Thread for anyone TTC with a bit of medical help!

(99 Posts)
ChandlersFarang Tue 15-Jul-14 04:41:56

Hello ladies! I'm looking to start something like one of the normal TTC 'busses' but for any of us that are on the journey with a bit of medical assistance (but not full IVF, as there's already an established thread for that!). I'm talking: assisted ovulation, clomid, metformin, IUI, Femara, injections, all those helpful little pushes from the doctors as we may not quite get there on our own! Post your story below and let's cross fingers for lots of BFPs over the coming months - would love to hear from you smile

ChandlersFarang Tue 15-Jul-14 04:52:18

To get the ball rolling...

I'm 32 as of this month, came off the pill in December fully expecting everything to slot into a standard 28 day cycle. I'd been on the pill 14 years so had no recollection of what my cycle was like beforehand! Anyway my post-pill cycles have been 98 days, then 40, then 42... now god knows what (on day 25 today). I think I did actually ovulate on my own on each of those occasions as I was charting everything. My third cycle was monitored by the hospital and assisted by FSH and HCG injections and I had the same ovulation symptoms that time as the times on my own, which is really good. A start!! smile

I'm very lucky in that I live in Thailand and was able to go and see a doctor via my health insurance without jumping through the usual NHS hoops - after a lot of messing around with different readings I was diagnosed properly with PCOS last month. I don't have any of the usual symptoms though, and I have a BMI of 23 - 'lean PCOS' apparently. Have found tons of amazing info on the Soul Cysters website which has clued me up!

The hospital gave me an ultrasound last week on day 23 and found my ovaries in a 'resting state' not doing anything to produce an egg (lazy bastards!). So they just yesterday put me on metformin (10 days, 500mg per day) and Femara (5 days, 2.5mg per day) to try and sort my hormones out and get me to ovulate more regularly. I'm back in for an ultrasound scan on Weds next week to see how the meds are working.

I'm moving back to England in May, so am really hoping I get somewhere before then, although I was just in the UK on a holiday and had to have blood tests done there - I found my usual NHS surgery to be really helpful, although I know that's not the case for everyone. I've been lucky. Now I just need the luck to translate into a baby!!

Would love to hear from anyone else going through similar things, any success stories, or discussions about your medical care so far. Thanks all for reading this far! grin x x

BrickPhone Tue 15-Jul-14 15:07:42

Ooh hello, thanks for starting the thread. I live in China and like you didn't have to do any waiting around to get to the bottom of things. I came off the pill last Oct and finally gave in a went to the docs today. He whipped me straight into the ultrasound room and I now have a PCOS diagnosis and a prescription for metformin and femara combined. Feel a little shell shocked but also pretty glad to have a reason for all this frustration lately. When he said ultrasound I had a nice fuzzy mental image of lying on a bed with jelly on my stomach, not the dildo with a camera I was confronted with blush

BrickPhone Tue 15-Jul-14 15:09:43

Ooh hello, thanks for starting the thread. I live in China and like you didn't have to do any waiting around to get to the bottom of things. I came off the pill last Oct and finally gave in a went to the docs today. He whipped me straight into the ultrasound room and I now have a PCOS diagnosis and a prescription for metformin and femara combined. Feel a little shell shocked but also pretty glad to have a reason for all this frustration lately. When he said ultrasound I had a nice fuzzy mental image of lying on a bed with jelly on my stomach, not the dildo with a camera I was confronted with blush

BrickPhone Tue 15-Jul-14 15:10:20

Oh bloody iphone

keeponjuggling Tue 15-Jul-14 15:24:56

Hello ladies, great idea on the thread, thank you. I'm not having any assistance (yet), but undergoing lots of tests. Been TTC no 2 for a very long time now. No. 1 took quite a while, but this time round is proving a very long road. Possible PCOS so trying to loose weight as I was a good 20 pounds lighter first time round. Really interesting to hear your stories from abroad! The NHS has been a slow and painful route so far, but sadly can't afford private. Good luck Brickphone and Chandlersfarang, hope you get your BFP's very soon!

ChandlersFarang Tue 15-Jul-14 17:35:11

Keeponjuggling & BrickPhone thanks so much for your replies!! Sorry to hear you've both been having trouble.

BrickPhone - that is EXACTLY what happened to me!!! I went in last month expecting to have a chat with a doctor about my weird cycles, and the next thing you know I had that very in fuzzy vag camera (lol) followed by PCOS diagnosis, and then an hour later was having FSH injected through my stomach into my ovary because they'd spotted one follicle trying to grow, that they wanted to give a boost!! Was a crazy amount to take in in one day tbh.

