Meds & Supplements

This is yet another page I set up for myself to keep track of what I’ve taken, for how long, and why.

Feel free to poke around, and if you have any questions, I’m always happy to answer!

2010

  • Rx Prenatal Vitamin  – 2009 to present
  • Evening Primrose Oil, B6, baby aspirin – several months in 2010, with no success (obviously)

I don’t know why I took these, honestly.  I think I read online somewhere that these supplements helped to lengthen a luteal phase, and I had just started charting and discovered that mine was a bit short.

2011

  • February & March 2011 – Clomid – 50mg CD3-7

After completing a semen analysis, HSG, and hormone labs, my OB saw fit to prescribe Clomid for two cycles to see if it helped.  As these were both unsuccessful cycles, she then referred me to an RE for further treatment options.

  • July & August 2011 – Femara – 5mg CD3-7, Ovidrel trigger

The RE thought that since I had felt such strong side-effects from Clomid (hot flashes, night sweats, nausea, disturbing dreams), that Femara would be a better option for me.  These were also my first cycles monitored by blood work and ultrasound, and my first cycles triggering ovulation with HCG (Ovidrel).  Both cycles were unsuccessful, but I responded well.

After this August 2011, the husband and I moved over an hour away from the RE, so it became increasingly difficult to commute for monitoring; subsequently, I had a few more monitored cycles with the trigger that year, and a few unmonitored cycles where we did not trigger.  All were unsuccessful, and the RE recommended moving onto injectable meds in the future.

2012

  • February through May 2012 – Clomid (possibly – blind medication through clinical study) – 100mg CD5-9, 150mg CD5-9, Pregnyl trigger, IUI

In late January 2012, I was accepted into the AMIGOS clinical study through Wayne State University.  I had four rounds of IUI on a blind medication for which I was selected.  The study included Clomid, Femara, and Menopur, and I was selected for one of the pills; based on the side-effects, I feel confident that I was taking Clomid during the study.

I responded well to the meds, as usual, but had to take one cycle off in March 2012 due to elevated Estradiol.  That cycle only lasted 18 days.  None of the cycles were successful, and I completed the study in early June 2012.  I made an appointment to see a new RE in Toledo for the following month.

  • July 2012 – Femara – 5mg CD3-7, Menopur – 75IU CD7-17, Ovidrel trigger

This was my first cycle with the new RE in Toledo, which started literally the day I met with him.  I was only supposed to need the 75IU Menopur for 5 days, but at my CD12 monitoring ultrasound, my follicles were not where they needed to be.  Five additional shots, and two ultrasounds later, and I had ripe follies.  I triggered on CD18, and had the most beautiful triphasic BBT chart you’ve ever seen, complete with an implantation dip on 7DPO, and a BFP three days later. 

This was my first and only successful cycle, and sadly we miscarried in late September 2012 at 9 weeks.  There was little growth, and we never saw a heartbeat, so the consensus was that our little Gummy Bear had some chromosomal abnormalities that prevented he or she from developing as usual. 

  • September 2012 – Cytotec – taken to induce miscarriage
  • November 2012 – Femara – 5mg CD3-7, Menopur – 75IU CD7-11, Ovidrel trigger

Unsuccessful cycle, though I responded well.

2013

  • January 2013 – Femara – 5mg CD3-7, Menopur – 75IU CD7-9, 150IU CD10-11, Ovidrel trigger

I wasn’t responding quickly enough for the doctor’s taste, so he increased my Menopur intake the last two days before triggering to help bolster my follicles and encourage them to grow faster.  I responded well, yet still an unsuccessful cycle.

  • February 2013 – Vitamin D3 – 5000IU

I asked for a great deal of diagnostic testing in February 2013, and one of the results I was interested to see was a low Vitamin D.  Since my level was only slightly below the low end of normal, but far below what is considered “optimum”, I started taking 5000IU once per day to increase my levels.  I will have this tested again in 12 weeks to see if there has been improvement.

Update:  I was able to improve my D3 level with supplementation and by spending more time outside; once it reached the mid-fifties, I stopped the supplement at the urging of my TCM doctor, who said that there is plenty of vitamin D in the high-quality fish oil supplement I’m taking.  He also recommends spending at least 20 minutes outside between 10am and 2pm each day, with as much skin as possible exposed to the sun.

