My PCOS Story:: Diagnosis, Fertility and Taking Care of Myself

My PCOS Story | Houston Moms Blog

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome {PCOS} is the most common female endocrine disorder, affecting approximately 5%-10% of all females. I was 27 when I was officially diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It was a very difficult diagnosis for me, but once I understood PCOS’ symptoms I believed that I could have had this since puberty.  Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome effects each woman differently and there are many treatment routes. This is my PCOS story, but yours may look different. If you feel you may have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome please consult your healthcare provider and determine the course of treatment that is best for you.

Aren’t Menstrual Cycles Supposed to be Horrible?

I have so many horrible middle school memories, but the most haunting one is when I stood up during in my sixth grade math class to find blood on my desk chair. Bright red, there was no denying it was blood. I knew I was on my period- I was wearing a pad and also was prepared with an additional pad, but this was the first time that I regular sized pad was not enough. I was mortified as I quickly wipe the blood up with my jean jacket then tried by best to nonchalantly tie my jacket around my waist.

That was just the first of many embarrassing period leaks that I experienced in my teens. I thought it was just my lot in life to have heavy bleeding for seven days during my cycle. I thought that’s what my body had traded for those horrible cramps that my friends all had.

I lived {and still live with if not following treatment} very heavy periods that would last for seven days and I’ve battled anemia. Very heavy or irregular periods are just one of the symptoms of PCOS.

What Did He Just Say? :: My Diagnosis

At the age of twenty-seven I went in for a normal, yearly well woman visit. My gynecologist found signs that I probably had cysts during my examination and sent me down the hall to get a quick sonogram. After reviewing the sonogram my doctor whisked through the examining room saying, “You have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, not to worry, because you are going back on birth control, but come see me in six months.”

My first word of advice to you is find a gynecologist who shows more care than mine did that day. Please find someone who will explain a diagnosis or at least say it slowly enough that you can comprehend what is happening.

I walked up to a nurse in shock and ask her to please write down on a piece of paper what my diagnosis was because I didn’t fully understand what he was saying. I took the piece of paper home and did the one thing all doctors advise you not to do – I googled “Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome”.

Everyone’s PCOS Symptoms and Treatments Are Different 

My search of the web for answers of what my life would be with this diagnosis sent me into a spiral of fear. I had a daughter with no difficulties four years earlier, but was reading that having children would be very difficult in the future. That token of knowledge paired with symptoms like male patterned hair loss, facial hair, and type two diabetes left me sobbing in front of my computer. At the time I was living in a very unhappy marriage with someone who placed so much value on my appearance. I did not know how to even begin to tell him that not only would I have difficulty maintaining my slim figure, but I would lose my hair. I would have to tell him that having more children may be difficult even though I easily {and without a plan} became pregnant with my daughter years before. 

We decided to seek a second opinion {or at least some more information} from a different gynecologist. During that visit I had a more detailed transvaginal ultrasound performed by the gynecologist and she took the time to explain what she was seeing in my ovaries during the ultrasound. The best way for me to describe the image that I saw that day is my ovaries appeared to look like swiss cheese. What I thought were over a dozen holes were numerous cysts. 

She took the time to fully discuss my diagnosis and development a treatment plan. I am one of those lucky women who always had adverse reactions to birth control pills, so that popular treatment route was not an option for me. My treatment plan included Metformin {a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes} and Spironolactone {medication that has been known to treat hormonal acne}. I walked out of her office full of knowledge and a plan to live a healthy life. 

About a month after my treatment plan was established, I went back to my gynecologist because I was just so overwhelmed and saddened by what I was facing. I found out that depression typically accompanied this type of diagnosis. I learned I needed to be kind to myself, that this was not something I had caused. This syndrome was possibly with me my entire life and it was also quite possibly passed down from my mother.

Having Babies Meant a New Treatment Plan

Many things took place after my diagnosis. I did walk into my thirties with hair much thinner than I had the decade before, but no balding. I attempted a lower carbohydrate lifestyle and was able to maintain my weight. I went through a much-needed divorce {not caused by PCOS}. Six years after my diagnosis I remarried and started the process of getting pregnant. At that time, I had just one single cyst in my ovaries – a major improvement, but my hormone levels were still out of whack {a true medical term for you}. My treatment plan for getting pregnant was the same two medicines and I was blessed to conceive quickly.

Another fear that women face with PCOS is a first trimester miscarriage. Our plan was to continue Metformin along with monitoring my blood glucose levels daily because it is believed that Metformin aides in the prevention of a first trimester miscarriage.   Spironolactone has been shown to cause birth defects, so we quickly removed it from my medication protocol as soon as I became pregnant.

While I personally know women who have been unable to conceive due to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and sadly also know women who have experience miscarriages, I have been blessed with two healthy daughters after my diagnosis.

Life Today

While I would love to say that I live without PCOS symptoms, I have to be honest with you. I have not taken care of myself in the last six years. As I live today in my early forties my PCOS symptoms are at their worse. My hair has become horribly thin, I have seen extensive weight gain and hormonal acne {no facial hair yet}. And, yes, I still live with the worst menstrual cycles. After writing this and remembering how much better I felt during treatment, I am motivated to get into a gynecologist to see what my treatment options are in my forties.

Moral of the story – don’t be like me. Find a good, caring gynecologist who will take the time to explain your diagnosis. Do not google a medical term – step away from the computer for you own sake. And do not put off your yearly well women exams.

Again, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome shows many symptoms, but differently for each woman. Please, seek medical counsel regarding diagnosis and treatment. 

 


Pin this post and be sure to follow Houston Moms Blog on Pinterest!

Houston Moms Blog "My PCOS Story :: Diagnosis, Fertility, and Taking Care of Myself" #houstonmomsblog #momsaroundhouston

, ,

One Response to My PCOS Story:: Diagnosis, Fertility and Taking Care of Myself

  1. Avatar
    Missiey November 23, 2019 at 8:57 am #

    Thank you for sharing. I’m glad to know you succeeded with struggles.
    I did a research on the point. The exact cause of PCOS isn’t known. Though these might be some of the factors. For example, excess insulin – insulin 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 of it. Excess insulin might increase androgen production, causing difficulty with ovulation. 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. Also it suggests that certain genes might be linked to PCOS. Of course maintaining the right weight is crusial for general health condition. I can hardly believe PCOS depends on what we eat. Still my friend had some extra lbs, and her fertility doc didn’t allow her to proceed with IVF shots unless she gets rid of them. She followed the advice and soon could pass IVF. It resulted in adorable baby.

Leave a Reply

HTML Snippets Powered By : XYZScripts.com