“I was elated to have found a natural way to raise progesterone that’s inexpensive and allows me to avoid surgery. And I have zero side effects from taking it.”
Liz had always had “female” troubles.
As a teenager, her periods were heavy and painful, and could last for weeks. When she was 17, her gynecologist put her on birth control pills to regulate her cycles – and she remained on them for more than 15 years.
When it was time to start a family, she came off the pills. But as before, her cycles were erratic, making it difficult to conceive.
For two years, Liz tracked her ovulation, but she had no success in getting pregnant. The challenge, she finally learned, was a short luteal phase, which refers to the second half of the female cycle, post ovulation. If this phase is short, the uterine lining doesn’t develop sufficiently to support a pregnancy.
A luteal phase under 10 days is considered too short. Liz’s were around seven to eight days.
She learned her period problems were likely due to low progesterone. Thus a reproductive specialist gave her prescription progesterone to extend her cycle, and the drug Clomid to trigger ovulation. Within two months, the combination worked – she was pregnant. She went on to deliver a healthy baby on time.
Ablation for Irregular Periods
Following her pregnancy, she used the Mirena IUD as her form of birth control for five years. While on it, her periods were regular, but relatively light. After the doctor removed the Mirena, her periods again became heavy and too frequent. She would have a period for a week and then one lovely week without it, before it came back again.
“It just felt like I always had my period, and the cramps and discomfort associated with it, or was about to start it again,” she said.
Again, Liz consulted her gynecologist who immediately suggested endometrial ablation. The outpatient surgical procedure essentially destroys the lining of the uterus with the goal of reducing or stopping menstrual flow.
Liz was admittedly tempted to go through with it. After all, having light periods – or none at all – sounded like a dream.
But she also had concerns. For one, destroying the lining of her uterus sounded unnatural. And secondly, it was still surgery, with all its inherent risks. Oh, and there was the $20,000 price tag that insurance would only partially cover.
As it turns out, the risks of ablation were not insignificant. Online research turned up women who were blissful regarding their decision…and women who had endured relentless pain for years following ablation.
Chaste Tree for Low Progesterone
Liz decided to get a second opinion, this time from a functional medicine M.D. Functional medicine refers to an approach that looks for the root cause of symptoms, rather than simply trying to get rid of the symptoms.
Liz explained the problem and that her gynecologist had recommended ablation. With just two questions, the doctor pinpointed her low-progesterone problem and offered a simple, low-cost solution.
The doctor asked, “Did you have difficulty getting pregnant?” and then “Did you have a short luteal phase?” The answers, of course, were yes and yes.
Next, the doctor recommended two daily pills of the natural supplement chaste tree, which comes from a berry that supports hormone levels, particularly progesterone.
The physician assured her that the supplement was super gentle, and with daily use, should extend her cycles over time.
Fixing Irregular Periods
The first month of using chaste tree, Liz’s cycle lasted 21 days between periods – a full week longer than before.
In the second month, her cycle lasted 27 days – approximately 13 days longer than before the natural supplement! These days, her periods are spaced perfectly 28-30 days apart.
“The first month, I was pleasantly surprised, but the second month, I was elated to have found a solution that’s so inexpensive and allows me to avoid surgery,” she says. “And I have zero side effects from taking it.”
“It was frustrating that my gynecologist immediately recommended surgery, without trying anything else before,” she added. “Instead, I have a really simple, low-cost alternative for low progesterone that’s natural and feels right for me. I’m grateful I sought that second opinion.”
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