Thursday, 23 September 2010

The post where I reveal too much information.

This is just a friendly warning that the blog post below has a little too much information of the female kind. However, it is something that has been weighing on my mind for a long time and feel the need for advice, vent and discussion.

To put it pretty simply I don't have a menstrual cycle. In fact mine is pretty much non-existent and it is getting to the point where it is starting to really get me down.

I started when I was 12 and pretty much ran like clock work every month and then when I was 17 they just stopped out of nowhere. It took me a year to persuade my doctor that I needed some kind of investigation. However, I got the "you haven't finished developing yet" or "your young and healthy they will start again". I even had one doctor tell me that he could sort it by putting me on the contraceptive pill so that way I did sort of get a period each month even though it wasn't a natural one.

I was more than frustrated. I did not want a "fake" period. I wanted to know why they had stopped in the first place. Anyway, they ran some scans and they found I had some really small cysts on my ovaries but they could not diagnose me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). (The link will have more information on PCOS :). As I did not have any other symptoms associated with it. 

Things kind of stopped then because I met my now ex-boyfriend and decided to go on the contraceptive pill for obvious reasons. We broke up last year and I carried on with the pill because it did help with my mood swings and I had been in a pattern of taking it for two years so to me it made sense to carry on. Then I went through a really stressful spell at university last September and kept forgetting to take it. So it was then that I realised there was no point in me being on it if I could not even remember to take it. Plus, there was no medical reason for me to take it either.

Hope your still with me :)

So I came off pill and I have read and heard from many people that it can take up to 6 months to a year for your periods to come back. However, I was more worried because my periods stopped for some unknown reason before starting the pill so I had very little faith they would come back. I went and saw my doctor this March and she sent me for some scans and hormone tests. They all came back fine so there is no reason for me not to ovulate each month and the cysts on my ovaries are a lot smaller.

My doctor then prescribed me Metformin which is a drug often used in diabetes. However, it has been proven in studies to help promote hormone stimulation, mainly progesterone which you need to help you ovulate and by ovulating you have a period! Well I felt SO ill. I was being sick, losing loads of weight, no appetite at all and it gave me the most awful migraines. But in May, typically, I got a period and had never been so pleased to have one haha. I welcomed every cramp and was quite pleased to be buying tampax. Yet, there was a predicament I could not continue taking the Metformin as it was making me so sick even on the lowest dose. I had been on it for 2 months so I certainly gave it a trial run.

Since May I have had nothing and it is starting to really get me down. My doctor has explained that it is not unhealthy to not have a period but it is really starting to bug me. My body is designed to do this and I feel like a failure that my reproductive system can't do what it is meant to do. I worry about future fertility as if I cant have periods how can I fall pregnant? Plus, I have the worst moods ever. I was at a friends birthday meal the other day and my friend was having a vent about her menstrual cramps and all I could feel was jealousy. I would love to have a healthy reproductive cycle.

My doctor has advised me that I can be put back on the contraceptive pill but I refuse to go on that and I don't think I will ever again. They have given me a diagnosis of PCOS as I have the symptom of absent periods.

One of the symptoms of PCOS is that you can gain weight very easily which I do. But when I realise I am getting a little podgy I am quite good at getting myself back to my normal weight. I read up about how exercise can be very stimulating. So I joined the gym in June and I go 4 times a week. I am really trying to be proactive.

Can anyone relate to this or know anyone like me? Is there anything else you recommend? Do you have PCOS? 

I would just like my periods back and it is starting to really get me down :(


Colette said...

So sorry you feel so frustrated Becca.

I'm assuming (you'll know the answer to this for sure), that when a medical problem doesn't have an obvious diagnosis that it's pretty much a case of trial and error to figure how to deal with it.

It make take a lot of time and a lot of different medications but hopefully one day (soon!) you'll be closer to finding out what's wrong and how to fix it.

You should never give up hope of having children though. Look at Jamie Oliver's wife; she has PCOS and although they used IVF to have their first daughter they've had three more kids naturally!

I hope writing everything down has helped you a little :)

laura anne said...

