Living with PCOS

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, it's a mouthful isn't it? So lets keep it as PCOS.
It's incurable, frustrating and downright depressing at times. 

Earlier this year I was diagnosed with PCOS and my world came to a direct halt. It wasn't the way I planned on entering 2017 and I instantly started Googling everything I could.
Mood swings, fertility issues, weight gain, acne, excessive hair growth... the list goes on and on. The more I researched, the more I felt that my body was fighting against every dream and aspiration I had.
The Internet can be a wonderful thing, but no one really opens up about what they're going through, so you start to feel as if you're the only one in the world going through that experience.
I'll let you in on a little secret; you're definitely not alone.

This year has been a rollercoaster of emotions, and since losing both of my babies, I feel as if my PCOS is winning the battle.
I knew back in 2015 that something was wrong with my body, I stopped taking birth control and wanted to take control of my body again, but something was wrong. I didn't get back into a normal routine and I felt that not only my body but also my mind was tumbling out of control. That's when it was time to book an appointment. Months of tests and dreaded waiting rooms, I received the PCOS news.
It's a scary thought knowing that I'm the reason we'll always struggle to have a baby, and I think miscarrying our surprise bundles of joy has made this syndrome even more prominent.
You constantly hear the words, you're young, you can try again, but when you have PCOS, it is so much harder, so much more painful and so much more draining.
There is part of me that feels as if I'm fighting against the clock, but then I take a step back and realise that this is something that doesn't have to control my life. I have PCOS, but I am not PCOS.

It's a syndrome that is manageable, changing my diet, exercising more and taking more me time has helped me deal with a handful of symptoms, but fertility is always going to be a struggle. Of course there are alternative routes I can take to change that, but there will always be a part of me that feels like a failure, but that is something I'm slowly learning to change my attitude towards. It isn't going to be a walk in the park, but life would get boring if everything came easy.

So what is PCOS? It's an extremely common condition that affects the ovaries, with 1 in 5 women suffering, some with very little symptoms and some on the extreme end of the scale.
There are some common symptoms of PCOS, and also a heightened risk of developing health problem, including:
  • Irregular periods
  • Excess androgen which is a male hormone and causes excess facial or body hair
  • Difficulty becoming pregnant
  • Weight gain
  • Thinning hair and hair loss
  • Acne
  • Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and high cholesterol
It sounds quite scary when you lay out it like that, but by changing a few parts of your lifestyle, most of those symptoms are manageable. I've put myself back into the driving seat of my life; I'm not ready to give up just yet. I know that with PCOS my risk of miscarrying again is still high, but I suppose it's comforting to know that I'm not alone in this struggle, and you aren't either.
Couples that are going through a similar experience should know it's important to me each other’s best friend, to have that shoulder to lean on when you feel like giving up. I'm forever thankful for Jack, and I know the rest of this journey isn't going to be all roses and daisies, but as long as we do it together, we're going to be stronger than ever.

There are a few things I've learned since my diagnosis and miscarrying. Hopefully a handful of these will help you out, or even just give you a better understanding, because after all, we're not all perfect.
  • Just because something works for someone else, it doesn't mean it'll automatically work for you. It's a lot of trial and error, but find the thing that helps you combat some of those symptoms. 
  • A gluten-free diet is highly recommended by many PCOS sufferers, and it has been one that has helped me along the way.
  • If you have any of those symptoms or similar, go get checked out. Doctors are there for support and guidance, using them can actually be of help.
  • Don't be ashamed of your syndrome, it's apart of you and it's more common than you think.
  • Just because you're struggling to get pregnant, it doesn't mean it's over. There are so many new advances on medication and technology that anything is possible.
  • Come up with a plan of action with your doctor, it can help give you an idea of how to manage your symptoms and what courses of medication (if any) to take.
  • Talk to someone, even if it takes a glass of wine to build up the courage, it's better to be open than to bottle it all inside.
PCOS is just a syndrome it doesn't define you. It is something that I still struggle with, but I'm learning to love myself better, faults and all. 
If you have any tips on how you combat your symptoms, I'd love to here them x


Bec said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your struggles! It takes such strength to write so openly about things like this and you've done it so beautifully. Stay strong lovely x

Hannah FB said...

Hey Yasmin,

First of all, I am so so sorry to hear about your loss.

I've been diagnosed with PCOS for a few years now and I've found a few things that actually gave me a regular cycle and improved my symptoms without having to take Dianette (as that just did not agree with me at all):

- Low GI diet (literally avoid refined carbs as much as you can to stop your blood sugar levels from spiking)
- Avoiding refined/processed sugars
- Regular exercise (in particular weights/resistance training)
- Taking Agnus Castus, it's a natural supplement which relieves symptoms of PCOS without the crappy side effects of Dianette.

I also keep track of my cycle and symptoms using an app on my phone.

Hope you're all good, and stay strong! Definitely need to catch up when I'm home xx

Marianna said...

Thank you for writing such an honest and real post. It's so refreshing to hear of a real experience and I'm sure this will help lots of other women. I'm really sorry to hear about your struggles but you seem like such a strong woman and I do hope things improve for you very soon.