HA and TTC

“HA and TTC” is page that I’d like to devote to my husband and I preparing and trying for a baby.  In March I went off the pill in order to get my body hormonally back to its natural state and to start regulating itself.  I had been on the pill for about 10+ years and in July 2011 was diagnosed with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, and most recently hormonal PCOS (a form of infertility). Here is where I will blog about the steps I will take in order for me to cycle in the hopes of me ovulating and to very soon become pregnant 🙂

February – March 2012: Met with an Endocrinologist and through hormonal testing am diagnosed with hormonal PCOS. Will have to start Clomid (treatment for ovulation) in order to get pregnant. Keeping up with my lifestyle changes and weight maintenance.

December 2011 – February 2012: Still trying to regain my cycles and start ovulating – reduced exercise down to only walking – 4x per week, 40 min. max. Maintaining a very relaxed diet with healthy foods, treats, and healthy fats. Gained to a healthy weight – 5’7″, 140 lbs., 22 BMI

October – December 2011: Still trying to regain my cycles and start ovulating – adjusting workouts to a lower intensity/duration and keeping up with the addition of more healthy fats in my diet.

September 12 – 16, 2011: Entire week of rest days. Added a serving a full fat dairy daily to increase fertility.

July 18 – September 11, 2011: Cut back on workouts from 6/7 days per week to 5 days per week. Limited workouts to an hour max.

July 13, 2011:

Received an email from my gynecologist with lab results concluding the following:

“Your labs are consistent with “hypothalamic amenorrhea” which we discussed in clinic. This is likely due to your level of exercise and calorie/fat intake. Your thyroid and prolactin hormones are normal.

And for those that are unfamiliar with what Hypothalamic amenorrhea is, here is the text book definition:

Hypothalamic amenorrhea — Women with hypothalamic amenorrhea are sometimes able to resume normal menstrual periods after making certain lifestyle changes, such as eating a higher-calorie diet, gaining weight, reducing the intensity or frequency of exercise, and reducing emotional stress.

My instincts and the pit of my stomach were telling me that this was most likely the problem.  Though I pride myself on being a fitness enthusiast and have exercised at this level of intensity and duration for many years, but body is obviously telling me differently and I have to listen to it – as well as of course the doctor.  When you think about it, the body is an amazing being…I am not menstruating therefore not ovulating because (though I may not be physically feeling “stressed”) it’s obviously in a “state of stress” and knows that it can’t keep up with this type of intense exercise while creating a human being.  And although I’m at a healthy weight (5’7″ @ 132 lbs.) and feel that I’m getting an adequate amount of calories, I most likely some days fall short of that along with very important nutrients.  With that being said, I am going to reevaluate my diet to be sure I am getting the most healthy balance of calories and macronutrients (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates).

I also have to admit that I am relieved this was the issue and that it was not something more serious (i.e. my thyroid or a serious healthy condition).  Having hard evidence from my lab results with what the issue is leaves me feeling relieved in knowing that my infertility is in my control – I have the control to make changes through something I have much experience with – diet and exercise.

I will use this section of the blog as a way to document and keep myself accountable to these changes.  By documenting my meals and work outs, it will allow me to see that I am getting enough calories and nutrients, and that I am lessening the duration and intensity of my exercise.  And knowing that all your eyes and ears are on me, will keep it exciting and keep me on track during this journey… 🙂

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42 thoughts on “HA and TTC

    Laury @thefitnessdish said:
    June 30, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I was on the pill for 10 years. Went off the pill May 2009, started trying in October. I was getting all scared, like I can’t believe it hasn’t happened, etc. Michael even at one point was like “what if you can’t get pregnant” –then, in August of 2010, I got 2 lines on that stick 🙂 Once I relaxed and stopped stressing over it, it happened! Just keep healthy, don’t stress, and have fun trying 🙂 It will happen when the times right. i am glad, for me, that it happened when it did as far as the timing after all was said and done!

    I will NOT go back on the pill. I told my doc I want to stick with being natural, and no more synthetic hormones in my system. I better not get surprised with #2 anytime soon though haha

      Shayla said:
      June 30, 2011 at 8:17 pm

      Thank you so much for your response Laury, makes me feel so much better! I too am feeling the same way, thinking “I can’t believe nothing is happening??!!” Friends and family have suggested the same thing to just relax and have fun with it 😉

      And I too think everything happens for a reason so when it happens, then that will be the right time 🙂

      I exactly feel the same as you in that I do not want to go back on the pill…I really don’t like the fact that it has messed up with my natural cycle and I don’t ever want that to happen again. But you’re right, we’ll have to be careful with #2! 😉

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    Sherri said:
    July 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Good Luck! Relax and enjoy the Good Life and wonderful things will happen!

