Monday, 27 December 2010

Improve Ovarian Health And Reduce Ovarian Cysts Naturally

Natural Secret to Ovarian Health
You won't hear this from your doctor, but exciting new research is revealing that plant pigments may improve the health of your ovaries and help normalize their function.
If you're not eating your veggies, this article should give you a compelling reason to get started!
Many plant foods are high in red, yellow and orange pigments called "carotenoids". They are especially abundant in yellow-orange vegetables and fruits, and dark green, leafy vegetables. Of the more than 700 naturally occurring carotenoids identified thus far, as many as 50 may be absorbed and metabolized by the human body.
Carotenoids provide antioxidant protection, improve cell-to-cell communication and support the immune system, in addition to other functions. We'll just mention two of the carotenoids here.
  • Beta-carotene: The corpus luteum that appears on the ovary at ovulation contains the highest level of beta-carotene in the body.
  • Lutein: Lutein appears to play a role in ovarian function. Originally lutein was isolated from the corpus luteum, hence the name "lutein." The corpus luteum of the ovaries contains high concentrations of lutein as well as other carotenoids.
The role of carotenoids in the ovaries is not entirely known. However, carotenoids appear to protect the ovaries against damage from free radicals, which are unstable elements in your cells. One study has noted that women with more consistent levels of carotenoids were more likely to become pregnant with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) than women who had more varying levels of carotenoids.
Several studies have suggested that a free radical activity may interfere with the corpus luteum's ability to produce steroid hormones such as progesterone. Carotenoids may help to control some of this free radical activity since they are well known as antioxidants.
It's also possible that increased intake of carotenoids may help to increase progesterone production. In a study of dogs at Washington State University, administration of supplemental beta-carotene increased their progesterone levels.
Carotenoids may also be helpful for controlling insulin levels and reducing risk of diabetes. A study by the Centers for Disease Control has shown that people had the highest levels of carotenoids were the least likely to develop diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance (which is a risk for women with PCOS).
Carotenoids also appear to reduce your risk of ovarian cancer.
The available research clearly indicates that optimal levels of dietary carotenoids will contribute to improved ovarian health and function.
Refer to chapters 8.8 and 8.10 of The Natural Diet Solution for PCOS and Infertility ebook for lists of vegetables and fruits that are high in beneficial carotenoids.
We urge you to try for five servings of vegetables every day, especially the ones with colors (pigments). Also, some carotenoid-rich fresh fruit is a good idea.
Your ovaries will thank you! And your PCOS problems should diminish.
Source: PCOS News


Food sources of carotenoids include carrots, sweet potatoes,spinach, kale, collard greens, and tomatoes. To maximize the availability of the carotenoids in the foods listed above, the foods should be eaten raw or steamed lightly.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Five Simple Eating Principles Your Body Is Dying To Follow.

(NaturalNews) There are several basic principles of health that your body is dying to follow. Here is a brief discussion of 5 of these, as they pertain to eating, below. If we follow these principles we can be assured of great benefits because indeed an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Regularity In Meals

First let's look at regularity in meals. It is ideal to maintain a regular schedule not eating too late or eating at irregular times. By eating at the same time daily, the stomach will get used to eating at a certain time each day. This will encourage rhythm within the stomach. This will facilitate the entire gastrointestinal tract. Many people set the stage for gastrointestinal problems by eating and drinking at irregular times.

Moderation In Eating

Moderation in eating is extremely important. Overeating is a serious issue. You should never overeat, but rather eat only enough to satisfy your hunger. There have been numerous studies that show the negative health effects of overeating. A
Harvard University study for instance found that overeating in mice triggers a molecule that had previously been considered effective at locating and destroying viruses, but apparently overeating causes this molecule to also destroy normal metabolism. Hereby, this causes insulin resistance and sets the body up for diabetes.

The study, published in the
February 5, 2010 issue of Cell, was very insightful. "When mice eat a normal diet, this molecule called PKR is silent," explained the senior author of the study, who is the chair of the HSPH Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases. "However, if a cell containing PKR is bombarded with too many nutrients, PKR grabs other immune system molecules that respond to this food attack and organizes a firing squad to shoot down normal processes, leading to insulin resistance and metabolic dysfunction." In this study, the lead researchers from the Harvard school of Public health even made a link between the immune system and metabolism.

Take Small Bites

Take small bites. Only put a small amount in your mouth at a time. This will facilitate sufficient chewing and salivate the food better. Therefore, you will tend to eat less.


Relax and eat slowly. If you are too rushed to eat a meal without being anxious, worried, fatigued, or angry, then wait until you are calm, or until you have sufficient time to sit down and eat in a relaxed atmosphere.

Too Many Foods

Do not eat too many foods at a meal. Three or four items are all that you need at one meal. Once you begin to add more items than this, you begin to encounter food crowding and possibly even some food combination problems. When this occurs you will inevitably run into gastrointestinal problems.

Finally, when possible always take a walk after eating. A brisk walk of about 20 to 30 min. after a meal helps to encourage proper digestion. However, vigorous exercise immediately after eating is harmful.

There are many more principles that encourage wellness and health, but these are a few simple principles that if invested in will pay off great dividends.

Learn more:

Happy Holidays everyone, :)

Friday, 3 December 2010


Lately I've been in funky mood. Dh and I are still stuck in a financial rot and trying to claw our way out. He has been ill of health which hasn't helped our situation. When you're facing the prospect of being homeless, TTC doesn't really take the forefront of your goals, hence I haven't been blogging much. Ever since the blocked tubes diagnoses, I thought I could be strong about it. Despite all my high falutin gusto I'm still shattered inside.

I told my mum, and another friend who is heavily pregnant (didn't get any sympathy there though). I also shared it with another friend who has PCOS and has been TTC #2 for almost ten years. She was so sympathetic she actually cried for me. Then I felt bad for telling her and when she suggested we meet up I wriggled my way out of it.

What's wrong with me?

The truth is I don't want anyone feeling sorry for me. I actually regret telling her, even though I was feeling really shitty when I did and REALLY needed to get some load off my chest. I don't want to be seen as the poor woman with the blocked tubes. I know, I'm crazy... I should be happy to have as shoulder to cry on, but like I said, I'm still shattered. The last thing I want to do now is have cause to relive that day or have someone give me false hopes. With the place I am in right now, nothing can be said to make me feel better. I need to find my own peace. Just the thought of it is making me angry.

I'm sick and tired of taking supplements and herbs, not just because I can't afford them any more but because I'm just plain sick of 'em. I'm sick and tired of watching what I eat all the time. In fact I started eating cookies a couple of days ago. I just don't care any more. Month after month of disappointment since February 2007, it will be 4 years in two months. I'm just too tired to give a fuck. Because, hey, even though my PCOS is under control, I still can't get pregnant, ha ha ha!

I was flicking through the channels on Sky and I saw that bloody MTV show '16 and Pregnant' and I clicked on it. Dh said that he just knew I would settle on that channel. I don't know why I watch that show. I can only think that I'm punishing myself. Because all those foolish girls do is open their legs a couple of times and BAM! they're pregnant and moaning about how they weren't expecting to be pregnant. I get so annoyed when people say 'oh we weren't expecting it' or 'it was a surprise' or 'it was unplanned'. I mean really? As long as you're having unprotected sex how dare you say you were NEVER expecting to be pregnant. Fuck off!!!!

Yes, I'm angry, and bitter. Let me be!!!

I'm just going to focus on finding a good job now. Hopefully that should give me other things to do.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

HSG Disappointment

I had my HSG done - it's the worst pain I've ever felt in my entire life!

I should have known right from the beginning when the nurse stood beside me and told me to relax and breathe. She gave me that look... you know, the look you'd give a dog that was about to be put down. She might as well have said, 'It will sting like hell, so brace your self, fool.'