That day I got home and did lots of googling about PCOS, and (luckily) found that the treatment I'd just had was very good, and way better than anything the NHS would have done (to get to injection stage would have taken months if not years!). Which made me cautiously positive. I was pretty shell shocked in the days afterwards tho I have to say, and a bit teary, as I'm pretty healthy and have been lucky to never really have had anything wrong with me before. So don't worry if you go through a few phases with it. Your circumstances are so similar to mine, let's keep in touch!! smile. What was it that made you decide to go to the doc in the first place? When do you have your next appointment?

Keeponjuggling - really sorry to hear you've had a tough time TTC #2! So do you think you've always maybe had PCOS, but got lucky naturally the first time? What tests have you had so far? X x x

ChandlersFarang Tue 15-Jul-14 17:49:07

*UN FUZZY (obvs!)

BrickPhone Wed 16-Jul-14 01:42:10

Hello chandlers and keepon it's really nice to share stories!
keepon I think as well as losing weight there are dietary changes that can help to get PCOS under control naturally, even without drugs. I did a lot of googling too (!!) and apparently cutting back on white bread, white rice and pasta and switching to whole grains helps. Also cutting out fruit juices and alcohol. It's because PCOS is linked to a resistance to insulin so a low GI diet can help. I'm going back to the UK for a holiday this weekend (yay!) so think I'll pick up a couple of GI books while I'm there, for inspiration. If either of you find any info about natural ways to ease PCOS,please share because I'm determined to give my body the best chance!
chandlers I went to the docs in the end because I reached the end of my emotional strength, frankly. Our friends and family are watching us like hawks expecting us to announce happy news any day... We got married 7 months ago and since then I've had a lot of blunt questions from well meaning people. I reached a point where I couldn't fib any more with 'ohhhh well, we'll see, no rush' etc and started to give blunt answers back. Who would have thought 'we've been trying and nothing is happening' could be such a conversation killer?!
After feeling a bit teary and alone yesterday this thread really picked me up and today I feel really positive, quite excited to be able to have a bit more control over what's happening during my cycle. Thanks ladies!
I have a 3 month supply of the drugs which I will start in august. Then if no luck during that time I have to go back for a tubal blockage investigation. Apparently it's painful so fingers crossed I can get pg without. My husband has been called in for a semen analysis, too - have you ladies sent your fellas in for the same?

Have a great day and keep talking, this is all just a hiccup on the road!

Oh and chandlers, yikes to the stomach injection!!

ChandlersFarang Wed 16-Jul-14 03:35:08

BrickPhone it's good to have someone in my time zone as well! grin whereabouts in China are you? Are you working? I'm on a two year work thing in Bangkok with DH. Have made the most of being here but tbh been quite homesick... Now I've got this diagnosis I've had mixed emotions about moving home as I'm not sure what kind of medical treatment I'll get there.

Ok a load of questions for you:

- how did they diagnose you? Was it a blood test as well as an ultrasound?
- do u have any other symptoms other than weird cycles/lack of pregnancy?
- what dosage of metformin are you on? They've given me 500mg per day for 10 days... Assuming they'll give me more when I go back on Thursday next week for my next scan, from what I've read, and if you've got 3 months' worth!

On lifestyle stuff - I don't know if you're overweight or not but that has an impact. I'm following a low-GI diet now and have cut out sugar as much as possible - was quite healthy anyway to be honest but now it's more important than ever! PCOS has associated health risks down the line, so you're really doing yourself a service to be as healthy as possible and exercise to keep those risks low. There's a ton of great info on the Soul Cysters website, especially the forum. Make sure you read the sticky threads in the newbies section. I've got 'lean PCOS' (my BMI is 23) and the 'thin Cysters' forum has some really good info too, and a lot of links to medical journals and studies on metformin. Us being given Femara is pretty revolutionary by the way - I've learned that it's not available on the NHS due to it's expense, and the fact it's still only registered for use as a breast cancer treatment drug there. So you can only get it privately. There is a good medical journal article on the successful usage of the two together here:

http://m.humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/21/6/1432.long

Have an amazing time back in the UK! I just came home from a bloody brilliant 3 week trip. Went to Glastonbury and did cool fun stuff a baby would have precluded smile We are in exactly the same boat with family/friends thinking we're going to announce a pregnancy any second tho which was pretty annoying while back home - been over here a year, and married for 2 now. I had my 32nd birthday there too (having been a signatory to the "I'll have kids by 30" mantra in my twenties this was annoying!). Have told my closest mates, but everyone else is getting vague references to "when we get home". I was quite stressed out with being away to begin with, and then this compounded that - got myself into a bit of a pickle in my head, which is unusual for me. I found a really good book that has helped me change my thought patterns and see things more clearly and helpfully which you might like to look up in due course if you felt you needed it... It's Change Your Thinking with CBT by Dr Sarah Edelman.

