Basically the news is that we know how my body is failing, but we still don't know why. Here are the things the hormone panel test revealed:
- My hormone levels, both estrogen and progesterone, are very low. I didn't know this. I always figured I had some kind of hormone imbalance, but assumed I had too much of one thing and not enough of the other.
- Because I do not have enough hormones to stimulate the ovaries, it takes a long time for me to ovulate (around day 35). Nevertheless, I do spontaneously ovulate eventually (yay!). I knew I ovulate (duh, been pregnant twice) and that it happens very late.
- However, low progesterone throughout my cycle prevents me from sustaining a pregnancy, resulting in early miscarriage. Not sure about this one... if I have low progesterone, why is my luteal phase always at least 12 days?
As you can see, both E and P are just flat until around day 30, and P is especially low.
In addition to this test, I have already had day 3 bloodwork done as well as several ultrasounds, and thyroid tests. What I gather from all of these tests is that I am ovulating and there is no physical obstacle to conception. I do not have PCOS, endometriosis, blocked tubes, or ovarian failure. These are amazingly wonderful things. The only thing we need to do now is figure out how to jumpstart my body into producing more of everything! More estrogen to grow the follicles, more progesterone to support a pregnancy, more, more, more!
The ND gave me three supplements to take in addition to all the vitamins I am already taking. Two of the supplements are herbal concoctions of various chinese herbs (think dong quai, vitex, red raspberry, etc.). The products are called Progesto-mend and Estro-mend (I think I will name my next two cats that). I am to take these between day 12 and 26 in order to encourage my body to act as it should during that time in my cycle. Around day 12 it should start gearing up for ovulation, then it should ovulate, then it should sustain the cycle with sufficient progesterone until around day 26 and then it should flush everything out by day 28. Sounds like a plan.
The third supplement I am to take every night is called Pregnenolone. This shit is actually a bit scary. It is a natural steroid that has been used for some time to encourage hormone production. It is sometimes used to treat arthritis, symptoms of menopause, and adrenal fatigue. It is technically "natural" and sold over the counter, but this stuff is a steroid nonethless, and I am very alert to possible side effects. Still, it is much less potent than, say, Clomid. I've been taking it for 3 days and nothing to report so far in terms of side effects, but also no evidence that it is making a positive difference yet.
Finally, in addition to the supplements, I will be getting poked with some acupuncture needles. I've tried acupuncture before for back pain and it didn't make a huge difference, but whatever, I'll give it a try.
So that sums up the plan for the next little while. I am optimistic but also impatient. I keep getting "good news", as in "we don't see anything terribly wrong with you", so why the eff is this taking so long?