  • March 2013 – Acupuncture and TCM

I started acupuncture in late February 2013, and was started on Chinese herbs shortly thereafter.  I started having acu treatments once per week, and was taking a weekly TCM concoction from Evergreen Collection herbs, called Blossom.  These are herbs in four phases, and one phase is taken each “week” of your cycle. 

Phase 1 is taken while Aunt Flo is in town.  Phase 2 is for the week after bleeding has ended.  Phase 3 is for the pre-ovulation, ovulatory, and post-ovulation phase.  Phase 4 is taken about a week before Aunt Flo is scheduled to arrive.

To supplement, I was also given Notoginseng, an herbal concoction that helps slow down bleeding, as I have extremely heavy periods.  I also have taken Mense Ease, also by Evergreen Collection, which helps with pain attributed to Aunt Flo.

Update:  I only spent two months with acupuncture and herbs at this time.

  • March 2013 – Pregnitude

Pregnitude is a combination of Myo-inositol and Folic Acid, both B vitamins that the body needs, and that have been proven to help reproductive health, especially in women with PCOS.  I haven’t seen this stuff in my local pharmacy, but I’ve heard that the pharmacist will order it for you if you ask. 

Pregnitude comes in boxes of 60 packets of powder – one for the morning, and one for the evening.  You mix the powder in a glass of water, and once it dissolves, I swear to you there is no taste whatsoever.  I haven’t been taking this long enough to have seen much of a difference, but per my doctor, “It can’t hurt!”

  • March 2013 – Metformin (original formula, not XR) – 1500mg, taken 500mg with lunch/1000mg with dinner

Update:  After several months of taking the Met and feeling like crap for every single one (not to mention an unhealthy weight loss), I finally stopped taking it in late July 2013.

  • March 2013 – Dietary Changes – Low Glycemic Index Diet

In March 2013, my new RE soft-diagnosed me with Lean (thin) PCOS.  I have some slightly elevated androgens (testosterone), mild hirsutism (hair growth), and a slightly increased number of follicles per ovary, but do not appear to have insulin resistance.  Prior to that diagnosis, I had begun to eat more cleanly, eliminating processed foods, excess sugars and carbs from my diet. 

Upon receiving the sort-of diagnosis, I transitioned to a low glycemic index diet.  I mainly eat lean meats, vegetables and fruits, and whole grains.  I stay away from sugar, processed food items, soy, caffeine, and alcohol.  I’m also keeping dairy intake to a minimum because of the hormone and antibiotic scares of late.

  • May 2013 – B-12

Because Metformin can kill your body’s B-12 levels, I started taking a supplement to prevent mine from dropping too low.  I’m currently taking a Solgar 1000mcg sublingual “nugget” each evening with dinner.

  • May 2013 – Fish Oil

Fish oil is one of those supplements recommended by many doctors who prescribe an “egg quality cocktail”, and I figured it couldn’t hurt for me to take this along with everything else.  I’m currently taking Carlson’s Very Finest Lemon Fish Oil softgels, 2000mg (2 softgels) each evening with dinner.  I was skeptical about taking fish oil again, because each time I’ve done it in the past, I’ve ended up with that nasty “fish burp” thing going on.  These are wonderful.  High quality, and no fish-burps!  No taste at all – not even lemon – though I’m told you can chew these softgels like candy… Uhh… no thanks.

  • July 2013 – Maca Root

As sort of a last-ditch effort to try something that might help in more of a natural way, I started taking Femmenessece MacaHarmony.  I only took the “superfood supplement” for less than a month, however, so I can’t speak to its efficacy with regards to fertility.

There are several interesting studies available about Maca, and many have reported having good luck with regulating cycles and improving ovulation with it.

  • July 2013 – Royal Jelly

As with the Maca, I only took royal jelly for less than a month, and therefore cannot speak to its efficacy with regards to fertility.

Like Maca, there are many studies showing that the “superfood” royal jelly can be a helpful supplement for those trying to conceive.

  • July 2013 – Vitex (chaste tree berry)

The same as with Maca and royal jelly, I only took Vitex for less than a month, and cannot speak personally on its efficacy with regards to fertility.  I took a liquid capsule, as the herb itself is said to be very bitter.

There are many studies on this herb, and it has reportedly been used for thousands of years to increase fertility in women.

  • August 2013 – Acupuncture and TCM, Dr. Randine Lewis’ The Infertility Cure

After a couple of months and a series of events (a failed Gonal F IUI cycle, cancellation of my diagnostic lap by my doctor, and recommendations to move directly to IVF), I picked up Dr. Lewis’ book The Infertility Cure again, this time with fresh eyes.

