"How do you know if you have PCOS?" People actually ask me this all the time. I talk often about having PCOS. I was diagnosed when I was 12, but we knew something was off far before any doctors were telling me I had to go into surgery before my ovary exploded. Soak that up. For real. They really told me that my ovary was going to explode... OKAY, technically they said it could "rupture" and they had to do "ovary drilling", but my 12 year old mind heard:
"HOLY EXPLODING OVARIES, BATMAN!"
PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian/Ovary Syndrome affects many women. (pah-lee-SIS-tik) ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a serious health problem, called a syndrome for the way you can have some but not ALL of the symptoms. One in ten women have PCOS, and *NEWSFLASH* not all of them are chubby women! Some people think that PCOS is a disease caused by OBESITY, and while obesity complicates PCOS, it doesn't alway cause it. I am a prime example, I started having symptoms when I was 8.
Some of the symptoms of PCOS impact:
- Menstrual cycle
- Ability to have children
- Blood vessels
My symptoms manifest like this:
- Non existant period/irregular bleeding until I was 27 (yeah! TELL ME ABOUT IT!)
- Infertility issues/Fertility success with no period (WHAT THE HELL, Y'ALL!)
- Carb cravings. Not just "oh, I'd like some pasta" but "SOMEONE get me some pasta or I will cry or maybe die!"
- Anxiety and Depression
- Pelvic Pain
- High levels of androgens resulting in male pattern hair growth/excessive hair growth. For some women this can cause balding as well. For me.... I have a sweet pre-pubescent Mexican boy 'stache. (Try not to be too jelly!)
- High Sex drive (You'd think this wasn't a "bad symptom, but y'all... it can be, just take my word on it)
- Extreme difficulty losing weight
- Cold intolerance
- Sweating... A LOT (heeey sexy lay-day)
- circulation problems
- blood sugar stability issues
Sounds like a walk in the park, right? The tricky part about PCOS is that it can be very hard to diagnose. Doctors sometimes simply say, "lose weight" or "stop eating sugar". The thing is, your body is smart. Your body will win. I run, play roller derby, and see a nutritionist and losing weight is HARD hard HARD. You can treat PCOS with Metformin, and other drugs that help your body process hormones and insulin appropriately.
The thing I've learned over the years is having enough courage to be your own advocate. If you chose to take the naturopathic or medical route, it is up to you. I choose to take from both approaches. I changed, mostly, the way I eat. I exercise. I reduce my stress through support systems, and I take good care of myself.
Here are some awesome sites I follow for PCOS support and education, only ONE of them is geared directly toward PCOS. I've learned to piece together support and information.
Have you ever heard of PCOS before? Do you have it? Do you know someone who has it? How do they deal?