September Is National Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Awareness Month. I was diagnosed with PCOS after unhappily and painfully living with the symptoms for over a decade. I don’t want someone else to go through my struggle of being diagnosed, because unfortunately my family doctor didn’t know enough about PCOS to recognize the signs, even after countless trips to see her.
PCOS is a complex endocrine and metabolic disorder that is estimated to affect one-in-ten women of childbearing age. It also affects menopausal and post-menopausal women. It can lead to other serious conditions including endometrial cancer, obesity, diabetes and infertility.
Despite affecting 1-in-10 women and the serious health consequences, PCOS gets almost NO ATTENTION in the media. I’m fighting to change that.
If you present any of these symptoms please ask your doctor to undergo PCOS testing. If you are not getting the help you need, ask for a referral to an OB/GYN or an Endocrinologist:
- Multiple ovarian cysts (oftentimes excruciatingly painful)
- Irregular or absent periods
- Obesity or inability to lose weight
- Excessive body or facial hair
- Insulin resistance and possibly diabetes
- Thinning of scalp hair
- High blood pressure
- Polycystic ovaries that are 2-5 times larger than healthy ovaries
- Multiple hormone imbalances, commonly including: Androgens (testosterone), Cortisol, Estrogens, FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), Insulin, LH (luteinizing hormone), progesterone, Prolactin and Thyroid hormones
- Impaired lung function
- Sleep apnea
- Fatty liver degeneration (NAFLD)
I hope with more awareness can come a cure, along with an absence of shame for those affected by it. To all my “soul cysters” – xo