Amenorrhea Update

First, thank you for the love and support after my post about amenorrhea back in July. I never could have imagined that so many women were dealing with similar issues and it is comforting to know that I’m not alone. It’s also been really encouraging to hear from women who are on the other side and have been able to balance their hormones, regain their cycle and have a family. It gives me hope.

Post Pill Amenorrhea Update

Wine tasting in Charlottesville yesterday. 🙂

Quite a few people have asked me for an update and I’ve been stalling, hoping that if I waited just one more week I’d regain my cycle and be able to share what I did to help it along. Well, here it is four months later (a total of 12 months without a cycle) and it hasn’t happened yet. So at this point I don’t have any answers, but I’m happy to give a quick update by sharing what I’ve been doing over these past fews months and what my doctor has said.

Lifestyle Changes

For starters, I truly took my endocrinologist’s advice to heart. I cut back on exercise and started fueling my body with more food. Through this process I’ve gained about seven pounds. While on a blogging trip in September I had the opportunity to get my body fat checked using a BodPod and found that it was at 31%. I was pretty shocked by how high it was (apparently 32% is considered unhealthy) but at least it shows what I already knew — low body fat is not the cause of my issues.

Yoga. I’ve been trying to do yoga at least once a week. I’d actually really like to increase it to twice a week.

Regular acupuncture. I love my acupuncturist. He focuses on fertility and if nothing else the sessions help me to de-stress.

Supplements

I’ve been taking hormone balancing supplements. Some were recommended by a nutritionist, some by my acupuncturist and others I found through doing my own research. I did bring them to my acupuncturist to make sure it was okay to be taking them all at once. In addition to my normal prenatal multivitamin and fish oil I’m taking Vitex BerryDong QuaiFemmenessence MacaharmonyShatavari, and Symplex F. I’m also using geranium essential oil on my feet.

Medical Updates

I’ve had two appointments with my endocrinologist since my last post. The first was to go over my AMH levels and get an ultrasound. My AMH levels were fine — actually a bit higher than normal for someone my age. The ultrasound showed that I didn’t have any ovarian cysts, but my doctor did see a few areas of concern with my uterus and wanted to do a Saline Sono Hysterogram to check things out further. I had the procedure done two weeks ago. It wasn’t extremely painful but it did cause some of the worst cramps I’ve ever felt. I don’t think my uterus was happy about having a catheter and balloon shoved inside of it.

The results consisted of some good and not so good news. For the good, apparently my uterus looked much healthier than it did during the first ultrasound (which was only three weeks prior). He said my uterus was larger and my lining was thicker, both good things and hopefully signals that my hormones are revving up.

The not so good news was that he saw some debris in my uterus. <— I had never heard of the term “uterine debris” before but apparently it’s a thing. To make light of the situation Isaac and I were joking that uterine debris would make for a gnarly band name. 😉

My doctor said the debris could be because I haven’t had a period in so long and when I do have one the stuff might clear out on its own OR it could be something like Asherman’s Syndrome, which is when the uterus develops scar tissue. I’m really hoping that it’s just old junk that will clear once my cycle starts back. Just in case it is scar tissue I started taking Wobenzym N — it’s a supplement for inflammation and joint support but it’s also known to help heal scar tissue. Even if it’s not scar tissue in my uterus I figure the Wobenzym N will be good for my joints.

He also noticed that some of my lining is migrating into the muscle around my uterus. This is called Adenomyosis — it can cause pelvic pain, heavy periods and make it difficult for an egg to implant when trying to conceive. It can also cause no symptoms at all…

At this point my doctor said the next step would be to have a hysteroscopy to further look into things, but that it makes sense to wait to see if my period starts in the next few months before proceeding. So that’s where I’m at with everything right now — just trying to remain patient while also positive and hopeful that my body will work everything out.

Sharing all this online is really scary and as you can tell, I don’t have any answers. I’m just hoping that me sharing my story sheds some light to the topic and helps others in some way. <3

Happy Monday, friends!

