PCOS and Trying to Conceive

by Kaeli
(United States)

Dear Wray,

I am 24 years old. In May 2011, my husband and I started trying for a baby. We didn't even try on our own, as I had gone almost two years in the past without any period, so I definitely knew something was wrong with my hormones. We went straight to my OBGYN and I was diagnosed with PCOS after suspecting I had it for possibly several years. I was also diagnosed with hypothyroidism (Hashimoto's) and now take Levoxyl daily, which has greatly helped with my previous extreme tiredness.

We have been trying for the past 11 months with fertility drugs. As I said, I do not ovulate on my own whatsoever, so it's nearly impossible to try the natural way. Well, after 11 months of infertility treatments we are financially and mentally drained. We decided to take a break. I felt discouraged with this, so I started researching natural ways to battle PCOS. I found your site and was really encouraged by the stories, so I ordered some cream. Within 5 days of starting the cream, I had a period on my own! (Doesn't that seem fast?).

I have also limited my caffeine, and am trying to eat gluten-free, processed sugar-free, and generally low carb. I am also planning to buy the vitamins and nutrients you suggested to supplement my diet.

Since my body has no natural cycle of its own (yet), I was going to try as you suggested and treat my body with a 28 day cycle (14 days on the cream, 14 days off). However, I want to give my body as much of a chance to ovulate on its own as possible. Even on fertility drugs, I still ovulated late (CD 17-22) if I even ovulated at all. Should I wait until cycle day 21 before starting the cream, and allow my body a 35 day cycle, just in case I ovulate? Or should I just start with a 28 day cycle? I'm afraid if I start the cream too early, I may never even ovulate, which will defeat the whole "trying to conceive a child" attempt.

Any help you can offer will be very much appreciated. Thank you so much for this very informative website! You are giving women like me hope!

All the Best,
Kaeli

Comments for PCOS and Trying to Conceive

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Apr 25, 2012
PCOS and Trying to Conceive
by: Wray

Hi Kaeli We do have a page on PCOS, I'm not sure if you've seen it yet. There are a number of nutrients which help to reverse it, it's caused by oxidative stress. It's not a quick fix, if you read the papers on the page, you'll notice it took 3-6 months before ovulation occurred. The studies only looked at one or two nutrients, I feel it's best to take all those that helped. I also feel it's essential to get the body healthy before attempting conception. Progesterone is essential for ovulation, this is explained on our Pregnancy page. There's another page you could look at here. I must confess I'm relieved you've stopped the fertility drugs. I feel these should be a last resort if healing the body naturally has failed. I'm so delighted you had a period, it's evident your lining had built up under the influence of oestrogen. This is often high in PCOS, but with anovulation no progesterone is secreted, so levels are low. Progesterone is needed to initiate bleeding, it's explained on our Menstruation page. Adding just that few days was enough to cause the lining to shed. In any normal cycle it can upset it anyway. I'm pleased you are eating well, you might like to look at our Nutrition page. As you have so little progesterone I feel you need to spend time getting your level up. I would suggest you try using the progesterone daily, through any bleeding that might occur, for about 3 months. This will also suppress any excess oestrogen and testosterone, and give your ovaries a rest. Hopefully too the cysts will be re-absorbed. Then once you feel stable you can begin following the 28 day cycle. Don't make it too long a cycle, as it means you are not getting as much progesterone as I feel you should. ie don't go for the 35 day cycle, even though this appears to be when you do ovulate with the drugs. Don't worry about using the progesterone daily, it won't prevent ovulation from occurring again. Please give the whole process time, at least 6 months. You're so lucky too, being only 24, so many write in trying to conceive in their late 30's and 40's. You need to give your body time to heal. Continued below.

Apr 25, 2012
PCOS and Trying to Conceive Part 2
by: Wray

Hi Kaeli Please have a vitamin D test done. This too is vital for ovulation and conception, for PCOS too. For more info on vitamin D levels, test kits etc see the Vitamin D Council, GrassrootsHealth, Birmingham Hospital and Vitamin D Links websites. Blood levels should be 70-100ng/ml or 175-250nmol/L and not the 30ng/ml or 75nmol/L most labs and doctors regard as adequate. The minimum daily dose should be 5000iu's per day, although the latest research indicates it should be 10,000iu's per day, see here. Thanks for the kind words about the site! Take care Wray

Apr 26, 2012
Thank you, Wray!
by: Kaeli

Hi Wray,

Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly. I have read your page on PCOS many times over. I do plan to take Vit. D and the other nutrients suggested. I hope to start that as soon as possible. Thank you.

It sounds appealing to use the cream daily for 3 months. I'd love to give my ovaries a break and hopefully reverse the PCOS symptoms I've been having, caused by the high levels of testosterone. But, I'm scared that if I do so, I won't ovulate at all for 3 months! I know you said that using it daily for 3 months won't prevent me from ovulating again, but I also read that if you use it before ovulation occurs in a cycle, you won't ovulate that cycle. I hate to wait 3 more months before having a chance to conceive again. After trying for nearly a year, I'm having a hard time waiting even 3 more months. Is there a chance I could still ovulate while using the cream daily? I do understand curing PCOS is not an easy fix, and I am willing to wait while my body heals. I was just hoping I'd have a chance to conceive while waiting, if that makes sense.

