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Natural Fertility Boosters

Jan04

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Dear Amy,
So I have a question about this herb called Vitex.
Just a little background first; I’ve had irregular cycles since I started getting my period way back in 8th grade, and I thought it was so awesome then (period only once every 3ish months? score! Let’s go swimming!) but now I’m engaged and we talk babies and all that, and no periods often equal no ovulation which means no baby. We try to be natural (and I have tons of allergies and reactions to what seems the whole world, and would like to avoid having to go the route of having to take hormones or anything because I can’t imagine it’d go real well for me) and all so I thought I’d see what was out there that can help regulate cycles and Vitex seems to be mentioned a fair as being great for women who are irregular and what not. But there’s nothing I can find from real people about it working, aside from a couple reviews on Amazon. So my question is basically, have you heard of it or of it working? Do you know anyone who has maybe tried it, really just any information at all. Or have you heard of anything else to get cycles more regular? I know you had issues with your cycles, what finally helped for you? I’m tired of having a period and then maybe one 30 days later, and then not having another for 70+ days. Help please!
Thanks, Emily

Yep, yep. That second-to-last sentence? Periods every 30 days and then uterine radio silence for 75 days, over and over. With the exception of 2001, when I had one period in the ENTIRE WHOLE DANG YEAR. I hear you. It’s maddening.
As for Vitex, though, I’m sorry to report that I never tried it, nor do I know of anyone who tried it, successfully or otherwise. As I’m sure you’ve read, but for the benefit of other people who might have no idea what we’re talking about, Vitex is also known as chaste berry, and is an herb that has been “used for centuries” to “correct hormonal imbalances in women.” I use that last set of quotes because the original “imbalance” that the herb was commonly used for was to suppress that pesky and sinful problem of the female libido. As the “chaste berry” name suggests, it was recommended to promote chastity, particularly among nuns and anyone else who hated the idea of a female sex drive.
There’s little about this use today, from what I’ve read, and whether it DOES, in fact, have a negative affect on libido. Now it’s recommended for women with menstrual disorders and problems, like us. While the herb itself is not a hormone, it does appear to cause a slight rise in progesterone levels. Low progesterone is usually the root of luteal phase defects, which delay ovulation and create overly long cycles where you stand little chance of conceiving.
While a couple fertility sites (of dubious medical caliber, I must add, although high on the pink sparklies and babydust) promote Vitex as an almost sure-fire solution, it’s an herb. Which means no FDA oversight or the need for any clinical research to back up the claims or catalog the side effects. Personally, it seems like something worth trying — side effects indicate nothing particularly risky-sounding, although that whole “female libido” history gives me pause. As anyone who has encountered even the slightest difficulty conceiving can tell you, the process already puts a huge strain on your love life. (Timed sex is the WORST SEX. Ever!)
Then again, I successfully achieved pregnancy twice without the aid of hormonal fertility treatments. I did NOT, however, self-diagnose myself as annovulatory before hitting the health food co-op. If you haven’t talked to your gynecologist about your cycle concerns, please do so. It’s one thing to have wonky cycles for unknown reasons, it’s another thing to have wonky cycles from something like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid problems.
Noah was conceived a few months after Clomid cycles, and while I didn’t conceive while actually taking the Clomid, I have to give at least partial credit to the drug (and the accompanying progesterone supplements I took to trigger periods) with regulating things out a little better in the following months. I had no such jumpstart with Ezra, but instead tried a few other natural remedies: namely, natural progesterone creams, Red Raspberry Leaf tea, reducing stress, and The Fertility Diet. Acupuncture was next on my list, but ta-da! I got pregnant before making an appointment.
I saw no cycle change with the topical progesterone, but admit I probably didn’t use it as often as I was supposed to because the whole concept kind of weirded me out. I bought it on the recommendation of a friend but…I dunno. PTSD from my post-Clomid mental breakdown made me uncomfortable using it. This is my tic, and my tic alone, though.
The red raspberry leaf tea, on the other hand, very likely helped. Shorter, more regular cycles, and I was downing a ton of it every day in the months right around getting pregnant. That’s the drawback, though, you need to drink multiple cups a DAY. For MONTHS. Like the Vitex, it’s not an instant solution and requires regular intake for a couple of cycles. It’s not terrible tasting, though not particularly delicious or memorable, but MAN, did I get sick of that stuff. But still, I’d give it a thumbs up for at least being a likely cause of success.
In the same column as the tea: diet and stress levels. I know, I KNOW, the next person who tells you to “just relax” gets a fork in the eardrum, and rightfully so, because that’s a gross oversimplification of a very complicated process and system of your body. But expanding my focus beyond whether or not I had a period that month helped me get much healthier, physically and mentally.
Being overweight has a big impact on ovulation, and I believe diet does too, even for those of us who don’t struggle with much beyond a few extra pounds. Crap food is crap food. The Fertility Diet boils down to a few essential changes: NO trans fats (and this includes anything that says “0 GRAMS trans fats” on the package but still contains partially hydrogenated oils), more plant-based proteins like beans and nuts, whole grains, and at least one serving of whole-fat dairy each day. Eliminating crap like sodas and artificial sweeteners and at least reducing refined sugar helps too. It’s not rocket science, at all, and is basically the same food message you’ve been hearing as the key to everything, from cancer to colds, though the full-fat dairy thing is a bit unique. Ditch the processed, overly refined foods and get to know the farmers’ markets and your dusty old cookbook collection. I cut back on meats and sodas, ate beans and nuts every day and drank a glass of Noah’s whole milk or full-fat yogurt. (The occasional bowl of ice cream was TOTALLY FOR FUTURE BABY too.)
The problem with all of this stuff is that it’s hard to commit to long-term. My diet is still chock-full of good stuff, but I drink too much caffeine and my ass cannot afford that full-fat dairy on a regular basis. Since having Ezra I’m weirdly more carnivorous than ever. Still can’t kick that Coca-Cola habit either, especially when I don’t have a hypothetical Future Baby as motivation. I don’t remember to drink the tea often enough and thus my cycles are more or less back to 30 days, 30 days, 75 days, 30 days, 75+ days.
Readers? Anyone have experience with Vitex or other natural remedies for correcting wonky cycles? Anyone hit upon something even better and easier than a daily bowl of ice cream?

