PCOS: hypothalamic amenorrhea

I write you hereby a short description of “our story”. I imagine every couple’s story will be different, but still, the doubts and disappointments must be there for everyone, and I would be most glad to encourage those who have lost faith.

In my case, I had fully normal cycles when I was young. I started taking the pill at the age of 22, and only stopped 18 months ago (age 34), when we wished to have a child. While I was rather sure that I would be pregnant soon – both our families are very fertile, we had a healthy lifestyle, etc – nothing happened at all. I mean, I didn’t have any menstruation during several months. My gynaecologist diagnosed a polycystic ovary and prescribed a treatment with Clomid. Without success. I moved on to a fertility specialist, who rather thought that the cause was to be found in a hypothalamic disorder. We tried again with a series of Clomid, and then with a pulsatile gonadotrophin-releasing pump. The treatments were awful. I was either angry and aggressive or mawkish and depressive. I hardly recognized myself. My breasts hurt, the pump was such a hassle and difficult to hide … I hated it, and both my husband and I had the impression we didn’t fully ‘live’. Everything was in function of our desire to conceive.

So then we moved to Vancouver for my husband’s job. The fertility specialist here confirmed a hypothalamic amenorrhea, but suggested that I stopped any treatment for a while and rather concentrated on my life style: fewer sports, an acupuncture treatment, and an appointment with a nutritionist. I tried to reduce long distance running, hiking and cycling (put on some weight and didn’t like it) and went instead to yoga and body ball classes. The nutritionist found that my eating habits were extremely healthy, but we had a very interesting discussion. And then I started a treatment of acupuncture and Chinese herbs. I must admit I was rather skeptical about the whole thing. You lie down on that table for about 45 min with some needles in your body and … just feel nothing. The herbs taste weird and have Chinese writing on their labels that are – of course – fully ununderstandable. Anyway, if it wouldn’t benefit, I thought it wouldn’t harm neither and maybe it would help my body to relax in some way.

That was in November, just two months ago. I felt rather good after the first treatments. Nothing tangible, but it was just nice to be taken care of and not having those hormone treatments for a while. Then, surprisingly, I got a menstruation. My first natural bleeding since a year and a half. I had ovulated while I was on a business trip, so no chance to be pregnant. We still believed it was an exceptional one-time happening and I was already fully prepared to start a new hormone treatment in December. But the echo showed a new mature follicle ready to ovulate… and two weeks later I was pregnant!

Was it the removal to Vancouver and a new environment? Less stress at work? Less endurance sports? The acupuncture and Chinese herbs treatment? A combination of all those factors or a pure coincidence? We will never know, but I strongly believe that the acupuncture played a very crucial role in it. So, Spence, so far you are our biggest hero!

Thank you very much.

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