I did my research both online, and in other books, like Making Babies, by Jill Blakeway and Sami David, and came to the realization that my unexplained infertility was more than likely due to a very slight imbalance somewhere in my body, that Western medicine thus far had not been able to correct; if anything, Western medicine had probably thrown my body into even more imbalance by forcing synthetic hormones to recreate processes that were supposed to function naturally. 

I narrowed down what I thought to be the source(s) of my imbalances in the Eastern medicine philosophies, and changed my entire lifestyle.  I also began researching acupuncturists and TCM practitioners in the Midwest, and found one who had studied with both Dr. Lewis, and Sami David, just over an hour from my home.  I began seeing him and am now having acu-treatment once per week, as well as taking Wen Jing Tang, and herbal decoction that is brewed into a (really disgusting tasting) tea, to be taken twice per day; he also has me taking a few select supplements along with my prenatal.  This is being done in the hopes of first getting my body back to a “zero point” after many years on and off of medications, supplements and other treatments.

  • August 2013 – Dietary Changes – Spleen Qi Diet

When reading Dr. Lewis’ book, and based on information received from my new Acu-Doc, I have adopted the Spleen Qi diet/lifestyle to help correct a Spleen Qi deficiency, which is part of my Eastern diagnosis.

This diet consists of including more root vegetables and “warm foods” like lamb, sweet potatoes, quinoa and brown rice, cinnamon and ginger, cooked fruits and leafy greens, and warm or room temperature drinks.  The diet urges you away from “cold foods” like tomatoes, salads, many fruits, and iced or cold drinks.  With this diet, I’m avoiding caffeine, soy, sugar, dairy (except small amounts of butter), and gluten (wheat). 

Part of the Spleen Qi lifestyle is keeping your body warm to aid in digestion and circulation.  In my follicular phase, I sit with a heating pad over my abdomen for a half hour each night, I drink tea often, drink my water at room temperature, and I also practice femoral massage, a technique discussed in The Infertility Cure that is said to help aid blood flow to the pelvic organs.

  • August 2013 – Fish Oil

I am still taking the same 1000mg Carlson fish oil supplement discussed above, but may change over to another brand at the urging of the new Acu-Doc.  He highly recommends fish oil to his patients, but is very aware of nature of the fish the oil is coming from.

He recommends fish oils by Green Pastures because they are organic and the batches are very small, making the quality better.  This supplement is being taken once per day, with dinner.

  • August 2013 – CoQ10

The Acu-Doc recommends CoQ10 to both the husband and me.  We are both currently taking a 400mg supplement by Solgar once per day with dinner to aid in cell turnover.  For me, this will mean better egg health, and for the husband, better sperm health.

  • August 2013 – L-arginine

Another of Acu-Doc’s recommendations, the husband and I are both also taking an l-arginine supplement.  We are taking 500mg twice per day (1000mg total daily) of the Solgar brand supplement.  This is another amino acid that is said to help with both egg and sperm health.

