View Full Version : Polycystic ovaries
After trying to conceive for about 8 months, I have been diagnosed with polycystic ovaries. I will be seeing a specialist in another couple of months, but in the meantime I would love to hear stories from anyone else out there who has this condition. I have done lots of research on the internet already...now I'm looking for your own stories. Were you able to conceive, and did you need help to do it? Did you have other problems such as miscarriage or gestational diabetes? Has anyone tried alternative treatments (like Metformin)?
Thanks in advance. Feel free to email/PM me if you'd rather not post.
And please keep us in your prayers - DH and I are having a hard time coming to grips with this.
08-06-2003, 07:27 PM
Jen,my daughter is a nurse practicioner and also has polycystic ovary disease. From what she tells me, metformin is a wonder drug and many people concieve with in months. I'm sure you must know that there are lots of web support groups. You are smart to reach out, it always helps to share. Good luck
Thanks Sharon. I talked to my Dr today about Metformin, and he didn't know much about it. It helps to know I'm not out on a limb...he kind of made me feel like I was (I have a science background, so I'm the kind of patient doctors hate - I do lots of research and come up with whole lists of papers for reference :rolleyes: ). I will definitely bring it up with the specialist when I see her.
08-07-2003, 06:53 AM
Jen, I don't know anything about polycystic ovaries, but just wanted to offer my support and prayers. I know how difficult and emotional it can be to have roadblocks when trying to conceive.
It sounds like your doctor isn't too informed about this particular condition if he didn't know about that treatment. He may be a wonderful doctor, but maybe just hasn't encountered this too often. Try not to be too discourage by what he has said since he probably isn't aware of the treatments and outcomes for this condition. I am sure the specialist can offer you options and give you a realistic treatment plan. Best of luck!
08-07-2003, 12:09 PM
I have been involved with infertility for more than a dozen years (as a patient and as a leader of an infertility support group) and PCOS is not an uncommon diagnosis. It is a "newer" diagnosis so some docs may not be as familiar with it. If you don't feel confident with the doctor you are seeing, it might be worth switching to a doctor who specializes in fertility treatment and might be more familiar with the best protocol for treatment. Metformin does seem to be an excellent drug that works for many people.
As a word of encouragement from one who's been there, if you really want children, there are many ways to make it happen nowadays. Nearly everyone I've met through the infertility process has gone on to have a family ... it just might not happen in the simple, spontaneous way you envisioned it! :-) I have two kids -- one via infertility treatment and one via adoption -- and both roads to motherhood have been equally rewarding.
Thanks Joanne and Heidi. I agree, my Dr doesn't seem too knowledgeable about the condition...however, he did refer me to a specialist very speedily (he said usually he would wait for 1 yr of ttc, but since my symptoms were so obvious, he referred me much earlier). When I asked my questions, he admitted he isn't an expert and suggested I ask the specialist. Unfortunately, it takes awhile to get a specialist appt here in Canada, so I still have ~2 months to wait. It's a bit agonizing. :( He did tell me that we should keep ttc, and I believe I am ovulating, although intermittently. So there's a fair chance we could conceive on our own. I'm a bit concerned about an increased risk of miscarriage, which I've seen referred to in a few places...perhaps the inbalance in hormone levels can cause problems?
Thanks to all for your support and information.
08-08-2003, 09:38 AM
Again, I don't know anything about your condition, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt! But, you mentioned the increased risk of miscarriage because of hormone levels. When you do become pregnant, they should test all your levels right away. If something is amiss, they can give you supplements. Like progesterone. I also had a shot of something, I think it was HCG, when I was pregnant with my first, because I had miscarried before. I am sure the specialist will talk with you about all that and allay your fears, but just wanted to let you know there are ways they can help to prevent a miscarriage so you know what questions to ask.
Again, good luck with everything! I know it's heartbreaking to know there is a problem, but it's good that you know what it is and it is treatable.
08-08-2003, 06:14 PM
I have PCOS too. I'm sure that your specialist (an endocrinologist I presume?) will put you on either Metformin or something similar. I'm on a combo of Glucophage and Aldactone and successfully conceived very quickly last fall. Unfortunately we had an ectopic (not due to PCOS) so that was a huge disappointment. Women with PCOS can conceive. Getting a doctor who knows about PCOS and believes it is an actual condition is key.