Hi Becca,

My friend has PCOS so I know something of it, plus a few doctors have believed that I have endometriosis. I have period issues too - but the kind that caused me in so much pain, and at some points in my late teens/early 20s had them for long and so often that I only had 1-2 weeks out of every month where I was bleeding - twice I got taken to A&E because of fainting due to pain and so on.

In terms of hormone treatments, it has been trial and error - especially as gynaecology and women's health seems to be a bit of 'cinderella service' not much research, and not enough known about it.

I've been on several different types of contraceptive pills. Combined and POP. Now I'm on depo provera so I have no menstrual cycle at all.

One thing that helped with my mood swings was pyrodoxine, and taking evening primrose oil. Also have a bit of chocolate and apart from that making sure I was eating healthily, and regularly. The minute I got food/sleep deprived I noticed the difference.

It sucks what you've been going through, and I admit that I've just had to come to accept that I probably won't be able to have children that I give birth to, but that doesn't mean it won't ever happen.

We just don't know. I've seen women who have been told they are infertile, had numerous miscarriages go on to have children, and others who have ended up having to have hysterectomies. There doesn't seem to be rhyme or reason to it.

Jules Oliver has had children, and Emma Bunton has had a child and she has endometriosis.

I'd encourage you to push to get a referral to a women's health specialist to get another check up and look again at what options there are out there for you.

Sorry for the big long comment!!!!

a life of color said...

I have never heard of PCOS but I know it must be hard on you. There is nothing fun about girl problems I must say that. My periods were awful and made me so moody and crampy but I just started on birth control and already notice a world of difference. I hope you find the answers you deserve!

Callie Nicole said...

That is super-frustrating - I know! I'm assuming they've checked your thyroid? I have a few friends with thyroid issues, and it can affect your cycles. I'm glad you aren't going to go back on birth control - if it hasn't fixed the problem for you yet, it probably won't, and your body will have more of a chance without being hormonally manipulated to not ovulate anyway. That's a puzzler, for sure. I'll be praying for things to straighten out - it's just comforting to know things are working well, even if you're not in the process of starting a family. Derek and I weren't even ready for kids last year, but the lack of normal cycles was still freaking me out! So yes, I'll pray that your cycles come back.

myuncensoredlife said...

I know how frustrating and irregular cycle can be! I was having the complete opposite problem where I would bleed for a month straight. I would start my period and then never stop. Back then I prayed I would never have a period again (ironic since you want one). I went on birth control to straighten it all out. I'm on one where you only have a period every 3 months and it has been working out great.

Is there any other side effects when you don't have your period other than the fact that you know you aren't having one? Because if all of those medicines you are taking to make you have periods are making you have even worse side effects you should really stop taking them!

I know how stressful and frustrating it is to have something wrong with you that no one can figure out. I'm praying for you and hoping that you get it all under control asap!!


CardiffScot said...

I have noting more to add to the good advice above, just wanted to leave you a biq squish Scottish hug.

Holly said...

Yes. I am identical. For the last several years it's been "normal for me to go 3-4 months without a period. I've never been on medication for it (and also don't want to, for the same reasons as you) and I've never been tested or diagnosed with PCOS, but when I ask my GP about it he just says that it's not that unusual and not to worry about it.
That definitely strikes me as strange. My body is supposed to do this monthly, right? So why doesn't it...? :/

Stacie said...

I know our healthcare systems are completely different so I don't know the answer to this one, but can you get a second opinion? That's what I would do. Even if you wholeheartedly trust your current doctor. Take your lab results and tests that are most recent and ask someone else.

I know some people with PCOS but I'm not sure what there cycles are like. Both of them have had their own natural children.

Don't give up hope. :)

Have you started your new job?

Kristen said...

I cannot imagine how frustrating it must be but I am pleased your not going back on the contraceptive pill. It is more hassle than it is worth.

Mere said...

Hmmm...I wish I had some sort of advice for you, but I'm pretty much the opposite....I'll be praying for you though, sweet girl!!


CrysHouse said...

I have PCOS and would be glad to talk to you about it (in email:

I know it can be frustrating. There are treatments, but there are no guarantees with those treatments. So it can definitely be a rough row to hoe.

Just remember: You are not alone. This does not define you.

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