It started out like a typical pap smear. Except I was glad I didn't have to put my feet up on those 'women shaming' stirrups. When the dye was being pumped in that's when the shit hit the ceiling. The radiologist and the doctor had to stand back because the X-ray machine was on, so it was just me lying there screaming like they'd just shoved hot coal up my vag while there were looking on from a distance telling me to breathe and it will all be over in a minute.

Mehn! What pain... I'm still cringing from it... fuckety fuck!

It only lasted for about 30 seconds. But the intensity doubled every second as my womb filled up with the die. And when I couldn't take the pain any more, just when I thought I might get up and run out of there it suddenly stopped. It was over, no more pain and no cramping after that only some mild bleeding and the rest of the dye leeching through. I was completely fine, I might as well have had to run a marathon afterwards and it would have been fine by me.

I can tell you for me, personally, it was absolutely nothing like a period cramp! I'd take ten period cramps any day over a HSG.

The doctor was very vague about the results. I think he was just being diplomatic, lest I decide to jump in the path of an oncoming train because he declared my tubes were blocked. I guess he didn't want blood on his hands. He said it looked like the dye didn't go through completely, but that he really can't say much and he would prefer if I discussed the results with my specialist who will give me more detailed explanation of what just went down.

I've been depressed because I was hoping I was wrong even though I'd been suspecting that they may be blocked. Speaking with my mum really helped, and Pumpkin, thanks dear, it was nice coming home that day and reading your comment and venting, :) It was so shitty coming to a cold empty house with no Dh to comfort me. I'm sick of his work that requires him to travel all the time... another thing I pray changes this coming year.

I just know I will hold my baby in my arms someday. This is just another obstacle I have to scale. If I can beat PCOS and start ovulating on my own, surely I can beat this too!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

HSG Appointment

My HSG is in about 17 hours. I'm not sure how to prepare. Aside from taking pain killers an hour or so before the procedure, maybe I should give the 'ol hedge a trim, hehehe...

Have you ever looked forward to something not because you are going to enjoy it but because you dread it and perceive it as a necessary evil that may help you get from Point A to Point B? Well, that's exactly how I feel right now.

I thought about driving but I probably shouldn't. I'm not sure how I'll feel afterwards and if I'll be able to drive back home so I'll just take the bus. Thankfully the hospital is about 10 minutes away and the bus stops are just a few yards from my house and the hospital both ways. No long trek for me. If I really can't walk, I'll just call a cab. Unfortunately Dh is away again *sigh*

I'm PRAYING it is good news, I know I've ranted about how I suspect both or one of my tubes may be blocked. At the same time I'm hoping deep down that they're not.

Hopefully I'll have the strength to update afterwards.


Monday, 1 November 2010

How To Handle A Dry Spell When Dealing With PCOS.



It happens to all of us. We hit a dry spell.

A dry spell is a period of time when progress comes to a grinding halt. If you're trying to lose weight, you hit a plateau or even gain a few pounds. If you're looking for a job, nobody is responding to your resume.

You exercised for a week and then all of a sudden you realize you haven't exercised in two weeks. Or you were eating whole foods and fresh vegetables a while back but now finding yourself nibbling on brownies or having pizza for dinner.

(We all know how challenging it is gain control over PCOS and to reclaim our good health.)

You know when you've hit a dry spell.

It's a time when you're likely to feel frustrated and discouraged. You may compensate for these feelings by "trying harder" (and failing), or just giving up.

This is also the time when self-doubt rears its ugly head. Maybe you begin to question yourself and your goals. Your Inner Critic begins to tell you that you are to blame, you are weak, you can't do anything right, etc., etc.

In this situation, a good approach is to be patient. Sit back, take a deep breath, reevaluate the situation. Know that you are not at a dead-end; just over the horizon there is a path that will lead where you most need to go.

Sometimes a dry spell is simply a challenge to maintain faith.

We need to trust that all is happening as it should even when we can't yet see results. Other times it may be that we need to loosen our grip and let go of the past -- an old habit, an outdated belief, or a strategy that doesn't serve us anymore.

Sometimes this letting go is more tangible, like ending an unsupportive relationship to set the stage for becoming the "new you."

At other times it might be that you need to let go of an unrealistic expectation about your body, your relationship, your financial condition, or your other circumstances.

In any case, there's no reason to lose hope. A dry spell is an opportunity to reevaluate your progress so you can redirect the course of your life.

Ask yourself this question: "What do I need to let go of in order to welcome in the new life I desire?"

Pay attention to what immediately comes to mind. Listen with your heart and write down the answers regardless of how strange or unexpected they may be. Then, sit with this information for a while before taking action.

Next, proceed to action with a patient heart.

When you understand that dry spells are merely speed bumps on the road to a great life, you'll begin to see them as gifts, as a reminder to slow down so you can get your bearings, reevaluate your plans, and slowly shed the old you to make way for the new.

16 Dpo, still no AF

I've been having AF like cramps since last friday. Yesterday I even wore a pad all day because I was so sure the witch was going to show but she never did. Other than that I don't feel any different. My bbs are swollen and sore but nothing out of the usual PMS soreness - only the sides next to my armpit are painful. Nipps still a bit tender. Last night I had a tummy ache but in my lower abdomen. Other than those, I've got no other symptom of anything being out of the ordinary.

I keep checking down there every hour expecting to see the usual brown CM that leads to a full fledged AF, but nothing. Sometimes it's completely dry, other times it's creamy and it also gets watery too. I swear my eyes can now differentiate between a dozen different shades of creamy CM. I noticed some slightly yellow stuff earlier though, which has turned my skepticism up two more notches.

And NO, I haven't tested yet. I promised msyelf not to waste money and I'm going to stick to that promise. I REALLY want to find out, but I don't want the dissapointment of finding out. I'm chicken like that.

I just can't believe if it's finally happening or if it will all be snatched away when AF shows. If that happens at least I can tell myself, that I wasn't too excited I went and wasted money and not feel so stupid. But if she definitely doesn't show tomorrow, I'll go out and buy a test and put myself out of my misery once and for all. (Yeah right, just like I said I would test if AF didn't show up on the 30th. Proof you can't trust a woman that's TTC, lol)


Well, what do you know? As soon as I finished writing this I went to wee and what did I see? I just knew it was too good to be true. I pee-ed on a couple of OPK's which I had lying around and they all came back negative, I'm definitely not going to waste my money now. *sigh*

I was really hoping this would be my month. The battle continues!

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Premenstrual Insomnia

In  my pre-PCOS and pre-PMS past, the only symptom I had of knowing my period was imminent was a pre-period insomnia. I didn't have any bbs pain, no fatigue and no cramps. I just know that for some reason, no matter how much sleeping pills I popped I would be unable to sleep the night before my period starts.

I've been reading online that it is caused by a rapid drop in progesterone, which happens if the egg is not fertilised. Progesterone is a relaxant, which is why a lot of women feel fatigued during their 2ww and which is why fatigue is commonly assosicated with PMS symptoms. Apparently some women can have it for days, but luckily I only have it for one day. And what's weird about mine is that I don't feel tired the following day. I don't feel like someone that spent the night listening to upstairs neighbours waking up to pee, and hearing the water flow down the pipes when they flush. If fact I wake up energetic!

Though I haven't had this in a while, I knew I had it coming yesterday night when by 2 am I was barely yawning.

I am blessed to have a lot of internal indicators that I don't need to rely on other means of determining whether or not I'm ovulating or indeed, whether or not my body is producing enough progesterone in my LP. My body is actually really good when it's behaving well. I can save money on OPK's and save time temping, not that I do either anyway.

At least now I know for sure that I AM ovulating and my body IS releasing an egg. Phew!

It's good news!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

I'm out!

This is the exact same thing that happened last time. All my symptoms build up to a crescendo and 2 days to AF they disappear. I was so hoping that wouldn't be the case this month, but I woke up this morning and even my nipps are no longer painful. I don't feel anything at all, not even my PMS bbs pain. Absolutely nothing!

