Warning: This is just my personal take on dealing with a health issue. By no means am I an expert or a medical profession.
I web MD’d my symptoms. I know, I know, you should never do it. I had already taken about 8 pregnancy tests that all came back negative but the periods just weren’t coming and I was gaining weight ( You’re thinking; what woman complains about not having a period? Well… I DO!) It was not long after about my 4th missed cycle I noticed 3 thick black hairs growing from my chin, that I started to think something is wrong with me. I sat quietly alone in my condo and typed out the symptoms that I had.
This is word for word what I typed into the search engine: What causes hair thinning, lack of periods, weight gain, fatigue, facial hair growth, skin tags, moodiness, acne/ oily skin, low sex drive, depression?
This is what my results of that search showed:
- Pregnancy (NOPE, haha no way! had the pee sticks to prove it)
- Cancer ( Possibly, runs in my family, isn’t everyone going to get it eventually?)
- PCOS (What the F@#k is that?)
As I looked at the list of results one stuck out PCOS, better known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I clicked on the first link that looked legit, and up popped a list of symptoms and who would have known, ALL OF MY SYMPTOMS were listed! Holy Guacamole ( I love Avocado) I had an answer!
PCOS is stated as a health condition that affects about 1 in 10 women. The exact cause is unknown, but it is considered a hormonal problem. It is a leading cause of female infertility and causes numerous symptoms that can affect the body physically and emotionally. (www.pcosaa.org)
Reading the definition still makes me nutty because it doesn’t state exactly what it is as it is not the same for every woman who has PCOS. This was the frustrating part and what made me go see the doctor in the first place to get checked for everything that could contribute to the symptoms I was having. Off I went on a whirlwind of tests, 2 ultrasounds, 2 blood work ups (1 fasting, 1 normal) and a physical later I had my answer. The doctor confirmed I had a “grape like” cluster of cysts on my ovaries and my bloodwork showed some issues. The doctor handed me 2 prescriptions and a 1 page sheet explaining PCOS (basically the same information I found just googling PCOS). The doctor then told me to come back when I want to get pregnant and they’ll write up a prescription for fertility meds.
WHAT THE FUCK? That’s it? That’s all I get after being handed a diagnosis…….
I left the doctor’s office, sat in my car and felt blindsided. I was right with what I had but the doctor gave me ZERO help. I went and filled my prescription, only when the pharmacist ask if I was explained what I was given did I realize something was wrong with how the doctor handled my situation. I was given Clomid (a fertility drug that boosts ovulation) and birth control in case I wanted to just regulate my periods. Heads up: You should never take Clomid and birth control at the same time, as the pharmacist explained further. I settled on just taking the birth control which was to help me regulate my hormones and create a cycle.
I knew then and there that I needed a second opinion. I searched for a new doctor specializing in women’s health and made an appointment. After speaking with New Doctor I told her what happened with Old Doctor, she decided that it was important we get a second set of tests done to make sure we rule out all other possibilities.
So another round of tests later, I was again diagnosed with PCOS. This time the New Doctor said don’t worry lots of women have PCOS. Its manageable and lots of women still get pregnant and have completely healthy lives. She suggested I continue birth control to start helping my body regulate my period and hormones and that I needed to work on losing at least 10% of my body weight. I left the appointment happier than my first and at least had some answers and a way to deal with the situation I was in.
Flash forward a year and a half and I am now working on changing more of my lifestyle and diet as I have come to find out from my own situation, just taking birth control pills isn’t enough to diminish the symptoms. I’ve been reducing refined carbs and sugar from my diet which have been a small struggle as I have a huge sweet tooth. But the struggle is part of the journey and without it you can’t see where you came from.
I’m hoping to find more things that work for me and help me on this path of handling my PCOS. I have always been up for a challenge and this one seems like a good one to have.
I plan to share more about this journey here on my blog as well as recipes that I find tasty and work within the new path of eating for PCOS, and also things that I am doing to help me live my best life.
If you take anything away from this post it is DON’T IGNORE THE SYMPTOMS! I feel I am very body aware and notice changes in my cycle, emotions, digestion, skin etc. These changes are what helped me realize something was wrong. Make sure to check in with yourself from time to time. Note things when they seem off or when symptoms keep reoccurring. We have to be our own advocates in our health and listening to our bodies is the first step.
I look forward to your thoughts, questions or comments as I explore this lifestyle overhaul I am undertaking. I’m going to try and make it as fun as possible!
**Note just after I wrote this post, An article came out about the findings of what could cause PCOS. Although I am grateful for the research and news about where it could stem from, I do not hold my breathe on a “cure” being available for a long while. In the mean time I plan to do as much as I can to help alleviate my symptoms. Read the article for yourself .