At the end of August and after many many tests, my doctor diagnosed me with PCOS (aka polycystic (aka many cysts) ovary syndrome). If you don’t know what that is, you can find some basic information here. PCOS is a really SHITE name because a lot of people with PCOS don’t have any cysts on their ovaries (hello, me!!!). There is some noise that a lot of medical professionals are trying to get the name of PCOS changed to something that more accurately describes it as a metabolic syndrome.
There is no specific PCOS test, basically if you meet 2/3 out of the criteria for PCOS, you get diagnosed with it. Symptoms of PCOS can include: cysts on the ovaries, acne, hormone imbalance, irregular cycles, rapid weight gain, infertility, low energy, depression, insulin resistance, excessive male pattern hair growth (aka hirsutism) and the list goes on and on.
Women with PCOS have a higher risk of becoming a Type 2 diabetic, higher risk of having a heart attack, and a high risk of getting endometrial cancer.
I will be the first to admit that in the past, pre-PCOS diagnosis, I only assumed people who were been very obese could get PCOS. Now that I’ve researched it a lot, I know this isn’t true. Lean people can also have PCOS. My doctor said I don’t have the typical characteristics of someone with PCOS, but that it’s her best guess based on all my health issues that started in the Spring of this year.
Besides the irregular cycles, I’ve never had any of the above so I never thought that I could have PCOS. My doctor diagnosed me with PCOS because my previously regular cycles started getting very long and irregular, some of my most recent hormone tests for FSH and LH were not in the normal ranges and were actually opposite of what they should look like at a normal level. Pair that with what happened when I ended up in the hospital a couple of months ago with irregular bleeding, she thinks PCOS makes the most sense.
If PCOS is what is wrong with me, it makes total sense looking back on how my body has acting this last 7+ months, and maybe even longer. It’s possible I could have had PCOS for a while, but never showed any symptoms until we started trying, how convenient. I’ve always has those fun, deep, painful cystic acne spots around the time of my period, likely due to an imbalance of hormones. Since the beginning of this year, I found it REALLY hard for me to wake up in the morning and it kind of happened out of nowhere. I also have a hard time getting a good night’s rest of 7-8 hour. I’ve learned that PCOS can mess with your energy levels and you can feel fatigued a lot of the time, which is how I feel always. I’ve also been feeling like my metabolism has slowed down a lot in the last year, and not just because I’m getting older. I’m only 29 and there is no way I should be feeling this shitty all the time. When I look back on my fertility charting from this past year, I can also see that that I wasn’t ovulating regularly, which could be why I haven’t been able to get pregnant.
It’s really hard for people with PCOS to lose weight, but apparently losing weight could help alleviate PCOS symptoms. How are you supposed to lose weight when PCOS can make it damn near impossible and is always working against you?
My doctor has referred me to a gynecologist for further testing regarding the irregular cycles and PCOS diagnosis. I am still on a waiting list to see this person, and my appointment won’t be for at least another 3 months because I specifically requested a female doctor.
I’ve been taking the medication she suggested for me, a low dose of Metformin, which I know to be safe to take. She put me on it in hopes that it will help regulate my cycle and make me ovulate regularly. Two days after starting the medication, I ovulated for the first time in many months. I seriously cried tears of happiness when the ovulation test strip was positive. I don’t really think the medication was the reason that I ovulated as I was only on it for a couple of days at that point, but in the almost 2 months I have been on the drug, I have noticed a positive change of events so far. My cycles have shortened, they went from 61 days down to 46, and then down again to 31. Previously, my cycle would last anywhere from 29-35 days so I take this is a good sign.
When I first got diagnosed, I was really scared because there isn’t a lot of great information available on PCOS and sometimes searching stuff up on the internet can be overwhelming and scary. Luckily, I have been doing some research and found a great book that I bought called “The Ultimate PCOS Handbook”, I’m still going through it but I find this book to be more aligned with how I view PCOS and helping alleviate the symptoms.
I won’t see my doctor again until just before Christmas, I’ll be there for a follow up on how the medication has been going and at that time it will have been over a year of trying, so she will have to refer me to the fertility clinic if I am not pregnant by then.
As much as I don’t want PCOS to be what I have, I also feel a bit of relief in the sense that this may be the reason as to why I’ve not been able to get pregnant yet and it could be the reason for my irregular cycles. I thought I was going crazy earlier this year when my body started to do weird things, but I’m glad I know my body well and knew something was really wrong. I kept going back to my doctor to have her run tests on me until she could give me an answer for what I was experiencing, or at least a referral to someone who could help me more. If there is anything I learned, it’s that you know your body better than anyone, and not to take no for an answer when it comes to your health.
If you have PCOS and have any knowledge to share with me, please comment below or email me. I’m still learning and would love to learn more about this thing that affects so many women.