She Says… Square One

Not exactly. But that’s what it feels like. Here I am again NOT having a period, and not sure why. According to the nurse at Dr. P’s office, if I ovulated, I should have a period. “It’s as simple as that”, she said. Well, nothing’s ever that simple, at least not when it comes to me and babymaking. Sigh.

My period is nowhere in sight, and my body doesn’t feel like it’s coming any time soon. Although, I’ll be honest, I’ve pretty much forgotten what that feels like. But that’s beside the point. I called the nurse on Friday to let her know that it hadn’t come yet, and she set me up for some more bloodwork tomorrow morning. She’s going to run another blood pregnancy test and check my progesterone and estradiol levels. These levels were tested previously in my first round of bloodwork, but I believe they should be able to tell us something different now that I am [supposedly] post-ovulation.

Although it’s kind of a pain (literally and figuratively) to go in for more bloodwork, I’m glad that was the next step that the nurse suggested. I’d like some answers, thankyouverymuch.

My own theory (based in part on everybody’s favorite doctor, Dr. Google) is that my progesterone didn’t increase as it should have at/after ovulation. That would explain the light, early period (if that’s even what the bleeding was, which is not yet confirmed), and my lack of temperature spike after ovulation. The good news is that if this is the case, it is an easy thing to fix with medicine, and it’s a fairly common problem with women who do not ovulate.

We’ll see what the real doctor says tomorrow…

In the meantime, has anyone out there taken progesterone or had a progesterone level issue? How did it present itself? How did you treat it?



16 responses to “She Says… Square One

  1. I haven’t had a progesterone issue, but I know that my RE puts everyone on progeterone suppositories after your done trying to make sure progesterone levels are high enough to implant. Besides, that I’m no help. If all blood work comes back ok I would ask for provera or prometrium to make your period come so you can get started again.

  2. I actually had a progesterone level of 21.7 when we found out I was pregnant. He was just keeping a close eye on it to see if I would need prog supplements. (I ended up losing the pregnancy but not because of that.) Now, I’m terrified that my period may become M.I.A again after we finally got it regulated!!! I hope yours shows up soon…

  3. I’m on progesterone supps post Clomid; kind of gross, but worth it, I hope! My doc says he always does progesterone w/ Clomid. I have very short luteal phases, though, so my issue is a bit different than yours.

    Fingers crossed that your bloodworks gives you some useful answers!

  4. Oh, and “another blood pregnancy test “?? Aren’t you just a tad thinking you might get a stealth BFP? Your symptoms seemed so perfect…

    Sorry to be playing the “what if…” game. TTC does that to me.

  5. Kate – You are not alone. I was on Clomid and progesterone for all of my pregnancy attempts and I had much of the same issue (spotting/bleeding and lack of period or a very early period). In my case, we found out that even though I ovulated I didn’t ovulate a full egg. So after 3 rounds (and bloodtests and ultrasounds) my doctor increased clomid from 50mg to 100mg of clomid so that I had a stronger ovulation (which i did, as evidenced my ultrasound and shot in the hip to drop the egg).

    I also did progesterone suppositories (through the 1st 12 weeks but that was b/c of my history of m/c). They are bit yucky (wear a liner) but hey, at that point I didn’t care as long as it was safe and helped me get and stay pregnant! Don’t be worried about it – just view it as another way to help your body 🙂

    It is great that your office is following up with bloodwork now 🙂 Makes it all the more likely that they will pin point the exact concotion to help get your body ovulating so you can get back to babymaking!!

    I know it is frustrating and 2 weeks feels like 2 years..but keep talking to your nurse and keep Googling – the more you know the more questions you can ask, the quicker you get results!!

    Hoping for the best for you and your hubby!

  6. I used progeterone to induce a periods twice when they were MIA. I have not used it in conjuction with Clomid as I’ve promptly got my period 16 days after supposed ovulation. I guess that is good as it should mean I’m ovulating! And as we know, that’s half the battle. I didn’t have any side affects from the progeterone besides the normal extra hormone stuff that we love =) Hang in there!

