Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, more commonly known as PCOS is a hormonal and metabolic condition affecting women. It can cause irregular cycles, weight gain and difficulty losing weight, ovarian cysts, acne, hirsutism, hair loss, depression and infertility. It can also lead to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
There is no cure, but through proper nutrition and exercise symptoms can be controlled.
The cause is unknown.
Here is my story with PCOS:
A few months after Rick and I were married, I began experiencing some odd symptoms. After multiple visits to my physician, a gynaecologist, multiple blood tests and ultrasounds I was officially diagnosed with PCOS.
I remember the day so clearly. I had suspected after a lot of googling (yes, I am one of those..) that I likely had PCOS…but I was hoping I didn’t. I met a lot of the symptoms and my worst fear was that I knew it caused difficulty getting pregnancy. I sat in the chair across from the gynaecologist as she said the words. Fighting back tears, I asked her what to do. Sadly, not being very educated about PCOS she did not offer much advice or help. She simply told me to go on birth control for a couple months until my cycle became regular, then spend a couple of months trying to get pregnant and if we weren’t pregnant by fall to go back to her and that she would get me pregnant. Oh, and she told me to lose weight. Thanks…??
Not wanting to go on birth control due to bad experiences with it, I felt helpless and hopeless. I decided that maybe seeing a Naturopath would be helpful. So I did and she put me on all sorts of expensive supplements, weird diets and told us not to try to conceive until we reached her idea of optimal health….whatever that would be. Basically, she made a lot of empty promises and for the sake of trying to keep this short, months later and A LOT of money later, nothing had changed and we realized that this Naturopath was a little crazy. haha.
I went a couple more months and nothing was changing and my symptoms were spiralling. I went back to my physician who finally decided that she would send me to an endocrinologist. Luckily, I only had to wait 3 months to see him. Finally I was under the care of a doctor who actually had proper understanding and information about PCOS.He sent me for multiple blood tests to rule out any other conditions. He said that depending on the results that we should think about the following: a one year “treatment” involving medication, strict diet and exercise. Oh, and to stop trying to conceive. For a whole year.
Those next 3 months caused me a lot of anxiety, wondering if anything else was wrong, other than PCOS and trying to decide if we wanted to go ahead with this treatment plan. 3 months passed and we were finally back in his office. He confirmed that I only had PCOS. I remember crying tears of relief that it wasn’t something else more serious. He asked us what we had decided. It was difficult to think logically when all my heart and soul wanted was a baby. However, we decided that we would go ahead with the plan. So, one year passed. I was on Metformin and Spironolocatone. My body took a toll. This medication was very hard on my stomach and I spent a lot of time feeling sick. I also failed miserably with the whole diet and exercise and only lost a total of 8lbs that year.
One year later, we were back in his office. I have to say that I was quite embarrassed that I not lost much weight at all. I felt like such a failure…however, due to the medication there had been a little bit of good change in my hormone levels. So he told us to go ahead and try to get pregnant and that he would see us again in 6 months.
We tried and in our last month of trying, we actually conceived! I could not BELIEVE that there were actually 2 pink lines on that pregnancy test!! Was this a dream? 5 weeks later, It was over. A joy unspeakable was replaced by utter heartbreak. You can read about our miscarriage story here.
A couple of weeks after our miscarriage, we were back at our endocrinologist’s office. He was sympathetic towards our loss and told us to take some time to heal emotionally and physically. He told us to take 6 months off trying to conceive and that I should work on weight loss. This time he gave me a goal. 6 months, 20lbs. And guess what?! I did it! 6 months later after a lot of hard work, I had lost 18lbs. We were all thrilled and my blood test results were the best they had been yet. The weight loss had a really huge impact on my hormone levels.
Since then, my wonderful endocrinologist has moved back to Asia so I am currently without. It has been a constant battle of fluctuating weight, depression and anxiety. Trying to get control over my symptoms. It is not easy. I continue to do my best to properly feed my body, exercise and take my medication.
The past 4 years have been a rollercoaster. It has been nothing but frustrating to have people put limitations and halts on our attempts to start a family. It has been ups and downs of joys and devastation but the only thing to do is to keep on and to hold on to hope.