I have PCOS. If you’ve never heard of it, don’t feel bad. It stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome, and as many as 1 in 10 women have it. The too long, didn’t read (tl;dr) explanation is that it causes havoc with our hormones, causes infertility and excess hair, and leaves a string of cysts on our ovaries. You do not have to have cysts on your ovaries to be diagnosed, but blood tests and ultrasounds should be ordered.
The long version is that it is an endocrine disorder that is caused by high level of men’s hormones. Excess testosterone causes excess hair growth(face, arms and breasts are most common), lowering of the voice and missed periods. Infertility is caused by not being able to release eggs due to high male hormone levels.
Your body is supposed to release an egg every month. With PCOS, your egg doesn’t actually leave the ovary to go down the tube, it sticks to the ovary and becomes a cyst. These cysts release more androgens into your system.
There are other problems as well. Horrible stomach pains, associated with cysts on the ovaries, sometimes caused by an cyst “popping”. Awful periods, when your body decides to work right. Or having to take pills to force a period, which is then another awful, pain filled time in which your body empties itself of all the buildup from when you didn’t have a period.
Insulin resistance, a whole different issue with a whole different set of problems. Obesity is a huge issue, since our bodies don’t metabolize insulin right. According to Wikipedia, 50 to 80% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance.
There is no cure for PCOS, no matter what anyone tells you. You can treat the symptoms, but as a whole, there isn’t anything that works. So, how do you do that? Birth control pills to control your period, medicine to control your hair growth, and there are medicines for infertility. Diet and weight loss help tremendously with PCOS symptoms.
The best thing to do is talk to your doctor. An endocrinologist is probably the best doctor to see, since this is an endocrine disorder.
I was diagnosed when I was 16. The cysts on my ovaries come and go, sometimes more than others. I just recently found out I have insulin resistance. Danny and I don’t eat terrible, but our diet could use some work. Especially now! So, I’ve been doing some research, but most of the diet stuff is stuff I already know, since diabetes runs in my family. I’ll start sharing some of it here, and over on facebook, as well. We’ve really started eating more fruits and vegetables, and cooking more at home.
Do you have any healthy foods that are your favorites? Do you have any tips for staying on track with eating better?