PCOS and Infertility

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It’s been 109 days since I found out I was carrying an ectopic pregnancy and subsequently underwent surgery to have it removed. The first two months that followed were immensely difficult, but time healed the wounds, as it always does. The burden I carry—an enormous invisible bundle of sorrow, regret, longing, grief, anger, and guilt—has somehow started to feel lighter. In times like these I wonder if it has shrunk, or if I merely got used to lugging it around. But as I type this, I’m starting to feel the weight again, and I think I’ve probably been numbing all this time.

About two months after the surgery, I got my first period. Shortly after, as per my doctor’s advice, I underwent a procedure called hysterosalpingosonography (HSSG) to get my remaining fallopian tube checked. I was told that my left tube is patent, which meant it wasn’t blocked, despite the amount of pain I felt during the procedure. I was warned beforehand that it would feel like dysmenorrhea, but it felt ten times more painful than my worst period cramp.

When I went to deliver the results to my OB-GYN, he told me that, on my next cycle, he’d give me a prescription for fertility drugs. 42 days passed before I got my period again. I immediately contacted my doctor to let him know and he told me to go see him the next day. I was prescribed a combination of clomiphene citrate (Clomid), letrozole (Dracenax), estrogen replacement pills (Progynova), and a diuretic (Aldactone). I took Clomid and Dracenax from days 3 to 7 of my current cycle, and then went back to the hospital for an ultrasound on CD (cycle day) 13 to check for follicle growth.

Sadly, none of the follicles grew big enough. A few days after taking my last Clomid and Dracenax pills, I started feeling some twinges in my ovaries, which I hoped were signs that a follicle is growing, but I was wrong. While there were several on both, they were all too small, not even 10mm long. I was disappointed. The drugs, consultations, and ultrasound weren’t cheap and I felt like the money was wasted on a treatment that my body simply rejected.

When my doctor saw the results, he looked sorrier than I’ve ever seen him. He advised me to increase my dosage of Metformin to 1500mg and keep trying to lose weight, because the fertility meds turned out to be no match to my PCOS.

And so here I am. Today is CD15 and I’m resolving to go back to what I was doing before I got pregnant in March. Keto and fasting has helped many other women dealing with PCOS and infertility, and knowing this gives me hope and confidence that I, too, can have my rainbow baby in the near future. I’m glad I can at least hope. And that there is hope at all.

If you’re dealing with PCOS and infertility, it’s important to not fall into the trap of self-blame. However, take accountability for the things in your life and in your body that you can control moving forward. PCOS is a disease of insulin resistance, and insulin resistance is caused by unhealthy food and lifestyle choices we probably made not because we wanted to, but because they were cheap and convenient.

I grew up eating processed food and junk. I drank powdered juice and soda. I thought fruit juice in cartons was healthy. I was taught fat was the enemy, not carbs. I learned that it was better to eat small, frequent meals, which turned out to be a huge mistake, as food intake triggers insulin and too much insulin eventually develops into insulin resistance.

We are victims of capitalism. It’s no wonder cases of PCOS are on the rise.

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