September: PCOS Awareness Month

What is PCOS? It’s an affront to femininity. It is pain. It sets the body into a chain reaction of events all caused by a hormonal imbalance which causes other health and phsyical issues, hence the lesser used term “Chaos Syndrome,” and there is no cure. Sometimes a diagnosis is hard to come by.

My symptoms began at a very young age, around ten, from weight gain to other embarrassing issues I’d rather not talk about. I was teased about having these symptoms, which, at the time I didn’t understand. Granted I never had healthy eating or exercise habits and attributed a lot of the problems to that. And it’s too difficult to me to pinpoint and actually say what some of those symptoms are because I still feel insecure about them.

When I was in my twenties, I had an onset of acne. Like, who gets acne in their twenties, right? I mean, I was already dealing with other things and when people would say horrible things about my weight, it made me feel even lesser of a person because if they couldn’t accept me for that, then how would they accept me for the symptoms I was having that they didn’t know about? I was really good about hiding the symptoms but I still wondered. And the only reason I became aware that something had to be done about it was merely because I had been called out by some kids who were just plain being cruel about it.

And then there was the pain. “Lose weight.” That was a commonly advised “cure-all” from people who didn’t even know I had the condition. When I was fifteen I read up on my symptoms and that’s when I thought, OK. Maybe *this* is what I have. But until then, and either after, the suffering and insecurity it caused was just awful. Imagine having a slew of problems and being put down over it and even *you* don’t know what’s wrong. I was often said to be a hypocondriac so I disregarded my symptoms as just, well, hypocondria.

It was’t until I was around twenty-three when I went to the doctor for some health issues that had become so severe, coupled with pain, that I received my diagnosis. I was ecstatic! At least now it had a name and I knew I wasn’t alone.

I have contacted various women’s groups and even products oriented toward women and items that were geared toward dealing with the symptoms of PCOS, asking them to bring awareness to this issue. I explained that it took me far too long to get a diagnosis, and part of it was from my own embarrassment and just assuming this was “normal” for me. By then it was out of control, but no one was interested in addressing it. Which is sad, really. Why *not* help the demographic that a company’s products are geared toward? I felt a bit disheartened by that. It’s like, does anyone even CARE?

I’ve heard that two out of three women who suffer from bulimia and other eating disorders are thought to have PCOS. If that’s the case, then why is it that PCOS is so unheard of? When I see a segment in popular magazines about it, it’s prettied up and glimpsed over as a sidenote, although that for me seems to be a step in the right direction. Hey, it’s SOMETHING! It’s something *I* had never read in those same magazines when I was fourteen and struggling with it, so maybe it will help someone get the diagnosis they need.

And although I am still too inhibited to put all my symptoms out there, I feel no opposition to putting it in the tags. But, if you are a woman, or if you have young girls in your family that you care about, particularly if diabetes runs in your family, definitely look up PCOS. There are some informative videos on Youtube, as well as articles all around the web.

And hopefully, if you think you have it, this may inspire you to see a doctor about it. Even if it’s not PCOS, there may be an answer. I was lucky to have been diagnosed on my first doctor visit concerning the issue, but please, if you suspect something is wrong and aren’t getting a diagnosis, don’t give up! It also helps to go to doctors who are women-oriented and ask if the doctors on staff are familiar with PCOS, verilization, endometriosis and thyroid since sometimes those things can mimic each other, and thyroid can often accompany PCOS. Plus, knowing that a doctor who deals in PCOS lets you know that they have pretty much seen it all and helps to remove the insecurity about talking to them openly about your symptoms and why you think you may have PCOS.

It can often lead to other health issues, like full-on diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and the list goes on, so it’s definitely not something to take lightly.

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