In walks the doctor, and out of your mouth tumbles all the questions about why you’re having so much period pain and most of all why you haven’t gotten pregnant yet. Instead of addressing the questions the doctor returns yours with one of his own; “how long have you been trying” You stammer that you haven’t been “trying long” but you have done nothing to prevent pregnancy either. “What about the pain” you say? “All we can do is exploratory surgery or birth control” is the response. Alarmed, and not wanting surgery you drop the subject and move on with the process of the annual exam. As you wrap up your visit your doctor says “keep trying and if you’re not pregnant in 6-12 months we’ll talk about our options.” Unsure what else to do you leave and go cry quietly in your car.
So many women face this scenario every day, and I’m here to tell you it’s NOT okay. While we can’t completely change the system (yet) we can make some proactive choices. Here are some recommendations to keep you moving forward so should your waiting period end with no pregnancy in sight you are proactively moving forward.
1)Track your cycle days and also changes in your cervical mucus. There are journals and apps to help with this.
2)Confirm your ovulating with ovulation tracking
3)Become curious about your symptoms, how you feel and how you’re sleeping. These can all be clues to what could be going wrong with your fertility/ health
4)Get a copy of your bloodwork and review it for levels that appear to be out of range. If you need to, compare several different results to see how the results have changed over time. ASK your doctor for clarification on these tests.
5)Take the same kind of supplements you would if you were already pregnant. Make sure your taking high quality, food-based supplements so that they’re absorbable and not creating toxicity in your body.
6)Period pain, especially debilitating pain should NOT be ignored. Don’t allow fear to prevent you from obtaining a proper diagnosis. Pain that includes excessive bleeding, and keeps you from doing normal daily activities is not normal.
It’s worth mentioning that on average it takes 10 years to obtain an endometriosis diagnosis. Some other things that can cause unmanageable pain or menstrual flow include; uterine fibroids, PCOS/ovarian cysts, as well as adhesions of the reproductive organs to the bladder or other adjacent tissue. Often women are told that there is nothing that can be done about the symptoms caused by these problems, or worse it’s all in their head.
I hope you’ve come to the same conclusion I did that in order to get the pregnancy you desire you’re going to have to become a strong advocate for your own health and take responsibility for knowing your lab results and body. If you need support in this area join us over here at Infertility Empowered where we discuss all things infertility related and how to get answers quicker and with better outcomes.
If you have unexplained infertility, you know that the list of possible tests is never ending. Well at least it’s not if YOU want to find a solution to YOUR infertility. Western medicine is famous for discounting symptoms and dismissing patients they cannot easily treat. Especially, if you have had chronic UTI symptoms you need to keep reading.
So, WHAT is it?
Ureaplasma is a bacterium that can be passed through sexual contact although it’s not considered a STI or STD because it has only a small ability to cause disease. It can live in the lungs, although most often in the reproductive tract or urinary tract.
What are the Symptoms?
Symptoms can range from none (other than unexplained infertility) to chronic and persistent UTI symptoms including pain, burning, frequency to urinate and foul smelling watery vaginal discharge. Some experience itching as well. Urinary symptoms can occur in both men and women.
Sometime associated with repeat bacterial vaginosis as well as repeat unexplained miscarriage.
If you have ureaplasma you may end up at a urologist who won’t be able to get to the bottom of your symptoms either since the bacteria lives in the vagina.
A $10 antibiotic is the cure...
While samples can be taken and cultured in a lab this is costly and usually not done unless a definitive diagnosis is needed. Sometimes you can have ureaplasma and the culture doesn’t grow. Sometimes only one partner is given antibiotics leading to even more confusion as this makes the symptoms go away temporarily (but quickly return) since both partners haven’t been treated. To be effective the infection is treated with antibiotics (Zithromax or doxycycline) in both partners (this is key in relieving the symptoms) with either
If you want to hear a real-life story of how this impacted one woman…
Erin Banks has an amazing story to tell about her battle to diagnosis over a 2-year odyssey where she went through 9 medicated cycles, 5 unsuccessful IUI’s (most of them should have NEVER been done) and 3 early pregnancy losses. All this could have been avoided if one of the 6 doctors she visited had done some further investigation surrounding her symptoms.
Do you have a story surrounding a UREAPLASMA diagnosis?
The first tip might seem pretty basic, but it’s oh so important. Ask yourself, how do you respond to doctors in general? Do you lose your train of thought? Do you feel intimidated? Can you easily voice concerns or ask questions? It’s good to know ahead of time what emotions may come up for you and mentally rehearse or prepare how you want to see the appointment playing out.
There’s nothing more frustrating than taking time out of your day to visit a Doctor Who has not received your bloodwork or not reviewed your bloodwork (this happens more than you might think) That’s why it’s SO important to take responsibility as a patient and understand to the best of your ability what your testing levels are. Most blood work reports give a range so that you can tell if your results fall in that range. If you have any questions or concerns flag those on the report or make a note to discuss this with your doctor. If you’ve been taking supplements to improve a certain vitamin store and it has not improved be sure to ask why that might be. Ask questions about test that fall in the “low normal” category to see if your doctor recommends supplements to help or a change in medication.
I can’t recommend the next point enough! Write down any questions that you have a head of time so that you can participate and direct the conversation towards things that are on your mind and you can leave having the answers that you want. There’s a saying in the medical community about if you hear hoofbeats assume it’s a horse, not a zebra. All that to say that you might in FACT be a zebra. Nowadays it’s harder than ever to give personalized care so doing your own detective work and advocating for yourself might be the only way to get to the end goal of a successful pregnancy.
In the weeks leading up your appointment take an inventory of how you’re feeling, sleeping, and your overall emotional state. How is the condition of your hair, skin and nails? Dry hair and brittle nails can be significant health markers. Be sure to discuss these with your doctor as these can be symptoms of other things going on in your body that you might not be aware of. In the end, no one knows your body better than you. Finding a doctor that you feel a collaborative relationship with might just be the key to unlocking your unexplained infertility or other health condition.