October 4, 2009

How I Got Here - Part III

This topic is something I feel a bit awkward discussing.  I have a health issue called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).  I don't feel awkward because it's a "female" issue...rather I feel ackward because it's not visibly debilitating.  I don't have a handicap or something most people can see.  So, while it can be a nightmare for me...I want you to know that in no means am I trying to say I have it any worse than any one else!  This just happens to be my deal.

Okay, now that I have that out there...what is PCOS?  Well, the first thing to realize anytime you see syndrome associated with something, doctors are basically saying we don't have a good explanation for these symptoms so we're going to lump it all together and call it ____ _____syndrome.  PCOS fits this bill.  Symptoms can include any of the following:

  • Irregular or no menstrual periods
  • Acne
  • Obesity
  • Excess hair growth or male pattern balding
  • Infertility
  • Depression and anxiety
These symptoms also put women with PCOS at high risk for diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure on top of other issues they may have if obese. Because of the far ranging symptoms and a lack of a clear cause, PCOS care typically focuses on managing the symptoms rather than eliminating them.

I was diagnosed with PCOS at 15 because I was having two periods a month. It contributes to my weight issues, causes me to grow hair that I don't want, gives me mood swings and generally contributes to a bad self-image. I have done a lot in the last two years to overcome these issues.  Losing weight, while hard, has helped with many of them.  Western medicine hasn't been able to provide a lot of answers.  So, I've sought other complimentary medicines that have been more helpful but again it's a syndrome and there are no real answers.  For me stress is a strong contributing factor to the symptoms. As a culture, we don't realize just how much stress we are letting into our lives.  We need to take time to stop and smell the roses once in a while...we'd all feel better!  So, now if I bite you're head off, join me in trying to blame it on messed up hormones!


Jane Heiza said...

Modern medicine really has to a lot to learn about PCOS, but you are living testament as to how you beat the symptoms of PCOS. I know it's hard to be where you are right now, and I am so proud of you!

Fresh and Feisty said...

Thank you so much Jane. I don't feel like I have done that much...hopefully I'm not giving you the wrong impression...I still slip a lot! But, I do know it can be done. For a long time I didn't know what it feels like to feel good - physically, mentally and emotionally. While I am not exactly where I would like to be...I do know it's possible. Keep up the good work!

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