I was really hoping to get preggy this month, so I could share birthdays with my baby. Also, when I think of everything my Dh went through just so we could BD I believe the Universe owes us a BFP! (Don't ask what the universe can do for you, but what you can do for the universe, lol)

Ah well. I'm not going to cling unto false hopes this time, I'll just accept things and move on... start psyching msyelf for my HSG. I still shudder at the prospect of it though.

I'll update on how it goes.


Those sharp pains in my left pelvis are back. They put me to bed last night feeling miserable. It's been on and off since I woke up this morning. It's more pronounced when I'm walking or when I bend over while praying. Earlier today I climbed up a flight of stairs, when I got to the top I was doubled over in pain. It freaked me out! And I'm still freaked out. Probably a darn cyst or something. If it persists despite AF I'll have to book an appointment with my GP.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

12 Dpo

Mehn, I want to chop off my nipps right about now. They hurt like hell when anything rubs up against them.

Bbs are fine. PMS bbs pain haven't started yet, but I suspect by the end of the day I'll start feeling it. My PMS bbs pain have been getting progressively milder by the month, so I wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary. My energy levels are tip top, no fatigue.

I still get an occasional discomfort in my lower abs and also some very mild, only-noticeable-because-I'm-paying-close-attention-to-my-body, butt pain. I did get a feeling earlier on that made me curse because I thought a UTI imminent, when I'd just finished battling one about a month ago, but it turned out to be nothing.

There are other symptoms that I've been having but I'm only noting them down for future reference. In case this cycle turns out to be a bust, and I have the same symptoms in future I won't read too many meanings into it and get my hopes up.

Constipation - for the amount of cups of tea I drink and the amount of fibre I eat, I was unpleasantly surprised to feel constipated these past couple of days.

Funny taste in the mouth - no, it's not the proverbial "metallic taste", I'm not that ambitious.

Craving - just one craving, on one particular day. About two days ago I just HAD TO HAVE CHOCOLATE! I so craved it the mere thought of it had me salivating. It was a one off thing, I love chocolate but since I went Low GI I haven't had cravings.

Peeing - yesterday I peed like a fish (if fish pee, that is). I woke up 3 times during the night to pee, I just couldn't seem to empty my bladder.

Itchy bbs and nipps - felt it for a couple of days, lasted a few seconds.

Palpitations - I felt heart palpitations while making Dh's dinner earlier.

That's all for now. I'm not going to POAS until I've missed a period. Not gonna waste my money... I've been there, done that.

Still, fingers crossed. Hoping and praying this is my month. Ya Allah!

Friday, 22 October 2010

I Must Be Doing A Few Things Right!

My scan went well. There is dramatic improvement on my right ovary, but my left ovary is still poly-cystic although both are not as heavily poly-cystic as they were in May. Clearly I'm doing a few things right! I'm more motivated than ever now to keep up my current lifestyle. 

There is hope that I can completely rid myself of poly-cystic ovaries. Woot!


Another improvement to shout about - my periods have gone from 35/36 days to 31 days! Just 3 days shy of the proverbial 'normal' cycle *gloat*

And also, my ovulation pain have gone from crippling butt pain that I can't sit or poop to mild butt pain. 

It's improvements all around... except for the darn pregnancy thing... ugh!

Which brings me to the 2ww front, nothing new to report, unfortunately (or fortunately). It's 5dpo and I feel my usual self, except that my nipples are painful to the touch and I feel a little fatigued. The last time I had nipple pain was in 2008, when I thought I was pregggy. Didn't get my period in three months then had a massive bleed that went on forever. Of course I'm not pinning my hopes on a pair of tender nipps because for some weird reason, they've been tender even before I ov'd. I'm not sure if it's because I stopped drinking my Spearmint Tea or if it's because I had a mad craving for soy milk earlier in my cycle - both could explain the high levels of estrogen, hence the tender nipps. 

I have been thinking about how women (myself included) indulge in 2ww obsessions, even though in reality  most women don't know they are preggy until about 4 - 6 weeks. My best friend who is 4 months preggy has not had a single symptom to date - no nausea, no dodgy breast pain, no fatigue, nothing. I know, I know, every woman is different, yada yada yada... 

I just wonder if we're stressing ourselves for nothing. What if we are among those asymptomatic women? Then again, I think, women who don't have problems trying to conceive don't really pay much attention to their bodies. Some things are easy to miss unless they are unusual. So, they may very well have had 'some' symptoms which they didn't pay any attention to. 

So, to every woman her obsession!

In any case, I honestly believe one or both of my tubes are blocked and that's why I'm not getting preggy. Can't wait for my HSG next month. If after that I still don't get preggy, THEN I will happily and guiltlessly throw myself against the wall when I get my period.


Finally, you know how women often say they had vivid dreams about having a baby in their 2ww. Well, I had mine last night. And typical of my dreams, it was quite bizarre. I dreamt that I was driving past a field of cows somewhere in America, which also happened to be a children's park here in London which had playground with kids playing in it. Then the cows simultaneously started giving birth. 

But the cows weren't giving birth to calves, they were birthing fully grown men. As soon as the first 'man baby' popped out, a bunch of American military men swooped in and surrounded the area. The 'man baby' was covered in a jelly like substance and the umbilical chord was still attached to the mama cow. Then one of the military men rushed up to him, wiped the goo off his mouth and the 'man baby' began to state the precise location he was in. He mentioned the latitude and longitude and how much distance was from the sea. Then the military man nodded his head and shouted, 'This one is fully formed!', and then some other military men came and carted him away... and thats when I woke up. 

It was so vivid I can still see everything clearly. Spooky! *shrugs* 

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Quick Update

I know I haven’t been blogging as often as I should or reading all the blogs on my blogroll, I apologize ladies, J I’ve been buried under a ton of personal stuff. Mehn… stress DOES kill!


I got a message from the hospital last week saying I should call them back immediately. I was scared shitless as to why they would be calling, and when I couldn’t get through all sorts of thoughts were going through my head. They finally called back just to ask if I could come in earlier than my scheduled appointment date for a scan and a blood test. I was so relieved I said yes. It just so happened when they called I was rushing my husband to the Accident and Emergency so I couldn’t ask why, guess I’ll find out tomorrow.


My HSG has been scheduled for 8th of November. I honestly don’t know what to expect. Every woman reacts differently to HSG with pain thresholds ranging from mild period-like cramps to extreme labour cramps. At this point I really don’t care how painful it’s going to get, as long as it unblocks any inherent blockages. (I lie, haha… I’ll put up with temporary pain, I just pray it doesn’t follow me home and stay the night).


And finally, I ov’d on the 17th, technically today is 2DPO. I started feeling bloated in my lower abdomen after doing a wee earlier this evening. It feels heavy and quite uncomfortable, but could just be gas. Other than that and I’m trying not to think about it and going about my usual business. This month has been a crazy month, to be honest I don’t have high hopes of getting preggy. If it happens, it happens. 

Monday, 4 October 2010

October 2010

I wish I was one of those people that disappear from their blogs for a while then come back and report that they are pregnant or that all their dreams have come true or they're finally as thin as a celery stick, etc. Sadly that is not to be the case. I haven't blogged in ages because I've been trying to keep my head above water. A lot of shittty things have been happening to me lately, been trying not to get sucked into the vortex of depression, among others. But I still thank God for all I’m blessed with. I have a handle on it now, hopefully.


To continue where I left off. My last appointment at the fertility clinic went well. They took my history and gave me dates to come in for blood tests, HSG and an intra-vag ultrasound.

The first blood test on CD28 was last week Monday. Unfortunately the second test which was supposed to be on CD2 fell on Saturday so I will have to postpone it until next month and pray it doesn't fall on a weekend again. I have sent them an email to book an appointment for the HSG, waiting to hear from them tomorrow.

