P.C.O.S Awareness- Polycistic Ovary Syndrome
As a parenting blog specifically targeting moms it’s fitting we talk about women’s health and womb health. At the age of 26, I was diagnosed with PCOS. I was shocked, scared, and confused as my doctor explained what PCOS was and how it was affecting me. I went home with all my information and went to Dr. Google for answers. I found part of what I was looking for and the rest either discouraged or confused me.
September is PCOS Awareness month. Like many other awareness campaigns, PCOS awareness is to bring awareness to the syndrome. 1 in every 10 women have PCOS around the world. That’s a lot of women if you really think about it. Which means it is super common, however many women know nothing about it until they are diagnosed.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is a hormonal disorder which causes a woman's ovaries to become enlarged with small cyst around the edges. Women with PCOS typically have prolonged or infrequent menstrual cycles. The build-up of cyst and fluid may even cause eggs to not properly release, meaning failing to ovulate.
What Causes PCOS?
The actual cause is unknown, however, it is said that hereditary traits play a big role in who develops PCOS. Other possible causes are things such as excess insulin, excess androgen, Or low-grade inflammation.
I began having my cycle when I was 13 years old. From the beginning, they have always been irregular or infrequent. It was not until I was 18 that my cycle finally became “normal”. At 19 I conceived my first child and my cycle again became infrequent until after my diagnosis.
Beyond infrequent cycles thereafter more symptoms you should look out for or that you may be experiencing right now. Remember just because you have symptoms that does not mean you have PCOS the only and best way to know is to be properly diagnosed by a physician.
What are PCOS Symptoms?
Acne- PCOS brings on rapid skin changes including acne, dark spot, skin tags, or increased flare ups of skin conditions such as eczema.
Weight Gain- Women with PCOS have trouble with weight gain and obesity that is very hard to get rid of
Unwanted Hair Growth- Due to hormonal changes in adrogens, unwanted hair growth may occur on the face, arms, chest, abdomen, hands, etc
Infertility- PCOS is Different for every woman individually, many women report troubles with fertility and need assistance of treatments where as some women are able to conceive with PCOS naturally.
Mood Swings- the increase in the Adrogen hormone can cause mood swings, depression, and anxiety
Poor Sleep & Fatigue- PCOS is linked as a factor in sleep apnea. This will cause interruption in sleep. Many women experience insomnia as well
Headaches- hormonal changes may bring headaches
How do I Know If I Have PCOS?
Like I said I had no idea I had a health problem until I went to my doctor. The only sure way to know if you have PCOS is by having a pelvic exam followed by a tranvaginal ultrasound. If you are have more then two of the above symptoms I highly suggest mentioning it to your doctor. For years I never gave my infrequent cycle a second thought. I was actually happy to not be one of the many women having a regular cycle. Never did I think it was a problem until it because a problem.
How do I talk to My Doctor if I Suspect PCOS?
It can be a bit nerve wracking to discuss things with doctors. They say a lot of things we don’t understand and we can also be so consumed in the tons of information they drop in our lap that we forget the questions we originally had.
Make notes on what questions you would like to ask
Do some prior research so you can be a bit more familiar with certain terms associated with PCOS
Do not be afraid to ask your doctor to explain anything you don’t understand
Seek a PCOS specialist for second opinion if needed
How Do I Cure or Fix PCOS?
Currently there are no cures for PCOS, however there are many thing you can do to decrease symptoms. If you do not have a desire to become pregnant birth control is a good regulator for some to maintain symptoms. However, if you are actively trying to conceive your doctor may prescribe Metformin. It is important to know the FDA does not approve Metformin for PCOS treatment. Metformin helps with maintaining insulin level in diabetics. Although many women do not have diabetes with PCOS Metformin helps to regulate symptoms and help improve chances of a regular period. Clomid is also a oral medication your doctor may prescribe. Clomid helps a woman to ovulate. During my TTC journey I used both Clomid and Metformin, without any major side affects. There are a host of other medications and supplements you can take, but again, consult your physician to find what will be best for you.
Living with PCOS can be tough. It’s even worse when those around you do not understand. Spread awareness today by sharing this blog to help other understand and become aware of this common syndrome.
Are You Currently Trying To Conceive? Find Out What Worked For Me!
Want to learn more about PCOS?