I thought I was healthy. I worked out with workout DVDS for an hour a day. Then I would run 3 miles. My diet consisted of “clean” foods like egg whites, lean meat, vegetables, fruit, oatmeal, and nuts. It was a low fat diet. I had a “cheat meal” or “treat” twice a week. Every calorie was counted. Looking back I probably averaged 1,200 to 1,400 calories a day. In 2014, I trained for, and ran, a half marathon. During this time, my weight dropped to 110 pounds (which is low for my 5′ 6″ frame). It never occurred to me that I was unhealthy.
But one day I had no energy. I was tired all the time.
After a workout, I would crawl back into bed. I had started to gain weight even though I had not changed my diet or exercise. A visit to the doctor and some blood tests showed that everything was “normal.” But I knew something was not right. So I turned to a naturopath who finally gave me some answers. I had Adrenal Fatigue. With the help of herbal supplements, continued “clean” eating, and reducing exercise (which still included 30 minutes of workout DVDS and a 3 mile run), my fatigue lessened. But my body was still not functioning as it should. Around this same time I went off birth control. But my menstrual cycle never resumed on its own.
After some research online, I found out that this can be normal after being on the pill for an extended period of time. I decided to wait it out. Six months later, still no period. Once again I visited the doctor and went through the usual panel of blood work. My levels were “normal” but still low. The doctor said everything was fine. My weight and BMI were normal. I was prescribed Provera to induce a withdrawal bleed. Two weeks later, nothing. So the doctor prescribed Estrodial and Provera for a month. Still no sign of a withdrawal bleed.
At this point, almost 10 months had passed.
A visit to my OB and an Endocrinologist, more blood tests, an MRI to check for pituitary tumors, and an ultrasound finally gave some answers. I did have a cyst on my right ovary, but they didn’t think it was the cause of my problems. I was diagnosed with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. I was told that cutting down on the exercise and stress would help. Again, they told me my weight and BMI were normal (at this time my weight had gone up to 130 pounds). Then I went to see the Reproductive Endocrinologist. She went over some of the options. She said to try a higher dose of Estrodial and Provera to induce a withdrawal bleed. As far as getting pregnant some day, she thought Clomid wouldn’t have success in my case. So basically she was telling me that my options were limited to IUI or IVF.
None of my doctors ever said to stop exercising or even asked about what my diet looked like.
They never said to eat more or gain more weight. Over the last year, I have cut back on exercise. But I have not given it up. I have slowly increased my calories to 1,800. I have gained 20 pounds. But I still have not had a cycle. It’s taken a long time, and lots of online research, but I have finally come to accept that what I have been doing is not working. It was a start, but I need to make a more dramatic change. So starting this July, I am sticking to only yoga and walking for my workouts. I am done restricting what I eat, and will bump up my calories again. I am hopeful that this will do the trick and get my body back into a place where it feels safe. I have decided to wait another month before I try Estrodial and Provera again. I feel my body is trying to cycle on its own. The past few months I felt some of the effects of changing hormones. Hopefully with a little more time and a few changes I can get back to really being healthy.