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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Living with PCOS

In previous posts I have mentioned PCOS also known as poly-cystic ovarian syndrome.  If you have no idea what that is then this is the technical definition from pub med health

"Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition in which a woman has an imbalance of the female sex hormones. This may lead to menstrual cycle changes, cysts in the ovaries, trouble getting pregnant, and other health changes."

 What this means in the real world?
 It means that I don't have periods even though I go through everything for them and I live with pain at the weirdest times.  I have often been told that you cannot feel your ovaries by doctors.  I wish this was true.  To give one an idea of how it feels, I had an ectopic pregnancy and I didn't know. I should have known but I was so used to the feeling of pain in that area that I couldn't tell when something was very wrong. 

Other effects that this can have are mood swings, this is not I am happy now I am mad types this is the now I am happy now I want to rip off body parts type.  Not fun, also I think my husband should be allowed to put himself in for an award for not killing me.  

On top of everything else most of those with PCOS gain weight, not a little weight a lot of weight, I worked out constantly and couldn't ever lose a lbs for more than twenty four hours.  That meant that I had only lost water.  This can get really frustrating and makes a person want to give up.  

I do not have any of the male like characteristics that can occur with this, however, that is me personally.  I know others who have every sign. 

The idea behind this issue is to control it with medication for me they use metformin. Even going on this stuff is no fun.  If you haven't yet developed diabetes then the side effects from this medication can seem worse than the disease.  However, I promise it will start to even off after a few weeks.  Also you might want to strongly avoid over eating carbs, they can set off a reaction with the medication.  The idea of this is to help control the hormone shifts.  with the control of the hormone shifts it helps to control the mood shifts.  It does help, but only slightly, what it really does for me is to make it so that I don't get worse.  It does not help with the periods or the weight loss.  

The only thing that really helped me out was being on fertility drugs.  I think it added to what I was missing in my system. 

The worst part about this is that there is no clear reason WHY this occurs.  All of the medical knowledge that we currently have, and they still can't tell me what is wrong with my body or why this is happening to me. 

How I deal with it:

Dealing with PCOS can be a challenge.  I have issues with my weight, my period and my moods.  The only answer for this birth control and metformin, I wish I could do more but I can't.  I go away when I feel myself getting overly hormonal and I work out and sometimes watch what I eat.  However, even with all of the extra junk food I eat I still consume around 2000 calories or less a day.  One would assume that I overeat and I don't.  So working out, keeping my calories down, and learning more control are what is left.  I hope to be started on some hormone supplements while I wait to save up money for IVF.  

Note on the IVF: Murphy hates me; we had managed to save 1000.00 out of the 7000.00 required for IVF.  However, the house we had to rent out had issues with the roof and with the AC.  So a house we can't live in due to military orders falls apart.  There goes the 1000.00.  We will be starting to save all over again. 

Ok the fun stuff, here are the symptoms of PCOS if you are unsure if you have it or not.  If you are a male, I am sure you do not have this.  

Symptoms of PCOS include changes in your period (menstrual cycle).  Some changes are:
No period after you have had one or more normal ones during puberty (secondary amenorrhea)
Irregular periods, which may come and go and may be very light to very heavy
PCOS can cause you to develop male-like characteristics. This is called virilization. Symptoms include:
Body hair growing on the chest, belly, face, and around the nipples
Decreased breast size
Enlargement of the clitoris
Thinning of the hair on the head, called male-pattern baldness
Voice gets deeper
You may also have skin changes:
Acne that gets worse
Dark or thick skin markings and creases around the armpits, groin, neck, and breasts

 IF you have these symptoms please go see a doctor, there are some bad things that this can lead to if you don't get help. 

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