I have been trying to write a post about PCOS in between football games and anniversary trips but have not been very successful in doing so until now; last minute, of course. I wasn't sure what I would write about because I didn't want to write something too informational and scientific; instead I wanted to share my story and how I came to find out that I was a "cyster".
Growing up I was always teased about my "Adam's apple" and my hairy arms. I remember thinking that something was wrong with me because I felt like I was more "manly" than the other girls in school. I remember I phoned a "boyfriend" one night and when his dad called him to the phone he said "Some guy is on the phone for you"; I was horrified! I sounded like a guy?! I was told a couple of times that I had a deep voice but I didn't think that meant I sounded like a guy!
My mom got so pissed at my older brothers and sisters when I was little because they all made fun of me about having hairier legs than them. They embarrassed me so badly that I started shaving my legs before the third grade. But, the ridicule didn't stop there. When I was dating a guy he asked me if I would think about shaving my arms! I did! I had such hairy arms that I had to comb the hair down. It was long, dark and thick. I hated it. I still have hairless arms and I wouldn't grow it back. Ever.
When I was in the 7th grade I got my first period. I don't really remember the first period or when I learned to use a tampon, instead of those gawd awful pads, but I do remember that my period was never regular and that more often than not, it was heavy, clotty and lasted forever! I remember hearing some boys say "If it bleeds for more than 5 days and doesn't die, don't trust it!" and thinking to myself "Oh my gosh... I am really a freak. I hope no one knows that I bleed for 7 days; I will never have a boyfriend!"
When I first became sexually active I thought that I was pregnant every month! I remember buying pregnancy tests and praying to the Lord that they were negative. Although, there were those few times that I prayed I was so that I could "keep" the boyfriend, but that is a different post. By the time I was a young adult I had given up on worrying about becoming pregnant and I figured that I was just "lucky" that I didn't have to have a period every month.
In my late teens I had many annual exams and I had my first "irregular" result when I was 16 years old or so. Over the span of the next 10 years I had several irregular pap smears. I was freaked out the first time and thought that I was going to die from an STD. However, my doctor reassured me that it was probably just irregular due to irritation caused from intercourse or the possible onset of menstruation. I never once had any further testing after those results so I figured that I had nothing to worry about.
When Mike and decided that we wanted to kids we knew that I needed to see a doctor. Some how, some where, some time, along the way, I learned that irregular periods didn't mean that you were "lucky"; that "irregular" meant there was something wrong. I won't lie- at 27 years old I didn't have a friggin' clue about ovulation. I had no clue what an ovulation predictor kit was! I just knew that women were suppose to have a period EVERY month! I wasn't. Mike was the one that urged me to see a doctor when my periods were almost three months apart and I wasn't getting any BFPs. I am so glad he did.
I wasn't diagnosed with PCOS until February of 2012; I was 30 years old. Even though I knew nothing about PCOS, I was relieved to finally know that there was in fact something wrong with my body, and that it wasn't just me, and I wasn't meant to be a born a boy! Phew! I was relieved to hear the doctor say that my irregular periods, unwanted facial and body hair, thinning scalp, bloated belly and skin tags were all related to this thing called PCOS. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
At first, I was relived and then I was mad. Mad that my mom and my doctor brushed off the irregular results so easily without further research. I was mad that I was so close to knowing what was wrong with me yet it took 17 years to find out. I was angry that we didn't catch this syndrome a long time ago so that today we
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a serious disorder that needs to be addressed. There is no single test to diagnosis PCOS, however, there are common symptoms to look for including but not limited to: missing periods, unwanted hair in unwanted places, lack of ovulation, weight gain, inability to lose wight, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, belly fat, and pelvic pain.
PCOS left untreated can cause diabetes, heart attacks, sleep apnea, anxiety/depression, obesity, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer and infertility.
Women with PCOS are highly encouraged and recommended to eat low carb, low sugar, low fat diets that are high in fiber and protein and get plenty of exercise.
Our bodies are designed to work in a certain way, women are created to produce eggs and men are to produce sperm. Women should have a menstrual cycle every 28-30 days (or close to) and we should be able to detect ovulation once per month. If you don't, then I strongly urge you to seek medical help.