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    50 comments
  1. Reading this 2 years later as I’m in the same boat! I came off the pill 6 months ago and nothing- what the heck! I went for an ultrasound and there are no cysts, although I do present many of the symptoms of pcos. Did you get your period back? And how long after? Did you find out why it was gone for so long? Sorry for bombarding you with questions, but I really need to stop using dr google, because I’m becoming a major hypochondriac????

  2. Hi Brittany, thanks for your post. It’s really helpful and informative. I’m in a similar situation, I came off the pill in June 2015 and almost 12 months later still haven’t had a cycle. Blood tests, 2 ultrasound scans show things are normal (oestrogen slightly low) and my doctors just keep telling me to be patient. I’ve tried acupuncture, and take supplements (most of the ones you mention). Similar to you about c30% body fat so I don’t think that is my issue, but have tried to de-stress as well (just doing less generally, sleeping more). Do you have an update? Did seed cycling work for you? Fingers crossed you got your period back by now! x

  3. Thank you for sharing. I went off the pill about a year ago and went through 4 cycles and am now experiencing amennorhea. Needless to say it has been frustrating since things seemed to be working and now they aren’t! I have been thinking about things that have changed between the time when I had my period and now – one of which is Vitamin D. I live at a northern latitude and have no sun exposure ( at least not enough for produce a substantial amount of vitamin D) from roughly November-March, which roughly correlated with my lack of menses. I’m curious to know if you have heard anything about Vitamin D deficiency and amennorhea.

  4. Hi Brittany, Thank you so much for sharing this! So encouraging and helpful. I was just wondering, would you share the brand of prenatal and fish oil you are using? I have not been taking a vitamin regularly and would love a recommendation. Thanks!.

  5. Hi there! Enjoyed your post, I had amenorrhea too but with weight gain, cutting back on exercise and using naprotechnology I am now ovulating! I thought my body could do it all on its own but it really needed the extra help from naprotechnology. You might find it useful if you google it! God bless and may your cycles come back soon!

  6. Brittany, I’m so sorry to hear you are struggling with this. I was diagnosed with HA in May after not having a cycle for 15 months (I came off BC in March 2014). Like you, I exercised intensely 5-6 days a week, focused on ‘healthy’ eating, and had a lot of stress in my life. My period returned in October, and I just finished a second period last week which was thrilling because it began just 32 days after the start of my October period (in women recovering from HA, it’s fairly typical to wait 2-4 months for that second period). Here is what I did to recover, and what I think you should try too: 1) I ate more, a LOT more. I tried to take in 2500-3000 calories a day, but I also didn’t count calories, so I’m sure some days I ate less and some days I ate even more that that. 2) I stopped all exercise with the exception of walking and very light yoga (as in, if my heart was pounding and I was sweating, it was too much). 3) I chilled out big time. I meditated and took more naps. I LET GO. My period returned 2.5 months after making these changes, and in that time I gained 20 pounds. That might sound like a lot, but it really only translated to one pant/dress size. And now that I’ve been cycling regularly for two months, some of that weight has come off. I don’t own a scale, but judging by how my clothes fit, I know this to be the case. I am VERY slowly reintroducing more vigorous exercise. Right now I go to 2-3 vinyasa classes a week, and then I rest or walk on other days. If you’d like more information about symptoms I experienced in recovery, I’d be happy to email you.

  7. I really hope things sort themselves out soon!

    I had amenorrhea for a long time in my twenties (I think it was about 3-5 years, I honestly can’t remember exactly when it started or stopped because I was on the pill for a while which was causing me to have a “fake” period). But I also happened to have PCOS which it sounds like you don’t have. I have no idea what finally got my cycle going again, but one thing that I did do in the month before my period came back was eat tons of this bread – http://www.thesaladgirl.com/2012/06/08/pcos-muffins-pcos-bread-recipe/ – on the recommendation of a coworker at the time who had struggled with the same issue. No idea if it would help you at all but probably wouldn’t hurt and the bread is tasty! I had to order the flour specially from some place in Michigan.

