Have you ever heard of PCOS? Its full name is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and the best estimate is that one in five women in the UK may have it. Being the lucky lass that I am, I’m one of those women.
Despite PCOS being more common than you might think it is not as well known or as understood as you might think. I’ve had to explain what it is to a number of healthcare providers in the past for example. This is something I live with every day and while sometimes it’s just something that ticks along in the background, sometimes it can be a pain in the backside. There is some great information on PCOS on the NHS website.
PCOS affects different women differently. My particularly fun afflictions include excess weight that is incredibly difficult to shift (even though most of the time I eat like a blumming rabbit), fertility issues (more on this below), raging hormones (no, I’m not just a cowbag), oily skin and insulin issues. I’m type two diabetic and have to work very hard to control it. I’m not saying that PCOS made me diabetic, but it won’t have helped. Many women with polycystic ovary syndrome find that they are what is called insulin resistant.
Where Does it Come From
No-one really knows where PCOS comes from and why some have it and others don’t. Some women with PCOS struggle constantly with weight gain, some don’t. Some may have thinning hair, some don’t. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Some experts think that there may be a family link, however, this is far from having been proven. Right now, it simply seems to be the luck of the draw.
From a healthcare point of view, (from our experience and many others) the main medical support you get for PCOS tends to only happen when you are having fertility issues. We were told at one point that it would be very unlikely that Roy and I would be able to have children without artificial help such as IVF. I don’t ovulate regularly. At one point I was releasing the odd egg here and there about every six months or so, and regular periods have never been something I’ve had. Sheer bloodymindedness and an ounce or three of luck gave us two sons after years of trying. The fertility team we were under were great but their hands were tied at the time by the postcode lottery that exists around IVF. Thankfully we eventually conceived successfully without that level of help.
There are numerous other ways to manage PCOS, natural supplements work for many, such as those from Nature’s Best, a healthy diet, exercise and checking in with your GP every now and then to keep an eye on blood glucose levels if this is a thing for you. There are some fabulous online support group set-ups too. Verity is well worth looking up for those looking for better understanding and peer to peer support.
Above all, I would like to see more work go into PCOS understanding and general awareness, for women and for healthcare providers. One woman’s experience of PCOS may be very different to another’s. From hormone issues to physical issues, it really can feel like the luck of the draw. If you feel some of these symptoms match up with what you are experiencing, speak to your GP for further advice.
This post was sponsored by Nature’s Best to raise awareness of PCOS.