7 comments on “Meds & Supplements

  1. Michelle
    March 27, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    Hi Tracy! I have been in your shoes! And happened to stumble upon your blog by accident…or maybe I was suppose to? I feel a need to share my story with you. I went through many rounds of clomid with HCG injections, with bloodwork/US for days and years in a row. Only to be dx with undetermined infertility!! I did finally get pregnant and at 11 weeks had a miscarriage. I went into a deep dark depression. The only thing that pulled me out of the extreme disappointment was volunteer work. My Mother is ten year Breast cancer survivor. So, in honor of her, my sister and I organized a huge yard sale to benefit breast cancer research. My head, for once, was not focused on “baby making” and I enjoyed the fresh air of it all! Then, I had a doctor come through the yard sale. I thought great what is he doing here? But I spoke with him and he was a holistic doctor. I was so tired of traditional medicine at that point, so I asked him if he had any experience with infertility. He responded no, and that he specializes in pain management and with chemo patients. I thought well at least I tried. He then reached into his wallet and pulled out a business card. This Doctor had a colleague in Philadelphia that had a well known reputation for getting women pregnant. I thought, acupuncture, ha! That is all a bunch of hub-bub. So, I sat on it for a month. I turned on the TV one morning and they had some asian doctor named Dr.Tao on Good Morning America. He had an office in CA, where he would perform acupuncture on his side of the building and on the other side the women had their US done. His success rate was through the roof!! With out MEDS! Now, I am in the medical field, so I am not easily convinced of homeopathic remedies! This being said, I thought God just smacked me twice in the face and it’s time to pay attention! So I called the number, made my appointment. Dr.Xu’s office is a hole in the wall in Philly, but so clean! Dr. Xu spoke to me and examined me mind, body, and spirit. I felt so at ease with him. He dx me with a “cold” uterus. And gave me herbs the size of bb’s to take. I had acupuncture and it wasn’t bad at all! Each needle was taken out fresh from the packages(which I watched like a hawk!) He would come back and adjust the needles for a total of 30 mins or so. After 3 appointments, I was pregnant!! But Dr. Xu was not so happy. He wanted me to wait two full cycles before trying. And I should have listened. I did suffer a loss, and was completely devastated. But had so much faith in my fifth generation Chinese medicine Dr. Xu…. Three appointments and I was pregnant! So I continued my weekly appointments. We kept my appointments pretty quiet due to the negative comments early on from family and friends. And in two short months later I was pregnant!! I had my son Jacob, and then 18 months later had my daughter!! Wow talk about unexpected! I am extremely blessed and feel the need to tell you to just try it! What can you lose? Certainly not money…I am sure you dropped an arm and leg so far! Please find an actual certified chinese medicine doctor, who is also certified in acupuncture. It is best that he is Chinese, not some white dude with a pony tail! I wish you luck and perfect timing. I was told I had “thin” PCOS too and i think it’s a load of bullfrogs!!! Please keep me posted and if you are able to get to the Philly area I will be happy to refer you to my buddy Dr.Xu! Take care!
    -Michelle

    Like

    • Tracy
      June 12, 2014 at 11:54 am #

      Hi Michelle, I am actually not far from philly in nj over the bridge. I just made an appoitment w/ dr. Xu. I have secondary infertility, had csection 7 years ago and since have had 4 chemicals and 1 miscarriage at 11 weeks. Trying to figure out what is wrong. Thanks for the info on him!!

      Like

  2. Amy Dietz
    July 22, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    Hi Tracy! Love your blog! If you don’t mind me asking, have you tried giving up gluten? Autoimmune disease are among the fastest growing in this country and some, especially Celiac Disease, are very under diagnosed. I have Celiac disease which causes unexplained fertility and low vitamin D, among other things. Good news is, after six or so months of going gluten free, fertility is restored. 🙂 The blood tests for Celiac are somewhat unreliable, although a biopsy of the small intestine is a pretty accurate way to get diagnosed. Either way, with or without testing, giving up gluten may be worth a shot!

    Like

    • Tracy
      July 22, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

      Hi Amy! Thanks for reading! 🙂

      I’ve thought about giving up gluten, and adopted a “soft-gluten-free” diet for a few weeks earlier this year. The problem I was having was weight loss because of the digestive issues caused by Metformin, so I was advised to drop the gluten-free diet in order to keep weight on.

      I will say that after several months on Metformin, I have not recovered the weight I lost, and I’m thinking that the Met is the villain here, not the gluten-free diet. I’ve thought of giving it a real attempt, but unfortunately won’t be able to do so until I stop taking Metformin. …I’m talking to my doctor about this now. 🙂

      I have a laparoscopy scheduled for August 23rd, and if they find that I have endometriosis, then a gluten-free diet is one way to combat endo. If that turns out to be the case for me, then it won’t be much of a decision – endo = gluten-, sugar-, and dairy-free for me!

      I’m glad to hear that you’ve figured out what you have, and that you’re feeling well now! Thanks again for stopping by!

      Like

  3. melissa
    February 4, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    I read your blog and a lot of this hit home for me. Thank you so much for writing this.

    Like

  4. wyogal
    July 20, 2016 at 3:22 pm #

    Hi, I read your Med and Supplement page. I can totally relate. Can you tell me what you did after 8/13 since you now have a miracle baby? I am very curious because I am looking at some new options.

    Like

  5. Nicole
    July 29, 2016 at 7:36 pm #

    Hi I was reading your blog and you said that you found a TCM doctor that worked with Dr. Lewis and Sami David. Can you tell me this persons contact information? I live in Columbus and have been looking everywhere for someone like that somewhere near here. If he or she is an hour from you they shouldn’t be too far from me? Thank you! Nicole

    Like

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