    On the positive, I now have a kiddo (he just turned 19 months) and I am pregnant with our second due next June! It’s amazing how bodies can heal themselves.

  8. I had Asherman’s Syndrome in 200-2002 and it took a bunch of hormones to restart my ovaries, thicken the lining of my uterus and then the hysteroscopy to remove scar tissue….the sides of my uterus were stuck together. But, I have had 3 lovely children since then because treatment was progressive, as was healing. My prayers that you are through this journey and on the other side soon!

    • Oh wow! Thank you for sharing. I’m so happy to hear that you were able to get treatment and have three beautiful children. It’s stories like yours that keep me hopeful. And thank you for the prayers.

  9. Amenorrhea is such a common thing! It’s sadly comforting knowing that I’m not the only one struggling with it. I have gone years without a regular period. Until recently. I tried everything, including stopping exercise and eating more fats. I gave it time, but nothing. The longest time without a period was about 2 years. I have been training for a half marathon and have been eating more fruits. Then bam! Period! I started taking a supplement which has vitex and black cohosh. I believe that supplement has been the reason for regaining my period. Amenorrhea is such an individual thing. Something that works for others, may not work for you. I wish you all the best for finding the key to unlock your menstrual cycle.

  10. So much I want to share! But as someone with Celiac AND PCOS dealing with infertility I can tell you that I’m here if you ever need me. It sounds like your doctor(s) have a plan for you and that’s the most important thing – getting help and getting feedback on prescriptions, eastern medicine, supplements. I know that otherwise it’s incredibly frustrating and hard to wrap our head around sometimes. Especially active people like us who care about what they eat. And props for using Geranium. I sell doTerra and those oils have really helped me emotionally and mentally. Aromatherapy can do amazing things to help us with stress, depression, etc. etc…

    Hugs.

  11. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am currently traveling down a very similar path. Would you mind sharing the name of your acupuncturist? I am on the hunt for one here in Richmond that specializes in fertility and would love any recommendations you have.

  12. I feel like you’re going through all the medical motions that I went through earlier this year. I actually found the OBGYN & Endocrinologist I saw at Mayo Clinic to be not so very helpful. Eventually, I saw a naturopath who determined my issue was my thyroid and food allergies. She did allergy testing and discovered I am gluten sensitive. It has been shown that gluten sensitivity can cause thyroid and female reproduction problems. Unfortunately, not many doctors know about this. I’ve been gluten free now 5 months and my periods are regular and I’m not even losing weight. Might be something for you to look into.

  13. I’ve had amenorrhea for last 2+ years and I’m trying everything I can to get things started again naturally. Reading your posts has made me feel much less alone.

    I’m curious – after finding out that it isn’t your body fat that is the issue, will you still continue your current routine of less exercise and more food or switch back to the way you used to eat/workout? I’ve also been trying to up my calories and fat but I haven’t had my body fat tested, so I think that may be the next step.

    PS – I adore your blog!

    • Hi Maria. Thank you for sharing and I’m so sorry your struggling with similar issues. The last time I went to the doctor he said he thinks I’ve gained plenty of weight so I’m back to maintenance mode. I’m still eating a high-fat diet, just at more of a maintenance level of calories. And I’m still being aware of how much I’m exercising because I don’t want to put my body under too much stress. I’ve been doing 3 days a week of OrangeTheory and either resting or doing something like yoga or barre on the other days. Definitely way more rest days than I was taking previously.

      Best of luck to you!! <3

  14. I suffered irregular cycles throughout my 20’s yet conceive my son naturally. However, after a year of trying to conceive again clomid worked the 2nd round!

    I went into perimenopause soon after. I am only 41, but do have 2 healthy children.

