PCOS: The Disorder No One Talks About
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal endocrine disorder in women. Estimated 7 million women and adolescent girls have PCOS.
There’s no specific test to diagnose PCOS and no cure. Symptoms vary from woman to woman. Less than 50% are diagnosed with PCOS.
Doctors look for certain symptoms when examining a potential candidate for PCOS, then rule out other possible disorders. They may include weight gain, mood swings, anxiety, and depression, excessive facial hair, male pattern baldness, irregular menstrual cycles, and severe adolescent acne.In certain women, small cysts may form on the ovaries.
Early diagnosis is critical since PCOS is known as a ” The Gateway Disease”. Several medical risks including insulin resistance, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, high cholesterol, and heart disease are linked to PCOS.
The statistics are staggering. According to Womenshealth.org – It is estimated that 1 in 10 women of childbearing age is affected by PCOS. It can affect women anytime after puberty and often is not discovered until a woman has problems becoming pregnant and see their doctor. The risk of a woman having PCOS is greater if a family member has been diagnosed.
Why are we not talking about PCOS? The conversation needs to be started.
Starting the Conversation through Writing
Earlier this month I published a Spotlight Post “Daily Struggle With PCOS” written by Christina Dawkins, 27 years old, living with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) since she was first diagnosed at age 15.
Her first symptoms that led her to be diagnosed with PCOS was severe adolescent acne and irregular menstrual cycles. After consulting with her doctor, she discovered that she had extremely high cholesterol. The doctor put her on a strict diet, recommended that she start exercising to level off the cholesterol, and put her on birth control to level off hormones.
Her dream has always been to have a family of her own. PCOS affects woman’s hormones, menstrual cycle, and ovulation, which makes it more difficult to become pregnant. Through her experience and frustration of trying to become pregnant, she has decided to share her story through her blog “A Cyster’s Dream”
Blogging has put her in touch with her creative side. ” It keeps me centered… my blog has given me the courage to talk to others about what I am going through.” Before she started her blog she was terrified to tell her story because it’s such a private topic. She needed to talk to someone other than her husband, family, and friends. ” I was looking for feedback from others who were going through the same thing that I am”.
Find Your Strength Through Others
Some days are easier than others. “When I’m in the middle of a bad day, feeling overwhelmed. I try to focus on something else or I cry”. Taking online classes, exercising more, reading, trying yoga, and getting back into photography helps take her mind off her daily struggle with PCOS.
Publishing her first post “My Dream v. My Reality” was scary. Hitting the “Publish” button was one of the hardest things to do. Since the post went live she has received positive feedback.
Christina wants to start a conversation with others who have the same symptoms and especially for those who haven’t been diagnosed, or have been diagnosed and are struggling.
“This is happening to me..it makes me feel alone. By telling my story it starts a conversation”. Her writing will open the conversation to bring awareness to others. Readers have shared with her that they keep their feelings to themselves, and are afraid to tell others. Some feel ashamed.
“It should be okay to talk about it…”
Blogging made her more comfortable talking to people about PCOS. It had forced her out of her comfort zone. ” I use to not be able to talk about it without becoming anxious and emotional.” Writing has given her strength.
Facebook Groups and sharing her posts through Social Media has brought an audience to her blog. It opened doors to others who have struggled with the same emotional challenges that she has over the past 12 years.
Christina”s long-term goal is to keep the message going and bringing more awareness to PCOS through her blog.
For more information about PCOS please visit: http://www.pcosfoundation.org/