Related Posts:
Trying to Conceive: Irregular Periods After Birth Control
Update to Irregular Periods After Birth Control Question (scroll down)
The Every-Other-Month Cycle Blues


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About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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27 Responses to “Natural Fertility Boosters”

  1. Mel Jan 04 at 10:37 am Reply Reply

    THIS! I was this!
    1st – get yourself to a doctor (or a Reproductive Endocrinologist) if they won’t take you seriously. My doctors never seemed to care that my cycles were crazy, I had to go to an RE. You don’t need to take any drugs if you’re against it, but they can tell you what’s going on. Within 30 minutes of being at the RE I had found out I had polycystic ovaries and a HUGE cyst on one of them that needed to be surgically removed. Huge cysts=no ovulation. Regardless of what’s going on with you, you should get checked out.
    2nd – I never wanted to try the drugs either and haven’t, although I was willing to as a last resort. I’ve read about soy pills forcing ovulation, kind of as a clomid substitute (google it, you need to take a certain kind and a lot of it), but I never tried it. Some people on a board I read swear they ovulated on it. Who knows…but…
    3rd – you definitely could be ovulating, even if it is rarely. If you’re ovulating, natural pregnancy is possible. Pick up the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility and read about temperature/cervical mucous charting. My cycles may only come every 50-75 days, but I have ovulated every one I’ve ever kept track of, and I was able to get pregnant naturally on a cycle that was over 50 days.
    Oh, good luck!! I hope this article gets updated with how you’re doing. I know exactly where you are. I tried for a long time and it seemed like EVERYONE I knew got pregnant before me.

