Rainbow discovered that the lack of ovulation and Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding was almost reversed with thyroid treatment. Now she looks forward to getting pregnant–something she thought was impossible.
I began menstruating on my 13th birthday. For the first two years, my periods were heavy with cramping, but normal.
Then at age 15, I began bleeding every two weeks. These periods of bleeding always lasted for several days and resembled a normal period, so I thought I was menstruating every 2 weeks. I went to a gynecologist who told me that it was normal for teenagers to have irregular periods and that taking birth control pills would fix my problem until my body fixed itself. Not knowing any better, I followed her instructions and started the pill.
At the age of 19, I went off the pill to see if my body had “fixed itself” yet. It had not. So I tried the Depo Provera shot, which was supposed to keep you from having periods at all. Instead, it caused me to bleed CONSTANTLY. The bleeding was very light, but extremely annoying as you can imagine. So when the time came for a repeat shot, I went back on the pill instead.
Every 2 to 3 years I would stop the pill for a month to see if my body had finally gotten a clue, but inevitably, I’d bleed every two weeks.
When I reached the age of 26, I started getting concerned. I knew I’d never be able to get pregnant if my menstrual cycles were only 14 days long. I went to a gynecologist who listened to my symptoms and diagnosed me with PCOS, even though my bloodwork and pelvic ultrasound did not match the diagnosis. He told me to stay on birth control to “keep the PCOS from getting worse.” I wasn’t trying to get pregnant at the time, so I did what he said.
Then at age 28, I got married, and couldn’t ignore the issue any longer. I began researching PCOS and found that I didn’t match the diagnosis at all. Individuals with PCOS typically have very long cycles – not very short ones. They’re also typically overweight with insulin resistance – issues which I did not have. In my research, I also found a term for what I had been experiencing – anovulatory bleeding, also known as Dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB) – and I realized that this meant I was not ovulating.
Around this same time, I began experiencing many hypothyroid symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, always cold, and joint pain in my legs. I went to an endocrinologist and was finally diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism. I mentioned the anovulatory bleeding to him, but he blamed it on the false PCOS diagnosis and told me to stay on birth control. I’d had enough by this point, so I stopped the birth control on my own and at the same time began the prescription of Levoxyl (synthetic T4). That very first cycle on the Levoxyl, I ovulated and did not experience any midcycle bleeding! Finally the mystery had been solved!
I still have a ways to go to get optimized. I wasted several months on Levoxyl and then too-low doses of Armour desiccated thyroid. But I am currently on Cynomel (T3) to clear out Reverse T3 and then plan to return to one of the natural desiccated thyroid products. Between that and the hydrocortisone I’m on for my Adrenal Fatigue, I am finally making progress.
My cycles are still not perfect. I now have a luteal phase defect, most likely due to 14 long years on birth control. But getting my body ovulating was half the battle. I am confident that once I’m well enough to start trying, I will be able to get pregnant. I only wish I had known sooner that anovulation could be a symptom of thyroid disease. I could have saved myself a lot of heartache!