Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Introduction / history

I was recently diagnosed with hypothalamic amenorrhea. I've done a bit of research on the web, but what info is out there isn't really what I'm looking for - I want to get pregnant! *Kinda* tough to do when you're not getting your period. I'm not even at the starting line yet!

I finished my PhD in July of '04, and went off the pill then. My PCP had told me that it can often take up to three months after going off the pill to recommence ovulation. Perfect! I could then be in my new job for about a year before going out on maternity leave. Or something like that.

Definitely something like that, as it's now been six months and I haven't gotten my period yet! So as I've had a tough time finding out what people have done to get their period back, how long it takes, what other options are out there, I thought I'd start this blog to pull it all together, and hopefully find other people who are in the same predicament.

The first thing my doc did when I hadn't gone on the rag three months after going off BC was to check my thyroid (blood tests were normal), then give me a Provera challenge. You take progesterone for 5 days, then theoretically get your period 4-10 days after that. Works for most people...

I didn't bleed at all after that. Not a single solitary drop. So then my PCP sent me to a gynecologist. As this was now a couple of months later, she tried the Provera challenge again. Still nothing. She also had blood levels of hormones checked. That was apparently normal, although I don't know the actual numbers as I haven't seen her again yet... have an appointment 1/28, so will find out then, I hope.

Next step - an MRI of my head, looking for a possible pituitary tumor, which can be one cause of amenorrhea. Everything normal there too. So onto the next hormonal challenge - 21 days of estrogen, followed by Provera. That finally worked, got my period last Tuesday. But it's not a real period, basically all that indicates is that my plumbing is okay and I *can* bleed. Doesn't mean my cycles have started for real or anything.

In the meantime, she had called to tell me that I have hypothalamic amenorrhea. Apparently some of my hormone levels are low (which I don't quite understand given that I was initially told they were normal? Maybe they're within the normal range, but on the low side?). I think she said it was the gonadotropins (FSH and LH) that were low, but I can't be entirely sure. She suggested A) seeing a nutritionist, and B) cutting down on my exercise.

About three years ago I decided to start exercising regularly, with two main goals. First, to get rid of the cellulite on my legs. Second, to prepare for a pregnancy in a few years, with the idea that being fit would make the pregnancy, delivery and recovery all easier. That may be... but first I actually have to GET pregnant. And, like I said, that's kinda tough at the moment.

And then in May of last year I decided I wanted to finally get rid of my love handles, and I just felt like I was overall chubby. So I lost ~12 pounds that month, by restricting myself to 1500 calories a day, and a few more in the months after that. I was also exercising quite a lot, although I didn't feel like it was excessive. Lifting weights 2x per week, playing ice hockey 4-5 times / week, volleyball 1-2 times... Got down to somewhere between 16 and 18% bodyfat.

Since then, I've put back most of the weight I lost, I'm currently down ~5 pounds from my starting weight (I was 139, 5'6" when I started, now I'm around 133-134) (still 5'6" though). I'm working on increasing my calories and cutting back on the exercise. I also have some other plans, I'll go into those soon...


Molly said...

Hi Nico,

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog, and much luck on this conception ride. Interesting fact: this must have been what my mother-in-law had. She had never had a period at all, and her doctor (back in the 70s) told her that she wouldn't have any children. They were planning to adopt when she and her husband were shocked to find that they were pregnant (with my husband). Since he was born, she's had her period like clockwork every month. Except when she was pregnant with my brother-in-law, of course. So I'm holding out hope for you!

S. said...

I was reading through your blog and, not to sound weird, but I'm going through the exact same thing! The only difference is that you started ttc approx. 6 months before me.
I'm 31 and stopped bcp in january and haven't had a period since. Even had the progesterone challenge. Nada.
I've done some web research too and haven't really found any info that is specific to me. It's mainly about eating disorders, which I don't have a problem with.
My OB thinks that it's HA, though. I went to see an RE and am now back on bcp, which sucks. I think they want to see if I get a period, too.
Sorry to rant on. I was beginning to feel like a complete loaner.
Thanks for posting your blog.