So good to be able to share all this!!! smilegrin X x

ChandlersFarang Wed 16-Jul-14 03:38:23

Oh just to add - the doctors haven't mentioned the Fallopian tubes investigation to me yet, but I did read someone on here that just came home from having it say that it really wasn't as bad as they thought! If that helps.

And yes my DH went yesterday to give his sample!! He's been amazing - he went from a bit of indignation at the idea he could have an issue at the start of this (male pride, lol) to being fine about it. He came home from it yesterday with a glint in his eye, complimenting them on their porn selection ("Hollywood standard" apparently, lol) and saying he enjoyed his first ever completely guilt-free wank! grinwink

Should get the results today. Fx for him, last thing we need is both of us to be on the go-slow!!!! Xx

BrickPhone Wed 16-Jul-14 05:52:52

Guilt free wank!!! Haha!!!
We're in shanghai. Both working, 3 years now. I thought I was homesick until we seriously discussed returning to the UK, that made me realise what a fantastic life we've built out here. I still desperately miss my family and friends back home though! It's hard sometimes...
I'll try to answer your questions:
-they only used an ultrasound to diagnose me. Tbh I expected a blood test but the doctor seemed very experienced so I trust he's made the right analysis. I certainly hope so!
-my cycles aren't that freaky really, they vary from 27 to 29 days but my period only lasts 2 days, maybe I should have read more into that earlier but I just assumed it was a variation on normal. I'm a bit spotty and always have been. Hope this treatment also improves my skin a bit. My bmi is about 19 so that must put me in the lean category with you.
-I haven't looked at the dose on the metformin, will check tonight. I'm not starting now as I was warned to avoid alcohol and if I'm not drinking when I'm in the UK next week all my family and friends will start nudging each other, I can't take the speculation. Also I've missed the window for the femara so may as well wait a few weeks.
Thanks so much for all your recommendations and advice chandlers , I will definitely check out soul cysters this evening. Good luck to mr chandlers, hope he gets a good result today!

ChandlersFarang Wed 16-Jul-14 06:55:39

Aaah I went to Shanghai for meetings a few months ago, loved it! Hopefully I'll be back there again before we leave. Had a really good international feel and was much cooler in April than Bangkok!! I got to wear my leather jacket for the first time in months! Lol. grin

Anyway I don't want to confuse anything, as it's sounding like your diagnosis is probably right, but you should have some sort of further test to diagnose you conclusively. This is because 2 of 3 criteria have to be met for a PCOS diagnosis. As per this link: http://www.myvmc.com/diseases/polycystic-ovarian-syndrome-pcos/

"PCOS was first described in 1935 as a collection of commonly occurring signs and symptoms. Since then, the criteria for diagnosing PCOS have changed several times. Most recently, the Rotterdam Consensus Conference agreed that PCOS may be diagnosed where any two of the following conditions are present:

- Menstrual dysfunction: infrequent menstrual periods where no egg is released;
- Clinical or laboratory evidence of hyperandrogenism (e.g. increased body hair, acne, high levels of testosterone on testing);
- Polycystic ovaries on ultrasound.

So PCOS shouldn't really be diagnosed by ultrasound alone on account of this: Polycystic ovaries are very common and can affect up to 20% of women.[1] However, the majority of women with polycystic ovaries do not have features of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and do not require intervention. Prevalence figures vary depending on diagnostic criteria used, but PCOS is thought to affect 5-15% of women of reproductive age.[2]
From: http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pro

I was holding out a hope that I might be one of those women who had the appearance of polycystic ovaries on a scan but did not have the syndrome... However my second blood test back in Thailand last week confirmed i do, because of the ratio of FSH to LH in my blood. The one in the UK was inconclusive, and the doctor put it down to jetlag affecting my hormones (one to bear in mind as an expat!). So I meet 2 of that criteria 1. the irregular periods plus 3. the scan results. Now backed up with the blood test result.

