After going six months without having a period, Miranda Yazvec needed answers.
“I was having irregular bleeding. I had facial hair growing and I was gaining weight even while dieting. Overall, I didn’t feel good,” the now 26-year-old Lewistown, Illinois, woman said.
Miranda turned to her doctor, who diagnosed her with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal imbalance that affects females of reproductive age.
Women diagnosed with PCOS typically experience at least two of three conditions:
- Irregular periods due to the absence of ovulation
- High levels of the hormone androgen, which causes excess body or facial hair
- Fluid-filled sacs called cysts on one or both ovaries
Miranda experienced all three.
As part of the treatment for PCOS, Miranda’s doctor put her on birth control pills to induce her periods.
“I didn’t like that because I was trying to get pregnant,” she said. And now Miranda needed to know if pregnancy with PCOS was even possible. So in October 2020, she began seeing Annavey Conlee, MD, an OSF HealthCare family medicine specialist who diagnosed Miranda with PCOS.
“PCOS never actually goes away. It’s just treated,” Miranda said.
She began taking metformin, a medication that reduces androgen levels, restores ovulation and reduces the risk of miscarriage. She also was prescribed progesterone to further support ovulation.
Dr. Conlee referred Miranda to a fertility nurse. She was introduced to Natural Procreative Technology (NaPro Technology), a fertility care-based medical approach to family planning and gynecological health as opposed to fertility-control measures, such as birth control pills. It uses the Creighton Model FertilityCare System to monitor various hormonal levels during the menstrual cycle to naturally know when the body is ovulating.
“You can also use it as a form of birth control without taking birth control, which I love,” Miranda said.
A need for surgery
In August 2021, Miranda was seeing Ann Church, MD, an OSF HealthCare OB/GYN. She began having severe pain around her ovaries. An ultrasound showed her ovaries had doubled in size in the four months since the previous ultrasound.
“My eggs weren’t releasing. They were hemorrhaging in my ovaries,” she said. “They were non- functioning at that point.”
Dr. Church then performed a bilateral wedge resection of the ovaries by surgically opening Miranda’s C-section scar from when she had her first child in 2016. During the procedure, a segment of the ovaries is cut out and the ovaries are repaired. It has proved to be successful in starting ovulation and resulting in some pregnancies.
“I got pregnant three months later,” Miranda said.
A pregnancy success
She continued taking progesterone throughout the pregnancy up to 36 weeks. She started by taking pill-form medication, but after about three weeks her progesterone level still wasn’t at an optimum level. This required Miranda to take shots every other day.
“It was awful, but I made it to 39 weeks and gave birth to a baby girl” on July 17, 2022, she said.
Miranda is a PCOS pregnancy success story that she hopes encourages other women facing the same experience.
“The biggest thing I learned, is I’d never take birth control again,” she said. “I wouldn’t recommend birth control pills to anyone – they mess with your body’s natural hormones and cycle. I personally feel that taking birth control is what mess up my cycles and caused some of my fertility problems.”
A return to normal
Today, Miranda menstrual cycle has returned to being regular.
She hopes other women with PCOS or infertility issues explore all their options.
“I feel like other women going through PCOS or primary or secondary infertility … they just want to jump in and do invasive in-vitro fertilization. I hope they see there are other options and more natural options. NaPro was amazing. I didn’t realize my body could tell me so much.”