  2. Ms. K Jan 04 at 11:08 am Reply Reply

    You may want to try sleeping in complete darkness. Put black-out curtains over your windows, block any light coming in under your bedroom door, no nightlight, etc.
    Basically, the idea is that people used to sleep in almost complete darkness except during the full moon. The theory goes: Light affects your hormone levels (this is scientific fact) women who are exposed to too much light at night get wonky ovulatory cycles (semi-scientific extrapolation, untested in the US as far as I know.)
    At the very least, it’s cheap and easy to try. Search for “lunaception” or related terms on the internet and read about it. And good luck!

  3. Katie Jan 04 at 12:00 pm Reply Reply

    Well… given that I am incubating a 20-week-old fetus who was totally unplanned and I believe almost entirely due to the improvements I made in my diet and nutrition, I would totally back up Amy’s nutritional guidance. I had a REALLY hard time conceiving my first child, and now this little chick somehow managed to make its way through multiple layers of protection. Turns out that the eating plan my trainer/nutrition coach (www.garagestrength.com) put me on is now being shown in studies to improve fertility. It’s similar to the Fertility Diet in that it’s based on more primitive eating… although I’m vegetarian, so I did adapt it a bit.
    Like I mentioned, I wasn’t trying to get pregnant, just be healthy. I’d been eating that way for 8 months when I found out I was pregnant, and I’m still eating that way since I birth giant babies and I’d like to keep this one a little closer to average.
    So, anyway, it may not obviously regulate your cycle — or it may, who knows! — but nutrition is a powerful thing. And the kick I just got in the kidney proves it.

  4. obabe Jan 04 at 12:08 pm Reply Reply

    i didnt have fertility issues, per se, but when trying for our third it took longer than my other two (other two: one month after going off BCP i was pregnant).
    i was charting thsi go around, and noticed i had a really short luteal phase. taking a b6 supplement corrected that and two months later i got pregnant. (total of four months of trying..) not sure if it was the b6, but it did make the luteal phase longer, which helped. you can google for amounts. but id also talk to your gyno, pronto. good luck.

  5. Sherry K Jan 04 at 12:16 pm Reply Reply

    We were diagnosed with unexplained infertility back in 2007, although my cycles have been somewhat wonky ever since puberty (somehwat like you descirbed above) I tried a variety of things in our efforts to get pregnant and acupuncture was one of them- It consisted of not only once a week needle treatments but diet changes (no sugar, caffiene, alcohol or wheat) and daily herbs as well tried it for for 8 or 9 months, and while I’ll say it definitley helped get my cycles more regular and it really helped with the side effects of clomid (I tried that for 4 rounds) in the end it took an IUI for us to get pregnant. I was feeling quite a bit better overall while I was doing the acupuncture.
    A friend of mine tried acupuncture for only 3 months and bingo she was pregnant (after about a year of trying initially)
    Good luck!

  6. Michelle Jan 04 at 12:27 pm Reply Reply

    I fall into the “wonky cycles” category, too. I didn’t try any herbs, supplements or drugs. But what did work for me was getting to know what was happening during my cycles. I started taking my basal body temperature and noting other “fertility signs” and learned that while my luteal phase was all over the place, my follicular phase was 15 days no matter what. It still took just over a year to conceive each of my children (probably about 6 or so cycles each time) but I knew when I ovulated and when to expect a period (instead of it being a big mystery). I highly recommend doing basal body temps – it might not be for everyone, but it gives you a lot of information. If you don’t have a biphasic cycle it is an indicator that there are other things going on that may need to be addressed as well.

  7. Nissa Gadbois Jan 04 at 12:31 pm Reply Reply

    I’ve never tried Vitex. I did a 12 week cleanse, fast, and diet change regimen (which I’m now tweeting as #Fitin40). I eliminated my meds for auto-immune arthritis and regained my fertility. I have achieved 3 healthy pregnancies afterward as a result. I’m now a student of holistic nutrition, and the mother of 7 beautiful children!

  8. WonderSpot Jan 04 at 1:12 pm Reply Reply

    I had a “whoopsie!” pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage, and then over a year of wonky cycles (shorter, not longer) and no pregnancy with lots of temps and timed sex and God, that sucked.
    I did acupuncture after first learning that there was nothing wrong with my system, or my husband’s, and that worked for me after about 3 months, or so. My acupuncturist also had some herbs I took (though not as often as she prescribed them), and some diet recommendations.
    I’m not sure if that’s the ONLY reason I got pregnant, but I definitely give it a lot of the credit. If your insurance covers it, I highly recommend it. Also, it’s very relaxing.

