Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS is the most common hormonal disorder in women. For being the most common, it is highly undiagnosed. It is sometimes masked by other metabolic syndromes such as diabetes or heart disease. But it may be that this syndrome has lead to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and anovulatory infertility. It can have lifelong damaging health effects when undiagnosed or untreated. It will never go away. It is chronic. It is inherited and can manifest even if you are healthy. There is still much to learn about PCOS. The importance and prevalence of this syndrome has only come to light in the last decade, which is why many doctors have failed to recognize the symptoms of PCOS.
I first saw my doctor because my menstrual cycles had become more abnormal than usual. I have always had abnormal cycles so when they became more abnormal than usual coupled with unsuccessful pregnancy, I began to seek answers. My doctor did a series of tests (blood work and hysterosonogram) that came back normal. The doctor's answer was to put me on clomid (a drug to help make you ovulate) since my goal was to get pregnant. However, that never felt right with me. It didn't answer my abnormal cycles. So the doctor's answer to my concern was to perform a hysteroscopy (an endoscopic look at the uterus). This meant surgery. This had now become very scary and frustrating for me. But surgery didn't feel right either. I sought out an endocrinologist, but all the tests he performed came back normal also. Normal glucose, normal thyroid function, normal levels of all other hormones. But yet I still suffered from abnormal cycles and I felt very tired despite restful sleep. I researched many local doctors and finally decided to see a doctor that used a holistic approach to her practice. After more blood tests, a uterine biopsy and intrauterine sonogram was I finally diagnosed with PCOS. I had just barely normal hormone levels but my only sign of PCOS was abnormal cycles and now polycystic ovaries. I am lucky. My concern with finding the root of the problem helped lead to the diagnosis before it lead to other health problems.
Other Symptoms of PCOS
In addition to abnormal cycles and polycystic ovaries, others may have trouble losing weight, acne, increased hair growth. I also suffer from moodiness (no comments please) and crave carbs constantly, which is a byproduct of the syndrome. If you are concerned, continue to ask questions. Don't be afraid to advocate for yourself. It doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.
Living with PCOS
This syndrome is manageable. You can take medications to help with insulin resistance (the main cause of this syndrome), obesity, acne, excessive hair growth, and heart disease. But in my opinion the most simple answer is diet and exercise. I am not saying that I consistently exercise or always eat what I am suppose to, I am saying it should be a lifestyle change so that you don't have to depend on medication to control it but use medication to fill in the gaps. As I blog, I will post recipes that I make to help control becoming insulin resistant. I hope you will find them useful as you try to live a more healthy lifestyle too.