There is alot involved with diet as well that will help regulate insulin levels and therefore your hormones. I just read the South Beach Diet and it references PCOS women successfully conceiving after being on the diet. I believe it is all related.
If you have any specific questions, I'd be happy to answer if I can.
08-08-2003, 06:30 PM
It is. PCOS is a precursor to insulin resistance syndrome, that is why the Glucophage (metformin) works. Glucophage is used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. It is an insulin sensitizer.
Thanks for all your responses. I have always been strictly against any diet/eating plan that requires dropping entire food groups (i.e., Atkins), but I have read a bit about the link between PCOS and carbs and I'm wondering if I should check out South Beach. Some research shows that whole-grain carbs are fine or even good for PCOS, so maybe that would be a good fit. It's hard to shift away from my usual way of thinking!
In some ways, this diagnosis is a real relief. I have struggled all my life with my weight and my skin and with depression. These symptoms all got better when I was on the pill. I am convinced I've had this condition for a long time, since my old Dr originally put me on the pill (in my teens) due to irregular cycles, pain throughout the cycle, etc. It's hard now to realize we could have dealt with this a lot sooner, and if we'd known, we certainly would have started ttc a lot sooner (DH and I have been married 7 years). It's hard not to "blame" the people who missed this diagnosis over the last 15+ years.
buffygirl, thanks so much for sharing your experience. I'm so sorry for your loss.
Well, I wanted to come back and post on this thread again to give other people hope if anyone comes across it in the future!!
I went to see the specialist on Sept. 26th...she was excellent and prescribed Metformin (low dose). She examined my charts and agreed that I appear to be ovulating most of the time, but she said the Metformin might help regulate my cycles a bit better. I decided to hold off on taking it until I started another cycle, just to be sure.
As it turns out, I was already pregnant when I went to see her! I think we conceived around Sept. 20th. I took a HPT on Saturday morning and saw a very faint line (we're talking the faintest line in the history of the world), but I knew from my charts I was very likely pregnant so I tested again this morning. Still a faint line, but stronger than Saturday and definitely present! So hooray!!
I know with this condition I have a higher risk of miscarriage, so I'm trying not to count my chickens (or babies, ha ha) before they're hatched. But just knowing we CAN conceive makes me feel so much better - regardless of what happens, there's always hope.
Thank you to everyone for your suggestions and support. I'm going to tell DH tonight (it was so hard to keep it a secret over the weekend, but I didn't want to get his hopes up until I was sure!!). Once I've seen my Dr. in a couple of days, I'll join the pregnancy thread...just want to feel a bit more sure of things before I take that step!
Jen :D (excited beyond words)
10-06-2003, 03:24 PM
Congratulations, Jen!!! That is so exciting! :)
I also had the faintest line in the history of the world -
Oh, I am just so excited for you! You'll have to let us know what DH says!
10-06-2003, 07:44 PM
Jen. thanks so much for keeping us posted. Your good news makes us all happy!!! I'm just sitting here smiling away thinking about what a wonderful evening you and your husband are having. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!
10-07-2003, 08:37 AM
Congratulations!! I wish you and DH the best! That is such great news for you!
10-07-2003, 08:42 AM
Great news! I wish you the best with this pregnancy. Take it easy!
10-08-2003, 07:02 AM
That is wonderful Jen! :) Congratulations!!!
I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
10-08-2003, 07:15 AM
Yay Jen! Congrats! I will also keep you in my prayers.
10-08-2003, 07:53 AM
Jen, I attended a seminar by Kerry Bone, world-renowned author of several herbal textbooks, head researcher of MediHerb in Australia, principal of the Australian College of Phytotherapy and who is still a practicing herbalist and has been in Australia for almost 20 years and one of the subjects that came up in the Q&A session was about PCOS. So, I thought I'd share what I learned from him to give you some more tools.
