A few months ago I went to the gynecologist only to come out with some shocking news. You never want to hear any statement that begins with “You have….” and continues on to say something that you have. Especially when it’s an incurable thing
I’ve always wondered if there was something there but someone always had an answer for my issues. I’ve wondered why I have never been menstruating regularly. “Oh, that’s normal.” Why did I started gaining weight so easily after puberty and haven’t been able to work it off, just gain more? “Oh, it’s just hormones.” I’ve wondered why so much of my hair comes out in the shower EVERY DAY. “Everyone sheds hair everyday.” Why was I suddenly suffering with depression? “Well, you have gone through a lot of trauma in your life.” Why do I grow hair where I shouldn’t? “Many women have facial hair, it’s pretty normal.” Why can I never fall asleep at night? “You’re not active enough during the day.”
Someone always had an answer to come back with for every question I ever asked so I eventually stopped asking. Until the other day. I didn’t ask the questions but I finally got the answer to them from her. “You have PCOS, you are the definition of it. How did no one talk to you about this before?”
I know what you are thinking, what on earth is PCOS? Well, it stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and it is the leading cause of female infertility. There are over 200,000 cases in the US alone! And many women go undiagnosed, like I was.
Here are a list of symptoms found on the official website for PCOS:
Women with PCOS typically have irregular or missed periods as a result of not ovulating. Although some women may develop cysts on their ovaries, many women do not.
Other symptoms include:
- Weight gain. About half of women with PCOS will have weight gain and obesity that is difficult to manage.
- Fatigue. Many women with PCOS report increased fatigue and low energy. Related issues such as poor sleep may contribute to the feeling of fatigue.
- Unwanted hair growth (also known as hirsutism). Areas affected by excess hair growth may include the face, arms, back, chest, thumbs, toes, and abdomen. Hirsutism related to PCOS is due to hormonal changes in androgens.
- Thinning hair on the head. Hair loss related to PCOS may increase in middle age.
- Infertility. PCOS is a leading cause of female infertility. However, not every woman with PCOS is the same. Although some women may need the assistance of fertility treatments, others are able to conceive naturally.
- Acne. Hormonal changes related to androgens can lead to acne problems. Other skin changes such as the development of skin tags and darkened patches of skin are also related to PCOS.
- Mood changes. Having PCOS can increase the likelihood of mood swings, depression, and anxiety.
- Pelvic pain. Pelvic pain may occur with periods, along with heavy bleeding. It may also occur when a woman isn’t bleeding.
- Headaches. Hormonal changes prompt headaches.
- Sleep problems. Women with PCOS often report problems such as insomnia or poor sleep. There are many factors that can affect sleep, but PCOS has been linked to a sleep disorder called sleep apnea. With sleep apnea, a person will stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep.
As you can see, symptoms of PCOS are not pleasant. But that is exactly why women’s health care is so important. We need to help people with incurable ailments, such as this, as well as curable ones.
Though it isn’t curable, there are treatment options. Of course, the number one treatment is being place on birth control to stabilize your menstrual cycle. Often times, women get placed on metformin as well to help with various symptoms. I have not been placed on either. There is a pill that a doctor can give you if you haven’t menstruated in the last 90 days to cause you to menstruate so your body can clean itself out. This is what I will be taking if need be.
I know celebrities are a big part of our society so here is a small list of famous women who has struggled with PCOS:
- Sasha Pieterse
There is an entire month devoted to PCOS awareness, September. I wish I had known sooner that way I could participate but now I know for next month. But until then, if you see a teal ribbon anywhere, it’s for PCOS.
As always, thank you for reading my post and I hope this has helped you understand PCOS and how it can affect you. If you think you might have it, talk to your doctor right away.