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Monthly Archives: January 2012

My “Post Menopausal” Estradiol Levels

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“I may not have any estrogen, but I make a damn fine snickerdoodle!”

It’s always comforting to have the estrogen levels of a 60 year old when you’re trying to have a kid.

Since my “less-than-20” estradiol levels have registered as “post-menopausal” on my blood work chart, I’m not sure what exactly to report in the way of TTC until I either:

A: Decide to go on fertility meds

Or

B: Start to at least try some natural remedies to improve my estradiol situation.

Bottom line: I need to somehow raise my estradiol levels to over 50 for things to improve in the ovulation department, and even then, I may have challenges. The more I’ve been looking into things, the more I’ve read that Clomid has no effect if estrogen levels are already too low.

I feel a little bit stuck right now. My ovaries have shut down entirely due to the lack of estrogen in my body, and there is very little chance that I will ovulate on my own any time soon. I’m glad that I don’t have Premature Ovarian Failure, but I’m puzzled and more than slightly concerned that my estrogen levels are so low. Not only is it bad for ovulation, it’s awful for bone density. My mother (bless her ignorant and slightly annoying heart) has told me as of yesterday that all I need to do is “gain weight” and she is sure that things will improve for me. While it’s true that estrogen is accumulated in fat cells, and it is true that hypothalamic amenorrhea (caused by low estrogen) is often found in anorexic women and athletes due to low body fat, let me just state for the record that I have PLENTY of cushion for the pushin’. While I’m not overweight, I’m 5’6″ and about 125-130lbs which strikes me as normal. I’m 22% body fat. So, do I really need to gain another 10 pounds to magically ovulate? I’m absolutely NOT some lean mean workout machine, hence my annoyance and snippy commentary last time I spoke to my mom about this over the phone about her magic weight gain theory. Look, I have absolutely no problem stuffing my face with In N Out and cheesecake, but I firmly believe that my weight is not the issue.

So, if I’m not underweight…what the hell is causing my low estrogen? I believe I’ve found the culprit.

I’ve been reading quite a bit about stress induced amenorrhea, and I think that 2011 sort of put me over the edge. Between moving from my apartment of 9 years, planning a wedding, getting married, and trying to keep up my full time intense job, it may have been too much for me to take on…I don’t know. I don’t deal with stress very well as a general principal.

Which brings me to: HOW THE HELL DO I RELAX??!

Yoga? Weekly Massage? A major inheritance from a rich uncle who I’ve never met?

I think that Yoga will be my first plan of “relax attack” along with either soy isoflavones or licorice and peony (both which are supposed to be very good for estrogen levels.)

I have found a site that sells at-home estradiol testing kits for $35. In 3-4 months, I think I will test my estradiol levels again to see where I’m able to get on this new regime.

On another note, as I’ve mentioned, I’m on a trial for the next 10 days. Aside from all of the jurors and lawyers I see milling around the courthouse each day at lunch, I have also seen a side of society I don’t normally mingle with–yesterday I rode in an elevator with a young man dressed up in a shirt and tie, heading to one of the trial rooms. From the bit I caught of his neck and wrists, I’m 99% sure he was fully tatted under the button up shirt. I’m going to take a wild guess and say that this young man didin’t spend his weekends golfing with the boys. He also had those scary tear tattoos around his eye. I’ve also seen about 6-7 teenagers heading into family court pushing baby strollers. When I say teens, I’m talking 16 year olds. Pushing their three-year-old kids in strollers. I passed one pregnant 15 or 16 year old on the way back to the car, and I caught myself getting jealous about her fertility. JEALOUS!!?? I began thinking that if I had just gotten pregnant at her age, I wouldn’t be in this mess, and I started ruminating on what her estrogen levels must have been…until I stopped and reminded myself that she was 15 YEARS OLD.

This. This is what I’ve become.

Juror Number 9

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Yup, you guessed it. I was hand picked on a trial that will last not one, not two, not three…but 10 DAYS.

Last time I was picked to serve on a jury, I was somewhat excited. Now, I’m over it.

I’m 2 for 2 now on getting selected to serve on a jury if I am called in for jury duty. 100% odds!

Could the universe please throw me a bone and give me those odds for getting pregnant?

My New Best Friend

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This girl makes my insomnia worthwhile.

Thank you, Alana. May the Mountain Dew be with you.

On a side note: I believe I have woken up with a bladder infection. I also have jury duty today. It’s shaping up to be an amazing morning.

Results are in…

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These are not pics of me. What this pic is, is a scientific study. 10 women were photographed on the day of her lowest estrogen level, and peak estrogen level out of all of the days in her cycle.  A composite of all of their pics were made on the highest and lowest days. (the two pics on the left) Peak estrogen levels made her rate as more attractive and feminine than lowest estrogen levels. Can you guess which pic is which?(answer is at the end of this post–don’t cheat!)

My doc just called me this morning with the results of my latest lab work.

FSH= 7.5 (not too bad–would have hoped for under 6, but at least I know that Premature Ovarian Failure is not the cause of my failure to get my period on the Provera Challenge test)

LH= 8.5

FSH/LH ratio is much closer to 1:1 than I was at last time!(my last test FSH 7/ LH 10)

Testosterone: 44 (is this normal? It’s lower than last time where I was at about 60)

TSH 1.4 (up from .78, which I’m glad for)

Prolactin 13.6 (normal)

And then…there was good ol’ estradiol…

Estradiol: Under 20.

