Missed periods, mood swings, strange cravings, unexplained weight gain…
No I am not pregnant, I have PCOS.
What is PCOS you may ask, well it is polycystic ovary syndrome. It is one of the leading causes of infertility in women 18-44 years old. It is a hormonal imbalance caused by an excess amount of male hormones (androgens).
Well enough with the boring “medical” information let me tell you what life has been like with PCOS. I was diagnosed 12 years ago when I was 21, prior to my diagnosis I was displaying all the common symptoms, however I didn’t know it. As a Pre-teen and teenager I was embarrassed to talk about the missed periods, the excess amount of hair, and of course the weight gain.
My mom noticed the weight I was gaining and took me to the doctors to find out why I had such a hard time losing weight even though I was eating healthy and I was active. The Military doctor stated that they believed that is was due to my thyroid or the possibility of being Diabetic, both these test came back normal. So we just decided it was genetics and I worked hard at losing weight (which didn’t work).
So when I was 21 I decided that I needed to start going to an OBGYN to have a pap smear done, when I began giving my history to the doctor, one of her first statements was “I think you have PCOS.” Which she then stated we needed to run some blood test.
When we go the results back it was there in black and white, my body was insulin resistant and I had PCOS.
Once the diagnosis was there she stated I needed to start taking Metformin and be placed on Birth control to regulate my cycles. We discussed the basics of PCOS, she explained that it was more common to have a missed period, or to have a very heavy flow, that cramping could be very painful, that there could be very strong sugar cravings and that it explained why I was having such a hard time losing weight. She then said the dreaded “D” word (we all know what that is, let’s say it together) DIET!!! She talked about needing to go on a low crab, low sugar diet to assist with symptoms.
As we discussed more of what life could be like with PCOS, she began talking about the possibilities of it being difficult to conceive, which at the time I wasn’t too worried about it.
Now that you have my back story, here we are 12 years later, with lots of ups and downs, staying on track with my diet and exercise or falling off the wagon, fighting my battle with self-esteem issues and just trying to balance normal life.
Within 7 years of being diagnosed I found the man I want to spend with rest of my life with and to build a family. It was strange for me I was very open about my PCOS with everyone and talked about what I was dealing with, but when it came to talking to him about the possibility of not being able to have kids it was scary. I wasn’t sure when to tell him or how to tell him. When was too early or when was it too late?
When I realized how much he meant to me I just felt that never was too early, I told him about my PCOS and what that could mean for our future. He supported me and responded with “there are other ways to start a family.”
Which that comment made me fall in love with him even more, now we have been together for 4 ½ years and have been married for almost 2 years. We have been trying to conceive for those two years, and it has been hard. We tried without assistance for a little while and then I choose to talk to my doctor about what we could do next. She recommended Clomid with timed intercourse (we tried that for 3 months) which didn’t work, then she recommended Femara (we tried that for 2 months) which didn’t work.
After trying those medications my doctor stated there was nothing else she could do for us and that she was going to refer us to a reproductive specialist.
Which now brings you all up to speed on what life has been like with PCOS so far.