Life with PCOS

PCOS, what the hell is that? It stands for polycystic ovary syndrome and it affects millions of women world wide. Click here for a brief overview of PCOS.  I was just recently diagnosed with PCOS several weeks ago. Looking back, my symptoms over the years have just worsened as time went by, now at 35, I decided to finally get it checked out.

I scheduled an appointment with my family doctor and had a huge panel of labs drawn. These labs included Testosterone, TSH, DHEA, FSH, and many other endocrine tests. They all came back normal!

Next test was a pelvis ultrasound. This was to check for cysts on the ovaries, and guess what? That test came back  normal as well.

I’ve never been a thin person. I was a physically healthy child, loved playing outside and then once I hit my teens, my weight increased and my self esteem decreased.  I loved food, hated intense exercise, and found every excuse I could to skip P.E. in high school. As a young adult, I found my weight would steadily creep up and become more and more difficult to lose. I also started to get extremely tired all time, which doctors would tell me was due to my clinical depression, lack of consistent physical activity, and crappy diet.

Over the years, I’ve tried all the diets, intense exercise with trainers that would help me lose a little weight, but had me physically exhausted.

Then I started growing a beard. The medical term for this is called hirsutism. This really started up about five years ago, and has not stopped since. I have tried it all, waxing, shaving, plucking. Once I was brave and used Nair depilatory cream on my face, which resulted in no hair, but a nasty chemical burn on my chin and neck. Oh, and I almost forgot my happy trail on my stomach, which has to be shaved every few days.

Once the hair started showing up on my body, it started falling out of my head. I used to have long hair, about mid back, that I had to completely cut off a few months ago due to looking so scraggly and thin. I mean, clumps of hair coming out after washing, it was so bad. Now my hair is short and you can totally see my scalp. Forget styling my hair, it falls flat and the handling of it causes more hair to fall out.

Blood sugar crashing. AKA insulin resistance. If I ate a muffin at 6am, four hours later, my blood sugar reading would tank to 58. I found that I had to eat every few hours, then I would spike in glucose and crash hard. It gave new meaning to the term hangry.  It is frustrating, because my fasting glucose labs were normal. My hgA1c is 5.0%. I’m not diabetic.

Another symptom of PCOS is fatigue. Even if I slept for 12 hours the night before, and drank 4 cups of coffee in the morning, I would still be tired around noon.

So even with all my diagnostic testing coming back normal, can I still have PCOS just based on these symptoms? The answer according to my family doctor is yes.

I have to admit, I am a little overwhelmed by this currently. How do I start getting my health back on track? If you have PCOS, what advice would you have in terms of health and wellness? Please leave a comment below.

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