The Dangers Of Self-Medicating When TTC

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Uzoma* had tried for long to have a baby, but her BFP was delayed in coming. She had done everything possible; from fasting and praying, to ovulation watching, to fertility detox, and even using local fertility herbs. Nothing worked. Apparently, the next phase for her was to see a fertility doctor, but she couldn’t afford one. The cost of fertility treatments and consultations were way above her budget; so she kept trying some herb and roots or the other, and hoping for a positive result. When her friend, Priscilla* who was also trying for a baby began her fertility diagnosis, Uzoma followed through her entire process. She was watching and learning. She reasoned that since she couldn’t afford one, she was going to use Priscilla’s doctor by proxy. When Priscilla got her diagnosis and began treatment on Clomid, Uzoma followed suit. Pricilla informed her that the doctor said the drug was going to help with her ovulation, and Uzoma figured that she also needed help with her ovulation. After all, if she was ovulating fine, then she would have gotten pregnant since, right?

Clomid didn’t work for either of them, and Priscilla and her husband decided to try IVF after four Clomid cycles. Again, Uzoma tagged along and assumed that whatever works for Priscilla was going to work for her. Priscilla advised her to at least pay for consultations and diagnosis, so she could know what her own problem really was, and luckily she agreed. Like Priscilla, her eggs, tubes and cervix looked good; the doctor said the problem was probably with implantation and also advised her to try IVF. Since she got the same diagnosis as Priscilla, she decided she was not going to pay for any more hospital visits. Whatever worked for Priscilla was going to work for her. So when Priscilla started FSH injectables, Uzoma started too; she was able to buy her over-the-counter medications at an even cheaper rate than what Priscilla paid at the hospital pharmacy.  She was giving herself the shots without any supervision from a specialist, and didn’t think that her progress needed monitoring. After the Follicular stimulation, Priscilla took the HCG shot, and Uzoma also followed suit. Everything Priscilla was given at the hospital, Uzoma rushed to get hers at the pharmacy. Priscilla had a successful IVF and got pregnant with twins.

Uzoma also got pregnant, and was so overjoyed! Her joy was however short-lived as she started experiencing light vaginal bleeding. She Googled it, and found out that spotting and light bleeding are often experienced by many women in the early stages of pregnancy. However, she also started to experience severe pain in her pelvic region, which got worse when she tried to move. By the time she was seven weeks gone, she could hardly move, sit, stand or even laugh without experiencing serious pain in her belly. Her husband had to rush her to the hospital one night when the pain was to excruciating for her to bear. The doctor recommended HCG and Progesterone tests for Uloma, and the alarming results made him conduct a trans-vaginal ultrasound. His fears were confirmed; she had had an ectopic pregnancy. To save her life and her reproductive organs, a laparoscopic surgery had to be conducted immediately. Her husband and other relatives rallied around to raise the money, and Priscilla also chipped in for her. Thankfully, the surgery was successful and Uzoma went home with a lesson; never self-medicate and play with your organs. She was so terrified by how close she had come to losing her tube, and it then dawned on her, that women who underwent fertility treatment like Priscilla, and followed doctor’s instructions to the letter, were not being stupid.

An Australian study I found on theaustralian.com.au, conducted in 2014 found that women who bypass specialist clinics and self-medicate in an attempt to get pregnant, put their unborn babies in serious danger. The team of experts who have compared more than 300,000 births since 2002 found that infertile women who conceive without the help of a specialist clinic are nine times more likely than average to have a baby with very low birth weight of less than 1.5kg. Their babies are also seven times more likely to be born premature. The leader of the team, Prof Davies said these women use drugs that stimulate ovulation, but they may have underlying medical conditions related to their infertility, and without the close supervision of a specialist; the drugs could become dangerous to the woman and her unborn child. Part of the problem is that these women have underlying health problems that could interfere with the nutrients supply to their placenta, and might also be at risk of gestational diabetes. Undergoing treatment without the supervision of a specialist can thus cause even more harm.

Sometimes, a woman might actually have gotten her prescription from her Gynecologist, but because she is bent on getting effective results or multiple birth, she decides to increase the dosage on her own. I know a friend who wanted to do this, but luckily she sought the opinion of different people, and eventually dropped her plans when no one supported her. Doctors are experts in their field, and are available to us for a reason. In Uzoma’s case, you can understand her desperation to have a baby even when she couldn’t afford the cost of treatment, but it nearly cost her dearly. When it comes to our health and wellbeing, we shouldn’t take anything for granted! I would rather save, and borrow money to get treatment, or continue to wait on the Lord, than do anything to jeopardize my health and cause me bigger issues. Even when it comes to our local herbs, please find out exactly what roots and herbs were boiled in the mixture and run them by your doctor. What works for Mrs. A might not work for Mrs. B. Just because your friend, aunt or cousin used a local concoction that worked, doesn’t mean you should try it. You have a different body make up and medical history. I am only looking out for you! Let’s get the BFP the right way!!

Cheers!

*Names have been changed

 

 

 

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Photo Credits

  1. www.avvblogified.com
  2. www.eyeforpharma.com
  3. www.irishcentral.com

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1 COMMENT

  1. Thanks for sharing this article.
    This is just one out of so many challenges I have with people generally; people comparing thier experiances with others not delving into the fact that we all are different, unique, medical history yet they follow someone elses presciptions.
    Its quite unfortunate that the internet/social media/marketing/”unlicenced Conventional or Holistic gurus” have made such people thier streams of livelihood.
    Wishing people can do thier research, ask questions and consult a Licenced medical practitioner before slicking pills or injecting substances into thier bodies.

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