for me but it took several months to really start working and it gets expensive fast if your insurance doesn't cover it because you have to go 1-2x per week.<br><br>
You can get your thyroid checked -- that's an easy blood test that your OB can order. They can put you on synthetic thyroid and that can help normalize your weight issues as well as normalize the whole hormone problem (if thyroid is the cause). I did this but it did not help with my hormones/cycles -- it did bring my thyroid down though and according to my RE that is important for conception and staying pregnant.<br><br>
PCOS seems to be a very subjective diagnosis, it's a "syndrome" with a wide range of symptoms and you can be somewhere on the spectrum according to one RE and absolutely not according to another RE (that happened to me). Part of my protocol when I successfully got pregnant was a drug called metformin. My RE puts all his PCOS patients on it although I think it's somewhat controversial. Anyway, these are not very natural things so I don't know if you'd be interested, but I just wanted to share some of the things that seemed to work for me. A side effect of metformin is it really revs up your metabolism and for most people it melts the weight off. (It didn't do that for me, my weight stayed the same, but I was normal weight at that point.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Every doctor (since the first one) has said that it's not my thyroid. I had it checked again as recently as a year or so ago, and they said it wasn't the problem.<br><br>
Is an RE covered by most insurances? I guess maybe I need to go that route. I've long been interested in the benefits of Metformin. I'd love to hear more about your experiences with that, poppan.<br><br>
I also agree that it can't hurt me to start charting. I really think that the only reason I got pregnant the first time is because I went on BCP for about 4 months and then stopped suddenly, which sort of tricked my body into ovulating.<br><br>
I've never tried acupuncture but I'm not against it. I'm very open to just about anything...
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kittykat2481</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15474546"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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Is an RE covered by most insurances? I guess maybe I need to go that route. I've long been interested in the benefits of Metformin. I'd love to hear more about your experiences with that, poppan.</div>
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As long as you're not in some kind of HMO or something that requires a referral, most insurances should cover anything diagnostic. I've even had some of my testing during treatment covered because they considered it diagnostic.<br><br>
As far as your thyroid, did they test T3 and T4? It's a frustrating thing but most doctors don't see it necessary to do a full thyroid workup, and the "basic" thyroid test often misses a problem.
 

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I think you would benefit from seeing an RE. It's a scary step -- for me it was like finally admitting I had a problem if you KWIM. FWIW my RE's seemed to have much narrower ranges of normal or maybe I should call it ranges of "optimal" and they put me on a lot of stuff to finetune this and that. For example, my OB/GYN said my thyroid was just fine and was not the problem, yet my RE put me on Synthroid anyway as she said it was not in the optimal range for conceiving. And the two RE's after that (I went to three clinics before I got pregnant) agreed and kept me on Synthroid.<br><br>
Re: Metformin I was put on it a couple of months prior to starting my IVF cycle. I think it was supposed to improve egg quality for people with PCOS. I did have a very good IVF in that we got a lot of mature eggs (25) and 21 of those fertilized (we also had male factor issues so we were ecstatic that so many fertilized). How much did Metformin play a role -- that's hard to say as that was my first IVF and I don't have a cycle without Metformin to compare to.<br><br>
Go see an RE -- at least you will get the right tests run and maybe hear a different viewpoint and get some options to consider.<br><br>
P.S. One more idea re: the ovarian cysts -- if you have a history of cysts it's possible you have one now and if I remember right they can throw your cycles off. An RE can do a "transvaginal" u/s to look at your ovaries and check. That took me by surprise on my first RE visit so I want to warn you ahead of time. I think the best/fastest description of transvaginal u/s is "dildo-cam". <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>poppan</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15477018"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think you would benefit from seeing an RE. It's a scary step -- for me it was like finally admitting I had a problem if you KWIM. FWIW my RE's seemed to have much narrower ranges of normal or maybe I should call it ranges of "optimal" and they put me on a lot of stuff to finetune this and that. For example, my OB/GYN said my thyroid was just fine and was not the problem, yet my RE put me on Synthroid anyway as she said it was not in the optimal range for conceiving. And the two RE's after that (I went to three clinics before I got pregnant) agreed and kept me on Synthroid.<br><br>
Re: Metformin I was put on it a couple of months prior to starting my IVF cycle. I think it was supposed to improve egg quality for people with PCOS. I did have a very good IVF in that we got a lot of mature eggs (25) and 21 of those fertilized (we also had male factor issues so we were ecstatic that so many fertilized). How much did Metformin play a role -- that's hard to say as that was my first IVF and I don't have a cycle without Metformin to compare to.<br><br>
Go see an RE -- at least you will get the right tests run and maybe hear a different viewpoint and get some options to consider.<br><br>
P.S. One more idea re: the ovarian cysts -- if you have a history of cysts it's possible you have one now and if I remember right they can throw your cycles off. An RE can do a "transvaginal" u/s to look at your ovaries and check. That took me by surprise on my first RE visit so I want to warn you ahead of time. I think the best/fastest description of transvaginal u/s is "dildo-cam". <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"></div>
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It is scary. I've looked on a few websites and it always looks like they pretty much are "IUI/IVF doctors" IYKWIM. I'm not ready to go there yet. I just want some answers so that maybe I can get things to happen relatively on their own. Re: the dildo-cam... hahahaha! That's so funny. I'm all too familiar with that. When my last cyst ruptured (I thought I was dying) they did a transvaginal ultrasound and there was all this fluid floating around in there. The fluid itself irritated everything it touched, causing serious pain in all my organs and required a full round of antibiotics to recover from. Same thing happened the first time too. It's awful!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kittykat2481</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15479431"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It is scary. I've looked on a few websites and it always looks like they pretty much are "IUI/IVF doctors" IYKWIM. I'm not ready to go there yet. I just want some answers so that maybe I can get things to happen relatively on their own.</div>
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I know just how you feel about not being quite ready to go there, because I felt exactly the same way. I remember sitting there in the office at my first RE appointment and we reviewed all my lab results (my OB/GYN ordered the basic panel when we decided I should go for an RE consult), my charts for the previous 2 years of TTC, and the RE said let's start you on clomid. And I sat there and just had this reaction of "I'm not ready". I asked her if maybe we should try "on our own" for just a little longer and she very gently told me "Honey, if it hasn't happened for you in 2 years of trying, it's probably not going to happen." Not in quite those words but that was the message.<br><br>
Don't feel pressured. I think lots of people start out just wanting to get a workup done so you know where you stand. Be clear about that because the other half of the folks seeing an RE just want to get pregnant ASAP! I don't think an RE would put pressure on you. If you haven't done clomid yet they will very likely suggest that first, unless you have some other issue that calls for advancing to IUI (like male factor). Good luck!
 
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