      Shayla said:
      July 14, 2011 at 3:52 pm

      Awww thank you, love ya xoxo ❤

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    LG said:
    July 20, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Hi there,

    I heard on a Conceive podcast that High Intensity Interval Training (vs steady state cardio) can especially wreak havoc on or prevent a woman’s cycle. My husband and I are “trying” too, so I have cut out treadmill sprints to make sure my cycle stays mostly regular. Have also tried to up the amount of fat in my diet as I heard that is as important as how many calories you eat. I get my period though…I’m 5 ft 7 and 129-ish lbs. I hope yours arrives soon!!!

    LG

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      July 21, 2011 at 7:41 am

      LG, thank you so very much for your comment, I really appreciate it. Sometimes I feel alone in this process and wonder why it’s happening to me when I try to be so healthy, so thank you for reaching out to me and sharing your experience. And I had never heard of HIIT vs. steady state cardio in terms of wreaking havoc on a women’s cycle…that’s so important for me to know since I’m still taking a couple spin classes a week which includes HIIT…now I know I shouldn’t get to that point in my workouts so thank you so much for that info. I too have heard that adding fats to the diet helps so I’ve been eating about one avocado a day, using olive oil on my salads and sauteing with it, and snacking on nuts. Hopefully all these changes will work and it feels very hopeful to know that it worked for you. Thank you again for this great info and the well wishes too 🙂

      Shayla

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    Jennie said:
    July 26, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Hi there! I came across your blog today and really enjoy it! Just wanted to let you know you are not alone in all of this. I went off the pill in November 2010 and although I am getting my period (every 38 days or so, so not completely normal) I am not ovulating. Like you all my bloodwork is normal as well. I have recently tried cutting back on my long runs and intense cardio and am trying to just relax. I know how you feel, it’s discouraging to eat so healthy and exercise but feel like this one thing is out of your control! I hope everything works out for you very very soon 🙂 Im actually in San Jose, it’s nice to read a blog that is local to me! Good luck with everything!!!

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      July 27, 2011 at 7:22 am

      Hi Jennie! Welcome and thank you for stopping by! 🙂

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, encouragement, and well wishes. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone in this…like you said it’s frustrating when we’re being so healthy and this is so out of our control.

      How fun to have a local reader! My hubby and I long ago when we were dating used to live in downtown San Jose…beautiful city and we miss going out down there…our fav restaurant to go to was McCormick & Schmicks!

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    Kelly said:
    July 29, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Hi there–Just came across your blog and love it!

    I was also diagnosed with hypothalamic amennorhea…in 2009. I wasn’t nearly as slim as you….150 pounds at 5’7, but I carry a ton of muscle weight and was working out 2-3 hours a day. I was a crazy calorie counter. Anyways, I went to a reproductive endocrinologist, and we talked through options about decreasing exercise and upping calories, etc. He said to give that a try for 6 months (i was 31 at the time), and if that didn’t work, we would consider clomid and/or follistim (fertility drugs). Well guess what–4 months later, I got the double pink lines! Now, I have an adorable 1 year old baby girl named Madeline who is getting into everything, and I’m 17 weeks pregnant with #2. I still try to work out 5 days a week, but usually not more than an hour or so…and I’m definitely carrying a little more weight (which I still mentally struggle with–almost every day), but it’s worth it every time I look in Maddie’s face!

    Just wanted to let you know that I so identify with your story. I seriously thought I was the only person in the world with H.A…..so I wanted to let you know that you’re not alone!

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      July 29, 2011 at 9:06 pm

      Hi Kelly! I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate this comment, thank you so very much. It’s so comforting and helpful to hear your story with H.A. and know I’m not alone since sometimes I feel left in the dark in all this…so thank you so very much.

      It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve made changes to my diet and exercise routine, so hopefully in due time I will get those two pink lines too 😉

      Congratulations on your first daughter Madeline (love that name!) and to being pregnant with baby #2! That’s so exciting and I’m very happy for you…it’s nice to know in the end it all works out 🙂

      May I ask – once you made changes, did you wait to start trying until you got a period, or did you never have a period in those 4 months and then got pregnant? I’ve heard it’s best to have a cycle first and then start trying, but my doctor said I was fine and could start trying right away without a period. I just want to be sure I’m doing this the best way possible! 🙂

      Thank you so much again for sharing your story, this helps me so much and I really appreciate it 🙂

      xoxo, Shayla

        Kelly said:
        July 30, 2011 at 8:09 pm

        Great question. I never got my period. In fact, I was getting ready to go to the “training” classes (for lack of a better word) at my R.E.’s office on how to take the follistim shots. They make you go through training, etc–pretty nervewracking. Anyways, the day before the training class, I took a PG test, more on a whim than anything, but my husband and I had been trying on our own….I just figured it would never happen. So that’s the story there. Never had to take one of those silly shots (thank goodness, as I don’t even like to take an aspirin!)