Would I still receive the benefits of progesterone cream by following a 28 day cycle (14 days on the cream, 14 days off)? Or, do you truly think that using it daily for 3 months is the healthiest idea for me? I do trust your opinion and if you think it's the best option, I will do it.

Thank you again!

Apr 26, 2012
Thank you, Wray!
by: Kaeli

Hi Wray,

Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly. I have read your page on PCOS many times over. I do plan to take Vit. D and the other nutrients suggested. I hope to start that as soon as possible. Thank you.

It sounds appealing to use the cream daily for 3 months. I'd love to give my ovaries a break and hopefully reverse the PCOS symptoms I've been having, caused by the high levels of testosterone. But, I'm scared that if I do so, I won't ovulate at all for 3 months! I know you said that using it daily for 3 months won't prevent me from ovulating again, but I also read that if you use it before ovulation occurs in a cycle, you won't ovulate that cycle. I hate to wait 3 more months before having a chance to conceive again. After trying for nearly a year, I'm having a hard time waiting even 3 more months. Is there a chance I could still ovulate while using the cream daily? I do understand curing PCOS is not an easy fix, and I am willing to wait while my body heals. I was just hoping I'd have a chance to conceive while waiting, if that makes sense.

Would I still receive the benefits of progesterone cream by following a 28 day cycle (14 days on the cream, 14 days off)? Or, do you truly think that using it daily for 3 months is the healthiest idea for me? I do trust your opinion and if you think it's the best option, I will do it.

Thank you again!

Apr 27, 2012
Thank you, Wray!
by: Wray

Hi Kaeli Ah so you did see the PCOS page, so many don't so I always point it out. Thanks for taking the time to find it! I do understand your impatience, but you have to heal your body, you have to have it ready for the foetus. There's something which so few of us know about, and that's epigenetics, hardly surprising as it's a very new discipline. It's "altered gene expression without changes in DNA sequence". They've discovered from this that many of our adult diseases are in fact caused while still a foetus. It's lead to the term "the foetal origin of adult disease". The foetus is so susceptible to changes in it's environment, ie a lack of the needed nutrients or toxins that could be present. A lack of vitamin D has a huge impact. In fact it appears to be behind Type 1 diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, epilepsy, autism and more. Excess oestrogen in pregnancy can cause foetal death, see here. Put 'estrogen excess' into 'find' and the passage will appear, it's a very long, very fascinating paper. Put 'elevation of glucocorticoids in maternal blood', and it will take you to a passage which explains that high levels of cortisol in a pregnant woman "results in depression, eating disorders, anxiety, and age-related cognitive dysfunctions" in the offspring. A high level of testosterone causes miscarriages, there's a paper about this on the pregnancy page, but if it lives, it alters the way a girl child will develop. Conversely higher than normal oestrogen levels adversely affect a male child. A lack of taurine in the mother causes the foetal pancreas to be malformed, leading to potential insulin resistance and diabetes in the child, plus increasing the risk of epilepsy . These are a few more papers, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. So please have patience, it will be worth it. And get the level of all the nutrients needed by the foetus up high. Take care Wray

May 08, 2012
Thanks, Wray!
by: Kaeli

Hi Wray,

Thanks again for your response. If you recall, I previously had used the cream for only 5 days and got a period - you said because my lining had built up so much from the estrogen. Since then, I have been using the progesterone cream again since CD 15....and then was very surprised that I started a heavy flow again on CD 21 - after only 6 days on the cream! However, the blood was a darker color instead of bright red....does this mean I'm still shedding old blood, and didn't shed all of the lining on my last period? I was very confused because I thought progesterone actually lengthened your luteal phase, not causing blood flow to happen early.

I did stop the progesterone cream and counted the blood flow as cycle day 1. Should I have done this?

I will start taking progesterone again on CD 15. Will my period eventually become a regular 28 (or so) day cycle, or will it continue to come early?

Also, how much progesterone should I be using? Currently, I use 1 tsp. daily and divide it so I use it about every 12 hours.

My worry is that if I were to miraculously ovulate - due to my healthier diet, vitamins, progesterone cream - and I started my period too early, there is no chance of an embryo to implant. I'm a bit worried.

I have read everything on your site regarding PCOS and Vitamin D, all the supplements you have listed, reversing IR, progesterone....and I have already noticed improvement in my acne, facial hair, and have already started losing weight! It's wonderful! But please let me know if there are any other ways I can help reverse my PCO naturally - I will do anything to have a baby!

Thank you, Wray!

