I used to be a healthy weight. I used to feel okay with how I looked. Then the PCOS kicked in and ruined any shred of confidence I may have had. Little did I know that this disease had been lying in wait in my body, ready for a massive hormone overload to kick it into high gear. Once I became pregnant the disease decided to rear its ugly head and I haven’t been the same since.
I had always been kind of chubby as a teenager. I always had acne. My hair would shed like nobody’s business. I chalked it up to puberty. I began to gain weight and I had no idea why. I wasn’t doing anything differently but the weight kept coming. I plateaued in my early 20s and was having a hard time getting rid of the extra 30 pounds I had gained, but at least I wasn’t gaining any more. Then when I was 22 I became pregnant. The extra hormones kicked my disease that I didn’t even know I had into overdrive and from that point on my life would be completely different.
I had my son in 2006. After I came home from the hospital I weighed in at 175 pounds. I was still a little overweight but was okay with where I was considering I had gained 36 pounds while being pregnant. I went about my life as usual but noticed that my body was rapidly changing. My hair started falling out again. I had acne that was worse than it had ever been. I was moody all the time and would cry over every little thing. And then came the weight gain. Within the span of the next 2 years I would go on to gain an extra 150 pounds. I was devastated. I joined gyms, I went on as many diets as I could find, I even joined Weight Watchers. None of it helped and I kept gaining the weight.
I began to get these really sharp pains in my lower abdomen. It felt like I was being stabbed. One day it was so bad that I passed out from the pain and ended up in the ER. They told me that I had a large ovarian cyst that had ruptured. But that wasn’t the only one there. My ovaries were covered in cysts. They said it was a miracle I had gotten pregnant at all. After months of different blood tests, ultrasounds, allergy tests, and physicals it was finally determined that I had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). I had no idea what that was so I went home and researched it. I was told there was no cure and that there were very few treatment options to keep the symptoms at bay. I could take birth control to try and regulate my hormones, but that was not an option for me due to a previous illness. Now I am like so many other women out there who feel like they have no control over their body.
PCOS takes its toll on you emotionally and physically. Some of the major symptoms include:
– Hair loss
– Hair growth on the face and chest
– Irregular periods
– Pain in the lower abdomen
– Sudden weight gain
– Mood Swings
– Oily hair
– Ovarian Cysts
Millions of women have PCOS but many of them do not know it. It is hard to diagnose because there are so many different symptoms that could also be linked to other things. There are no specific tests that can tell if you have it or not. The most disheartening part is that there is very little information at the doctor’s offices to tell you about this disease. You have to go looking for it. If you are looking at this list of symptoms or reading my story and thinking, “Wow, that is what I have been going through too” it may be worth a trip to your OB/GYN.