PCOS, Stress and Me

PCOS, Stress and Me

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, is an endocrine disorder in women, typically in their reproductive age. In this disorder, many women have small cysts on their ovaries. This can cause a woman to not ovulate, which leads to problems with infertility.

Here are some of the not so nice symptoms women with PCOS suffer from:

  1. Irregular menstrual periods
  2. Excess hair growth on face and body
  3. Thinning hair (so cruel, especially when dealing with # 2)
  4. Acne- everywhere ☹
  5. Obesity and trouble losing weight (however, not all women are overweight with PCOS)
  6. Infertility
  7. Ovarian cysts
  8. Anxiety and depression

The exact cause of polycystic ovary syndrome is unknown. There is a theory that PCOS is hereditary. In fact, chances are if you have a sister or mother with PCOS you too can have this disorder.

I had my first period when I was 11. Throughout my teenage years, I would have irregular periods. When my period did arrive, it was horrendous. My flow was heavy and long. My cramps were so bad, I had to miss school. I was first put on the birth control pill when I was 18 to help with my cramps and this in turn helped make my cycles regular (it also cleared up my skin and I had no issues with facial hair). I started gaining weight and my anxiety was kicked into high gear.

In 2010, after a pelvic exam and blood work, it was confirmed that I had PCOS. At the time, I wasn’t trying to have a baby, so my treatment plan was to stay on the pill.  I didn’t think anything of this until I met my husband, Jim.

After I was married in 2013, my OBGYN put me on Metformin, an oral medication for type 2 diabetes that improves insulin resistance and lowers insulin levels. Metformin can help with ovulation and lead to regular menstrual cycles. In some cases, it can help with weight loss. I had bad reactions to Metformin, well beyond the few weeks it takes for a medicine to become acclimated to your body. I always had to be near a bathroom and this just wasn’t possible when I was teaching. I took myself off the medicine and focused on eating a diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and reducing my intake of processed foods. While I occasionally indulge in pasta, pizza and bread, I watch how much I eat of these types of foods.

Since early 2015, I have had regular periods. I honestly think that the years I was going through fertility treatments and the fact I switched my beauty routine to include all natural products helped my body to become regular (but I’m not completely sure of this).

This past January, a blood test discovered I had ovulated, on my own. I was so happy, I cried! In the recent weeks, after seeing my primary care doctor and gynecologist, I’ve decided to go back on Metformin to try to up my chances of pregnancy. I’m taking an extended release dose so the side effects haven’t been too serious.

Another important thing I have been focusing on- stress relief! I have been taking time for myself in recent weeks: writing more, reading more and enjoying nature more. I’m under the care of an acupuncturist and seeing a therapist. My husband has been a huge supporter of my writing interest and encourages me every day. I recently had a birthday and my brother bought me a Himalayan Salt Lamp, along with a book that I so needed in my life ?. My sister in law bought me a stress relief candle, along with the matching hand lotion and bath wash. I have added these things to my daily routine and enjoy the fact that I am taking care of myself. I’m currently working on including yoga and meditation to my daily routine.

A wonderful trio

Taking care of my stress levels, I believe, will help with all my other issues.

Surrounding myself with encouraging people, taking time for myself, focusing on the positives and treating my body with care and respect has helped me in the battle with PCOS. Also, knowing I ovulated on my own has given me the hope I need to keep me going on this journey.  I’m not saying that every day is perfect, but taking one day at a time helps.

What are some ways you deal with stress? If you have PCOS, what are some ways you deal with this disorder?

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