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Very long and very irregular cycle - any tips?

(11 Posts)
adaloveslace Sun 30-Dec-12 12:18:48

I'm 37 and the mum of a 6 year old and an almost 5 year old. I've finally persuaded DH that if we want to have the precious little afterthought I've secretly been planning all along, it's time we got on with it. He has been reluctant because both babies were small and DS was born prematurely, and he felt we'd be pushing our luck. I am in agreement to a certain extent, or at least my head is, but my heart just won't play ball.

I've always had very long and very irregular cycles - I just looked back over my diary for 2012 and it jumped from 28 days (once) to 39 days (twice) and then between 60 and 84 days for the other 3.

I have PCOS but I'm not despairing of my chances of getting pregnant as it's happened twice before. Thing is I'm not sure exactly how (apart from the obvious blush) - we were trying for about 9 months for DD, and DS was a very happy accident. I am aware my age isn't on my side anymore though and I think maybe I should be a bit more proactive.

I don't have a clue when I'm likely to be ovulating, so I guess I'm just looking for a few tips or any words of wisdom. Do OPKs work for people with long cycles? And with such irregular cycles, can I even be sure that I DO still ovulate?

DingDongBelle Sun 30-Dec-12 12:26:32

Hi there. Fellow pcos-er here. I used to have ver long cycles: 100+ days so 2 or 3 ovs per year! I charted temps to ttc ds and got lucky first cycle (which in my reality was about 9 weeks). Just helped me make sure I got the few eggs I laid! Be careful with opk's - they don't really work with pcos. They detect LH surges and if you have pcos you may have raised or irregular LH levels and they can look like you are about to ov all the time when you are not. I found charting more useful as it tells you once you have ov'd (not a predictor) so you know what's going on.

I also had lots of success with a low GI diet and careful use of evening primrose and b vitamins. I just got my second bfp yesterday so there is hope for pcosers! Fx for you smile

adaloveslace Sun 30-Dec-12 12:35:37

Congratulations Belle - that's fantastic news.

It's nice to meet someone else with ridiculously cycles - I thought I must have been counting wrong, as in my head I "always get my period every six weeksish". I do think I have irregular LH etc levels as my GP tested my bloods 7 years ago when I was TTCing for DD and they were so far off normal she wasn't sure what to make of it. I don't know the first thing about charting, so I'm off to have a little google - is it very tricky?

I did the low GI diet back then too - not sure if that was what worked but I certainly felt better. I must dig my book out again. I have lots of unwelcome hair and am quite spotty but I'm not overweight and generally pretty healthy, so I'm hoping I can do this again. Anyway, big congrats from one PCOSer to another.

dizzy77 Sun 30-Dec-12 12:44:02

I'm pg w DC2 at 35 and my cycle is a bit all over the place (30-50 days) although PCOS was ruled out after a scan. Prior to DS I tried temp charting but didn't get any real usable data, probably because I wasn't doing it properly (eg at very the moment of waking etc) but I found cervical mucus monitoring more helpful. A bit more invasive than temp checking but easy enough following first wee of day. Meant we could focus DTD (no small ask with a toddler) and fell this time after 3 cycles (about 5 months).

DingDongBelle Sun 30-Dec-12 13:06:47

Thank you! Ver early days but excited smile

Charting is basically easy. Order yourself (or borrow from the library and have a cheeky photocopy) a copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler (sp?). Brilliant information and instructions. Then hop off down to poundland and get a digi thermometer which (ideally although mine didn't) shows your temp to 2 decimal places (eg 36.56 not 36.5) as we may be talking about very small measurements. Then, when you wake up in the morning, before moving or getting up or ANYTHING at all - just roll over and grab the thermometer and take your temp. Write it down. Keep doing this at the same time every day (very important). Your temp spikes up a bit when you ov and stays up until you get AF. Mine used to spike a whole degree. There are other things to look for and the charts in the book allow you to record lots of data; cervical position, cervical mucus, boob feelings etc which all help (after a few cycles) to guess at when you are likely to ov. I use my CM to pinpoint an impending ov and then the temps to confirm I was right. I also get mittleschmitz (sp?). You can also use Fertility Friend if you don't fancy the book. Just ime more reliable than ov sticks (and once you've spent 15 quid on the book and 2 quid on a thermometer, free!).

Losing a few pounds (wether you need to or not) is supposed to help as you store hormones in your fat. When you lose weight, you release these hormones and the surge can prompt you to Ov. That's what I think happened when I fell with DS. GI is the only diet that ever works for me massive foodie with no willpower but luckily I am 'lean' pcos and don't gain much weight; although I would swap a few more curves for no beard any day!

adaloveslace Sun 30-Dec-12 19:36:43

Thanks Dizzy and Belle. The charting sounds pretty manageable. I'm going to give it a whirl because with - going on recent form - at best 6 or 7 chances to even get pregnant in the next year, I'll need all the help with timing I can get. (As a mother of - until recently - two preschoolers I naturally already have at least two digital thermometers so I've really no excuse...)

Congrats to you too dizzy. I have a friend who has managed to get pg four times now on her first try using the cervical mucus method so if you can get to grips with it, it definitely works. I've just never been able to spot any changes at all, but then I've been casually observing rather than monitoring iykwim.

grin at the "swapping a few curves for the beard" - I hear you, sister.

BelleEtLaBete Sun 30-Dec-12 21:40:27

Oh, another tip I forgot. Take your temp in your fanjo, not your mouth, as sleeping with your mouth open can affect the temp.

But (for the obvious reason, and because your inner temp is slightly higher than your oral temp) Don't switch between the two grin

I look at my cm when I go to the loo. And i don't have a rummage or anything, I just look at what's in my pants or on the tissue. I can tell when it's ewcm as it's slippy when I wipe, and I just stretch it apart on the paper because I'm a bit squeamish Although not everyone can tell this way and some people have to get it directly from the cervix iyswim.

Fx for you; good luck! It's nice getting to know your fanjo better.

BelleEtLaBete Sun 30-Dec-12 21:40:55

Ps It's DingDongBelle. Fancied something less christmasy smile

notsoold Sun 30-Dec-12 22:28:36

Hi... I am a pcos er as well. My periods are ok....32 days, but in our family those with longer cycle either go for acupunture or they see an herbalist for agnus castus. My daughter have a shorter cycle when she takes evening primrose oil....
Good luck!! X

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 01-Jan-13 16:23:42

I would refrain from using temp charging in your case because of the underlying PCOS. It is not always helpful in such cases and can cause more stress, you could end up with a temp chart akin to the Rocky Mountains which is going to be impossible to interpret with any degree of accuracy. Also many gynaes do not recommend charting because it can be very unhelpful.

OPKs are also not helpful with such cycles, also such kits end up reading the elevated level of LH that many PCOS patients have.

I would try the low GI/GL eating plan, Colette Harris has written some cookbooks with PCOS in mind.

I would seek medical advice sooner rather than later and see if you can arrange to have blood tests done, this will give you an accurate picture as to what your hormone levels are like. I would also be asking your GP to refer you to a gynae at a sub fertility unit, at 37 you may well need some medical help now to conceive.

adaloveslace Wed 02-Jan-13 16:22:27

Attila thanks for the advice - you sound like you have some experience in this area. I had thought about going back to my GP to get my hormone levels rechecked so I will probably do that now as a first step. Slightly alarmed at the idea I might now need medical help to conceive, but I guess I'm over five years on from the last time I got pregnant. Still not sure if I'd want to go down the assisted fertility route though.

Like the new avatar BelleEtLaBete - here's to getting to know your fanjo [insert ALL WRONG face]

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