Overcoming HA and getting pregnant

posted 5 years ago in TTC
Post # 3
Member
4574 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

Im sorry you were diagnosed with this.  My cousin has this condition, but she is not TTC.  I just wanted to send you lots of (((HUGS))) I know, throught my cousing, is not an easy treatment and lots of side effects. ;((((

Post # 5
Member
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

I’m pretty sure I fall somewhere on the HA spectrum.  I started working out 1 to 1.5hrs a day 5-6 days a week and lost a bit of weight (and became very lean) in the six months prior to going off the pill.  Went off the pill — no period, no cycle for months.  I was always regular before I went on the pill.  In trying to figure out what the heck might be up with the help of Dr. Google, I ended up stumbling upon the massive HA thread on the Fertile Thoughts website.  (Read it!!)  I realized I fit the profile 100% — thin, low body fat, lots of exercise, high stress job, perfectionist, and people pleaser.  And yes — no period.  I also stumbled across Dr. Berga’s research on stress-related amenorrhea. 

So, I cut back a bit on the exercise and dramatically increased my caloric intake.  I gained a bit of weight (and fat!).  I also started to some CBT exercises to help reduce my stress.  I started doing this a few months before visiting the doctor in March (no period since the prior November — my last withdrawl bleed from BCP).  I got a slight bleed from the Provera (yay!).  I ovulated about 30 days later (double yay!).  My cycles have gotten more regular since then — only now they are really short because I have a tend to have a short luteal phase (8-10 days) which is very common in women recovering from HA. 

Be sure to read the big HA thread on Fertile Thoughts, if you haven’t.  It is totally possible to recover from HA, especially if you are honest with yourself about what is likely causing it.  What seems to make all the difference is if you are willing to gain some weight — even if you are at a “healthy weight” to begin with. 

Post # 7
Member
645 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@lawbride88:  I am sorry you are going through this too 🙁 I was diganosed with HA in 2010. My period disappeared in 2009 after I lost about 10 pounds and was excercising excessively. I went to see a couple of RE’s and that’s where I got the diagnosis. Even though I was still at a normal weight (not underweight), my brain wasn’t making the connection to my ovaries. Since my husband and I weren’t planning on starting a family right away (we were married in 2010), my obgyn wanted me to be on birth control, primarily for the estrogen for bone health. I went off birth control last March, and hoped that my period would come back on its own.

For the record, I have gained back those 10 lbs, tried not excercising at all, eating normally, etc. It still didn’t come back. I did not respond to prometrium or provera at all. Now we are seeing a fertility specialist. My hormone levels all look OK, but my uterine lining is very thin. I am getting a lot of tests done now (HSG, saline sonogram, blood work, etc.) which will help decide what route to take. We want to try IUI before IVF, because of the cost.

 

Post # 9
Member
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

It does suck — some people can be stick thin and not have any issues.  Others can’t.  It seems like genetic predisposition is a big factor.  It also sucks that the standard for our bodies are “supposed” to (ideally) look like is one that is too thin for many, many women to be healthfully maintain.  It also sucks that you hardly ever hear about the costs of being too thin.  Even doctors rarely say anything. 

But, the bottom line is that your body is telling you that you are too thin and too lean for YOU to be healthy.  You probably also know that losing weight for the wedding is a big no-no for an HAer who wants to get her cycles back or who wants to get results from clomid.  Do you honestly NEED to be thinner or leaner for your wedding?   Are you TTC now, or planning to right after the wedding?  If you want to get your cycles back, or to get clomid to work, or even to be at a good weight to have a healthy pregnancy, you will probably need to cut back on working out and gain — especially body fat.  Many women need to gain a few pounds beyond the weight they were at when the lost their cycles.  It really does work if you commit to doing it. 

All that said, I can be a bit guilty, too.  I cut back on my eating last month to lose a little weight I gained around the holidays.  Sure enough, I was rewarded with a wonky cycle and an 8-day luteal phase.  I’m trying to be better and eat more this month.

Post # 11
Member
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

@lawbride88:  It is rough timing.  I can understand wanting to look and feel you best for your wedding.  But I’m sure you could gain quite a bit without anyone noticing or looking the least bit fat.  What is your current weight/height?  What was your lowest?  I’m 5’4.5″ and just a bit over 120 (don’t own a scale — it wouldn’t be good for me to have one).  It took almost nothing for my cycles to disappear — I only went down to maybe 115.  I gained up to around 125.

Don’t forget — many women have to gain beyond the weight they were at when they last got their period and maintain that weight for a few months.  Often your body needs a bit of a cushion, a little reassurance that the food is plentiful and won’t get cut off, before it is okay with cycling.  (Some ladies recommend aiming for a BMI of 23.)  But you really, really don’t want to lose any weight — it is really the fact that your body is running on an energy deficit that stops your cycles (at least from a lot of the studies I’ve read).  You need to turn a caloric deficit into a surplus. 

If you are stressed out, a worrier, have anxiety, etc. try doing some CBT exercises or meditation to manage your stress.  There are lots of good books out there if you don’t want to find a therapist.  Sarah Berga’s studies on FHA have shown that many women who begin CBT resume cycles within 8(? or is it 12?) weeks, even if they don’t gain weight.  For many women, loss of cycles is due to a combination of psychological and physical stress.  If you eat more, reduce exercise and reduce stress you should have all of your bases covered.  It’s not getting fat, it’s not being lazy.  It is being kind to your worn out, overworked body.

You have lots of time before July/August to try and get healthy.  Even if your cycles do not resume naturally, your body will be in much better shape for getting pregnant and will be more likely to respond to fertility treatments.  It’s a win win.

 

Post # 13
Member
645 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@bluegreenjean:  This is such great advice. Your stats sound exactly like me…same height, was about 125 when I was getting regular periods and dropped down to 115 and they were gone.

Post # 14
Member
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

@lawbride88:  Fat is good!!  Don’t lose it.  You need it to make estrogen.  You need it to make your body nice and warm and cuddly for a future baby.  Mommies are supposed to be a bit soft 😉  I remind myself of that when I see the cellulite on the back of my thighs.   

It sounds like you are at a good weight, too, but when you gained you gained muscle and not fat.  You might need to lay off the work outs and maintain (or increase) your intake.   

Congrats on the ED recovery, too.  You have lots to be proud of.  You have come a long way.

Post # 15
Member
5002 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

Good luck with this! I don’t know if I have this issue because I’m on the pill, but I’m afraid I will find out I do when I go off it. I’ve been on the pill for 10 years, but when I was in college I was underweight for about a year (about 98 pounds, I’m 5’4″) and lost my period. I gained weight went on the pill, but I am still pretty thin (about 107 now). I eat very healthy (2,500 calories/day, lots of fruits veggies and healthy fats), but I’m a runner and I’m still quite lean. I don’t know what my body fat percent is, but it’s probably pretty low. I would be ok with cutting back my exercise after the wedding and gaining a little weight, but 15-20 pounds before even getting pregnant would not make me happy! My Fiance is 37 too, so I don’t want to wait too long to TTC. Anyway, I hope things work out and I will remember this thread if I need it!

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