Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Going crazy?

Maybe. Not like it's a long journey or anything.

I've spent a good deal of my time today researching late ovulation. Without getting into too much inane detail - I haz it. Anything after cd20 (and in some cases, before that) tends to be considered 'late' and that means possibly bad things. Up to and including - potential fertility disorders like PCOS (too much to explain - broad-based syndrome with many potential negative implications for fertility and ttc), hormone imbalance (delayed hormone production/release, equating to delayed cycling and longer cycles), weak ovulation, poor egg quality (which can increase odds of genetic anomalies and subsequently miscarriage), progesterone deficiency (which can increase the odds of poor implantation - cough, cervical ectopic, cough - and early miscarriage), weakened egg shell (which could allow more than one sperm in for fertilization, which results in a hot genetic mess), poor endometrial lining (not conducive to implantation) . . .

In other words - oh shit.

It wasn't something I worried about before, and I can't say why I picked today to start. My cycles generally fall within 'normal' time frames or have reasonable explanations about they don't. The problems I did experience before ttc left after losing some weight, and I seemed to be pretty regular, with a regular bleeding time/pattern. I just assumed that things were probably ok. I haven't been tested formally for PCOS, but the consensus seemed to be that I probably didn't have it, as I exhibit only 1 of the common symptoms (being overweight) - but without the full formal panel to check glucose tolerance and homeostasis for insulin resistance and checking testosterone and FSH and E2 levels, I can't be sure. But as far as I know, my glucose levels are normal, ultrasounds for pregnancy have shown 'gorgeous' ovaries free from the common tell-tale polycystic ovaries (from whence the disorder derives it's name - though it is possible to have PCOS and not have polycystic ovaries). I don't have excessive hair loss, or growth, or androgyny issues or darkened skin patches or skin tags or excess acne (outside my cyclical issues), or any of the other common symptoms (again, it is possible to be asymptomatic and still have this disorder).

But after reading up and chatting with people, I'm more concerned. Far more concerned. There are some things to try to and fix the problem if it exists, but the easiest, cheapest and best overall - lose weight, and exercise. Regular exercise - even without weight loss - makes a huge difference in stored estrogen levels and insulin resistance, and dropping even 5% of the total body weight can better regulate cycles.

So, uh, it's clear what needs to happen now. And I will make it happen. I have no choice. If I can get my ovulation to more regularly occur before cd 20, it should make everything easier. Which isn't to say that women can't or don't get pregnant and produce healthy living children with late ovulations, but just that I now fear that this may be the culprit in our reproductive struggles and as such . . . given there is something I can do which has every expectation of helping (and is healthier for me overall), I have to do it.

God, I hate exercising. So much so that it is difficult to express exactly how much I loathe it. Still - if it helps me get pregnant and stay pregnant - worth it, right? Even just 20 minutes a day, even that little should help, right?


Other things I am considering for this cycle? Taking up drinking green tea (which I like, actually, but haven't made a point of drinking). Supposedly it increases fertile cm - which, uh, I don't actually need help with, so that's a bit of a drawback - but also may help with hormonal irregularities. Studies indicate increased conceptions among women who regularly consume it. Problem is - it can inhibit folic acid and iron absorption, so it has to be taken well away from the prenatals and folic acid supplements I take. Also considering Vitex (chaste berry) which has been highly recommended to aid in hormone balance (especially with progesterone and in women with PCOS). It really is more cumulative than anything - it won't show effects for a few cycles, by which point, I hope I'm already knocked up, but it's worth considering. I've even considered Fertilitea.

Which makes me feel desperate and a little ashamed. But . . . Fertilitea aside . . . maybe these aren't terrible things to try? I swear I won't be busting out the sturdy towel and standing on my head or using Instead Cups to keep the spermies near my cervix. Still, it feels a little crazy.

Let's hope that the efforts with exercise (AUGH - have to get new earphones!) will yeild high dividends and this other stuff not be really necessary. . .


Ibis said...

I hate to throw a monkey wrench in your plan, but I just heard about a new study from the NE Journal of Medicine that showed calorie restriction is the only way to lose weight... they said exercise is good for your health, but doesn't really help with weight loss.

I usually just lurk on your blog. :)
I really hope that you get your BFP soon, I'm sorry this has been so difficult for you!

CottonSocks said...

lol - thanks for the comment!

I'm already doing calorie restriction via Weight Watchers, and working to eat well-balanced, healthy meals with fewer refined or complex carbohydrates (which is supposed to be good for insulin resistance).

Exercise has been proven via study to be great for helping with insulin resistance as well, whether you lose weight or not - and as you say, it's necessary for overall health as well.

But from my own personal experience, which is of course anecdotal rather than scientific, and yet what is proven to work for me - I do not lose large amounts of weight without exercise. I have a low metabolis as it is, and so calorie restriction doesn't do much on it's own after the first week or two. Witness that I lost 8 pounds pretty easily and not a full pound since then. When I exercised regularly, I regularly lost 1-2 lbs per week, even back in college when DH (then fi) and I went to the gym every morning and stopped at Burker King for breakfast right after.

I know I will lose weight if I exercise - but even if I don't, it's necessary and worthwhile. Which sort of sucks for my lazy ass! Thanks for reading and commenting - I can't wait to to read more about the study!

MrsC said...

I know you didn't post this for other people per se but I'm so glad you did. According to what I can tell, I've been ovulating later (CD 20 and on) and I also need to get on the exercise and healthy food train. So this was definitely an interesting read! I'm always hoping for you!