  9. Linden Jan 04 at 1:30 pm Reply Reply

    I used Vitex for about 6 months before conceiving my son, born ~16 months ago. I was also doing a lot of other things, so I don’t know for sure if the Vitex helped. I was taking Evening Primrose Oil during the 2-6 weeks before ovulation to improve cervical fluid, charting my cycle as suggested in the Taking Charge of Your Fertility Book, and pretty much on the Fertility Diet. Eventually I went in to see my OB and she diagnosed me with mild PCOS, put me on Metformin, and I got pregnant the next cycle. She said that the Metformin usually takes longer to start working, so maybe it was the Vitex or one of the other things I was doing. By the way, I was having cycles in the 30-70 day range as well.
    After I stopped nursing my son, my cycles came back and were fairly regular (~35 days) and we conceived our daughter (due this May) the first month of trying. So it may not be as hard the second time around!
    Feel free to e-mail me if you’d like to discuss further!

  10. Chloe Jan 04 at 1:54 pm Reply Reply

    I took vitex for many years to help with my oh-so-fun PMS, but I don’t think it did anything while I was trying to get pregnant for more than a year. I normally have super-regular cycles though – but my progesterone was about half of what it should be.
    Definitely talking with your doctor is a good move – I did and I now have an almost-four week old currently sleeping in my hubby’s arms.

  11. Emily Jan 04 at 3:41 pm Reply Reply

    I did go to the doctor a couple years ago (wow time goes fast) about it, they did blood test to check my thyroid etc. and a ultrasound to check for ovarian cysts and they found nothing for both. The doc asked if I was trying to get pregnant then and I said “no” and he was kind of like then what is my issue. So unless things have changed it’s not PCOS or my thyroid.
    Ms. K- I have read about lunaception a bit and I do sleep in complete dark (we live in a town of 150 people and no street lights, lol) but I’ll have to read more.
    And I agree about the diet/nutrition, and will have to check out that book “The Fertility Diet.” We try to eat healthy, but winter is hard to get fresh veggies&fruits because we are a bit remote. I am doing the raspberry tea as well, on my second month with that, so hopefully that will help me too. We’ll see what happens we start trying in Feb!
    If anyone who’s used Vitex has any more info to share feel free to email me, I’d much appreciate it. And Thanks to Amy for answering my question, lots of helpful info! Somethings got to help.

  12. Estrella Jan 04 at 5:09 pm Reply Reply

    I have been using Vitex for about four months now and it has indeed brought back AF. You can find it at whole foods, or even at GNC. I’ve been told (from online ttc sites) you need to be weary of how much your taking but i think with time it helps. I’m also taking b6 on top of the prenatal vitamins as well so some time it feels like i may be taking to much but i have had no side effects and my midwife has given me the go ahead to try these things.
    GOOD luck!

  13. Jamie Jan 04 at 5:20 pm Reply Reply

    You can have a low level thyroid issue that could be messing with your fertility that is not showing up on your bloodwork. I was working with a naturopath when I got pregnant with my first. She had me on supplements for thyroid and we didn’t even have to try.
    I am just newly preggers with our second and the only changes I have made is to lose 15+ pounds and have my IUD removed. No thyroid supplements this time.
    Also, I have heard that flax seeds have a hormone regulating effect.
    Good Luck.