My scan is in Nov and then we have the first follow up appointment in Jan 2011 to review all our test results and plan where to go from there. 


On a positive front - several positive fronts, actually - I've started losing weight again and getting closer to my target weight. Yey! This is months after Met screwed up everything for me. I started Tae Bo and its no coincidence that my period has gone from 35/36 days to 32days this month. I pray it's not just a fluke.

At some point fatigue began to rear it’s ugly head, no thanks to the depression. I started sleeping for more than 16 hrs daily, and still was feeling tired. I refused to entertain it though. I absolutely refused to regress after all those months of hard work!

So I researched online for herbal remedies to boost thyroid function, came across Kelp and marched my still thundery thighs down to the pharmacy to get me some.  I take it before every meal. I also take coconut oil daily to boost metabolism. I had to literally force myself to work out, I felt dizzy at times, but the weight is coming off and my energy levels are going back up. Now my body actually craves exercise.... I start to feel funny on days when I don't work out! What's amazing is that I've only been doing Tae Bo for a few weeks, I'm not even able to complete the whole session, yet my arms are already showing definition. My biceps are hard, yo! 

I didn't do much herbs last month. Nutritionally all I did was boost my fibre intake. I now combine my daily oats breakfast routine with wheat bran and oat bran and of course, cinnamon. I take two tablespoons of raw flaxseeds - soaked in hot water for at least 30minutes to soften 'em up then chew like a mofo (excellent jawxercise, lol) tastes great, actually.

I started Psyllium husk - just one teaspoon in a large cup of water. Women are recommended to take flax seeds the first half of their cycle before ovulation and sesame seed in the second half. I take my flaxseed daily except for when I'm on my period, then I just take only a teaspoon with my morning oats. 

I noticed as long as I don't touch refined foods I don't 'struggle' with my weight. But as soon as I start eating those things, even if I eat it in tiny quantities, or I eat say, white rice with tonnes of veggies, I still struggle. I eat only brown rice these days and whole wheat bread. 

I only did the castor oil therapy a couple of times when I felt ovarian pain after ovulation. 

The only PMS symptom I had was the pain on the sides of my bbs, but they appeared a few days before AF and disappeared as soon as AF started. Here are a list of other PCOS and PMS symptoms I used to have, but no longer have:
  • Acne (my face, back, bum and chest are still marked by its evil scars!)
  • Oily skin
  • Dodgy hairs on my chest and chesticles
  • Bleeding or spotting in-between periods and after BD
  • Irregular or absent periods
  • Long periods - that last about 7 days
  • Heavy periods with ginormous clots and painful cramps
  • Lack of ovulation
  • Sweet tooth and craving for carbs
  • Extreme PMS symptoms
Thankfully things are more 'normal' now. I have an LP of approximately 14days because I had the butt pain on the 18th of September. The good news is that I am ovulating and things feel good hormone-wise, no extremes of highs and lows... the bad news is that my tubes may either be blocked (and the pressure of the egg trying to be forced through gives me butt pain) or my Dh's spermies don't have their microscopic heads screwed on properly which is why I may not be getting preggers. Although, admittedly, we only got to BD twice out of the 4 ovulatory cycles that I've had so far. So that’s not a very good yardstick.

Anyway, I feel so good I am hoping pregnancy will happen before the end of the year. Challenging as it is, I prefer permanent lifestyle changes to having to swallow pills for the rest of my life. I’m gradually reclaiming my body. It’s been an uphill struggle battling PCOS and TTC naturally but I feel great. I FINALLY HAVE AN HOUR GLASS FIGURE, LOST 5in on my waist, have a FLAT TUMMY! STUFF THAT PCOS, YOU CRAZY PSYCHOTIC BITCH!!!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Random Thoughts

 - My SIL and my niece and nephew came over for a 3 week holiday. Needless to say the house was full of the kinds of food that will mar the efforts of the most diligent PCOS'er dieter. They've left and I'm left with two extra pounds. I didn't even stuff my face, yet I still managed to pile on a kilo. Verily PCOS, thou art a bitch!

My weakness is not that I'm still in-love with carbs but that I hate to see food go to waste. I almost cry if I have to throw perfectly good food away simply because nobody wants it. Moping up food with my mouth once in a blue moon is not the same as doing it for weeks in a row. Lesson learnt! 

- Dh's gone again, leaving me frustrated in a way only a woman whose husband travels a lot while they are ttc and she's infertile can understand. Ever since we got married I don't think I've spent 6 straight months with my hubby. In the beginning I thought that was why we weren't getting pregnant before I was diagnosed with PCOS. I suppose I should stop moaning and thank God I have a husband in the first place. But that's not the point. The point is he sets me up for disappointment each time he returns just before I ov and I end up getting a bfn. I'm putting ttc on the backburner for now untill he gets a more stable job for the sake of my sanity. 

- Tomorrow is my first appointment with the fertility clinic. I hope I don't get told off for stopping Metformin. Some doctors can snort with derision at anything that isn't in their textbooks even if it works perfectly well. I'm curious to know if there is any hormonal improvements. 

Another day of people poking and prodding my lady bits *sigh* Ah well, beggars can't be choosers. 

I'll update on how it goes.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010


It's annoying and depressing when the bloody witch shows up. I started cramping on Friday, spotting on Sunday, brown stuff on Monday then today (Tuesday) is when the proper af stuff started. So far so good. No clots, which is a HUGE relief.

Overall pms symptoms this month were mild to non-existent compared to last month. I had mild pains on the top sides of my bbs which is indicative of ovulation, so I'm happy with that. The only thing I'm not too happy about was the cramping which started to get bad on Friday and worse all throughout yesterday. I've been cramping on and off since I ov'd.

I have accepted that as long as I'm plagued by PCOS things will never be 'normal' for me. Every month will bring about a different set of symptoms and there will be no predictability as far as knowing what to expect is concerned. I know things generally change as you get older, I'm almost 30, so I know my period can't be the same as it was when I was in my teens and early twenties. Even so, this is kinda extreme!

This may sound crazy but I plan to rid myself of PCOS. I don't plan on suffering with it for the rest of my life. There have been debates about whether you can totally eliminate PCOS. My own thinking is if your hormones are all within normal range, you don't have poly cystic ovaries or excess androgens and you're ovulating regularly, can you still be said to have PCOS?

I can't help but think if only I can go back to my pre PCOS weight I'll be done with all these madness.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


We PCOS'ers are so used to our bodies upping and doing foolish things. So much so that when our body actualy behaves the way a normal body is supposed to, we get suspicious. I know I do. Four days before AF and not a single PMS symptom. No achey boob, no extreme fatigue, no headaches banging away, no cravings, nothing! I feel serene, I can't believe it. Normally by this time I would want to lop off my bbs and throw them into the Thames, but they're behaving well. A tad swollen but no pain. Considering what I went through last month this is a miracle!

I was going to give myself at least 3 months, expecting my symptoms to gradually taper off with each month of treatment, but this is too sudden. I mean, I'm glad I don't have to to be wretched for almost two weeks before my periods, at the same time I'm wondering why my pms symptoms can stop abruptly. What wonder herb did the trick, eh?

I've been doing a lot of things and even more so this month it's hard to tell precisely what herb or deed did the trick. There's my TCM herbs which I didn't take as prescribed for fear of overwhelming my system. Could it be that the treatment that was meant for a week which I stretched out to three weeks is actually sufficient and we're being ripped off? Then there's the castor oil therapy and self massage. Is castor oil that potent I can put it forward as the miracle cure for HIV/AIDS without making a fool of myself? I also took flax seeds with my oats daily for almost two months, and after some research it turns out regular intake of flaxseed/linseed can reduce pms symptoms. I also regularly take apple cider vinegar (ACV) before every meal and cinnamon with meals. Could they all have done the trick?

