September is PCOS Awareness Month and we’re kicking it off with Seven Tips and Anecdotes for PCOS. Stay tuned for more articles, research information, infographics and so much more throughout the month.
As of 2015, research has shown that at least 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with PCOS and every day. You may feel like you’re alone and confused, but the truth is, there are many of us out there going through the same emotions. If you feel like there is no support, trust me there is! And as the number of diagnosed girls and women grows, so does the information that is available to us.
You Are Not Facing This Alone
PCOS can often leave us feeling isolated and alone. The symptoms are embarrassing and not something we tend to speak about so it’s hard to find other women with the same diagnosis.
But, you really aren’t alone! There are hundreds of thousands of women with PCOS and so many of us know what you are going through. So, if you’re newly diagnosed, know that you are not alone.
Lifestyle Changes Work
Researchers have found that lifestyle changes are often more effective than medication in managing PCOS and should always be the first line of treatment. This means cutting back on carbs and gluten and moving our bodies a little bit more than we’re used to or like to.
You Can Become Pregnant
There are many women who have become pregnant naturally with a PCOS diagnosis. One of the most difficult symptoms of PCOS is infertility or difficulty becoming pregnant. I have heard of many women being told that they will not be able to have children (I was one of them) when they are diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. This is simply not true. Again, this goes back to lifestyle changes.
PCOS is for Life and Won’t Go Away
Doctors are unsure of how PCOS develops or why we have it although scientists have recently identified the gene thought to cause PCOS. PCOS seems to be caused by our insulin releasing cells over responding to carbohydrates and releasing too much insulin. This excess insulin acts on our ovaries (and adrenal glands), causing them to produce too much testosterone and not enough progesterone.
PCOS Doesn’t Define You
PCOS tends to strike the core of who we are as women and can make us feel much less than we are. There is very little that is attractive about PCOS: unwanted hair growth – in places there shouldn’t be any, the extra love handle around the belly, and acne – lots of it. But this isn’t who any of us are. We are strong, courageous, and beautiful women fighting to keep our lives and health as normal as possible.
You have the Right to Excellent Medical Care
If you feel that your doctor isn’t listening to you or hearing you or that you’re not getting the help that you need, ask for a second opinion. Ask for a referral to a doctor who specializes in PCOS, they are known as Endocrinologists. Remember that you are in charge of your health and you need to make sure that you are getting the right support to manage it in the long term.
Also, it is important to remember that many women with PCOS also have other medical needs. Diabetes, thyroid problems, depression and anxiety and cardiovascular disease are often associated with PCOS.
Treatment Will Take Time
Treating PCOS (either through diet and lifestyle or medication) takes time and it is a test of patience. Many of the symptoms will take time to improve and get under control. So, if you don’t see results immediately, be patient and keep on keeping on. It will get better, it just takes some time.
So, these are some of the things that every woman with PCOS should know. If you think that I’ve left something out, leave me a comment and let me know!