This is piss poor. Basically, 50 is the level I want to be at. What the hell happened here? I knew that my levels would be low, but I wasn’t expecting this low.Do I even have ovaries or a vagina with levels this low? The weird thing is, even with levels this low, I have none of the other symptoms that go along with low estrogen levels (dryness, low sex drive, etc)

The doc advised me to keep taking the Metformin and possibly do some acupuncture for the next few months, but I feel like I need to step up my game in my diet–I need to start eating foods that are high in estrogen. Cherries, pomegranates, flax seeds….There is one thing I’ve done differently in the last 6 months that I feel may have contributed to my lack of estrogen: I gave up coffee. Caffeine is said to cause an increase in estrogen levels, so quitting it would be great for those with normal or above normal estrogen levels (most PCOS women do have high estrogen due to cysts releasing estrogen from their ovaries). But crap! I barely have any estrogen at all! Maybe caffeine was what was keeping me “woman”?

Does anyone else know of other natural remedies for low estrogen levels? I’ve heard of licorice being good. Soy too…anything I’m missing? Anyone have luck raising their estrogen?

And the answer is…the pic on the left is the pic where she has the highest estrogen levels. I want that pretty estrogen glow too!

Don’t tease me, EWCM

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Please excuse the TMI…but I just went to the bathroom, and my long lost friend EWCM decided to show up when I wiped. Last time this happened a few months ago, I didn’t ovulate or get my period or anything, so I really don’t want to get my hopes up. Not to mention I just looked at my ovaries via ultrasound yesterday and I didn’t see any dominant follicles ready to pop.

So yeah…it’s probably nothing. But nonetheless, it’s nice to see a long lost friend every now and then. I have no clue why it shows up if I’m not ovulating. Right now, my mantra is going to be to shrug and deal. Shrug and deal.

Also, I can’t stop laughing at this rejected Dorito’s commercial. In an f-ed up way, it reminds me of all of my attempts to ovulate with the magic concoction of herbs and drugs. “WHAT AM I GONNA DO WITH ALL THIS GOLD??”

4 mm

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Back from the gyno. He basically told me what I already know, which is that my estrogen is most likely really low…it’s put my body into a “menopausal” state. GREAT! Just what I want to hear as I’m TTC. He said if I wanted to start on Clomid now without any period first, I could, but I think Hubs and I are going to wait another 4-5 months before we try it. Part of me wants to jump in right now, but I also feel the need to attempt to get my hormone levels straightened out a bit more first. I asked him whether or not Clomid works on women like me who don’t respond to Provera, and he said that there’s no reason it shouldn’t…which is weird, because I’ve read the opposite. Anyone hear anything differently?

He took 2 vials of blood, and is testing for the usual: estradiol, testosterone, TSH, FSH, etc. I wish I had asked him to test a little deeper (DHEA and some vitamin levels, maybe?) but I always get overwhelmed with questions when I’m there and I forgot to ask.

He did another ultrasound, and yes…my ovaries are still the same cystic fiends they’ve always been. He says I have “moderate/severe” PCOS…and that my cysts will never go away completely on my ovaries. This makes me sad, because I really want to have clean and clear ovaries 😦 This brings up another question that I forgot to ask him: I’ve been reading a lot about women who have to “sit out” a cycle because they have over-stimulated and formed a lot of cysts on their ovaries…but if the cysts never go away…how does that work? In my case, for example, my ovaries are permanently dotted with 3-4mm cysts ALL THE TIME.

There wasn’t much lemonade to be made out of my ovarian “lemons”, except for the fact that my uterine lining was now at a whopping 4mm instead of the 3mm it was at a couple of weeks ago. All that waiting for 1mm…but at this point, I’ll take it.

So…here’s the plan: over the next 4-5 months, I’m eating foods that can potentially increase my estrogen levels and get my uterine lining pumped up.

I want my uterus to go from this:

to this:

I’m going to start going to acupuncture and I’ve upped my Met dose to 1,000mg/day. I have thus far felt absolutely no effects from this level of dosage on the Met. Is this normal??? I feel like my intestines should be exploding…or something? Anyone else have absolutely no adverse side effects from Met?

 

Off to see my BFF, the Gyno

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And really…who doesn’t want a BFF who looks at your lady parts?

I still haven’t had my period off the damn Provera pills, so I’m getting some blood work done today. My guess is that I have very low estrogen which is why I’m not bleeding, but I could have the dreaded HIGH FSH. We won’t think about that right now…

When I Dr. Googled, I came across a fertility site that had a specific section about Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. Many of these women who were posting had the exact same symptoms as me–night sweats, hair loss, very low estrogen, and no bleeding on Provera. I had never heard of Hypothalamic Amenorrhea before, but it’s mainly caused by stress (check!) and low body fat (also check). While many of these women exercised excessively and were under 18% body fat (definitely not me), most of the others with symptoms like me were skinny and had low calorie intake (sort of me).  Admittedly, there are days when I forget to eat, and wind up eating about 1500 calories, which is under the norm for me. While I’m not stick thin, I’m 5’6″ and about 125. A lot of why I don’t eat is stress related (when I’m stressed, I forget to eat.) So, it’s a vicious cycle. Evidently, if the body feels like it’s not getting enough calories, it shuts down your estrogen production. When you’re stressed, it does the same thing. Your hypothalamus (in the brain) is the center of all of the hormone regulation, and it just says f**k it, I’m not letting you ovulate this month.

I know I’m self diagnosing here, and I’m going to wait until I speak to me doctor before any further diagnosis, but I thought it was a strange coincidence that I had such similar symptoms as many of the women with this disorder.

As one of the most impatient people on Earth, it’s hard to say “wait and see”…but I guess I don’t have much choice!