Sunday, 22 August 2010

So Far So Good

At roughly 8dpo last month I was an absolute mess. My hormones were all over the place giving the illusion that there was a bfp lurking around the corner. This time I feel great! None of those dodgy symptoms I had which has led me to conclude that my detox regiment has really paid off. Since I stopped Metformin I've had to resort to natural means of controlling my blood sugar. All my shakes, headaches and fatigue have disappeared! My regime consists of:

2 cups of spearmint tea daily
2 cups of green tea daily
1 teaspoon of cinnamon with every meal (or blended into fruit juice with apple cider vinegar)
1 tab of 200mg Chromium GTF daily
Self-massage + castor oil therapy on my lower abs every other day
Low fat, low carb, high fibre diet, plenty water
Oats + wheat bran for breakfast daily
An apple (or two) a day. Literally! (apples are great for controlling blood sugar)

And 20 mins of aerobic exercise which I haven't been able to do much of because of the fasting but that's pretty much what I've been doing this past month and the results so far are outstanding. Oh, and the Chinese herbs which I spaced out on alternate days with the castor oil because it's not generally encouraged to do herbs while detoxing. Plus, I didn't want to overwhelm my system.

Because PCOS is caused by hormonal malfeasance I have learnt not to read too much meaning into dpo symptoms. That being said the only thing I've been having are cramps in my lower abs which started 2 days ago. It hurts and is not something I can ignore but I'm not making much of it, could just be my utrs gearing up for af. My bbs don't feel sore or swollen either, THANK GOD! Energy levels are tip top. Considering what I went through last month I'm feeling on top of the world at the moment. My pms symptoms have always made a mess of me. This time around things seem to be in control, which means all my efforts are paying off.

I've stopped taking all my herbs, just to be on the safe side.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

TTC Without TTC

If I ov'd this month the castor oil must have worked wonders because I didn't get that dreaded pain in the butt. I only had a mild, fleeting version of it around when I was supposed to ov. I also didn't get any ewcm or any respectable cm for that matter. I put that down to the fasting and not being able to guzzle as much water as I normally do. Be that as it may, we've been bd'ng every day or at least every other day if circumstances will permit. 

BUT, like I promised myself, I am not obsessing this month. I haven't poas yet and don't plan to do so. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, I have my appointment next month so that's something to look forward to. 

I feel SO MUCH relaxed relinquishing control over my reproductive bits, as it were. I put myself under a lot of stress last month, testing this and that, checking this and that. And I'm just starting out on my ttc journey (technically anyway, since I just started ov 2 months ago) I can't imagine every month being like last month. I'd go crazy! I don't want the stress of wanting to have a baby prevent me from having a baby. That's as counter productive as one can get. 

So yeah, just chilling. Nothing to write/obsess about in the ttc department. 

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Ramadan Weight Loss tips

As Muslims start the month of Ramadan, maintaining a healthy weight and indeed loosing weight can be a challenge even for the most disciplined health freak (being called a health freak on this blog is a compliment!).  You fast from sun rise to sun down and the minute you break your fast your first instinct is to wolf down as much food as your stomach can accommodate. It's difficult to exercise when you are on a calorie restricted diet, yes, so all you health nuts out there are forced to scale down your exercise to checking your wrist watch for how many more hours you have to go before you can break your fast.

If you frequently find yourself in communal iftar gatherings it is even more of a challenge to eat healthy when most of what's spread out before you is either fried and dipped in sugar, coated in barter fried then rolled in sugar or just plain fried surgery barter. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the gist. Iftar platters are often filled with unhealthy foods, because we believe we should reward ourselves with treats after fasting the whole day. Doing this consistently for 30 days and it's no wonder people actually put on weight during ramadan instead of the other way around.

I've written up some helpful tips that hopefully will ensure that you don't gain weight over the next 27 days - in no particular order:

If you are IR and can't find fresh dates, don't break fast with dried dates. Dried dates have a high GI value and will send your blood sugar levels up the roof especially if taken on it's own after a whole day of not eating. If you are trying to control your blood sugar, I would recommend breaking fast with low GI fruits like cherrie, plum, grapefruit, peaches, apples, pears, dried apricots, grapes, coconut, coconut milk, kiwi fruit, oranges, strawberries and prunes. You can still have dried dates but after 'buffering' your stomach with the fibre from the above mentioned fruits. In the same vein, undiluted fruit juices or fruit juices from concentrates are a big no no as they too have high glycemic values and will send your blood sugar up the roof.

Stay away from or limit fried foods.The quickest way to pile on unwanted pounds is to indulge in fried foods. Oil/fat contains twice the calorie of carbohydrates. During ramadan you typically will not be as active as you are otherwise, so it is important to limit the amount of calories you consume, if you don't want to put on weight.

Reduce food quantity. When you fast your body conserves energy, your metabolism slows down, and if you pay careful attention you'll notice you feel a bit chilly towards the evening. Because your body lacks calories (food) it assumes you are starving and goes into conservation mode. Therefore anything you eat that isn't needed will be stored away as fat, and much of it isn't needed anyway. In other words, you don't need to eat as much as you normally would when you aren't fasting because you body doesn't need the excess calories. 

Don't have your entire iftar meal at a go. Again, it's so easy to get carried away when one sits down with the family to eat and eat till one is bursting at the seams. Eating small portions interspersed with fruit over several hours is much better than sitting down to one heavy meal at a go.

Drink plenty water. Hunger can easily be confused with thirst. Sometimes after breaking fast we start shoveling food into our mouth without realizing that we've gone a whole day without drinking water as well. Our body is made up of 70% water. Sometimes replenishing lost liquid is satiating enough to make one reduce the amount of food one eats.

Eat more fruits. It is common to feel bloated after Iftar, more so if you live in the northern hemisphere where the nights are shorter than the days. Because of the relatively short period of time between iftar and sahur heavy meals don't get to digest before one eats sahur. The trick here is to make sure at least half of one's plate always consists of some sort of fruit or vegetable and to be on the safe side, the amount of carbohydrates consumed can be limited to the size of one's fist. 

Take time to eat, chew slowly and savour every bite. The slower you eat the less you'll need before you start feeling full and vice versa. 

Load up on complex carbohydrates for sahur. A modest bowl of lentil soup will last longer than four slices of bread. How soon you start to feel hungry after your morning meal doesn't depend on the quantity of food you consume but the quality of the carbohydrates. If you eat fast releasing carbs like rice or bread, you'll start feeling hungry sooner than if you eat something that's high in fibre, like oats or protein based foods like beans. Foods that are loaded with sugar are also a big no no, and that includes some so called healthy cereals. These will cause a spike in blood sugar and before you know, you're feeling hungry three hours later. 

As a matter of fact start and end your day with low GI foods for an altogether feeling of satiation without the unwanted 'benefit' of weight gain. 

Tarawih prayers aside from the spiritual pay-off is an excellent way to burn calories and reduce post iftar bloatedness. 

Finally, it's important for us to purify our intentions. Ramadan is an opportunity for Muslims to empathize with the millions around the world who experience starvation on a daily basis while fulfilling an important religious obligation. It is an opportunity to get closer to our Lord and tame our desires, therefore moderation is in order, especially when it comes to food. I naturally find myself gravitating away from the things that I shamelessly indulge in, like spending endless hours in the internet 'researching' Pah!! Instead I spend more time reflecting and doing some soul searching. Our goals should be to end the month spiritually stronger and psychologically more disciplined. 

Ramadan Mubarak!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Exhibit A

So early yesterday morning - around 1 am - I had a mad binge. For some inexplicable reason my appetite was insatiable. I had chickpea and plantain porridge and a bowl of cereal. I was still hungry and craved some soup which I had made days earlier and stored in the freezer. I fished it out, hacked away at it with the kitchen knife, popped the bits into the microwave and sat down to eat it. I went to bed on a full stomach.