        To give even more detail, in the past 5 years prior to getting PG, I had probably only had 3 or 4 periods. I would literally go 18 months without one. Like you, I had bloodwork, testing, you name it…done. My estrogen and testosterone were both off-the-charts-low. My doctor said I was ovulating, but extremely irregularly, and that there was literally nothing in my uterine lining to shed…hence no period. Fast forward to after my first pregnancy (I’m almost 34 now–so it’s been an ordeal), and I got a regular period about 6 weeks after delivery…so I took that as a really good sign.

        Feel free to ask any questions along the way. I know most people can’t even pronouce H.A, much less spell it….so it’s good to talk to someone!

        P.s. I love that you love spinning! I’m going to my fave spin class in the morning. I also teach Body Pump and TurboKick four times a week….so I love anyone that loves group fitness!

        Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
        August 1, 2011 at 11:28 am

        Kelly, thank you so much for answering my question, I really appreciate it. I know it will help others here reading who may be going through the same thing…this community is awesome and it’s nice to know we can all help each other 🙂

        Yes spinning is my love! Seems like we have a lot in common 😉 That’s so awesome you teach BodyPump too, awesome class and so motivating, love it! I’ve never tried TurboKick since it’s not offered at our gym…from what I’ve heard from other bloggers/readers it sounds like a blast! 🙂

    Healthy Coconut said:
    July 30, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Hi, I just found your blog recently.

    I saw this page and thought it was wedding related. I’m a newlywed and currently going thru my destination wedding recaps ” and one of them is about getting ready. Ha ha, just wanted to share that story with you.

    Anyways, I find your story interesting because I too was on the pill for 10+ years and recently went off the pill. I never paid much attention to any complications the pill might have on my body when I first seek it out and started using it, 10 years ago. Now, I’m reading more and more about it and realized all the possible issues with it. Thanks for sharing your story. I always learn a lot from reading other’s experiences.

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      December 30, 2011 at 5:38 pm

      Hi there!

      I was just going back through all my comments on my blog and spotted this one and don’t understand how I missed it but sorry to have not responded back!!

      Like you, I wish I had known the complications of being on the pill for 10+ years and if I had known the pill was masking all my period/fertility troubles, I would have stopped it *years *ago. Have you gotten your period yet since stopping the pill? If not I would suggest you seeing your doctor and have your estrogen, LH, and FSH levels checked just so you know what’s going on and you can start being proactive about it now before you and your soon-to-be hubby start trying to conceive. It makes me happy sharing my story with women out there so that they can learn from my experiences and take action on their fertility 🙂

      If you have any other questions, I’d be more than happy to help and you can email me anytime. Take care and have a very Happy New Year! 🙂

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    Cait said:
    August 29, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Any updates with your fertility? We just started trying too 🙂

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      August 29, 2011 at 3:00 pm

      Hi Cait! Thank you so much for asking, nothing yet 😦 However a couple weeks ago I took medroxyprogesterone to help induce a period and it should come within 14 days at the latest (which will be this Saturday) and still nothing yet so we’ll see….I’ll be sure to keep you and everyone posted…I’m praying we have some good news soon 🙂

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      August 29, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      ….and good luck with you too!! Keep me posted as well 🙂

    Cait said:
    August 29, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Ya I have had to take that before too but I always got my period 3-4 days after the last pill! I am on Femara right now to induce ovulation…. I had ammenorhea (same kind as you) due to running alot and not enough calories. I upped my calorie intake to at least 2000 calories a day and stopped running (just spinning and walking) and I got my period on my own! I am just on the Femara to make sure I ovulate strong!