    Best of luck moving forward 🙂

  15. I, too, have gone through this. In fact, I still am! I was on BCP through most of my 20s. I came off of them once I got married and we wanted to start trying for a baby. My cycles were extremely irregular and unpredictable. I finally got checked out, and took progesterone for ten days, and a few days later, my period started. A few days after that, I took clomid to induce ovulation. It was successful and we got pregnant; however, for other reasons (at the time, yet-to-be diagnosed clotting disorders), it ended in a miscarriage. We did that a couple of times with similar results (miscarriage or didn’t get pregnant).

    I now have a son who will be two next week. Since having him, I have had four cycles. The first three were regular and I thought maybe my body had fixed itself. But then it was over six months until I had another cycle and it was extremely painful and heavy. I saw my doctor, because we do want to try for another baby at some point, and these erratic cycles won’t help that.

    I just finished my period after having induced it with progesterone. I will not be taking clomid, as we aren’t trying too hard right now, and my main goal is to hopefully regulate my cycle. I have a year’s worth of refills for the progesterone and doctor’s orders to repeat it if I go more than six weeks without a period.

    I guess I don’t have any advice except to maybe consider taking the progesterone to get things going!

    • Hi Megan. Thank you so much for sharing your story and for the info about progesterone. Are you taking a progesterone pill or is it a cream? I did try the progesterone challenge with Provera and it didn’t work for me.

      Best of luck with baby number 2. 🙂

  16. You are incredibly brave to share your experience. I didn’t have a cycle for almost 4 years after giving birth to my daughter. I know it was crazy to wait so long to get checked out and I honestly wasn’t even worried until this past summer when my best friend got her first post partum cycle- less than a year and a half after having her last baby. So after a wasted trip to the doc, I started taking maca & turmeric everyday, incorporated yoga and Pilates, tried to get more sleep and added more fats & iron to my diet. It wasn’t until I hurt my back while packing and I went to a chiropractor that things started changing. I cut back on mileage (I love to run) and I told the chiro about my cycle issues and he worked on my lower back twice a week for two weeks and my cycle returned last month. It’s time for another but I was told it’s normal to be irregular for months. Now to find a good chiro near our new home.
    I’m praying that you find some answers!

    • Thanks for sharing, Dawn. I wonder what helped the most — cutting back on your mileage or the chiropractic care? Here’s hoping that your cycle continues normally now that things are flowing again.

  17. Thanks for sharing everything with us, I’m on vitex and just bought geranium oil too, have been seeing an acupuncturist also, but am a little nervous about also taking Chinese herbs. Did your doctor say they’re safe? hoping a natural period will start soon too – good luck with it all hoping -for the best!

      • The reason Meaghan got pregnant ‘without a period’ is because sperm were present at the time she ovulated. Had that not been the case, her period (her first in two years) would have followed about 2 weeks later. It’s an example of excellent timing. You can’t get pregnant (naturally) without ovulating, and if you ovulate, you will get a period, unless the egg is fertilized first. I’m sure you and Meaghan already know this, but I wanted to post in case someone else who is trying to conceive came along and thought they shouldn’t be concerned by their lack of regular periods. Congratulations on your pregnancy, Meaghan!

      • The reason Meaghan got pregnant ‘without a period’ is because sperm were present at the time she ovulated. Had that not been the case, her period (her first in two years) would have followed about 2 weeks later. It’s an example of excellent timing. You can’t get pregnant (naturally) without ovulating, and if you ovulate, you will get a period, unless the egg is fertilized first. I’m sure you and Meaghan already know this, but I wanted to post in case someone else who is trying to conceive came along and thought they shouldn’t be concerned by their lack of regular periods. Congratulations on your pregnancy, Meaghan!

