What Is PCOS?
Why am I writing about PCOS and its symptoms if I am not a doctor?
Simple…I suffered on it. My main objective in sharing what I have gone through with having PCOS is to reach out and help other women who are suffering from it. It’s a very excruciating experience but now, after all these years I managed to find what works best for me in terms of how I am managing the effects of PCOS to me.
Before I continue blabbering here, let’s just get some facts and figures of what PCOS is all about.
According to womenshealth.gov, Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem that affects one in 10 women of childbearing age. Women with PCOS have a hormonal imbalance and metabolism problems that may affect their overall health and appearance.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), also known as the polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a common health problem caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones. The hormonal imbalance creates problems in the ovaries. The ovaries make the egg that is released each month as part of a healthy menstrual cycle. With PCOS, the egg may not develop as it should or it may not be released during ovulation as it should be.
PCOS can cause missed or irregular menstrual periods. Irregular periods can lead to:
- Infertility (inability to get pregnant). In fact, PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility.
- Development of cysts (small fluid-filled sacs) in the ovaries
In a nutshell, PCOS is a reproductive hormones imbalance. It may not sound so critical and life-threating but it does affect women in very extreme ways. Hormonal imbalance may sound so cliché, especially in romantic movies in which they are showing a couple fighting and the woman, is breaking down but I tell you it is the reality. I have been there. I know when there’s a shift of balance happening in my hormones, as what they say “all hell is going to break loose”. I think that because I have suffered for so long I already mastered the skill to know when there are some shenanigans going on down there on my ovaries.
Here are the symptoms I have been trying to tame for years. Please note that the symptoms vary from one woman to the other. Most of them I managed to control after all the trials and errors I have done to find out which works for me best.
Do you know that 27% – 30% of women with acne were diagnosed with PCOS? Why? Because women with PCOS have high testosterone level which means that our sebaceous glands produce way too much oil and sebum which causes acne. Personally, my acne is an ongoing battle. I think this one is one of the toughest symptoms to fight. It took me tons of products to try before I finally found what works for me.
2. Erratic change in period cycle.
Ever wondered why Aunt Flo often comes and goes in a very unpredictable time. I remember the time when I wasn’t diagnosed with PCOS yet, my period is really crazy. It will come every 3 months on a regular basis. Sometimes I will not have any visit for 6 months. The longest I remember is 14 months that I didn’t have a period. No monthly bloodbath but it caused me to have breakouts all year round.
3. Weight Gain
Women with PCOS struggle a lot with managing weight gain. Since our testosterone level is high it causes our weight gain. Weight gain is more prominent in the abdominal area. One time I went to one of the gynecologists and was told that PCOS is weird because it causes us, women, to gain weight and for us to control it we have to lose weight. Isn’t it weird? Which is which? Bottom line is for us to lose weight, the efforts of working out and having a healthy diet are double or maybe triple of the efforts of a woman with balance hormones.
4. Excessive Hair and Hair Loss
Crazy as it might sound but yes it is. Excessive hair and hair loss is a combo that we are experiencing. Again, this is due to our high level of testosterone. I’m lucky enough to just have a slight excess hair around my mouth and on my neck. There are some women who have way more than excess hair. Have you watched The Greatest Showman? If yes, you should have seen the bearded lady which is inspired by the real-life bearded lady Harnaam Kaur. She embraced her beard and she has become one of the inspiring ladies battling PCOS.
Despite having excessive hair in some areas of our bodies, we, women with PCOS also experience hair loss especially on the top our heads. What caused this? Again, it is the annoying male hormones, the excess testosterone.
5. Fertility Issues
I didn’t say that having PCOS will make a woman infertile. This is not the same case for all. Some women have no issues getting pregnant, some who are having difficulties conceiving but still can have a child and there are those who really cannot have a child at all. Why? Because having PCOS causes our beloved ovaries not to ovulate sometimes or not at all. But don’t be discouraged; believe that if it’s meant to be, it will be. There are now many treatment options for infertility that work.
These are just some of the major of effects PCOS have on us, women with PCOS. It is totally manageable as long as we know what works best for us. It may take time for us to find what suits us best in terms of controlling the PCOS symptoms but I guarantee you that there are solutions out there. I will be posting how I battle each and every major symptom of PCOS in my next posts. Remember, these struggles shouldn’t rule our lives, we should rule them instead.
Lots of Love,