Kerry said that the general herbal approach to PCOS is to get a healthy menstrual cycle going before trying to conceive. He also stated that hyperinsulinemia secondary to other hormonal abnormalities is common in women with PCOS, so balancing insulin levels may be critical because it has a big effect on the other hormonal levels in the body. Of course, don't take any of these recommendations without the due diligence (there can be side effects with other meds, etc, so research it and bring it to your doctor) but Kerry's approach is generally this (assuming the use of good herbal products, which probably means not just going with the stuff you can buy off the shelf at GNC et al). Also, I have a ton of research sitting on my computer that supports the use of all of these herbs in this way, so if you want it PM me and it's yours (the info, not the computer!):
1) To deal with hyperinsulinemia and its effects on the other hormones:
-switch to a diet that cuts out most refined carbohydrates
-use 2-3 tablets of Gymnema per day (equivalent of 12 grams of raw Gymnema sylvestre leaves) to increase endogenous insulin production and decrease serum glucose levels
-Use 2 tablets of Silymarin (Milk Thistle) per day to increase liver function of removing excess hormones from your blood
2) To jumpstart normal menstruation, the Japanese have traditionally used the following formula with great success in women with PCOS:
- 4 mL per day of Licorice High Grade (the equivalent of about 5 grams of licorice standardized to 75mg of glycyrrhizin)
- 8 mL per day of White Peony (the equivalent of about 4 grams of Paeonia lactiflora root)
The licorice/White Peony formula should be used for about 6-8 weeks, maybe as many as 12, then stopped. If periods are normal at this point, switch to:
-2 tablets of Chaste Tree every day in the morning upon rising to normalize progesterone levels
- 4 tablets of Tribulus per day (has a hormonal balancing effect in women and also helps in cases of both male and female infertility). According to Kerry, they have a folder with hundreds of stories of "Tribulus babies" that were conceived after patients started taking the herb. In fact, his own sister has PCOS and married an older man by about 15 years. He had a vasectomy a LONG time ago and they reversed it, but he was making antibodies to his own sperm. The sister did this protocol above and her husband was taking Tribulus, too, and they conceived after about 3 months. She had twins.
Now, with PCOS some women have high levels of androgens in their system. Those cases are harder to deal with, but there still could be success with this protocol outlined above. Also, continuing with the proper diet and maybe the Gymnema over a long term may be necessary to keep insulin levels in check because the estrogen/progesterone balance in women with PCOS is a big factor.
Once normal menmstrual cycles are established, the Tribulus is the main thing for conception. Beware because you can find a lot of chjeap products that "have Tribulus" in them, but Tribulus is a peripatetic plant, which means that it has different properties wherever it grows (and it grows like a weed in most parts of the world). For some reason, only Eastern European, particularly Bulgarian Tribulus has the clinical effects noted. MediHerb sources its Tribulus from Bulgaria and it used to cost about $1.20 per tablet, but they got a stronger source and it's down to about 93 cents or so. They have taken seeds, plants and dirt from Bulgaria and tried to grow Tribulus in Australia and it has no clinical effect! So it's weird stuff, but it works and I would encourage you to look into this protocol. Unfortunately in the States you can't just bop down to the neighborhood herbalist like you can in most countries, but if you want to discuss these options with your doctor you will need to be armed with information because he'll think herbs for treating PCOS and infertility is junk without clinical trial support, which is out there. PM me your email address if you want to look at the info.
Best of luck whatever you choose to do!
And, this is why it's important to read the whole thread before throwing your 2 cents in! Well, maybe someone else can use this information, then, and congratulations!
10-12-2003, 01:12 PM
Congratulations on your pregnancy!
I am also a PCOS sufferer. I have a 10-month-old son who was conceived while I was on a low dose of Metformin. I still take the Metformin now. It's safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
I find my symptoms are not nearly as severe as they were before.
10-13-2003, 07:19 PM
I know I am getting in on this conversation a bit late, but I, too, have PCOS. I think it is much more common than most people realize. It sounds like everyone here has great advice, but I would like to QUADRUPLE emphasize the importance of an good endocrinologist who knows what she is doing. Apparently there is a link between thyroid problems and PCOS. This past February I went to a new endocrinologist who was aware of the link, and she checked my thyroid. I had lumps growing on my thyroid gland, which they thought were cancer. Fortunately after they removed my thyroid the biopsies came back benign; however, it was a relief to know that I had a doctor who was up to date on all PCOS information. I have, apparently, always had PCOS and Hypothyroidism (I also felt the relief of knowing there was a reason why I had a hard time losing weight when I eat healthier and exercise more than most people I know...). Anyway, if you want any more info I have been diagnosed with PCOS for about 5 years, so I feel pretty comfortable talking about the variety of drugs I have been on, experiences I have had, etc.
Good luck with the baby :)
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.0 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.