Thanks to the various bloggers that reminded me that September is PCOS awareness month. Since I have PCOS, I’d like to write a post on it, even though I’m not a doctor nor an expert.
What is PCOS?
The Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder. To explain this in the least scientific way ever, while in a normal ovary one follicle will decide to develop once a month, in a polycystic ovary lots of follicles will try but none of them will actually grow up properly. As a consequence, your ovaries look a bit like emmental cheese: with lots of little follicles that cannot decide which one should get big and be useful.
What does PCOS imply?
Besides potentially making it really hard for PCOS women to get pregnant (I say potentially because some have actually no problem getting pregnant), PCOS has many other symptoms that make your life a bit harder. While none is a huge deal, these symptoms can be a bit annoying.
- CYCLES. PCOS can cause your periods to be heavier, lighter, irregular, or absent altogether. You have your period every month and feel that sucks? Well, you getting a period can be a real excitement when you have PCOS! Not only because it gives you hope that your body might work more normally, but also because they absence of periods often causes you to feel a bit sick. In my case I simply have no periods and after a few months of not having periods I start feeling nauseous so I need to get some drugs to have it come (and then I get a really heavy period and regret having taken them..).
- WEIGHT. Women with PCOS tend to gain weight more easily (and struggle a lot more to lose it!) since more insulin is circulating in the blood. high insulin makes you feel hungry and makes you also burn fats more slowly. Hence, we get fat…When insulin levels rise, other hormonal changes can lead to increased appetite and decreased fat burning, which lead to weight gain. To give you an example, I hardly eat any fats, I have been on a low carb diet for months, I do sports almost every day but in months of this I have only managed to lose 2 Kilos. It’s a start and it’s better than nothing but my body reacts much more slowly to diets and exercising than most people I know.
- SKIN. PCOS women tend to have bad skin, which is why many of them stay on the pill (until they start TTCing). The high level of male hormones cause acne and oily skin. Personally, I’m not one of the worst cases here, but I sometimes go look a bit like a high school student. And that’s not cool! Especially when you’re not a genius of make up…
- HAIR. Becuase of the male hormones, PCOS women are often more hairy, especially in certain places. I’m lucky enough not to have a beard! On the other hand, PCOS also makes your hair in your head get thinner, drier and often to fall off. So you basically risk becoming bold but with lots of hair in your body…
- ENERGY AND SLEEP. The hormonal mess can lead to sleep problems or to often feel tired and exhausted. For me it’s mostly feeling tired.
- MOOD. The hormonal mess also makes it easy for PCOS women to get depressed or have mood swings. I’ve always been subject to this but at least since I have mood swings I’ve never had a long-lasting depression.
- INFERTILITY. Well, with all of the above (irregular or absent periods, hormonal mess, weight gains etc.), you wouldn’t expect getting pregnant to be easy, right?
To my cysters out there I say: keep up the fight!
To my friends and family I say: thanks for bearing with me and my mood swings! It’s not my fault, blame it on my crappy ovaries…