Fertility awareness: my story

Since it is National Fertility awareness week I thought I would share my story on the journey of fertility. During my teenage years every month at the time of my cycle I would end up in terrible pain often to the point of fainting.

I distinctly remember once being in Nottingham having finished work at Frankie & Benny’s whilst at University I fainted in the street, an ambulance was called people where in panic trying to help. The ambulance attendees thought I was ‘drunk’, a typical student until I had to embarrassingly tell them that it was just my period. It was common for me to faint through sheer pain and the menstruation symptoms. I was unbelievably grateful to those who helped me and cared for me whilst awaiting the ambulance but nevertheless so embarrassed that a period could cause so much commotion.

It was at this time the G.P. decided that I should undergo numerous tests: bloods, a scan on my uterus, cervix and fallopian tubes to make sure nothing else was going on. I cannot fault the NHS as the care they provided was wonderful. The scan detected lots of follicles but nothing uncommon, my bloods did not show up PCOS but the scan did show mild endometriosis. I went in for a laparoscopy.

A laparoscopy is a small operation to look inside your tummy (abdomen) and the area between your hips (pelvis). A laparoscopy is also known as keyhole surgery or minimally invasive surgery.

The team who performed the procedure were brilliant and put me at great ease, I was still only 21 and this was my first operation. The consultant afterwards talked about how he removed the endometriosis and advised I go on Depo-provera, a 12 week injection which puts the ovaries to sleep. Whilst I was no way near child bearing age and at the time had no consideration of children, I was at university, I thought this was a great plan, no period, no pain, no symptoms, able to live life to the full without a monthly fainting and pain cycle.

Roll on 15 years and I was still on Depo-provera until a very good G.P. informed me I really needed to come off it as there was a high likelihood it will have affected my fertility. The G.P. was extremely good and well versed on fertility. Whilst we cannot say it was directly down to the injection and I would not want to since it was my life saver at the time, my fertility was affected through age, contraception, and endometriosis. So when I did feel ready to have children the journey was a lot longer than I had anticipated and I needed help.

During all of this time in the early stages, I had never considered acupuncture, something I look back on and certainly wish I had. During my course of seeking pregnancy, in my late 30’s, I did then have acupuncture and I was amazed at the results and how it helped me regulate my cycle, alleviate menstruation symptoms and just make me feel generally better.