  14. i agree with Mel’s 3rd point. Knowing your cycles via charting basal body temp (BBT) and cervical fluid is a big thing. My cycles are all over the board and even when I don’t have a period, sometimes I still ovulate. I took Vitex and got pregnant with my first in 4 months BUT I had never had a period in those 4 months (i knew I was ovulating because I was charting).
    I started taking Vitex when we wanted a second child and got preggers in about 1.5 months. Sadly, I miscarried after 2 months. But I’m back on Vitex again in hopes to get pregnant again soon.
    Diet and stress are huge factors too. I’ve always been a vegetarian and eat mostly whole foods, but stress I think may have played a role in the m/c.
    Yoga has also been shown to help — both with relieving stress and opening up the pelvis to prepare it for pregnancy. If your body is out of alignment it could potentially have trouble receiving the sperm. I’ve been doing yoga long before I wanted to get pregnant and did it all thru-out my first pregnancy. It’s amazing the healing benefits it has.
    Good luck.

  15. Jayme Jan 04 at 11:21 pm Reply Reply

    I was diagnosed with PCOS about 10 years ago… after trying desperately to conceive our first child for more than 4 years. I had no luck whatsoever with hormonal treatments or fertility drugs. I finally ditched my RE and went to see a good old regular endocrinologist. He immediately put me on a super strict diet and within 3 weeks, I’d lost 20 pounds and found myself pregnant. The diet was very simple. No white food (except for milk) whatsoever. No sugar, no rice, no processed anything, no potatoes, no simple starch. It sounds similar to The Fertility Diet, with a few modifications. From what I understand, fertility hormones are linked closely to blood sugar and insulin levels. If those are out of balance, and you are especially hormone sensitive, pregnancy is going to be darn near impossible.
    For some wacky reason, after my first was born, my fertility issues disappeared. I still have some residual hormonal issues (i.e. non-production of breast milk, inability to use any kind of hormonal birth control), but I went on to have two more children with no issues getting pregnant. In fact the very day I got my copper IUD out, I got pregnant with my third (and final) baby. Good luck to you!

  16. Mary Jan 05 at 1:54 am Reply Reply

    I can’t recommend enough Taking Charge of Your Fertility. Before I had kids, I could go a year without a period. When we decided to start trying, I just started paying attention to cervical mucus. Even though it took awhile, because I wasn’t ovulating that often, we got pregnant the first cycle with numbers one and two, and the second cycle with number three. Just because your periods are irregular doesn’t mean there’s much problem there. Definitely get checked, but learn how to watch for the mucus too. Good luck!

  17. Tiffany Jan 05 at 10:20 am Reply Reply

    Ahh! Your doctor said then what’s the big deal?! I’d say a lot! It’s your body, that’s the big deal!
    I had a doctor who told me that once when I wasn’t married and trying to have kids. I thought, eh, he’s right I guess… I had the u/s to check for cysts and at that time I didn’t have any. BUT. I had other symptoms, and I just knew I had PCOS.
    Four years later, I got engaged, and I found a new doc. He did the u/s and there were a ton of cysts, he did bloodwork to check my insulin levels and hormones (something the old doc never did since the u/s didn’t have cysts) and I was full blown PCOS. Do I think had I done something 4 years ago it wouldn’t have gotten this bad? Who knows. But it sucks trying to right your body back to “normal.” And even now, while on metformin, progesterone, BC, thyroid pills (yup, that too) I still have crazy cycles.
    I just think if something tells you this isn’t normal and you’re not comfortable with how your body is working, you should find someone who will take you seriously.

  18. Della Jan 05 at 2:26 pm Reply Reply

    No fertility issues here -this comment is solely about the Red Raspberry tea.
    I have never had *arms up in the air waving frantically* MAJOR PERIOD ISSUES */arms* officially, although I had painful cramping for ten years (from when i started my periods until I went on birth control to fix it). No endometriosis, no reason, just lie-in-bed-and-writhe cramps for the first day of my period, and what I would call “regular” cramps the rest of the week.
    My cycles have also been about 35 days long (5 weeks instead of the normal 4) and irregular (not like you and Amy, but maybe 30 days one month, 40 the next, 29, 32, 36… that kind of thing).
    I started drinking the red raspberry tea when I would get PMS symptoms (headaches, loose bowels, mild cramping, crankiness, loss of focus) but the period didn’t come. Every single time I took the time to brew and drink two cups of the stuff, my period would show up the next day.
    Also, I heard it was one of those apocryphal labor-inducing helpers, so I drank like a gallon of that stuff the two days before I went into labor with my first kid. It may or may not have helped in that case, but I like to think it did.
    Ultimately, I’m just chiming in that the red raspberry leaf tea definitely has been seen to make an impact on my cycles.

