Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, or Exercise Induced Amenorrhea as my Reproductive Endocrinologist calls it, is what I was diagnosed with in January during my first few appointments with him. It’s nice to have a name to this ‘situation’ I’m dealing with, as my mind isn’t left to wonder…. Do I have PCOS? Endometriosis? Premature Ovarian Failure? (Yes yes…you can call me a hypochondriac if you must)
To back it up a bit and keep you in the loop, this is what was happening:
- My body was under severe stress (working full time, finishing Graduate School, planning a wedding in 10 days when my Mother in Laws cancer spread, her passing away 2 weeks (to the day) after the wedding, moving into our first home, planning our wedding reception…yea, you get the point)
- I worked out. A lot. At least 45-60 minutes every day, high intensity: Insanity, Running at 7-7.5mph pace, T25 or Taebo.
- I was still eating the amount of calories I “allowed myself” during my weight loss journey (~1800 calories) – and not consuming any fats whatsoever
- I was on Birth Control for 7 years and went off May 2014
So, basically it was that lethal combination of life stressors, pushing myself way too hard, not nourishing my body with proper nutrients, and coming off a synthetic “hormone” that could have been masking up my cycles irregularities for all of those years. Thankfully, I've changed my previous habits and am moving forward with a new focus, enjoying life, relaxing and loving myself just the way it is; 10 pounds heavier and all.
Anyways, I digress… back to some updates…
I’ve had a few more appointments, tests and blood work done this past month… which included a hysteroscopy. If any of you have ever had to go through that, my heart is with you. It is NOT enjoyable and hurts like a (you know what). They told me it would feel like menstrual cramps; but news flash, I was one of the lucky ones that never had cramps… ever. So going into this procedure I had nothing to mentally prepare with. On the plus side, you are awake during the whole thing and can see inside your uterus, ovaries and cervix (I think its cool to be able to see whats going on inside you… call me a weirdo) – but on the negative side, you are awake and can feel it all. I just did a lot of deep breathing, held the Nurses hand, and told myself it was going to be over soon. In all, the procedure took a short 2 minutes, but felt like an hour.
Thank the lord – everything looked perfect. No polyps, no cysts, no blockages. Hallelujah.
They also did an internal ultrasound before the procedure and magically found that I had a few mature follicles on my left ovary! So somehow my body was able to produce them on its own, but wasn’t signaling to ovulate yet. That’s OK… I know it will get there eventually… in one way or another.
Another HUGE finding that I was SO excited to hear: So, last summer during my first internal ultrasound, it was 4 months out without a period and my lining was less than 1mm; aka. it basically looked like I had JUST had a period, there was nothing to shed, and I wasn’t producing the proper hormones (specifically estrogen) to help build my lining. Fast forward to the ultrasound from February – my lining was almost at 4mm!!! That is still considered on the ‘thinner side’ but it means my body is really trying to work. Go body go!! You can do this!
So what is next for the Phelan’s in this journey? Well, we have another follow up appointment on Monday morning to get some of my (never ending) questions answered about next steps. I am confident that things will eventually work out for us and that my body will keep moving in the right direction.
That’s all the updates I have for now – thank you for reading and supporting me through this journey of mine. If you are going through something similar, please know I am here for you and would be happy to talk.
x’s & o’s
Disclaimer: I am by no means a medical professional. This is all from personal experience and research I’ve looked into on my own and through my Doctor appointments & discussions.