Panic About Fertility

Question

I’m having a complete panic about my fertility. I’m 30 years old and stopped taking the pill a few months ago after being on it for many years. I realise they tell you that it takes sometime for your hormones to regulate but I have a terrible feeling something is wrong particularly as I am producing no fertile cervical mucus whatsoever. I feel very lucky as my periods returned straight away and I believe I am ovulating. I’m worried as I had an abortion three years ago, which although I hugely regret think this may have affected my ability to produce any fertile cervical mucus. I’m working myself up about this so much and feel like I have no one to turn to. Is there somewhere I can go to get my fertility checked? Is there any advice you can give me?
Thanks,
Jessica

Answer

Dear Jessica,

I am sorry about your situation but unfortunately I think yours is a common story. So many girls and young women are started on contraceptives without being told the risks of such things as blood clots, cancer, and abortion. Also, when women stop using chemical contraceptives such as the birth control pill, they have a varying degree of return to fertility. Additionally, surgical abortions can be traumatic to the cervix and reduce the function of the mucus producing glands in the cervix.

First, the areas of the brain responsible for helping to cycle the ovaries have been “on hold” so to speak and may not be sending the proper signals to the ovaries. The hormones, FSH and LH, signal a follicle in the ovary to grow and then allow ovulation, respectively. The enlarging dominant follicle produces estrogen to help develop the lining of the uterus (endometrium). The left over follicle (corpus luteum) then produces progesterone which further develops the endometrium. When the progesterone levels fall, the woman has her menstrual flow.

If the FSH levels are subnormal, then the follicle won’t enlarge to the proper size and produce the proper levels of estrogen. This can leave a thinner lining of endometrium making lighter periods and create less cervical mucus. So while you may be having regular cycles, the follicle may not be at normal sizes and/or may not be rupturing to allow ovulation. It is quite possible that the abortion damaged the cervix where the mucus producing glands are located. This would explain some of the decrease in mucus.

The best way to sort this out is to learn how to chart your cycles and cervical mucus from a certified natural fertility care instructor who can then refer you to a physician trained in NaPro Technology. There are many of these qualified people in the UK and can be found at fertilitycare.net.

I hope that this helps and gives you encouragement to seek more specific answers for your health.

Sincerely, Gretchen V. Marsh, D.O

Answered By:

Gretchen Marsh, D.O.
Dr. Marsh graduated from Western University of Health Sciences in 1987 in Pomona, CA and is board certified in Family Medicine by the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians. She has been certified as a NaProTechnology® Medical Consultant (NaPro) and Creighton model Fertility Care System (CrMS) teacher since 2001. She and her husband, Jon, have 5 sons and live in the Reno region, where she sees patients in person, in addition to her telehealth services offered via MyCatholicDoctor.com

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