When I woke up to do the dishes in the morning I noticed the tip of the knife I'd used was broken. My heart sank. I searched frantically around the kitchen, in the sink and the whole living area, I imagined it had ricocheted of the wall and landed in one corner somewhere. But then again I couldn't shake off the thought that I'd swallowed it along with my soup.

I told Dh and he tried to persuade me that I hadn't swallowed it. He said the knife was already broken before I used it. I told him, the reason I chose to use the knife for the dirty job was because it had a perfectly pointed tip, so there was absolutely no way it was already broken. At this point we both got down on our knees and started looking for the severed bit. When we couldn't find it panic set in. By 'panic set in' I mean I was literally shi*ing myself!

All hell broke loose when I started feeling some sharp pains in my tummy. I knew with 100% certainty that I had swallowed the broken tip of the knife. I was also certain I would bleed to death. I started regretting craving the bloody soup, I saw my whole life flash before me and I even had the image of the missing piece of metal ripping my womb to shreds and being told I can never have a baby.

Exhibit A

We ended up at the A&E in Barts. Sure enough my X-ray confirmed it. When the radiologist asked if I had any 'sparkly bits on my knickers', I knew she wasn't being funny. After I was examined the conclusion was that I was really lucky my lungs were spared. The doctor said the human intestine is quite resilient and with lots of fibre I should pass it out within the next couple of days. Also it might be a little pain to pass, but better out than in. 

To be honest I'll take a ripped rectum over a punctured lung any day (and I don't mean that in a the sense that ripped rectums are part of my daily repertoire, I'm just saying, giving the choice a torn bum hole is a hundred times better than slowly drowning in one's own fluids). They also said I should come right back if I started experiencing pain and swelling. I'm praying that won't happen, though I'm still having the occasional sharp pains I'm hoping it'll pass tomorrow.

I have to say the folks at Barts were absolutely fantastic, every single one of them had a smile for me! Which may explain why I was calm despite being told I had piece of triangular metal making it's evil way down my intestinal tract. You often hear horror stories about the NHS but I've been there twice now with absolutely nothing to complain about. Both times the service was excellent. Their degree of professionalism is to be commended. I'm looking forward to my appointment with the fertility expert next month (Finally got my appointment, Yey!!) 

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Natural Ways To Conceive With PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a condition that affects millions of women. If you are trying to conceive  with PCOS, you are not alone. Conceiving a baby is more difficult for women with PCOS, and you can run into more obstacles along the way. But is it impossible to get pregnant naturally with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome? For many women, the answer is “No”!

The fact that PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility in women, and that a large number of women with this condition are anovulatory, meaning that they do not ovulate naturally, is hard to ignore. But there are things that you can do to make pregnancy more likely.

If you have PCOS and are obese, losing weight can help increase your chances of conceiving naturally. With the help of a dietician or nutritionist, you can come up with the perfect diet to help you lose weight and boost your fertility. There are foods that improve the function of insulin, and can help stimulate ovulation in PCOS patients. 

Most women with PCOS who do succeed in getting pregnant do so with the help of fertility drugs that work by stimulating ovulation. Clomid is the most popular of these drugs, and it is very effective. But for those who want to try a more natural approach, herbs that stimulate ovulation offer hope. 

Chasteberry, commonly known as vitex, is often prescribed to PCOS patients by herbal practitioners, though some have raised questions as to whether vitex is appropriate for women suffering from PCOS. At the same time, many women report that vitex normalized their cycle. 

Dong gui, or Chinese Angelica, can be used to treat irregular cycles in combination with other herbs, such as peony root. Black cohosh is sometimes used to regulate hormone production in PCOS patients, as does dandelion root. If you suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and are interested in trying herbal remedies to regulate your menstrual cycles and attempt to stimulate ovulation, seeing a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, or a naturopath, should be your first step. 

After using your prescribed herbal treatment for a while, you can start monitoring your menstrual cycle, and determine whether you are now ovulating, with the help of an ovulation calendar  and ovulation predictor kits. Herbal treatment does work for some PCOS patients, and it might help you get pregnant. If you find that herbal treatment has not made a difference for you, there are always more conventional ways of helping women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome conceive. 

For more information and TTC tips visit

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Castor Oil Therapy & Self Massage

started castor oil therapy and self-massage on Saturday. I believe the agonizing pain I had during and after my last OV was more than extreme PMS and more to do with my cysts. Plus during my AF I was getting a stabbing pain on both ovaries which has never happened before.

I came across castor oil therapy a while ago but didn't give it more thought because I wasn't experiencing pain from my cysts. And also because my pms symptoms were showing some improvement. Now that things are upside down I'm looking for alternatives to reducing the size and number of my cysts while encouraging ovulation.

According to DiagnoseMe the physiological effects of the castor oil pack include stimulating the liver, increasing eliminations, relieving pain, increasing lymphatic circulation, improving gastrointestinal function, increasing relaxation and reducing inflammation (PCOS is an inflammatory condition). It can been used for the following:

  • Ovarian and uterine cysts
  • Blocked tubes
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Endometreosis
  • PCOS
  • Detoxifying before conception

There is a long list of conditions that can be treated with castor oil, I've only mentioned those that have to do with women's fertility. Castor oil is easily absorbed by the skin and applying it to the reproductive region of the body with heat will stimulate blood flow to that region, gently massaging it into the skin will also help relax the muscles and break up scar tissue. 

If you have the time and don't mind the mess, castor oil therapy is worth considering as an alternative to surgery for non cancerous cysts, fibroids and tubal blockage. It involves applying heat to a flannel cloth soaked with castor oil that's placed on the abdomen for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Here is an excellent website detailing castor oil treatment. You can purchase a castor oil pack online for almost £20 (in the UK) which consists of 500ml of castor oil and a yard of flannel cloth and that's not inclusive of P&P. I made my own for less than £10 including hot water bottle!

Yes it's messy and the whole process seems cumbersome but for me it's an excellent stress relief. I use that time to engage in deep breathing exercises. My own method is to first massage my lower abdominal area with castor oil before applying it generously to my skin, placing and flannel cloth on that and then a hot water bottle. I do that for about an hour, have a hot bath and go to bed.

*Castor oil therapy is not recommended for use during menstruation and pregnancy.

I'll be reporting on any improvement with the COT.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Cold Womb And Other Things

I decided we should take a break from ttc and go on a 3 month pre-conception  plan to heal/boost both our bodies and with the thinking that if we're not actively trying to conceive that should take away some stress. But hubby decided we should dive into it head on instead. After the disappointment of this month he's taken it upon himself that we must do everything we can to conceive next month.

Yesterday we went herb and vitamin shopping. We saw a Chinese herbalist/acupuncturist who diagnosed me with cold womb, bad circulation and poor kidney function. She snorted when I told her I was prescribed a diabetic drug for a hormonal imbalance. The last one I saw told me GP's were a bunch of bumbling idiots. I chucked it down to a civilization thing, I'm not in the mood to get philosophical about the East VS West approach to health. I'm sure my GP too would snort if I told them I was prescribed herbal teas and acupuncture to help me conceive.

I'm a huge sceptic and will not partake in anything unless there are no red flags in my research. The acupuncture I didn't mind as long as the needles are sterile (I quite enjoyed it!), the herbal teas, well I did a bit of Googling on those. And most of the ingredients came up as high in anti-oxidants with positive effects on the kidney, liver and spleen functions. Which is good. Still, I'm halving the dosage because even too much of a good thing ban be bad.

