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PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is one of the leading causes of fertility issues in women of childbearing age. However, many women are completely unaware they suffer from this disease. This is concerning for more than conception difficulties. PCOS is linked to many other health conditions and needs to be taken seriously by women and healthcare providers alike regardless of pregnancy goals.
It took me nearly 5 years and 5 different doctors before I was taken seriously and diagnosed properly with PCOS. At the beginning of my quest I didn’t “look” the part as much as I did as more time passed. I was slim with decent skin. I had some annoying hair growth but my main complaint was period irregularaties. It was all dismissed as stress and age related (I was 17 at the time).
As time passed (and I moved away from unknowingly keeping the disease from progressing with proper diet and exercise) I gained around 60 pounds mostly centered in my midsection, my skin was haywire, and I had more embarrassing hair growth on my face and stomach. I was lucky to have two periods in one year.
I had one doctor laugh and tell me we would worry about these other symptoms when I was ready for babies. She told me to take birth control to regulate my periods and had me see a dermatologist for my skin issues. I felt unheard.
Then, I finally found the doctor who diagnosed me with PCOS. She ordered bloodwork (namely my insulin and blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides, and hormone levels) as well as an ultrasound of my ovaries. It was PCOS. At last my suspicions were confirmed!
However, my journey was far from over. In fact it had just begun. This doctor again placed me on birth control to regulate my periods and medication for my skin issues, but also added a medication for my weight gain and insulin resistance. Metformin. She sent me home saying we would talk about fertility treatments when the time came. This devastated me because I knew that my (now) husband and I wouldn’t pursue fertility treatment.
Well, the metformin made me as sick as I have ever been. I know it can be a godsend for some people but it made me unable to function. I was vomiting every night and had diarrhea all day everyday. Obviously I lost some weight from this but I sure wouldn’t recommend it (but I do realize it truly helps some people!).
The way that metformin made me feel led me on a new quest- one for answers. Why did I have this disease? (No one quite knows) What could I do to treat this at the root cause without all this medication making me feel so awful? (A LOT!)
Keep reading my PCOS story to see if anything I learned will help you in your own PCOS journey!
Think you might have PCOS?
Symptoms of PCOS:
-male pattern hair growth (face, chest, stomach, etc)
-irregular or absent periods
-insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes
-weight gain particularly around midsection (apple shape), obesity
-depression and anxiety
-dark patches of skin
-fatigue, sleep issues
…and many more
Tell me your story! Do you have PCOS? Or merely suspect it? Does my story to diagnosis sound familiar?