Monday, July 2, 2012

My first thoughts on finding out about PCOS.

Hello all

As I had a day off yesterday (Sunday is the day of rest after all!) I'm going to try for a twofer today. One serious and one slightly fluffy. Lets crack on with the serious.

I was officially diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) early this year, but I have known that something wasn't quite right for a while now. It was just now given a name buy a professional.
As any Gen Y'er would do after getting a diagnosis I came home and promptly jumped onto Google....Big mistake!

"Uterine cancer, infertility, hysterectomy, acne, facial hair, heart disease, insulin resistance, weight gain, sleep apnea, burst cysts, mood swings, hirsutism, androgen's, balding, acne, dandruff, heart disease, diabetes, depression, menstrual issues!" 

All the things a 26 woman trying to have a second baby wants to hear! NOT!

It scared the crap out of me and I spent the next week crying myself to sleep, never allowing anyone including my husband to see how much it effected me.

I was broken...defective... and as far as having a second child was concerned, barren!!

Looking back all the tell tale signs were there. 
I hadn't lost any of my pregnancy weight and had actually gained some on top of it!
I didn't get my period regularly, only once every 3-6 months or so. 
My hair and skin had changed.
Although I was making great headway in dealing with my depression i still had big mood swings for no reason.
I had a couple of strange little black chin hairs that I plucked regularly.(OK more than a couple but not heaps, or is that denial?) 
I was ALWAYS tired (I put that down to being a mum!)
It wasn't just the weight gain but my entire body shape had changed.
and the big one.... I couldn't get pregnant when we wanted me to!

Once I got over my sooky-la-la week I started talking about it, mentioning PCOS on many of the random Facebook pages I'm a part of and I realised that
a) So many more woman had it that I had realised! And so many were surprised to find someone else who knew what PCOS stood for.
b) There were many other woman who were in a much worse situation that I was. Many hadn't had any children even with medical assistance despite trying for years. Some women have to shave their face, neck, arms daily..makes my weekly plucking seem trivial. Some women had had cysts burst and had to have one or both ovaries removed. Made me feel like a douche-bag for getting so upset about my low level symptoms!
c) There are ways to combat the symptoms naturally. The big one is losing weight (bit of a double edged sword this one, Help PCOS by losing weight but PCOS makes it REALLY hard to lose the KG's)
Also that removing as much sugar from your diet will help with weight loss and the insulin resistance. I'm attempting to quit sugar (or at least keep it under 24g total per day) If you want more info on quitting sugar have a look at Sarah Wilson's eBook "I quit sugar" HERE. Also Melissa from "Suger Coat It" is quitting sugar as well see HERE. :)

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on PCOS.

Much love


  1. Hiya! Thank you for the mention in your post, quitting sugar certainly has given my body the chance to just do its thing and get back on track. Now it's slowly but surely correcting the 'system errors' and I feel great.

    always crappy news to get a diagnosis you have hoped not to get. BUT good to have a cause and a course of action too.

    Good luck!!

    1. Thanks :)
      The diagnosis at least allowed me to do some research. The sad thing is that pcos has so many varied symptoms it's sometimes hard to give a definate yes or no diagnosis to. It's one of the leading causes of unexplained infertility! (along with endometriosis) 10% of women have pcos (most don't know they do!)
      Infertility and secondary infertility have been taboo topics for far too long. I love that you speak out about the pain and heartbreak that come with trying to fall pregnant. I would like to think that people like us (the ones who hold no shame admitting that things aren't as simple as in the movies when it comes to getting knocked up") Are doing a great service to the next geration of women. One can hope right?!


  2. Hi, it's Laura, Renae's cousin. I followed your facebook comment here. I'm pretty familiar with the symptoms and possible risks to having PCOS (I'm 24, and was diagnosed when I was 17), but it's always good to have people re-stress what the risks actually are, because I think most people think it's just issues with fertility.

    With the symptoms, I suffered from most of them (I have a stubbon black hair on my chin that I have to pluck too), and I have them pretty serverly. Weight gain was one of my biggest problems, for mostly vain reasons (though I'm lucky to escape every problem that is usually associated with obese peope), which is due to insulin resistance (when I was tested, I was graded as being pre-diabetic, meaning that my body was so inneffective with converting sugar, it wouldn't be long before I actually developed diabetes), and my life was pretty much ruled by my crippling depression, wild mood swings and extreme stomach cramps from burst cysts.

    The only one I had that I thought was almost a plus was my irregular period. I would only get it every 4-6 months (twice to 3 times a year was the norm), usually heavy for the first couple of days, then extremely light for about 1-2 weeks after. Until 3 months before my 18th birthday. I got my period at the beginning of March, it went through its normal 2 week cycle then went away. Then came back 2 days later, and didn't stop until I found a birth control pill to regulate it in the first week of July. by that time, I was so worn out, I could bearly get out of bed. I've always been anemic, but I was so much so, I had to take iron supplements (actually, I have to take them all the time because my body doesn't store iron very well, but that's another problem). My stomach was so cramped and in pain that I could hardly stand up straight. Finding an answer, and a solution was the best thing that has happened to me.

    Goodness, this post is getting long.

    Anyway, I bought myself a book (The Ultimate PCOS Handbook by Colette Harris & Theresa Cheung), which is very thorough in detailing what PCOS is, what the symptoms are, how to manage these symptoms naturally, weight loss tips, fertility tips, and even how do deal with the emotional side of PCOS. I found it extremely helpful.

    Another thing I read (can't remember if it's in the afformentioned book), but usually women with PCOS have better weight loss success by following a low GI diet. I intend to try this out when my circumstances allow (I live at home at the moment, and don't want to force the rest of my family to eat low GI), but it makes sense, as a lot of weight gain is usually caused by insulin resistance, and the inability to convert sugar into energy (it converts it straight into fat).

    As a final note, I understand how you would have felt when you were diagnosed. I felt the same way, and got depressed (even more so) over the fertility issue that I let on to anyone else (even more than I realised I would), as more than anything, I want to have a family one day. Though, as I said earlier, I think it's just as important to remind people that there are other risks and side effects than just the infertility. I don't think even my own family understand that fully (even though I've mentioned it once or twice).

    Well, that's enough from me. I hope things go your way, and you are happy and healthy.


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