Thursday, 9 October 2008

Anyone got any Vera's? Luurvvvely*

I didn't tell you the whole story last week. (And warning, this is a pretty long boring post filed under the 'public information bulletin for those who might also be prescribed provera' rather than 'fun shinanigans relating to trying to procreate').

The reason I ending up seeing the doctor rather than just picking up my prescription and nipping off home to start popping pills was that I was confused.

When the doctor told me over the phone that I had to take provera for three months I thought she meant I should take it for 7 days or so, have a period, repeat for two more months. I thought this because I had taken provera before and this was the kind of dose I was taking. I didn't know it could be taken for an extended period (no pun intended) and to me three months sounds like three cycles.

In my defence. The phone call was taken on my mobile, with on a very bad line, at work, standing in the only private space I could find - the photocopier room. The doctor had just told me I had had an abnormal result, she had got back to me within a week rather than waiting until the next appointment I had booked in three weeks time. I'm stunned I could hear anything above the sound of alarm bells in my head.

I picked up the prescription and asked the nurse for clarification.
"Three months, no I don't know, I've never seen anyone take provera for three months ask the doctor, go on knock on her door now".

Note on the prescription it said:
Drug: Provera
Dose: 5mg
Frequency: lots (yes, I kid you not, 'lots' what kind of dose is that)
No of days supply: 3/12 (which I assume is actually number of months supply out of the maximum number of months you can have in a year).

I managed to ask what this meant. Response:
"You take it every day for 3 months"
"Yes I told you this on the phone"
(Deep breath don't argue just get this clear then you can get out and go have a cry)"OK so just to clarify I take a pill starting tomorrow [which was the 1st of October] until the 31 of December."
"Yes, one dose a day"

Now I took that to mean I took one pill a day.

So when I got my prescription and it said 3 a day on the packet I was confused. I assumed that was the 'normal' dose that was put on the label as a default measure. Particularly as last time I took 2 a day and that was only for seven days.

But I thought I'd better check. So I called. I don't know how it is is elsewhere but the gate keepers at the NHS are such that you don't get to talk to the doctor. You get to leave an answerphone message and then, if you are lucky, a nurse will call you back.

So I was clear and unambiguous in my message: I just want clarification of whether I take one pill a day or three, please call me back ...

The doctor's secretary called back.

"Dr S. want you to come in for an appointment at 10am next Thursday"
"Ok, but really all I need to know if how many pills I should be taking"
"Dr S. want you to come in for an appointment at 10am next Thursday"
"Great, ok then, do you know how many, just so I can start taking them?"
"Dr S. want you to come in for an appointment at 10am next Thursday"
"Right. Bye then."

So today. A very short appointment. I AM supposed to be taking three pills (15mg) , which is one dose - apparently. I felt like I was wasting her time - although to be fair she didn't make me feel like that, and at least I got to ask more questions about the hysteroscopy.

I should call when I have finished my pills, call when I have finished what should be an epic bleed, and then I'll get the hysteroscopy. (Another area of confusion as I thought as she wanted a nice thick womb lining I was supposed to have it between finishing the pills and the bleed - but no).

And it won't be under general anaesthetic, which is a relief.

So I'm pill popping until January and then see what'll happen.

*And yes, I know the Shamen weren't referring to provera but it works a whole lot better than slang for rolling papers.


  1. Is that even safe?? I have never head of taking that stuff for that long. =( sowwy.

  2. "lots"


    You should have gone in green gilled and let on you'd eaten the lot

  3. "lots" of Provera every day for 3 months? Seriously? Did she give you the reasoning? Bizarre...

    Thanks for your response to my Hooter's post, by the way. It absolutely made my morning.

  4. Holy crap, that is FRUSTRATING!!! It works often here that we can't talk to the doctor, but it's generally the doctor's call. I have had some awesome doctors and some pretty unavailable ones.