Anyway just thought this may help you out, as I had no idea what was what for weeks after reading conflicting stuff online, but am now totally clear on what's what!! smile

ChandlersFarang Wed 16-Jul-14 07:43:01

One last link that should make you happy (it did me!):

http://www.soulcysters.net/showthread.php/247091-Pcos-Treatment-Non-obese-Women

Key bit from the study of lean women taking metformin:

"Of these, 74 women had a Body Mass Index of 25 or less (thereby meeting the definition of thin woman PCOS) and were 38 years of age or younger at the time of the procedure. This if the first reported series of this nature. Of these, 59 patients desired conception and were available for follow-up. They had a mean duration of infertility of 3.7 years and a mean body mass index of 23.9. 49 (83%) of these patients have conceived with a mean time to conception of 4.2 months. Most of these conceptions have occurred without further intervention, although 11 of these women conceived with the subsequent use of clomiphene/FSH for IUI and three conceived through IVF because of male factor issues. None of these women experienced hyperstimulation. There have been no post-operative complications and there have been no cases of ovarian failure."

So 83% conceived, and the average length of time to conception was 4.2 months!!!! With Femara too that can only boost our chances even higher/quicker.

I love science - aren't we lucky we were born at the right point of human history to benefit from all these advances in treatment?! smilegrin x x

BrickPhone Thu 17-Jul-14 01:46:22

Good morning chandlers, I was hoping we'd have a few more joiners overnight but it's still pretty quiet. More of a taxi than a bus at the moment! Do you think we should repost in infertility?
Anyway thanks for sharing all your info, you've done a lot of research, how long ago were you diagnosed?
I did a lot of reading and I hear your point about the blood test, however I've read a few articles either way and so I'm going to trust my doctor on this. He's an ob-gyn so a specialist and he asked a lot of questions before prescribing me anything.
I'm really happy to have connected with you because I think we can be a good mutual support, especially since we're both living in Asia, it's quite comforting to know you're not alone!
I'm super excited now with one day left of work before I fly to the UK... My husband flew there almost 3 weeks ago so I'm really looking forward to joining him. He's a teacher so nice long hols, unfortunately not the same for me! Are you working?
Did your DP get his results? Hope all came back fine. I certainly agree with you, we are very lucky to be living in such a scientific age... With the stats as high as 1 in 10 having their fertility affected by PCOS, it makes you wonder how women managed in the past?!
Have a great day and keep in touch... wink

ChandlersFarang Thu 17-Jul-14 15:41:20

Yeah I was wondering where everyone else is!! Are there any other ladies out there getting a bit of medical help...? Post away! It's fab chatting to BrickPhone and keeponjuggling but I know there's more of you ladies out there... grin

ChandlersFarang Thu 17-Jul-14 16:58:48

Gah just wrote you a long reply Brick and it vanished!!!! confused

Just to say that it's really cool to chat to you too, amazingly similar situations. Cool you're content with the diagnosis as is - I just had a bit of beef with mine, which was only confirmed last week, after a few conflicting bits of advice (speaking to three doctors hasn't helped - one here, one in the UK where I had to have my first blood test, and one at our work's insurance company). My blood test from the UK didn't show PCOS but the one i had last week did.
DH had his sample done - was all OK apart from the 'motility' (movement) which was 40% - normal is 50%. The other 2 things (count and shape) were really good tho luckily. Was a bit of a shit day yesterday when we got his result as we just didn't really need any more bad news - being up against it as we are already! But they are testing again in a month, so hopefully will be better then.
We're back into optimistic mode again today tho, having heard tons of positive stories about PCOS girls getting upduffed by men with less than 100% speedy sperm so fuck it, I'm sure we'll be OK! grin
Have an amazing time back in the UK!!! I didn't think about TTC at all there as we were so busy - very good for the soul!!! grinsmilewine

ChandlersFarang Sun 20-Jul-14 10:07:33

Anyone else out there..? smile

keeponjuggling Mon 21-Jul-14 14:47:02

Hello ladies, sorry for radio silence. I'm currently jumping through seemingly endless NHS hoops, and loosing patience fast.

chandlers yes, it looks like we got incredibly lucky first time around, but I was around 18lbs lighter and very fit at the time. I've just had day 21, day 3 bloods and the usual swabs taken, my DH has has SA done (all normal), now waiting (not so patiently) for my referral. Its taken 10 months to get to this stage!! Your stories are incredible, I can't believe how fast your diagnosis and treatment have been. The NHS is great in lot of ways, but in others its absolutely awful.

So far I've been having reflexology, taking yoga classes and trying to loose weight. still no joy.

How are you all doing? hope to see some bfp's on this thread very soon!

ChandlersFarang Thu 24-Jul-14 07:56:07

Hey keeponjuggling!! Sorry I only just spotted your post. So annoying that you have to keep waiting for these things!! How long will it take until you get your referral? And what happens at that point, do you know? Have you been given any medication or is that to come later?