  7. I’m on progesterone to get my period right now, and am having such fun with the mood swings! 🙂 Never heard of progesterone following Clomid, now you’ve given me something new to Google! I’m totally with Ettie on secretly hoping this blood test magically gives you a +!

  8. Progesterone is used to prolong a pregnancy ie keep the levels up and keep the lining thick. It can also be used to bring on a period. The act of stopping the progesterone after taking it for a while is what brings on your period.

  9. Kate,

    I’m in the same place as you in terms of treatment, but I also have low progesterone and a very short luteal phase (8 to 9 days). My doctor originally wanted to put me on just progesterone, but after yet another dismal test result, decided Clomid would actually improve the quality of my eggs, which usually is the reason for low progesterone.

    I’m still waiting the results of my first progesterone test on a Clomid cycle. I will keep you posted. I’ve read that some doctors add progesterone to a Clomid cycle.

  10. Low Fat Lady, Thanks for all the info! Yes, I have heard it’s fairly common for women on Clomid to supplement with progesterone in one form or another. At this point I’m hoping the doctor agrees, because it would be an easy fix for next “cycle”. Although, can we really call them cycles anymore if nothing is going on?!

    Amber, That’s great that your doc kept such a close eye on your progesterone levels. I can imagine feeling scared about losing your period altogether once you finally gotten it regulated! I can only dream of having a “regular” period. Those girls who complain about it every month have absolutely NO idea how lucky they are.

    Ettie, If the bleeding I experienced a week after ovulation was actually my period, then apparently I have a short luteal phase too. Sounds like progesterone is the key to thickening up the uterine lining so it doesn’t shed too early. And as for you hoping that I get a surprise positive pregnancy test today — don’t say that to a woman dying to get preggo! Just kidding. The thought had DEFINITELY crossed my mind.

    Joanna, That’s so interesting! I’ve never heard of anyone ovulating less than a full egg. I’m so glad to hear that a concoction of Clomid and progesterone did the trick for you. Hopefully that’s what the doc prescribes for me and it has the same effect! And you totally hit the nail on the head when you said, “two weeks feels like two years”. Totally. I can’t believe it was about a month ago that we first started Clomid — it feels like at least a year ago!

    kwally, You are fortunate that the progesterone worked for you. And if the doc agrees that I need prgoesterone with my Clomid next time, I say, bring on the crazies!

    LizardRuns, I hope you get your strong withdrawal bleeding that you hope for from the progesterone. And as for the positive test, I’m not holding my breath!

    APlusB, Yes, it sounds like we have a very similar diagnosis. Perhaps Clomid + Progesterone = Baby for both of us? I hope so 🙂

  11. You poor thing! That’s got to be so frustrating! I’m glad they’re doing blood work though so they can find out what’s going on!

  12. I didn’t like my RE (long story, but I quit going) and self medicated with natural progesterone cream as soon as I could confirm ovulation (through charting). 2 cycles later I was pregnant (after my RE said I “had to” have IVF and after 3 losses in a row most likely due to low progesterone). I am now 33 weeks. 🙂 It is worth looking into. If your progesterone has been low, I would demand supplements from your RE to begin immediately after O.

  13. Tabitha, Thanks. It is frustrating. But yes, I am glad about the bloodwork and tests that have been done. I DO feel like we’re moving forward.

    Jen, Interesting! I may have to look into progesterone cream. I am generally a do-gooder, you know, following the doc’s directions perfectly, but I may try to fight a bit harder for progesterone, given the overwhelming number of cases I’ve read about that need it for successful implantation and early pregnancy. That said, my doc has been so on-the-ball so far, and I trust him, so maybe he’s on to something. Thank you for the encouragement to demand the medicine, though, as I think you’re right that we very often have to be our own advocates in situations like these.

