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Good news for anyone who was on the pill and is now struggling

(10 Posts)
Amber8 Sat 16-Jul-11 18:43:00

Hello ladies,

I have been visiting this site for a while now, and now I finally have something to post too!

I went off the contraceptive pill 11 months ago after 15 faithful years, and since then have had 2 chemical pregnancies (after taking Provera to induce menstruation), and no natural periods at all. My last 'miscarriage' was three months and one week ago, and since then I have not had a period.
Until todaysmile

Having done some online research I understood that my problem is likely to be that my body has forgotten how to produce it's own progesterone after all these years. So after a LOT of online chatroom lurking, I bought Vitex Agnus Castrus tincture from www.napiers.net. Agnus Castrus is supposed to work by stimulating the pituitary gland, which in turn produces progesterone, easy! So for the past 2 weeks I have been taking the prescribed dose each morning in a glass of water. However, the general advice is that it can take up to 3 months to get into your system and I am not a patient person! So I went back online and carried on hunting.

Then I discovered, and this is NOT medical gospel, that the liver plays a big part in all of this. When you take in high doses of estrogen, AKA the pill, the liver struggles to efficiently process it, and sometimes instead 'stores' it in the body, often in fat cells which appear around your lower abdomen and upper thighs (familiar, anyone?). Even after you go off the pill, it can take a long time for your liver to process this excess estrogen and so your body continues to suffer from a hormone imbalance, which in turn can affect yor ability to ovulate and menstruate.

So, what's the order of the day? A liver cleanse! A friend of mine suggested that I would need bleach to cleanse my liver, but that's a different storysmile so instead I used apple juice. The theory is that apple juice contains Malic acid, which helps to clear excess bile and sludge out of your liver and allows it to work more efficiently, thus allowing it to start working on that excess estrogen. All you need is 7 litres of 100% apple juice from the supermarket, stored at room-temperature (so as not to 'chill' the liver apparently)

On day 1 at 8am, I drank 500ml of room-temperature apple juice (yuk). I repeated this every two hours until 8pm, when I drank the last 500ml for the day. This totalled 3.5l of apple juice that day. I ate only fresh fruit and vegetables, raw or cooked, and drank only the juice and room-temperature water. No caffeine, no sugar, no fat, and definitely no booze!
On day 2 I did exactly the same thing.
On day 3 I didn't drink any more juice, but I did try to eat light, and stick with fruit and vegetables.
I made a vegetable soup and ate that quite a bit over these 3 days, the recipe is on this link:
http://vicsrecipes.blogspot.com/2008/10/minestrone-alla-romagnola.html
Simple and easy!

Now to the clever bit! I did the cleanse one week ago, and since then have taken my Vitex first thing every morning in a glass of room-temperature water. I make sure that it is the first thing that I drink that day, and try to wait for 30 mins before eating or drinking anything else, to give the liver time to process it without interruption. I now take my vitamin and folic acid with my lunch so as not to dump too much on my liver all at once.

And today I got my first natural period since coming off the pill nearly a year agosmile

Like I said, I am not a doctor, and cannot give solid medical proof for any of this, the liver and estrogen-dominance theories came from the following Chinese medicine website:
www.sensiblehealth.com
I found sections 4 and 6 particularly interesting. I guess you just have to read it and take what you want from it.

I just figure that drinking lots of apple juice and eating veggies for two days has got to be worth a try, it can't hurt! I don't know that any of what I did helped to bring on my period, and I would guess that I am at the lucky end of the scale results-wise, but thought that if this could work for me, it was worth passing on. I think we all know that the only thing more frustrating than unsucessfully trying to get pregnant is not being ready to even start trying!

GOOD LUCK LADIES!

OracleInaCoracle Mon 25-Jul-11 08:47:39

Have you actually been advised to take AC though? Its a v powerful drug and can mess up your cycle horribly. People should NEVER take it without consulting a herbalist, and it is irresponsible to advise people to do so. AC lengthens your leutal phase, it does not start your period, it helps delay it.

