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I am 31 and have had extremely regular periods up until 18 months ago. At that time I started breakthough bleeding at around day 15 of my cycle. The spotting is dark and had the consistency of motor oil. It would typically start around the 15th day and last until my period began. My periods themselves began getting shorter than usual with more clotting.

I have never had painful periods, nor pain during sex, have never been pregnant, and have been on the pill for only short stints since menarchy at age 16. Typically my PMS symptoms start mid-cycle and last all the way until menstruation.... they include pretty nasty bloating, occasional migraines, and definite mood swings.

After a year of this abnormal cycle, I saw two ob/gyns. The first performed an ultrasound which, I was told, indicated polycystic ovaries. I am, however, not a typical candidate for PCOS (slender (5'2"/100lbs, exercise around 2-3 times a week - running, yoga, cross-country skiing), no hirsuitism, small waisted, with normal periods until now). As I recall, the lab workup showed, slightly lower estrogen levels, lower progesterone (no mid-cycle spike), no thyroid issues, normal androgen and SHBG, and LH was only very slightly higher than FSH. I never had a fasting insulin test. (I wrote specific lab readouts down somewhere and can get more specific). Ovaries and uterus are normal size.

The first doctor said he thought I had PCOS, and that I was stuck in the follicular phase of my cycle. The second said he did NOT think I had PCOS.

My mother is 60 (skinny, 5'3") and just had a hysterectomy: she had severe uterine bleeding for the past 2 years with sever cramping. Her physician put her on estrogen replacement therapy 15 years ago. The hysterectomy indicated severe endometriosis of one ovary. I do not yet know what they found with regards to her uterine tissue condition. I know that family history makes me much more likely to have endometriosis; however, I wonder whether her endometriosis was induced by prolonged hormone therapy replacement with estrogen. My grandmother was diabetic (Type II and also overweight). My mother, grandmother and I all are prone to yeast infections (and grandma also got thrush once). My mother and I seem to have a sort of weaker immune system. My grandmother had trouble getting pregnant the second time. Mom didn't have problems, although she had kids at age 22 and 26.

I am worried that I will not be able to have children and would like to start regularly ovulating. If anyone can help me sort through this, I would appreciate this. Any suggestions for things to try/diet wise etc would be welcomed.

It has been confusing because when I read about endometriosis, suggestions focus on ways to reduce estrogen levels (i.e., exercise). Mine are already on the low side. Also -- does eating foods high in phytoestrogens aggravate endometriosis or alleviate it (by increasing total estrogen in my body, or by reducing the number of free estrogen receptors available for more powerful natural estrogens to bind to) ... or does it depend on the phytoestrogen in question (should I avoid soy and other foods high in phytoestrogens?)?

When I read about PCOS, things focus on weight loss -- I'm already skinny, and my doctor suggested gaining weight... but when I gain, my symptoms get worse. I've been trying a low GI diet, but its hard to know how well I'm doing on it. How bad is wheat in my diet? If I cut out carbs and sugar I will lose too much weight. And then what about alcohol and chocolate. Vegetables make me very very bloated when PMSing. What is left?

Thanks for reading this extremely long message... I really need advice.


TRY Vitex or Chasteberry - take at least 2000mg first thing in the morning