    And if it makes you feel better, when I read that you were to take it for 3 mos the first time, I was supremely confused as well. But since I'm not a doctor I was just like, "huh. That's weird." Here's the thing I would wonder about... I never get beyond the 10 day 5mg/day dose given to bring on a period (neither does prometrium suppository delay my period for long). I always bleed before I'm finished or the day after. If you build up a thick lining, a lot of times your body will still bleed even with a lot of progesterone in your system. There IS only so much space in there. That's what my marathon bleeds were.. overflow bleeds. So just beware that that could happen. That's what I wanted to say last time, but didn't want to come off as a know it all PITA, so I didn't. Oh, and 3 mos of lining??? My obgyn says to never let my lining build up for 3 mos as it increases risk of endometrial cancers, and in fact, I had an endometrial biopsy for that very reason. But like I said, I'm not a doc and don't want to make you all scared and confused anymore than they already do. ;-p
    Good luck sweets.

  5. How frecken confusing. I have never heard of taking it for that long or taking 'lots'.Best of luck with all this.

  6. I would have been so frustrated and stressed with the whole scenario.

    I don't really know about Provera so I can't really comment on the dosage but it really does annoy me when doctors tell you things that make no sense whatsoever and then look at you as if you are stupid when you ask for clarification.

  7. "slang for rolling papers" - really? how's that?

    As you know, I was never that cool in 90's to know a thing like that...

    G x

  8. BFNs, I would say it must be safe 'cause she wouldn't prescribe it otherwise, but maybe she just wants rid of me. gulp.

    Xbox, Yup, no exaggeration. 'Lots'. See above though, maybe that's what she wanted.

    Amber, Can you tell I had a bit of time on my hands?

    Barb, Thanks very much for this, its really good to hear from someone else who has taken provera and had different experiences. I have no idea how this'll work maybe because of taking 15mg a day rather than 10... I will see what happens but, thanks to you, will ensure that I am prepared for 'overflow' (that conjures up some horrible images). As for the risk of not having a period for 3 months I have been to docs before I was ttc to check that six months without bleeding wasn't a problem and no one has been massively (/in the slightest) concerned in the past. so who knows, I have noticed from reading other blogs american doc seem a bit more proactive that british, maybe this is an area where they 'agree to disagree'. (By the way what does PITA stand for?)

    PIB, thanks, I'm often confused, and this isn't helping.

    secret D, Oh yeah I've been pretty frustrated, but at least now i have a few months 'off'.

    Gi-Gi, Vera Lynns = Skins = rizlas
    And its not about being cool, just say no kids! (Although I seem to remember you having your fair share of naughtiness in the 90s...)

  9. Ok yes that is a very confusing prescription.

  10. Glad you didn't think I was too much of a nosy "PITA". ;-) It stands for Pain in the Ass.

    I will be interested too to see what this protocol does. I haven't seen anyone on it before, so keep up the blogging! ;-) So weird about the differences between our docs. I choose to be happy about what my doc says b/c then that means I have fewer of those really awful heavy periods. Doesn't it really all come down to what WE want? haha.

  11. Sorry, back after losing the Internets to a power cut, or I'd've commented sooner.

    The three months on provera is a normol protocol for endometrial hyperplasia. Some PCOS women, what with the never ovulating (that would be me, too), produce far too much oestrogen, and therefore their endometrium just keeps growing and growing. When you do get a period, the estrogen levels don't drop properly and the endometrium keeps on growing even as bits of it are being shed. You end up with a very thick and irregular lining that isn't very embryo friendly and that can develop unfortunate polyps and pre-cancerous 'lesions'. Rather than let it get into that state, the doctors put you on months on end of progesterone to totally suppress the estrogen production and 'force' the endometrium to stop growing and over-developing. When you finally come off the provera, you should shed every single scrap of it and be left with a nice fresh surface on which to grow a nice new normal lining.

    You may well get spotting and break-through bleeding before the three months are up. Then again, you may not.

    When they say it's a monster period, they are not kidding. Take the week off work. Invest in sanitary towels like 25-tog duvets. Take iron supplements. Drink a great deal of water.


  12. Nuts, I think I love you! Why the hell can't my Doctor explain it in such a succinct, user friendly way? Thank you, makes so much more sense now, I thought because I was often 90 days between bleeds anyway it wouldn't make that much of a difference. Now, I understand.

  13. Great learning Nuts!

    I always learn so much from your blog WFI. :)



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