  18. I can tell you that everything that you are experiencing is everything that I have gone through on the last 2 years! I have seen 2 gynecologists, 3 pelvic Ultrasounds, an MRI, 1 endocrinologist, finally a fertility clinic and what feels like thousands of blood tests lol. It took 2 years before my body regulated and we managed to conceive before starting fertility treatment and before even having a period (really good timing on our part). Give your body time, keep taking care of it, keep giving yourself a break with restrictive eating and with over exercising (which I was made to do) it all helps. It will come back, mine did and now I am 5 months pregnant! Know that you have the support of so many women who have been in your shoes and have come out of it with a child!

    • Hi Meaghan. Thank you so much for sharing and for giving me hope that it’s possible to conceive naturally after dealing with similar issues. I’ve heard of other women getting pregnant without a period as well — so interesting! Congrats to you and best wishes for a healthy pregnancy and an easy labor and delivery.

  19. Good for you, Brittany! For your openness, courage, continued optimism and for willing to share this with all of your readers. I’m so sorry things haven’t quite resolved themselves for you just yet (I wanted to reach right through my screen and give you a big ‘ol hug), but it does sound like things are moving in the right direction. I’m sending some good thoughts and positivity your way. 🙂

  20. I am now the mom of two little boys (4 and 2). I was not able to get my period for over a year after stopping the pill and I wanted to have a baby! I ended up failing to progesterone challenge x2, and nothing NOTHING we tried got my cycle back…the reproductive endo ended up using clomid to induce ovulation and this worked to get me pregnant. After baby #1, my period (again) never came and so we did clomid again (it worked again) and then after baby #2 my period came…about 2 years after giving birth to him…and is now about an every other occurrance. only if i minimize gluten and stress (this is just my trial and error and not based on any science, much to the chagrin of my doctor husband). Anyway, just saying…even if you cannot get your period to return, there are many medications (when you’re ready for a baby) to induce ovulation on a “one time” basis and then perhaps once you go through hormonal shifts, your body will return to homeostasis at the end. My body seems to have taken the VERY long route to adjusting to life without the pill. I sort of thought I’d never get a period again. Alas, here I am…getting it for the first time since being in high school (and now I am 35). Hope that helps…

  21. Dang it I was really hoping your trip to Aruba would help to get things going. It sounds like your doing all the right things. I am praying that it will work it’s self out . I know patience is not an easy thing.

  22. Thank you for your continued honesty!! You are definitely not alone with what you’re going through. Not sure if you’re familiar, but I recently started listening to the Fertility Friday podcasts – there are a lot of interesting topics, including what the pill does to your hormones, amenorrhea, and diet/supplements that can help. I’ve found it super informative. All the best!

  23. While I have never experienced Amenorrhea I am currently dealing with infertility (I’ve been trying to conceive for 3 years). I can understand the frustration of the unknown and the constant poking and prodding of the testing process definitely doesn’t help. I’ve had 2 saline sonos and a hysteroscopy and can say they aren’t that bad, the HSG though is the worst which you will hopefully never have to worry about. I too see an acupuncturist, as well as a nutritionist and was recently reading an article about a link between fertility and chiropractic care so I may throw that into the mix too lol. I’m pretty well versed in the testing and treatment process if you have any questions. Good luck with everything!

  24. Thank you for sharing. I fought anorexia in my mid to late twenties and lost my period. I didn’t get my period back, but through fertility treatments I have a17 month old son. I’m also newly pregnant again! I’m hoping to regain my cycle after breastfeeding this new baby. Although it is seriously frustrating to not have a cycle and not know why, becoming a mom is still possible. Keep up the good work and know that there is only so much you can control.

  25. So sorry to hear about the potential uterine scarring! I have a similar problem from endometriosis and found physical therapy where they actually are able to break/ stretch the adhesions (scar tissue). It’s called clear passage and they see LOTS of women suffering from infertility. I went for chronic pain and It’s been really life changing for me. I wrote about it on my site in case you’re interested 🙂

  26. I really appreciate your honesty and openness with all of this. I, too, have trouble keeping a regular cycle, and it makes it a lot less scary to know I am not alone. You’re brave and selfless to share what many would rather keep private, and I thank you for that!

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