That being said I do see wisdom in a lot of what the Chinese claim. For instance, modern medicine mostly  concentrates on the side effects and very rarely gets down to the root cause of the problem. Thanks to Big Pharma that is only intereted in making money off people on recurring prescriptions. Let's take Metformin commonly prescribed for overweight PCOSers to help reduce Insulin Resistance. A lot of women have been taking it for years and are still battling the problems it was prescribed for. I've never heard of a woman with PCOS that took Met for X amount of time and stopped because she was cured. It's not even a cure in itself, because without appropriate lifestyle changes a woman actually finds that as time progresses, her symptoms will get worse and she'll need even more medication to tackle those.

I don't mind giving alternative remedies a try, especially those that claim to go to the root of the imbalance that led to the problem. The Chinese method is more holistic where lifestyle changes go hand in hand with herbs. To improve my chances of success they recommended I drink lots of water and herbal teas after meals, stay away from sweets, chocolates, cakes, crisps, chips, deep fried foods, roast nuts, seafood, dairy products and red meat. Thankfully western medicine confirms these things to be detrimental to those with PCOS.

Anti-oxidants are beneficial in improving the body's functions including reproductive functions. A diet that's high in anti-oxidants will improve your PCOS. Drinking at least 2 cups of green tea a day is a good start! Green tea contains flavonoids which has anti-oxidative properties and is also anti-inflammatory. Besides tea, you can get your anti-oxidants from citurus fruits, brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, dark chocolate, whole grains, nuts and seeds, berries and cherries.

Ovarian cysts can be reduced by improving the lymphatic function of the body. Click here for 10 tips to boost your lymphatic and liver function.

I'm writing this for anyone that's considering forking out £95 for one session of acupuncture and 7 days worth of herbal teas. I'm not 'killing' it for you, but if you're already doing all of the above in addition to acupuncture and you don't notice any changes, then I highly doubt the the Herbal teas will do much good.

If you are overweight with PCOS and most of your weight gathers around your mid-section, you will benefit more from regular exercise and the low GI diet than any medicine or herb. If you are not overweight, I would still recommend the low GI diet and regular exercise AND elimination of endocrine disruptors, a diet plentiful in fruits and veggies preferably organic, essential oils and fatty acids, anti-oxidants and and over the counter herbs like vitex to help regulate the cycle. It's important to not take herbs continuously but give oneself a week break (preferably during AF) out of every month to give the body some rest.

Now I'm off to drink more tea...

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

More Waiting

This brought a chuckle despite my cramps. 

There is so much unpredictability with PCOS, one month things are good and you're hopeful that your condition is improving, then the following month it's screwed up again. You go from no periods to too much periods. It's a constant hormonal roller coaster.

I started cramping and spotting chocolatey clots on Monday. Then yesterday at a job interview (her Royal Monstrosity couldn't have chosen a better time) I felt 'stuff' rushing out of me and had to literally sprint to the loo. The cramping was horrible and has been on and off ever since. I've had a cyst rupture in the past, this pain is nothing like it.

I saw the GP today to complain about the pain and clots. As usual I got the paracetomol, ibuprofen story, but then he was surprised they've left me on my own this long without monthly monitoring. He said seeing a reproductive endocrinologist once was not enough that I needed to see an infertility expert who will regularly monitor my hormone profile, carry out an hysterosalpingogram to make sure my tubes are open, and have Dh thoroughly checked out.

We are now waiting for an appointment which should be any time within the next 2 - 6 weeks. The waiting continues. 

Monday, 26 July 2010

TTC Au Naturel

My last cycle was the best I ever had in terms of pms symptoms and af. I didn't have any cramps and my pms symptoms were tolerable. Last month my bbs certainly didn't go twice their size in a matter of days to the point where I had to dig up my old bras that I'd abandoned after loosing weight (even right now the darn things are still throbbing and my lower abs are still tingling. STFU already!)

I'm trying to look back on what I did differently to make my PMS symptoms worse than when I was at my heaviest.

For one there was the Metformin, which I started taking in May and stopped about 2 weeks ago. It's supposed to help not worsen symptoms. Then there's EPO which I have been taking regularly for nearly 6 months. I also take Vitex daily and recently started consuming cruciferous juices. Once a day for almost a week then once a week afterwards. It's meant to reduce oestrogen dominance which I believed was the main cause of my pms.

I can't pin point the exact cause of why things went awry this time around. I went from best cycle to worse cycle in the space of just one month! The only thing I can maybe blame is the Met. My energy levels plummeted and I actually piled on more weight because I wasn't exercising as regularly as before and wasn't getting enough calories due to loss of appetite. 

I cannot categorically state that any of these herbs have been particularly useful in combating my pms. I'm even more disappointed with the EPO than anything else. I did see some improvement initially, but now, I don't feel it's effect any more. The only thing I can state with confidence is that I benefited most from regular exercise and the Low GI diet than I ever did from taking herbs and drugs.

I'm taking a break from online ttc and pcos forums. I can't differentiate how many hours I've spent obsessing while 'educating' myself.

I want to be more gentle with my body, not batter it into giving me a baby. I'm thinking of going all natural this month because I'm crazy like that. No herbs, no EPO, no vitex, nothing. Just proper nutrition, zero sugar and refined carbs (Met messed that up for me), good multivitamins with all the essential micro nutrients, regular exercise and lots of sunshine.

I'll decide after af, if she's anything like the monster I'm expecting. The thought of those monstrous blood clots are already making me depressed.


Lessons To Learn From This Cycle

* NEVER throw the rational part of your brain out the window at any point during your ttc journey

* No matter how pregnant you 'feel' you are, you either are or aren't

* No amount of obsessing will change that fact

* Stop wasting money on hpt's!

* Save yourself the stress and wait it out

* Listen to your hubby when he says 'wait it out', you'll thank him later for it

* Stop torturing yourself by reading up other people's daily dpo symptoms

* No two women are the same, so, comparing yourself to other people is a waste of time

* Stop dwelling on your own dpo symptoms.

* Stop dwelling altogether! Peeling up your blouse every other hour to look at your bbs will not make you feel better

* Paying extremely close attention to your body will make swear you can 'hear' your food being digested

* Sometimes you don't know your body as well as you think you do

* No two cycles are the same, just because you are having different symptoms in this one does not mean that you are pregnant

* TTC forums do more harm than good

* Again, never forget the golden rule; you either are or you aren't and the most sure-fire way to know that is to wait until AFTER af to test.

Finally, when things don't turn out the way you wanted, thank your Creator, learn from the experience, pick yourself up and move onto what you can do to improve your chances in the next cycle.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Saw Palmetto For PCOS Hair Loss

Saw palmetto is a nutritional supplement extracted from the berries of the saw palmetto tree.
It is widely used for the treatment of enlarged prostate glands in men. Prostate glands become enlarged partly because of a male hormone called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT.
Women with PCOS tend to have higher levels of DHT than other women. Therefore, if saw palmetto works for men, it may work for women.
Excessive levels of DHT in women has been linked to acne, hirsutism (hair growth in the "wrong" places), and female pattern hair loss.
Female hair loss is one of the most troubling and difficult aspects of polycystic ovary syndrome. It is caused in part by DHT, which causes the hair follicle to shrink and thus causes the hair shaft to be discarded. The result is thinning hair on the scalp.
The Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine published a study showing that saw palmetto may slow down this hair loss process. This was a small study of ten men. Six of the ten men taking saw palmetto had reductions in their hair loss.
The type of hair loss that men have is similar to the most common type of hair loss that PCOS women have. Therefore, if saw palmetto works for men, it should also be helpful for women who have PCOS and hair thinning.
Because of its inhibitory effect on the male hormone DHT, saw palmetto should be useful for acne and hirsutism in addition to hair thinning.

12dpo... BFN!

I thought all my symptoms had disappeared but there seems to be a rhythm to them. Since my sleep cycle is messed up (I sleep from 4am to noon) I think my circadian rhythm is out of whack. One thing is for sure I'm still having symptoms that I am absolutely not making up. They vary in intensity and frequency from day to day.

