I have thought long and hard about writing and sharing my PCOS journey, as it really isn’t something I talk about often. I’m hoping that by sharing my story, it will help other women in the same situation as me.
WHAT IS PCOS?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormone imbalance, and affects 1 in 5 women in the UK. There are many symptoms of the condition, and PCOS affects every woman differently. Some of the more common symptoms include:
- No periods, irregular or very heavy periods
- Reduced fertility
- Unwanted facial and body hair (hirsutism)
- Acne and oily skin
- Weight gain and trouble losing weight
- Depression and mood changes
There is no cure for PCOS, but symptoms can be managed.
My diagnosis with PCOS came quite a few years ago now, back in 2002. I had concerns that I had put quite a lot of weight on in a fairly short amount of time. After speaking to my GP about this and with further questioning, he raised his concern about PCOS. A series of tests were undertaken, including blood tests, urine test, MRI scan and an internal ultrasound scan. After being referred to see an Endocrinology Consultant at my local hospital. I was told me the news that I had PCOS, and there wasn’t much to help me with the condition. I was told to manage my weight. When I wanted children, go back and see them and they would offer me some fertility help.
There I was, age 21, having just finished university and told I had this condition. Being told that I may never have children without any medical help. Feeling very lost and alone. I felt like I was the only one in the world with this condition. I didn’t know what to do or where to get help from.
There was no help available, no-one to turn to for any advice. So I started doing my own research on the internet. All the information I came across was American. I then discovered Verity (the self-help group for women with PCOS), and I can say this without a shadow of a doubt – Verity saved me. The information and advice they provided to me was invaluable at a time when there was nowhere else to turn to.
PCOS AND MY CONFIDENCE
After having PCOS for over 10 years, I still struggle every day with the symptoms. The worst for me are being overweight, bad skin, excess facial hair, and low mood. My self-confidence has really taken a nose dive over the last few years. I have always struggled with how I look and feel about myself. People are quick to judge and still do now. They see a larger lady like me, and they make assumptions that I am fat, unhealthy and eat cream cakes all day long. Nothing could be further from the truth, but people can be very nasty. They think it’s ok to call you names and make assumptions about you when they know nothing about you at all.
Sometimes I feel that having PCOS has robbed me of my femininity. I say to my boyfriend all the time that I don’t understand how he can find me attractive. He tells me that he does, but this is where I struggle the most.
Having read this post back, I realise I have rambled on quite a bit, and it appears that I am feeling super sorry for myself. I’m not sure if I will edit this post before I publish it – or do you guys want to know the real story of living with PCOS and low confidence?
For more information on PCOS and for support and advice, have a look at Verity. Or take a look at the fantastic post from Londoner in the Country. Sonia talks about the treatments available to help with PCOS, including lifestyle changes and medication.
Have any of you been diagnosed with PCOS? What symptoms do you suffer from and how do you manage your symptoms? Let me know in the comments.