So I've just come back from the hospital where I had an ultrasound to see how the medication has been working. I have been on metformin for 10 days, and I took Femara for 5 days at the start of that period (usually you take that CD3-8, but I took it from CD24 when I went for the scan rather than wait for my next cycle, to jump start my ovaries which were in a totally resting state with no eggs growing, so was the same stage as CD3 would have been given total non-action!).

ANYWAY. Today's ultrasound revealed that this medication has led me to grow THREE EGG FOLLICLES in ten days!!!! One on the right and two left. Which is mental!! So happy about that. Clearly the meds work for me grinsmile

These follicles are almost big enough to send an egg out now (ie ovulate!!) but to make sure they actually do (my body really isn't reliable!), I am going back to the hospital to get an injection of HCG tomorrow (called a trigger shot) to make me ovulate for sure. Maybe more than one of these eggs will appear?! Double chance at glory..?!?!

So that's all awesome. I have two associated issues - my endometrial lining is too thin (so an egg might not have much joy implanting). Also, my luteal phase is 10 days at best, and was 9 last cycle. So today they've given me these estrogen hormone patches that I stick on my stomach to sort the lining out, and a load of progesterone pills to take from 1DPO to lengthen my luteal phase.

PHEW. Now if this isn't TTC with medical help then I dunno what is!!!! gringringrin

Have written all this down in case it helps anyone else out there - even those not posting replies, like I used to when I was a total lurker (and still am on other boards!!). smile

Donttellmetorelax Thu 24-Jul-14 09:19:46

Hi everybody, lurker here.

I'm not TTC with medical help at the moment, but I'd love to :S

We've been trying since January with no luck. I was diagnosed with PCOS in my early 20 (36 now) back in Spain.

I'm going to see my GP next Monday, l don't know what to expect, I got the feeling that they are not going to take me seriously and tell me to keep trying. I just want to know what's going on down there!

So if anybody has tips for me about what to say or ask, they will be most welcome. smile

ChandlersFarang Thu 24-Jul-14 11:15:40

Hi donttellmetorelax!!

You definitely should go and see your GP. I would present your diagnosis in Spain and detail the PCOS symptoms that you have - what ones do you get, if any?

If the symptoms sound right, they will reconfirm the diagnosis I would imagine, and maybe take a blood test? I thought that if you were over 35 then they didn't make you wait for ages, they were more helpful. smile

I think the first thing you need is a good, understanding GP and take it from there! Do you know yours?

Donttellmetorelax Thu 24-Jul-14 11:45:30

Hi Chandlers!

Actually we just moved, so it's going to be my first visit with this GP in the new place.

I'm not sure how to transfer my medical history from Spain, (I've been living in the Uk for 5 years). I went to the the doctors at the beginning of the year because I was having blood sugar swings and told them about my PCOS, but they only tested my blood sugar (not fast insulin) and thyroid. They said that the results were normal and told me to keep trying.

My PCOS are quite "text book". Acné, irregular periods, weight around the middle, hair loss, spotting before periods,etc.

I'm trying to stick to a low(ish) GI diet, and it seems that the blood sugar is more stable and my last cycles are varying from 32 to 28 days.

I'll explain him all this and hope they want to start with some investigations.

Good luck everybody!

ChandlersFarang Fri 25-Jul-14 06:31:05

donttellmetorelax It sounds positive that your bloods were normal, and that your cycles have some kind of rhythm!

Good work on the diet! I have been pretty militant about cutting out sugar/going low GI since I got diagnosed. I don't have many PCOS symptoms but I have always had to put a lot more effort into staying slim than most people I know. Are you particularly overweight (if you don't mind me asking?). Anyone with PCOS and a BMI under 25 is considered to have 'lean PCOS'. Mine's 23... There's a lot of info on this on the Soul Cysters website if that does apply to you! smile

http://www.soulcysters.net/forumdisplay.php/40-Thin-Cysters

I've found all of the sticky threads on that board (and in the other parts of the same forum) really really informative. Most link to recent research and studies into PCOS.

Good luck!! smile

I just had my 'trigger' HCG injection at the hospital so I should ovulate in the next 36-48 hours apparently!! So mental they can do this 'on demand'. Anyway me and DH have a weekend of DTD ahead! There were 3 eggs ready to go, apparently all 3 could come out which trebles our chances of success (and raises a slight risk of triplets but it's pretty tiny!! Lol). Eek!

Donttellmetorelax Fri 25-Jul-14 08:59:41

OMG Chandlers thar sounds really exciting and promissing. Go and get busy!!!

My BMI is 26, so yes, I'm slightly overweight, trying to lose a couple of kilos, but it's so hard...

Keep us posted!

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