  19. Monica Jan 05 at 7:10 pm Reply Reply

    I am, maddeningly to some, crazy fertile . . . getting pregnant is VERY easy for me, so I have to be vigillent about my birth control, BUT I didn’t marry until I was 26 and didn’t try for a baby until shortly after that. I always had long, painful, cycles (birth control cleared that up) and the women in my family usually need a hysterectomy by 35, so I was worried about fertility. I even bought a bottle, but was pregnant two weeks after stopping the Pill, so I never took them.
    A good friend of mine took Vitex and said it worked wonders to regulate her cycle and help with painful periods. It also was what she attributed to ending her struggle with fertility.
    I would DEFINATELY talk to your OB/GYN first . . . if you have certain conditions, they could seriously complicate or even end a pregnancy. If you come back with a clean bill of health, I say give it a whirl. Just be sure to stop taking them as soon as you think you’re pregnant. (Vitex, like most other herbal supplements, has not been sufficiently tested for safety for a fetus.) Good luck!

  20. Jen Ambrose Jan 05 at 11:02 pm Reply Reply

    I have had this problem myself on and off. Going to the doctor did nothing for me as they just wanted to put me on BC when not trying to conceive and Clomid when.
    Doing some research online, I found that same link that a previous commenter did about blood sugar/insulin levels and your hormones. I changed my diet and eliminated all processed sugars/starches.
    Totally regulated me and everytime I get out of whack, I change my diet again and boom — back in business.

  21. lindswing Jan 06 at 1:00 am Reply Reply

    After going off of the pill because I hated the side effects, I had two normal periods (35 day cycle, as was my old norm), then NOTHING for almost a year. After a dose of progesterone from my gyn, my cycle resumed an every-other month thing, which I figured indicated a bum ovary. I wasn’t trying to get pregnant, so I didn’t worry too much about it, but they gyn told me I’d probably need Clomid when the time came.
    I switched to the Rainbow Light Women’s Nutritional System vitamin, which contains herbs (including vitex) promising “hormone-balancing action.” I just wanted a good, food-based women’s multi, but figured it was a nice bonus. About a month later (one formerly off-ovulatory month later), I was pregnant. Unlike with the pill, my sex drive stayed just fine, thankyouverymuch, enough so that I was willing to have sex without a condom, and TA-DA! That’s where babies come from.

  22. Pam Jan 06 at 12:17 pm Reply Reply

    Emily – Go see another doctor right now. “Nothing is wrong” is not a good answer to missing periods. There is no amenorrhea without a cause. If it isn’t Thyroid or PCOS, it must be some other reason (Fibroids, whatever). Whatever it is, you’re going to want to know – taking Vitex or other herbs could actually make it worse if you are treating the wrong thing. Personally I would mistrust a doctor who only diagnosis PCOS by the presence of cysts. Thats not considered the sole indicator that it once was. Standard practice nowadays includes a hormone workup. Soulcysters has a great little description of the standard tests for PCOS. http://www.soulcysters.com/.
    I had PCOS myself and was misdiagnosed by no less than two doctors who didn’t think there was an issue because I had no cysts and I was normal weight. Never mind that I once went 16 months without a period. The third doctor did a hormone test and I had completely classical PCOS hormone profile. I was still an unconventional case, but I had clearly high adrogens, so many PCOS treatments helped me.
    We also refused to do any form of heavy intervention, we were not comfortable with hormone shots and ART. I did a whole spread of drug, diet, and other things – including taking Vitex. In my case, I had already tried Clomid (once – we nixed that approach), metformin at different doses, acupuncture, diet (I did the “no white” diet someone else described). Just before I got pregnant I took all of a week worth of vitex (along with the 2000MG of metformin) along with basal temps and just managed to catch my ONE ovulation in the entire year at perfect timing and voila – we now have a beautiful daughter. I do think the Vitex helped with that but then again, may have just been lucky.
    BUT…. Find a GOOD doctor that knows whats up first, you will save yourself much agony in the long run. It was much much much much better for us when we started seeing a endocrinologist, we conceived three months later. In retrospect something I wish I had done two and a half years earlier. Live an learn…