Re the cleansing, its good sense to eat and drink healthily anyway while ttc. Common sense etc.

OracleInaCoracle Mon 25-Jul-11 08:50:44

Oh, and your erratic cycles are likely to be down to coming off the pill/your cp's rather than forgetting how to produce progesterone. If you do not think you are ovulating see your gp, they can do blood tests to confirm hormone levels, rather than self medicating.

OracleInaCoracle Mon 25-Jul-11 08:50:46

Oh, and your erratic cycles are likely to be down to coming off the pill/your cp's rather than forgetting how to produce progesterone. If you do not think you are ovulating see your gp, they can do blood tests to confirm hormone levels, rather than self medicating.

Amber8 Wed 27-Jul-11 09:12:04

I started taking it after reading about other people's stories on these websites really, and I know that some people have had more or less sucess with it, ie. it has worked for some people first month, and others have had to wait longer. Maybe it would have worked for me the first month too even without the cleanse, but like you say it's always good to be healthy, common sense etc.
From what I have understood there are several uses for AC, short luteal phase being one of them, but it also does stimulate progesterone, and can be useful for women that have been on the contraceptive pill for a long time. I wouldn't advise anyone to take it if they were having regular periods, but for people like me who didn't have a cycle for months on end, it can be an attractive option. I did go to see a GP for hormone testing, but the killer is that until you actually start your cycle they can't test, so its a dead-end situation. Which is why I got to investigating ways of speeding things up.
You are right that people should go and see a professional before attempting any kind of treatment.
The good thing for me was that after taking Provera last December I did ovulate AND got pregnant, so at least that bit is working okay. The big difference being that Agnus Castus stimulates your body into producing its own progesterone instead of taking chemically synthesized substitutes. I had two early MCs two months running after taking Provera, and think it was because my body was unable to produce enough of the right hormones to sustain the pregnancies. I hope that AC will change that.

belgo Wed 27-Jul-11 09:17:42

If you have had no natural periods for 11 months, you should really be checked out by your GP first. The GP doesn't have to wait until your period starts before investigating the lack of menstruation.

I don't think it's very sensible to take something on the say-so of people off the internet.

OracleInaCoracle Wed 27-Jul-11 13:35:05

I'm sorry about your mcs but you don't know why the pgs fail. I have a huge issue with people recommending AC, you talk about the people who it has helped, and there are many) but there are many, many people whom it has damaged quite severely, it caused me no end of problems, including overstuimulation, and one poster has only just had a period after taking AC in feb. I agree with belgo, you really need to see your gp.

Amber8 Wed 27-Jul-11 14:37:05

I am glad that this thread now has a more balanced view of AC and am sorry that you had problems with it, that must be so frustrating. I should stress that I went to three different GPs before trying AC, all of whom told me that my problems were due to coming off the pill after so long. The first one recommended the Provera, which was absolutely stupid, as all that does is provide the same synthesised progesterone as the pill. Doctors say it can take some women up to 2 years to get natural periods after the pill, and the ones I have seen are generally unwilling to perform any tests until after a year, telling me to just wait.

belgo Wed 27-Jul-11 15:28:22

if three GPs all say the same thing, then maybe it's a good idea to listen to them?

OracleInaCoracle Wed 27-Jul-11 16:07:30

So, who suggested you try AC? AC lengthens your leutal phase and affects your hormonal levels. That is why many women take it. It is dangerous to take it when you are not having periods. There is very little you can do to speed up the process. Eating healthily and maintaining a healthy weight is one thing. Regular sex is another. But taking AC without consulting a proper herbalist or having tests done to confirm ovulation/lp issues is not one of them.

Can you also clarify why you feel that provera isn't for you because it synthesises progesterone, while AC is when it overstinmulates the pituitary and creates progesterone, thus lengthening your lp and postponing your period?

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