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No success with TTC - going to doctors?

(12 Posts)
AxisofEvil Mon 08-Jun-09 19:02:55

We've been TTC for about 7 months with no joy. My periods are all over the place and I'm not sure I'm regularly ovulating - I also suspect I might have PCOS. I'm early 30s and given the lack of regularity etc I'm wondering whether now is the time to go to the doctors. I almost never go to the doctors for anything so I'm a bit unsure of what their reaction would be and I suppose I want to be realistic in my expectations. So my questions are (and sorry if they are a bit dumb):

1 - am I jumping the gun in going sooner rather than laster? Advice on the internet etc seems to vary between 6 - 12 months but I'm a bit reluctant to wait for another 5 months to then find we've wasted that time IYSWIM.

2 - if I do go, what will they actually do? Will they refer me to a hospital and if so how long would that normally take (appreciating it depends on areas). What would a hospital do?

3 - is it normal to go private straight away or only if you get to the IVF stage, should it come to that? I have insurance via work but it won't cover fertility but we can pay for private treatment if we need to or it will dramatically speed things up.

Any help gratefully appreciated.

GiraffeAHolic Mon 08-Jun-09 19:18:37

Hi, I would say make an appointment to see your GP, it never hurts to have an MOT anyway.

Stress and worry makes it harder to concieve so probably best to go now.

My GP took blood and was fairly sure from the levels that I had PCOS, he referred me to hospital who did an internal scan and confimed it. I think it was about 3 months but then months and months between hospital appts (but this probably varies between hospitals).

If they diagnose PCOS and you are overweight (I'm not assuming just hoing on my experience) they will tell you to go and try to lose weight (and maybe recommend a dietician as you need a specialised diet)

They may well then prescribe drugs to help you ovulate (after taking blood at different points in your cycle).

NHS unless this doesn't work, then it's your decision.

magnummum Mon 08-Jun-09 19:19:24

I was in a very similar situation to you. 2-3 periods a year on average so when DH and I decided to try for a baby I went straight to my GP before we even started trying seriously. I know general advice is 12 months etc but if you know there may be a problem to start with then you at least need to get that investigated.

I was really lucky in that my GP was very understanding, thought it might be PCOS and referred me to be investigated straight away. Sadly it's a postcode lottery about waiting times/treatment etc.

In my case it was PCOS, went privately as didn't have confidence in local service (long story) and DD1 conceived after 3rd cycle of Clomid. Stuck with the NHS second time round and had twins 4 weeks ago.

Just take it one step at a time - even if it is PCOS many people conceive naturally!

GiraffeAHolic Mon 08-Jun-09 19:23:31

Oh forgot to say that I did concieve naturally eventually!

TattyCatty Mon 08-Jun-09 19:41:22

You also sound very similar to me - we were TTC for just 4 months before I consulted my GP, as I had (correctly) suspected for a number of years that I had PCOS due to highly irregular and missing periods. I don't think that you are jumping the gun if you already suspect that you are not ovulating - it is a very different scenario from somebody who has a very regular cycle as it is really hard (if not impossible) to identify your fertile periods.

You will probably be sent for blood tests in the first instance and if they suggest PCOS, an ultrasound to try to confirm visually. My ultrasound appointment took nearly 6 months to come through, by which time I was already booked in for a Laparoscopy (camera through a keyhole incisiion under GA). My initial consultation at the local hospital took 3 months alone to come through, so I was very pleased that I had approached my GP when I did.

If it is PCOS, it is likely that you will be prescribed Clomid in the first instance and you will have blood tests to see if you ovulate as a result. You may also be prescribed Metformin, which is a diabetes drug, to try to control blood sugars and address the resulting hormone inbalance.

I turned out to be resistant to Clomid, so was twice given Ovarian Drilling (under General Anaesthetic), which can help to improve PCOS, but unfortunately to no avail.

We finally came to the end of the road with the NHS after about 20 months, as they weren't able to offer IUI / IVF, but I must stress that this was before the "free IVF for all" rules came in. We went for IUI privately, waited around 3 weeks for a consultation and happily I conceived DD 2 months later after just 2 cycles.

I would try to get your investigations done on the NHS if you can wait, as these usually happen quite quickly but if the conclusion is that you need IUI / IVF, and the waiting times are long, then you are in the lucky position of being able to go private, which will of course get you seen so much quicker.

Like the other ladies have said though, IUI / IVF is not an inevitable route for PCOS sufferers, some people conceive naturally and others respond really well to Clomid. Good luck!

AxisofEvil Mon 08-Jun-09 20:50:32

Thanks for all your messages which are very helpful. I suppose what I don't want is to go and just get told "yeah just loose some weight and it'll be fine" (giraffeaholic you are right) - partly as I have ishoos with weight/food from being younger and partly as the weight is reluctant to come off.

What should I say to the doctor - just tell him what the situation is and wait for him to respond or ask to be referred? Like I said I go so infrequently I don't really know what the protocol is.

TattyCatty Mon 08-Jun-09 21:02:36

If possible, I would go prepared with dates of your cycle (if you can even call it that - I certainly couldn't!) over the last 7 months, to make it clear that you have extremely irregular periods, and ask for tests to confirm your suspected diagnosis of PCOS. If you have any other symptoms such as excessive hair, poor skin and struggling to shift weight (as you have indicated), then make sure that you mention them as well.

The condition itself can make it difficult to lose weight (vicious circle!), so you can ask for help to treat the syndrome itself as well as the impact it has on TTC. I was around 2 stone overweight when I first consulted my GP but it was never once mentioned as an issue by him or my NHS Consultant. I did end up losing the excess weight through following a Low GI eating plan in the months proceeding my IUI cycles, although I will never know how much impact that actually had.

GiraffeAHolic Mon 08-Jun-09 21:20:20

Unfortunately PCOS and weight issues do go hand in hand, research I did online suggested that losing 9% of your bodyweight could be enough to kickstart your cycles.

I did lose weight (about 1.5 stones) and fell pregnant, obviously I can't guarantee that this did it but it must have helped (and I wasn't hugely overweight).

Low GI is supposed to be good.

Just relay to the doctor all of your concerns. If you have other PCOS symptoms, like excess hair etc. allow a couple of days normal growth (if you normally remove it) so they can see it.

GiraffeAHolic Mon 08-Jun-09 21:23:06

This site is very informative

We are now TTC#2 and although my cycles seem back to normal, I guess the PCOS is still lurking

AxisofEvil Mon 08-Jun-09 22:41:43

Thanks - everyone has been so helpful. smile

I'll just have to pluck up the courage and go even though talking about it is hardly my favourite topics.

Tigresswoods Tue 09-Jun-09 07:26:27

I would say go. I had a similar situation, periods all over the place, some PCOS sympoms so went and got started straight away, blood test and internal. I think they will only tell you to go away and come back after the full 12 months if there is nothing obviously wrong with you.

Even if they do, at least you have started the ball rolling so to speak.

bluesmartie Wed 10-Jun-09 15:48:29

Axisofeuil - I would say the same as the girls above, I have been TTC for the past 9 months for a bfp. Went to Dr last week and stated the problem. He was really nice and stated that he would take blood straight away to see what situation I was in.

so i would say it can not harm

GO GO GO. xx

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