  23. Betsy Jan 07 at 10:57 am Reply Reply

    I too have had irregular cycles since I started menstruating, but mine were more like “no period for months” and then “have a month-long period”. Ugh. When we decided to get pregnant, I went off the pill (after 16 YEARS), and after charting my temps learned I wasn’t ovulating, and was finally diagnosed with PCOS (non-IR).
    I was reluctant to start with Clomid right away, so I took Vitex. Did. Not. Work. For. Me. I was also exercising a lot, and had lost a lot of weight, but nothing helped. No eggy, no baby.
    Metformin also did not work for me. Nor did Clomid. Only when we brought out the big guns (Follistim, ultimately doing IVF) was I able to conceive. Probably not what you want to hear, but there you go.
    It’s encouraging to hear that alternative therapies worked for other people here, but it probably depends on what the source of your irregular periods is, and whether you ovulate even occasionally (I didn’t at all. Never). For me, I feel like I wasted a lot of time with herbal remedies and it fed my denial that something was truly wrong with me.
    I second (3rd, 4th?) the suggestion to read Taking Charge of Your Fertility. Find out if/when you are ovulating. That will get you started on a path to figuring out what will or won’t work for you. Find either a good OB (some are better versed in these things than others) or an RE. Good luck!

  24. Karolyn Jan 08 at 2:54 pm Reply Reply

    I tried the Vitex shortly before getting pregnant with my first child. I had been on the patch birth control for 3 years or so and my blood pressure shot up, causing the docs to discontinue the birth control. Afterward, I didn’t get a period for 3 or 4 months and called the doc. They did bloodwork and referred me to a specialist who said my ‘levels’ were low and I’d ‘probably need help getting pregnant someday.’ I assume that meant fertility meds. Being young and stupid, I decided I couldn’t get pregnant and went without precaution… BUT at the same time started the Vitex. I didn’t like not having a period while not using precautions because I wound up taking a pregnancy test every week, so I hoped the Vitex would regulate things. Three months later I was pregnant. Whether or not this was the natural course of things- ie: my body needed time to regulate itself after stopping birth control- or if the Vitex helped fertility remains speculation. I do, however, think the Vitex helped.
    I do agree with the other ladies that you should go to the doc, tho.

  25. Nathalie Jan 28 at 12:55 pm Reply Reply

    hello,
    ive had irregular cycles almost all my life. At 16, i went on the BC patch, ortho evra. After about 4 years of taking it I stopped because i was getting yeast infections every other month(TMI, i know). Once I stopped, i didnt get a period for 7 months! but i wasnt trying to conceive then so it didnt really bother me. That as 3 years ago. I would then get a period about every 3-5 months from then on. In May I graduated nursing school nd started getting a period every 30 days on the dot(24-25th) of each month. That was until oct. I havent had a period now since Oct. 25th. Ive had u/s before to r/o PCOS both negatives. Ive also had my hormone and thyroid levels checked and also normal. Ive just started recording BBT so we shall see if that tells me anything.
    I think im about toget in my car and head to whole foods to get some Vitex and Rasberry leaf tea and start taking that. It cant hurt right? My only question is ow many mg of Vitex to take each day? Lets keep each other posted :) I appreciate all the posts. They have been a great help and good insight.

  26. Jess Sep 14 at 11:50 pm Reply Reply

    I was on vitex-agnus castus and it regulated my period- I took it according to my Naturopath’s directions, and I swear by it for regulating your period. I was on it a few years apart at two different times in my life, and it worked both times. I don’t know how it affects your libido because I was not ‘trying’ at the time- just wanted to get regular. :) Good luck.:) 

    • Jess Sep 15 at 1:52 am Reply Reply

      * I don’t know how it affects your *fertility* because I was not ‘trying’ at the time-  I didn’t notice a change in libido. 

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