I have an appointment with my OB this morning, and I have almost no idea what to expect.
There probably won't be a lot to report, as I imagine she'll just make me a bunch of appointments to ultrasound my lady parts and draw my blood. I've never had an abnormal papsmear, so I don't expect her to be peering into my nether regions and suddenly gasp Oh! Here's the problem! And pull out a sock or something.
It could answer the age-old question: Where do all the socks go? Vaginas.
I joke, of course. What I mean is that I don't expect her to find anything unusual, like a cyst or something.
Just recently I had a realization about something that might be affecting my fertility. I can't believe it never occurred to me before now. And also, I can't believe I'm about to write about it on the Internet.
The thing is, several years ago -- probably eight or nine years ago -- I got bacterial vaginosis. Don't get all grossed out; BV is just an overgrowth of the normal bacteria that lives in your hoo-haw. It is the most common vaginal infection in women of child-bearing age.
But at the time, I had no idea what it was. I thought it was a yeast infection, because I'd never had one of those, either. So I tried to treat it with some shit from the drug store, which didn't work. I may have waited a couple weeks before I finally sought professional treatment. The doctor diagnosed me in minutes and sent me on my way with antibiotics.
Today I had to go and make myself extra paranoid by googling whether BV can affect fertility, and of course I stumbled across a page that said:
Additionally, bacterial vaginosis can permanently affect your fertility. If left untreated, bacteria from the vagina can travel into your uterus, causing serious damage to your fallopian tubes. This can leave you at risk for future ectopic pregnancies or for complete infertility.
I obviously treated the infection, so I'm not sure if I'm subject to this complication or not.
Another site said it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease.
The CDC says:
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) refers to infection of the uterus (womb), fallopian tubes (tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus) and other reproductive organs that causes symptoms such as lower abdominal pain.
Interesting. I am no stranger to lower abdominal pain, but my previous physician dismissed it as a torn muscle.
Now, I don't want to pre-diagnose myself, but while I'm on a roll, I went ahead and looked up PID in Making Babies. It led me to a section on Lutenized Unruptured Follicle Syndrome (LUFS), which occurs frequently in women who have had PID.
LUFS "... is a rare condition in which a follicle develops to mature an egg, but the follicle never breaks open to release the egg. LH spikes, the usual signal to start ovulation, but there's no ovulation..."
"LUFS is difficult to diagnose because it seems as if ovulation has occurred: BBT (basal body temperature) rises, progesterone goes up, and other hormone levels are normal."
Also interesting. My LH spikes every cycle, as does my temperature. The only difference is my temperature then usually bing-bongs all over the place after that. The book says the cure for this is simple: A couple of injections of hormones prompt release of the egg, and if the sperm is OK, you've got a winner.
And here's another interesting tidbit that should have any of us who are having fertility issues making appointments with our doctors, pronto:
"Studies have shown that about 25 to 30 percent of women seeking treatment for infertility carry microorganisms that can impair fertility." These can be as simple as the microorganisms from a yeast infection. You could be asymptomatic, but that junk could be throwing everything off. They can kill sperm or infect an embryo if an egg gets fertilized. If this is happening, both partners need to take antibiotics to kill that shit off.
So what I'm getting at is: I have no idea what's causing our infertility. I'll be requesting the full gamut of testing, and will be sending my husband in to have his sperm checked out.
If I have any updates after today's appointment, I'll put them at the bottom of this post later in the day. If not, I'll update next Wednesday!
Update: I can't even really begin to tell you about all the things I forgot to ask the doctor about, like my Vitamin D levels or my wonky temperatures. It was a very brief visit. I told her I'm having trouble getting pregnant, and she instructed me to get some blood drawn on the third day of my next period (I estimate this will be sometime around July 13). They'll be testing for hypothyroid, estradiol, FSH, and prolactin. I don't know what any of that means, so me and Google have a date for later this afternoon.
I also have a lab sheet for my husband to have his semen tested. I'll wait for my period to start before I make him do that, as well.
I did ask my doctor about the BV and she says it shouldn't be an issue. If I had PID, she says I'd know. With no history of STDs, I should be fine and probably will not need that test where they inject iodine into your lady parts and see if there are any obstructions. (I am definitely feeling like master of the overshare today).
Lastly, the exam went well, as expected. There were no socks or other foreign objects hiding out in my vagina and she pronounced that everything looked great. And if anyone out there is wondering what an actual professional says about frequency of sex during your fertile window -- my doc says every two days.