Have you ever heard of the term Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome? No? Well prior to getting diagnosed about 15 years ago, I've never heard of it either. My first visit was to the Gyn. He wasn't the brightest bulb in the room but when I saw him pull out a medical dictionary and dust it off, fear crept in immediately and that visit was my last with him. After a few more visits to various Gyn's who had no clue what to do with this thing called PCOS, and a lot of research on my own, I mean A LOT; I was finally diagnosed and placed on various meds to rectify the situation. It has been a long hard journey fighting this thing so for all my PCOS sisters out there let me tell you I understand what you're going through (fist pump). For those who have not heard of the syndrome let me break it down for you.
What is PCOS? It is a endocrine system disorder causing enlarged ovaries with small cysts on them.
- Weight gain - About half of women with PCOS will have weight gain and obesity that is difficult to manage. Your body is practically fighting against you losing the weight. Ugh! You have to do some serious exercising and low carb dieting to make progress. I mean lean meat, vegetables and about two slices of bread a day type of dieting.
- Fatigue - You may feel extra tired, even after you've gotten a good nights rest. Along with this will come minor headaches every once in awhile.
- 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. This is still a struggle for me and electric therapy does not work very well for darker skin tones. Oh yeah and it is PAINFUL!
- Thinning hair on the head. I haven't experienced this thank goodness, but I hear and see some women really lose a lot of hair.
- 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 - This one is a definite and along with this may come those pesky skin tags and darker skin around the neck and armpit areas.
- Mood changes- Increase in mood swings, depression, and anxiety. Yep! I've cried for no reason at all and went into a depression so deep that suicidal thoughts were not uncommon to me. It's not just the way you are honey. Your hormones are affected with PCOS and that can throw everything off.
So there you have it. According to the PCOS Awareness Association, those are the most common symptoms. If you suspect you may have PCOS please go see your doctor. You can book an appointment with an Endocrinologist or a Gynecologist. Some women like myself, saw both. There is no cure for PCOS but birth control will help to regulate your period and a medication called metformin can help regulate the way your body processes sugars. This is major in your quest to lose the weight. Once you begin to lose weight, it will become easier for you body to process carbs and your hormones will begin to normalize again.
I know it's a struggle because I had to resort to extreme measures to get my body back into shape. You can Google PCOS or visit the PCOS Awareness Association for more info. There are also some really great support groups like Soul Cysters if you need to talk to someone and once again, please go see a certified physician to get properly diagnosed. Knowledge is power and knowing what is causing you to look, feel and act the way you do will empower you to make a change.
Until next time,
Live in gratitude. Live in Love.