  14. I asked for progesterone every single cycle and was always told No – your history doesn’t indicate you need it. But I FELT that I needed it, just kinda knew I did. And sure enough, when we got as close to concieving as we ever had, I ended up having a shortened luteal phase (my period came too soon). Which is due to NOT ENOUGH PROGESTERONE. If they would’ve just given it to me, I might be pregnant now! So if you think you need it, INSIST on it!

  15. Hi –

    In Nov 08, I went off the pill and never had a period. It took a few months to be diagnosed with PCOS. I’ve done a few rounds of clomid, injectables, and now IVF. I’ve learned a few things along the way, and I thought I might share.

    1) Your body releases increasing amounts of LH to try to ovulate. Your ovaries get desensitized to the continual presence of LH. So your body releases more. And your ovaries continue to ignore it. Etc. This means that PCOSers often have very high levels of circulating LH, even at baseline. Don’t believe an OPK if you have PCOS. Ever. Really. Trust me on this one – they don’t work. I had surges every two weeks for several months after stopping the pill, and now my LH is so high that they are always dark.

    2) There’s no such thing as jump starting your reproductive system. Ever. All that progesterone does is produce a withdrawal of hormone that causes your uterine lining to shed. It doesn’t do anything else. There’s nothing to jumpstart: either your ovaries respond to what your hypothalamus is telling them, or they don’t.

    Clomid tricks your body into producing extra hormones. There is also no jump starting involved with clomid. It might make you ovulate, or it might not. It will not do a single thing to modify your fundamental hormonal imbalance.

    You are not more likely to ovulate after stopping either of these medications. They either do their job or they don’t.

    3) I’m not sure if you are going to an OBGYN or a reproductive endocrinologist. Please, do yourself a favor and schedule an appointment with a qualified RE. Any RE worth their name will monitor you while you are on clomid. This does not mean just bloodwork – this means ultrasounds too. They should watch your follicles grow. In my case, once I transfered to my RE ,they realized that clomid was not working for me. It was a very quick realization and it saved me months of heartache.

    4) There is no such thing as a mini-period. A period is produced when the released follicle (ie, corpus luteum) finally stops producing progesterone. The corpus luteum is only present if you ovulated. It survives if the egg is fertilized and releases HCG. It dies if the egg is not fertilized. There cannot be progesterone in your system unless you have a corpus luteum, and you cannot (cannot) have a period without progesterone. So, there simply is no such thing as a mini-period. When it comes to ovulation, you either did or you didn’t. (Unfortunately it sounds like you didn’t)

    Furthermore, your temperature increases in response to progesterone. Again, to repeat, progesterone is only ever present if you ovulated. There is no way to have a temperature increase without progesterone, and so there is no way to have a temperature increase unless you ovulated.

    Statistically, unfortunately, 1 or 2 temp increase doesn’t mean much. Watch for the temp to stay elevated for a minimum of 3 days.

    So, to summarize:

    Ovulation = corpus luteum = progesterone release = temperature increase = period 10-14 days after ovulation when the progesterone drops off. These events all happen in concert, or else they don’t happen at all.

    I don’t mean to sound harsh – really – just trying to relay a lot of info at once. I feel that is important to clarify these things, because what you write is being read by other infertile people. You are doing your absolute best and this is a very stressful thing to go through, but it is important to understand what the clomid and progesterone are doing to your body.

    You might find useful info at this website…

    There’s an infertility board there. Best of luck

  16. iamstacey, Yes! Thank you for the advice. Actually, your posts about progesterone were some that really got me thinking about it. After doing some more research, I think I will discuss it further with my doctor.

    Rachael, Thank you for all of that information. I appreciate you posting it, as it certainly aligns with all of the research I have been doing. That said, I am well aware of all of this. I am seeing a very well-respected RE and he is taking the appropriate treatment for me given my age and general health. Thanks for the link to soulcysters, too, as I imagine there is a lot of good info there as well.

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