May 10, 2012
Thanks, Wray!
by: Wray

Hi Kaeli Progesterone can upset the cycle when first using it, as it happening to you now. We do have more info about this on our page How to use progesterone cream. The darker colour would be older blood, so it's a good sign. Progesterone does lengthen the luteal phase, but it's very early days with you, so it can be a bit up and down, please persevere with it. You do have PCOS too, so things could take a bit longer than normal. I see you've opted to follow your cycle, rather than using it daily. See how you get on with this, if you find your cycle is still erratic you might consider using it daily, to ensure progesterone becomes dominant. It does help regulate the cycle, but how long it will take is anyone's guess. You'll notice in those papers on the PCOS page that it took 3-6 months for ovulation to occur. There are so many factors involved, many we are not aware of, these all have to be addressed before full healing occurs. The 1tsp is giving you about 170mg/day, which is within the range I recommend on the PCOS page, ie 150-250mg/day. But the amount is only a guide line, what really counts are symptoms, are they being helped? Well so far you've had two periods where you had none in the past 2 years. Plus you say your acne has been helped, the facial hair too, which means testosterone levels are dropping, a very good sign. The weight coming off too, which means both oestrogen and testosterone have dropped. If you did ovulate and conceive and your period came early, then there's little chance of the embryo implanting. But why worry about this, get well first. There's little chance of it implanting anyway if you have an old lining, this all needs to be shed first. You say you've read about the supplements, I do hope you're taking them too! And enough of each, that's the important thing. The studies all used very high levels of nutrients. If you are taking them, plus using the progesterone, there's only one other thing you need and that's patience! Healing oxidative stress is not an overnight fix, it does take weeks to reverse. Have you had a vitamin D test done yet? Please do if you haven't, it's so important to find this out, it could be you're not taking enough to counter the inflammation. Take care Wray

Jun 01, 2012
Good news!
by: Kaeli

Hi Wray,

I am very excited to tell you that I ovulated! .....on Cycle Day 11! In the past year, I've had many periods that were induced via fertility drugs, and ovulation also had to be induced with the HCG trigger shot. But in the past 3 years, I've only ovulated TWICE naturally on my own, and one of those times was this last month!!! I don't think that's a coincidence! I did not get pregnant, since our timing was not great due to my husband working out of town, and I didn't even think I'd be ovulating so soon. But I am almost as excited at a successful ovulation as I'd be to get a positive pregnancy test! Ovulation is a necessary step!

Do you think my regular cycle may be 25 days now? I've never had a regular cycle to even know what my schedule may be.

Also, below I'm listing all the supplements I'm taking and the dosages daily. Do you suggest any of them to be increased or lowered?

Chelate 50 mg
Choline 250 mg
EPO 1,000 mg only taken before ovulation
Inositol 250 mg
L-Arginine 500 mg
Magnesium 300 mg
NAC 600 mg
Selenium 25 mg
Vit. D 10,000 iu
Vitex 400 mg
Zinc 50 mg

And do you think Vitex is safe to be taken after ovulation? I've read conflicting information regarding it during pregnancy. But I know it helps with progesterone levels and you should not stop it cold turkey if you are pregnant. Your advice would be appreciated.

Thank you, Wray!

Jun 04, 2012
Good news!
by: Wray

Hi Kaeli I'm so delighted by this! It really means you are beginning to heal and things should only get better from here. Ovulation is a vital step! Please don't be in too much of a hurry to conceive, get better first. Your lining has to heal too, and any residual blood won't make implantation possible. It's evident your oestrogen and testosterone have come down, too high a level of these has a negative impact on the health of the foetus. But you need to be sure they have come down to normal levels, this will take a few cycles. I'm not sure what the chelate is, obviously a mineral of some sort. If you look at those papers on the PCOS page, you'll see that inositol needs to be 4000mg/day plus folic acid to initiate ovulation, so you need to increase that. The NAC was 1200mg and the arginine was 1600mg in the study on these two. Your vitamin D dose is good, the zinc too. But I see you're not taking taurine. I know this is not needed to ensure ovulation, well there are no studies on it, but it is vital for the health of the foetus. Are you sure your selenium is 25mg? The doses normally range from 100-400mcg, it's never given in mg doses. I'm not sure about the vitex, I don't believe it's needed, it does have oestrogenic properties too. It's has been used for many problems which women suffer from, PMS, mastalgia, menstrual irregularities, fibrocystic breasts, increasing lactation and more, see here. In days gone by it was used by monks to reduce sexual desire, hence it's name 'chasteberry'. It can also reduce prolactin levels, prolactin can cause tender breasts, see here, and luteal phase dysfunction, with subsequent problems in embryo implantation, see here. But because it has a mild oestrogenic action, levels of 17 beta-oestradiol can increase. One study found mild ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome occurred in the luteal phase, see here. If prolactin levels are high both progesterone and the amino acid tyrosine are very affective at suppressing it. Agnus castus doesn't contain progesterone. Are your prolactin levels high, were they ever tested? Take care Wray


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