If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ve seen me reference and explain what PCOS is and a little about my symptoms but I’ve never dedicated an entire post to it before. So let’s start at the beginning and have a little intro into what PCOS is.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels. Women with PCOS produce higher-than-normal amounts of male hormones. So my body has a higher level of testosterone than the average woman which results in some side effects. There is an entire long list of them but not all women experience all symptoms. Also the name “polycystic ovary syndrome” is misleading because you can have PCOS with or without ovarian cysts and, if you do have ovarian cysts, it does not necessarily mean that you have PCOS. I’m going to list the majority of symptoms and elaborate in the ones I experience and how it effects my life.
Irregular periods or no periods at all
This was the first tell tale that I might have PCOS, I get my period three to four times a year, for this I take birth control to have my period regulated. If I don’t I have extreme discomfort and heavy bleeding.
Difficulty getting pregnant (because of irregular ovulation or failure to ovulate)
I haven’t tried to get pregnant but I’ve also haven’t accidentally gotten pregnant so that’s enough said I guess.
Excessive hair growth (hirsutism) – usually on the face, chest, back or buttocks
I have hair on my chin and I’ve waxed and shaved these. And no it doesn’t make it thicker or more or darker, those are all myths. I’ve gone for 2 sessions of laser hair removal which has helped a lot.
Yes, I’m overweight, not only does the PCOS contribute to it, the birth control doesn’t help either and I got the short end of the stick in our gene pool. I’ve decided to rather accept my body in all it’s phases by being body positive instead of hating the way I look because of things I can’t control.
The PCOS also causes my body to be insulin resistant making weight loss a huge battle. When I was younger I tried diets and once with success lost 25kg. This caused gallstones and I had a cholecystectomy which then had IBS as a side effect.
Thinning hair and hair loss from the head
Hair where I don’t want it and hair loss where I’d prefer to have loads. I’ve been experiencing thinning in my hair for the last couple of years, mostly on the top of my head. Out of all the symptoms this one gets me the worst. I always had a huge head of hair and now I sometimes feel ashamed! I’ve done my research and I’m currently looking into trying minoxidil. PCOS hair loss is androgenic alopecia.
Oily skin or acne
Oily skin and not just on my face, my scalp gets super oily as well so I have to wash my hair daily or I end up looking horrible. The other catch with this is that I also have eczema and the hair washing aggravates that. What a horrible cycle.
I often wake up soaked or will just begin sweating like a mad on a moderately hot day. Hyperhidrosis, often happens when the hormones that control metabolism, blood pressure and body temperature stop working correctly. Since polycystic ovary syndrome is caused by hormonal imbalances, it is no surprise that sweating is one of the most common symptoms of this health problem. Because of this I’m obsessed with personal hygiene, but again because of the eczema I’m limited to which products I can use.
Darkening of the skin, typically on the neck and armpits
I have this in my armpits, I try and use products that helps lightening it and black soap actually improved the skin.
Depression and anxiety
The above mentioned symptoms often lead to depression and anxiety, which is something else I struggle with.
But still taking into account all of the symptoms above I try to love myself and I’m learning to do it more and more each day.
As you become more clear about who you really are, you’ll be better able to decide what is best for you – the first time around. – Oprah Winfrey