LIVING WITH POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME (PCOS)
Like millions of other teenagers, I suffered from horrible periods in my younger years. I started my menses at age 11. The next few years my periods were always horrible, heavy, and very painful. And then they just stopped. I went to several doctors and most of them just said it was due to normal teenage stress and not to worry. I started gaining a little weight (not much), but my periods never came back. Finally, at 17, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and told that I would have a very hard time having and/or conceiving children. I was devastated.
As if the knowledge of the syndrome was my body’s cue to kick it into overdrive, the real symptoms came after that. I gained a ton of weight that I couldn’t get off no matter what I did. Due to the weight gain, my symptoms got worse. I had to take birth control to induce my periods. I began seeing hair growth on my stomach and under my chin. And the worst of it all, was the inability to conceive.
But, don’t give up! There is no cure for PCOS, but it can be managed. And you CAN become pregnant. I am expecting my first baby any day now. **Check out my post MY PREGNANCY JOURNEY to learn how I did it.
What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
So what exactly is PCOS? It’s a condition of the ovaries caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones, which in turn, effects the eggs. With PCOS, the egg may not develop properly or release during ovulation.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Fluid filled cysts on ovaries
- Infertility or difficulty conceiving
- Unwanted hair growth on face or other body parts
- Weight gain or inability to lose weight
- Face and body acne
- Darkening of the skin, usually along neck creases
- Skin tags, usually on neck or in the armpits
Other health risks that increase with PCOS
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Endometrial cancer
- Sleep apnea
How is PCOS diagnosed?
- Blood tests
- Pelvic exam
How is PCOS treated?
- Weight loss – I can tell you from experience, this is the HARDEST and BEST treatment for PCOS. It takes extreme dedication and will power, but it can be done. I lost 40 pounds and my periods resumed on their own, as did ovulation.
- Medications – such as birth control, hormones, metformin
- Medications and procedures to help conceive
Does PCOS affect pregnancy?
Yes it can. Once you conceive, having a history of PCOS can put you at risk of:
- Gestational Diabetes
- Cesarean Section
You can help lower your risk of these by maintaining a healthy weight prior to pregnancy.
For more information, check out these sites:
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