I am not a doctor. I am a 28yr old woman who was diagnosed with Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) at the age of 23. I spent five years after that fighting this disease and learning to live with it. I haven't found the all the answers as yet but I've found ways of being in control of my symptoms.
I decided to write this post after a conversation with a cousin last night. I've realized that not many women know about PCOS or the fact that they may very well have it and not know it. As a matter of fact, most doctors that I have encountered have no clue as to what it is or how to deal with it and because of this, most women are mis-diagnosed and not advised/treated properly.
PCOS is a condition that relates to an imbalance in the female sex hormones. It is thought to be a female endocrine type of disease but recent studies have shown that it could also be classified as a genetic disease.
The other women I've spoken to have identified their symptoms differently, i.e.there is no definite list of 'must haves' for you to have PCOS. The symptoms are many but include:
- Rapid weight gain (almost 'over-night')
- Decrease in libido
- Excessive hair growth
- Irregular Periods
- Darkness around the breast, groin, neck, armpits
Everyone I've spoken to identified weight gain (despite eating healthy and exercise); fatigue, irregular periods, disinterest in sex and moodiness. One other person told me that she experienced excessive hair growth on her arms, legs and face.
PCOS can happen to any woman but from what I've gathered, it's more prevalent in women who have a family history of diabetes. It usually affect women between the ages of 12-45 years of age.
- anovulation (results in irregular periods, amenorrhea, ovulation-related infertility and polycystic ovaries)
- Excessive amounts of the male hormone androgen (resulting in acne and hirsutism)
- Insulin resistance (associated with obesity and Type 2 diabetes)
- High Cholesterol Levels
And this is just a small synopsis. This condition isn't one that I would wish on my worst enemy. It can lead to depression if you have no idea how to deal with it but learning to live with it is an every day type of battle. In my next post I'll speak about the way it can be treated (medically) and what I've done and been doing to get some control over my symptoms that are working.
If you are a woman and reading this post, I suggested you speak to your gyno about this to make sure that you dont have this condition ESPECIALLY if you experience any of the symptoms listed above. If you've been gaining weight despite living a healthy lifestyle, get checked. if you're having a hard time getting pregnant, get checked. If you've noticed a decrease in your libido, get it checked. Knowing is only half of the battle.
See you in the next post :)