- heavy, full, painful bbs. I sometimes feel a 'pinch' or a sensation that can best be described as electric currents running through certain parts, or just maybe a particular vein throbbing somewhere under the skin. The stretch marks on my bbs are more prominent.

- extreme fatigue. I'm useless during the day. My business has taken a nosedive as a result

- lower abdominal bloating

- I had af-like cramping yesterday, made me think she was coming, but then she didn't. Otherwise its just a pulling, stabbing pain, especially after I've just eaten.

- headaches that haunt my waking existence

- lack of appetite. I literally have to force myself to eat.

- gassy. I've been expelling deep guttural belches up and down the house like the proverbial inebriated sailor. As far as Dh is concerned I've lost all vestiges of womanliness.

- a flu that refuses to manifest into a full blown flu going on a week now. I get stuffed nose when I wake up and runny nose during the day

- I often alternate between feeling hot and cold. The dodgy feeling in my throat is still very much there. Yesterday morning I gagged and threw up while brushing my teeth

- nausea. On and off, not to the point of throwing up, just uncomfortable

- heightened sense of smell. Thankfully it only lasts for about 10 minutes, and I only experienced it yesterday and a couple of days prior. I almost gagged in the bus when peoples breath was for some reason magnified beyond what an ordinary person should smell. When the smell hit me I gagged and jumped out of my seat. I just hope the guy I sat next to didn't think I was a racist or some religious freak with a sudden pang of guilt.

- weepy. While I was waiting at the bus stop a man walked past me. I didn't think much of him until I saw him again 5 stops away. I figured he was too poor to afford a bus ride, felt sorry for him and started crying. I'm not a hard women, neither am I exactly 'in tune' with my emotions. So I found that strange.

- otherness. I feel like I'm not myself, like someone else has entered my skin and is living as me. I know it's weird, but that's how I feel. I feel uncomfortable, short tempered, impatient and everything irritates me. Dh bears the brunt of it all. I felt like punching him yesterday, poor guy.

Icky as I feel, so far all my hpt's are negative. I'm still hoping, although at the back of my mind I won't believe anything until I get a positive confirmation. I keep thinking I'm either suffering from the worst PMS symptoms in the history of my 28yr existence on earth or my hcg is still too low to be picked up by my supposedly sensitive test-from-the-first-day-you-feel-pregnant hpt's. Sheesh!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Know Your PCOS

There are a lot of classifications of PCOS, but I found this helpful article that simplified it into two types. From what I gather if you have Type 1 (like me) are overweight, and particularly if you tend to accumulate your weight around your tummy/waist area, you may be able to reverse your PCOS trough a low Gi or the Insulin Resistance diet and regular exercise without the intervention of medications like Metformin or the pernicious pill.

I see a lot of cysters on online forums that are ttc with fertility treatments without first considering the weight loss option. I have stopped peddling my 'loose weight' mantra because I get the feeling women with PCOS are tired of being told to loose weight. But it is in fact the best, easiest, natural and most healthy way to effective deal with symptoms on a long term basis!

Fertility treatments are not very effective for women that are overweight. I was put on clomid 2 years ago to help with ovulation. Unfortunately at that point I was at my heaviest and reacted badly to it so I stopped after two rounds despite my doctors protests. I wanted a baby, but I just didn't feel I was getting anything out of it and I also knew there was a number of times one can use it before one has to stop. I didn't want to ruin my future chances. 

If you are a 'slim cyster' there are dietary and lifestyle changes that you can still implement to improve  your condition. Either ways PCOS is not a 'death sentence' and while each person is different, I believe in the natural approach first before resorting to drugs/medication as a final resort. Help your body help itself, :)

Two Types of PCOS.

One of the reasons that there is so much confusion about PCOS is that it is not one condition. PCOS can be divided into 2 main types. This is important, because each requires a different treatment. What type are you?

Type 1 PCOS: Insulin-resistant

Classic PCOS has the symptoms of weight gain, failure to ovulate, infrequent periods, infertility, facial hair, acne, hair loss and a predisposition to diabetes. They key feature is high testosterone on blood test.
The high testosterone is actually the side effect, rather than the cause.  In type 1 PCOS, The real underlying issue is insulin resistance.  It is insulin that inhibits ovulation and causes the ovaries to produce testosterone.  It is insulin that is the main cause of weight gain. The symptoms of excessive testosterone, such as acne and facial hair will improve when insulin sensitivity improves.
Insulin resistance is caused by:
  • too many carbohydrates in the diet (about 30% of the population cannot cope with a "normal" amount of bread and sugar)
  • damaged vegetable oils called trans fat (see below)
  • smoking
  • environmental toxins such as BPA (see above)
  • birth control pill
The correct treatment for Type 1 PCOS is to improve insulin sensitivity.
An endocrinologist will prescribe weight loss with a low GI diet and exercise, as well as a blood sugar lowering drug such as Metformin.  This is approximately the correct approach, but metformin does have side effects such as nausea, diarrhoea and abdominal bloating.  Fortunately, there are natural alternatives to metformin. In my experience, the natural supplements lower blood sugar as well, if not better, than Metformin.


Diet - When the body is insulin resistant, it simply does not remember how to use carbohydrates for energy.  It can only store them as fat.  At the same time, an insulin resistant body does not have the ability to burn fat stores for energy.  The solution is to restrict carbohydrates for six weeks to "remind" the body how to use them for energy.  You may need to go down to 30 or 40 grams of carbohydrate per day, but you still must eat vegetables for their fibre and nutrition.  Your best source of calories during this time is fat, not protein.  Protein puts a stress on the kidneys, and is also converted easily into sugar, whereas fat is simply burned for energy.
  • Eliminate refined sugar from the diet
  • Magnesium and chromium - Minerals to improve sensitivity of the insulin receptor
  • Gymnema, Fenugreek - Herbs to improve sensitivity of the insulin receptor
  • Homoeopathic Insulin & Leptin (See Insulin article)
  • Peony & Licorice herbal formula to lower testosterone, which will alleviate acne and facial hair.
  • Indole-3-carbinol to assist with oestrogen metabolism and clearance
  • Detoxify environmental toxins such as BPA that may be interfering with the insulin receptor
  • The Pill is absolutely not an appropriate treatment (see above).

Type 2 PCOS: Non-insulin-resistant

What if you have confirmed PCOS, but your insulin and blood sugar are normal?
The ultrasound may show multiple, undeveloped follicles. LH may be elevated, and periods do not occur regularly.  Testosterone may be high or normal. If testosterone is normal, the acne and facial hair exist because oestrogen is too low (compared to testosteorne). Body weight can be normal.
In insulin-resistant Type 1 PCOS, the ovaries were prevented from ovulating because of insulin.  In type 2 PCOS, the ovaries are prevented from ovulating because of something else. But what?
Here are some possibilities:
Metformin is not a treatment for Type 2 PCOS. Nor is the Pill. The Pill will induce monthly bleed this is not actually a treatment. For those women whose PCOS has been caused by the pill, continued use will only worsen the problem.


  • Do not take the birth control pill
  • Correct vitamin D deficiency
  • Reduce exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals. 
  • Detoxify to repair any hormone damage
  • Avoid cow's milk to reduce inflammation and clear acne
  • Herbal medicine to normalise adrenal hormones
  • Homoeopathic folliculinum to induce ovulation
  • Peony & Licorice herbal formula to lower testosterone, bring on the periods, and alleviate acne and facial hair.
  • The herbal medine Vitex (Chaste tree) can be used with caution. It can aggravate PCOS symptoms in some patients.
  • Indole-3-carbinol to assist with oestrogen metabolism and clearance
  • Homoeopathic leptin
  • Natural Progesterone to suppress LH secretion (from the pituitary) and allow ovulation to occur. For this purpose, a low dose progesterone cream (1%) should be used intermittently. Consult with one of our Naturopaths for more information.
  • Bowen therapy or acupuncture to induce ovulation