Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Awareness (PCOS) Month
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels.
It’s a serious genetic, hormone, metabolic and reproductive disorder that affects women from all ages and body types.
PCOS is a problem with hormones that affects women during their childbearing years (ages 15 to 44). Between 2.2 and 26.7 percent of women in this age group have PCOS.
Many women have PCOS but don’t know it. In one study, up to 70 percent of women with PCOS hadn’t been diagnosed.
PCOS is a “syndrome,” or group of symptoms that affects the ovaries and ovulation.
- cysts in the ovaries
- high levels of male hormones
- irregular or skipped periods
Excessive adult acne
Unusual hair growth
Unexpected weight gain
Difficulty getting pregnant
Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetic
PCOS Isn’t the most comfortable topic to speak about or sometimes you just ignore these symptoms and end up with an even uncomfortable daily life and missed up hormones!
Do not let a potential problem be ignored and speak about it with your friends and with your doctor. This is why I’m going to share my own experience with PCOS
My personal experience with PCOS
I was diagnosed with PCOS when i was 20 which was quite late because I’ve been struggling with the symptoms since I first started my period as a teenager.
I never discussed it with my mom, my sisters or my friends about it so it went along to be the norm for me and it started affecting my life later on.
I knew something was wrong but being so young and not being aware or taught that young girls should also go to a gynaecologist to check up and its not only for married or pregnant women.
The PCOS symptoms I’ve experienced
My period was an absolute no show, started it very late at age and then i have a once in a year almost period and started gaining weight plus unusual hair growth on body, I had very painful PMS and took pills like Primolut nor to eventually to get the period to start.
This went on for a few months; Not getting period for several months then taking pills to get it after awful pain. Until once I had acne on my back which was strange as i never had acne when i was a teenager and normally have good skin.
I also gained even more weight as I want even paying attention to my weight, my health or my diet. I wasn’t obese or something I now weigh 59 Kilos and by gaining weight is Plus 10- 12 Kilos .
I finally took a visit to a gynaecologist to check why do i have acne all of a sudden because it might be hormones.
I was then diagnosed with PCOS and The Gyno wondered why I waited for so long and that i shouldn’t let myself not have absent period this way.
She subscribed Yaz; birth control pills which is a combination of 2 hormones: an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (drospirenone), took it for 3 months so i get my period for three months in a row and hopefully the acne will go away.
Which it did, i also lost weight without changing any lifestyle habits so I’m guessing yes absent periods do get you water retention.
How I went on after PCOS diagnosis
I was still figuring it out and sometimes taking birth control pills, sometimes missing periods for long times then taking pills, lets say i was still not fully aware.
After getting married, my first period was after 4 months and PMS was so painful i couldnt stand up or walk to the hospital i went on a wheel chair because of the horrible back/leg pain.
I then started taking birth control pills for longer periods of time and understanding PCOS better.
As i was married and planning getting pregnant or not, I was more aware of my cycles. So I tried again Yaz, Yasmin, Primolut nor and similar pills until I decided to get pregnant, a gynaecologist prescribed Inofolic which i took for 7 months, i got regular periods with absolute no side effects as its a supplement and not hormones like birth control pills. At that time I was feeling my best. My body got back in shape perfectly healthy.
I was lucky and grateful to get pregnant easily and have two healthy pregnancies. The thing is with PCOS is you might have 10 kids easily or have very hard time getting pregnant.
It might affect your life in every way from enjoying a regular normal period to planning your family, having kids and birth control.
What are the causes of PCOS
- Excess insulin Insulin is the hormone produced in the pancreas that allows cells to use sugar, your body’s primary energy supply. If your cells become resistant to the action of insulin, then your blood sugar levels can rise and your body might produce more insulin. Excess insulin might increase androgen production, causing difficulty with ovulation.
- Low-grade inflammationThis term is used to describe white blood cells’ production of substances to fight infection. Research has shown that women with PCOS have a type of low-grade inflammation that stimulates polycystic ovaries to produce androgens, which can lead to heart and blood vessel problems.
- Genetics Research suggests that certain genes might be linked to PCOS.
- Excess androgen Production of abnormally high levels of androgen in the ovaries, resulting in hirsutism and acne.
- Unknown While doctors and researchers continue to search for the exact cause of PCOS, the sad truth of the matter is that, as of today, we still do not know the direct link to the cause of PCOS.
Is PCOS manageable
Main treatments are lowering insulin resistance levels, restoration of fertility, treatment of acne, and restoration of regular menstruation depending on your main concern.
Diet and lifestyle changes are also considered treatments for PCOS. Reducing Carb and sugar intake, healthy weight loss and exercise are effective methods of regulating periods and ovulation.
While birth control pills is the most common PCOS prescription, it good for women who don’t want to get pregnant, but there are also tablets that also help with PCOS patients like these which consists of myo-inositol d-chiro-inositol and folic acid.
Myths & Facts about PCOS
Myth 1 : You Did Something To Cause PCOS
While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, one thing is certain: You are not to blame.
This hormonal disorder causes a variety of symptoms and isn’t fully understood. However it is believed that it could be caused from a combination of genetic and lifestyle habits.
Myth 2: If You Lose Weight, PCOS will be treated
Unfortunately, there is no cure for PCOS, but overweight and obese women can help balance their hormone levels by losing weight.
Otherwise, treatment is aimed at managing symptoms.
A wide range of treatment options can help prevent any potential problems.
Myth #3: PCOS is a Rare Condition
Myth 3: PCOS Is not a common condition.
1 to10 women have PCOS which makes the condition one of the most common hormonal endocrine disorders among women of reproductive age.
But, according to the PCOS Foundation, less than half of all women with PCOS are actually diagnosed correctly, meaning that millions of women are potentially unaware of their condition.
The PCOS Foundation estimates that this condition is the cause of fertility issues in women who have trouble with ovulation around 70 percent of the time.
Myth 4: You Can’t Get Pregnant With PCOS
This isn’t true for everyone. As mentioned earlier I did get pregnant easily with the help of supplements so give your body a chance and consult your doctor to start with the minimum boost possible that are natural and lifestyle changes first to regulate period and stimulate ovulation.
Other fertility treatments for women with PCOS include assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization.
Myth #5 PCOS only affects overweight women
It is true that many women who have PCOS are overweight or obese. And it’s also true that obesity can make PCOS symptoms worse. However, PCOS does not discriminate and can affect women of all shapes and sizes.
The relationship between weight and PCOS has to do with the body’s inability to use insulin properly, which can lead to weight gain.
That’s why getting into the habit of eating healthy and exercising regularly is recommended as part of most women’s treatment plan.
Read more about women/mom related struggles and real tips from local moms.