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    Nico said:
    September 18, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Hi Shayla,

    Thanks for your comment on my blog! you are definitely not alone in the whole HA thing – and it sounds like you’re doing a great job of being proactive and learning to really take care of your body. I do think, at 5’8 and 130 that you are going to need to gain some weight – the optimal bmi for fertility is around 22-23, and on the fertilethoughts board we have seen that it is extremely rare for someone to get their cycles back naturally below a bmi of 20. Come join us over there, it’s a great group of really supportive women, with so many varied experiences, can be so helpful! http://www.fertilethoughts.com/forums/lifes-journey/343535-hypothalamic-amenorrhea.html

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      September 19, 2011 at 11:16 am

      Thank you so much for your response Nico…especially for your encouragement and support, I really appreciate it! I will definitely join that board, I think that would be so helpful for me in being able to have that support group and talk about it with women who are in a similar situation. 🙂

      Good luck with your appointment today…my thoughts and prayers are with you ❤

    Jen @ Living a Brighter Life said:
    September 29, 2011 at 7:09 am

    Hi Shayla,

    I just came across your blog and am really enjoying catching up on your posts, as well as following you along your TTC journey! I live in the East Bay as well, so I’ve enjoyed reading your local posts too!

    Know that you are not alone in your “no pill off period” journey. I’ve been off the pill since Jan and haven’t had a period yet. My bloodwork showed a high level of lutenizing hormone and testosterone indicative of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). I’m in the middle of my first round of Clomid, and am waiting for my body to give me a sign that something is happening in there. I haven’t found many people like me, as most of my friends are “normal” so I troll the internet looking for support! I’m trying to think more like @Laury did and just enjoy the process, although its hard when your body isn’t giving you any clues as to what it is doing!!

    Good luck to you! I hope that you see aunt flo or those two pink lines really soon!!!

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      September 29, 2011 at 11:57 am

      Hi Jen! Thanks so much for stopping by and following my journey…and I’m so happy to have found another local reader/blogger! 🙂

      And thank you for sharing your experience…I’m with you in that it’s hard to go through this when everyone around you is “normal” and it’s hard to not feel alone in this. I “stalk” the internet too in looking for support and it’s so very helpful…have you read Jen’s blog at This Runner’s Trialsor Sarah from The SHU Box ? They had TTC complications as well and reading their stories and coming in contact with them has helped me immensely.

      I too try to enjoy the process, but like you said, it’s hard when you don’t know what’s going inside that body of ours! Good luck with your journey as well and my thoughts and prayers will be with you…and thank you so much for the wishes, it means a lot to us 🙂

      Btw, I just hopped over to your blog and you and the hubby are so very cute…and your Seattle trip looked amazing!

        Jen @ Living a Brighter Life said:
        September 29, 2011 at 2:15 pm

        Thanks so much for the reply! I looked at both of those blogs and already they are making me feel better, so thanks for that!

        PS – You and your hubby cute as well! 🙂 Extremely cute babies are in your future!

        Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
        September 30, 2011 at 9:28 am

        You’re welcome Jen and I’m so happy to help…email me if you ever want to talk 🙂

        Awww thank you for that sweet comment…I just hope they get my hubby’s big blue eyes! 😉

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    m.e. said:
    January 20, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Hey Shayla as someone who struggled with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea for 5 years I can definitely attest to the frustration of just waiting to see if it will show up. Even after gaining 30 pounds (wayyyyy more than I wanted/expected) my period did not come back because of years of anorexia and over exercising. Only when I read a newspaper magazine that Chinese medicine and accupuncture could help did I see results. After 6 weeks of accupuncture and drinking a Chinese tea it showed up and I am happy to say that I have had it for 3 months in a row. Sounds pretty out there, but I am now a total believer in alternative medicine. Definitely check it out!

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      January 20, 2012 at 4:32 pm

      Thank you so much for your response…I’ll definitely consider looking into it – thanks! 🙂

    Brandee said:
    February 4, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Hi Shayla! I just stumbled upon your blog tonight. We have been trying to conceive for over 2 years now. I have been diagnosed with PCOS even though I don’t really fit any of the categories! I had the same problem with not getting periods. We have finally found a specialist and we are doing IUI’s now. It is definitely a journey of ups and downs but it helps to find other people you can relate to and learn from. I just finished one round of injections (lots of fun to give yourself needles!) and will be starting the next one in March. It is definitely hard to go through these things by so I also started my blog to talk about it and learn. Any new piece of information seems to help 🙂 I hope everything works out for you! Good Luck!

    Lauren said:
    February 21, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Hi! I just found your blog and love it. I have been struggling with not getting a period for years (even on the pill). I went off the pill this year in preparation to start trying to get pregnant in the next few months, and was finally diagnosed with H.A. I know I will need to change my diet and way of life (I’m a marathon runner) in the next few months and learned so much from reading your blog!

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