Tuesday, 9 July 2013

My Battle with PCOS

Hello lovely ladies

Today I'm writing a lifestyley-personal-health related-ranty post. Its not something I do often on this little ol' space of mine, but its something I think people need to be more aware of.

Today I'm writing to tell you about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and my personal battle with it. Its a endocrine disorder which effects 1 in 10 women - one I've had to live with since the age of 16 and maybe earlier. PCOS can effect your menstrual cycle, your appearance and your ability to have children.

I discovered I had PCOS in 2009, this was shortly after my dad had passed away and I had been diagnosed with depression. I had no periods for most of 2009 and because of my diagnosis of depression, and despite repeatedly going back to the doctors I was sent away each time being told the same thing, your stressed, take your anti depressants they will come.

After around 8 months and still no sign of a period, and no pregnancy as I was single my mum became angry and frustrated so we returned to the doctors, this time I had blood tests taken and was sent to Medway hospital for an ultrasound. After a long wait the blood results came back that I was positive for PCOS a disorder that before that moment neither me or my family had heard much about. My local doctor was actually awful and when diagnosing me told me that I would never be able to have children - this information I now know to be false. To say the least being told at the age of 16 that you will never have children destroyed me, infact I was beside myself, I couldn't believe it, having my own children is something that has ALWAYS been on the cards for me, the thought of carrying a child and giving birth to a child fills me with wonder and joy - its something I've always dreamed about. And whilst friends and family comforted me with 'you can always adopt' 'you can have ivf' it was never enough for me, this disorder was making  my dreams of my very own mini me a smaller posibility and it was something I had no control over.

PCOS diagram [via google]

Despite the most obvious and daunting negative of PCOS, the reduced chance of fertility PCOS also has some other pretty daunting symptoms. For me the two my body seemed to pick up were hirsutism - excessive hair in places it should be minimal because of raised male hormone levels, the beginnings of acne, awful uncontrollable mood swings and menorrhagia - extreme menstrual bleeding. At 16 I was considerably self conscious and dealing with this whilst going through puberty, GCSEs and loosing my dad was no fun to say the least. 

Growing hair in places you shouldn't isn't particularly nice. In this day and age all women want to be plucked and preened to their absolute best. I'm not any different. In some senses I'm lucky, I don't have a hairy back or chest. For me it was the facial hair that got me the most, like most women I have bleached  plucked, hair removed and waxed my upper lip. But for someone with PCOS my hair cycle is so quick and the hairs so thick and dark I'm now looking for a treatment that will last longer and with smaller side effects. I'm currently prone to using hair removal cream, but it kicks my acne off around my chin and lips making them incredibly sore. I've recently been saving to get Laser hair removal london , a form of hair removal that promises to be virtually painless. Laser hair removal works by focusing a single laser beam at the base of the hair follicle, halting hair growth, It can be used to remove hair from practically any part of the body. Lasering can take between 15 and 45 minutes. The area being treated will need to be treated every 4-6 weeks for around 8 months to achieve the best results. This is something that could cure a major insecurity of mine. Although laser hair removal is considered a cosmetic procedure and is therefore not catered for on the NHS, you can find reliable and safe clinics such as SK:N who offer special offers such as 25% off when buying 8 treatments at once, Something I am now saving for and hope to update you on in due course!

[via weheartit]

Treating my PCOS was one of the hardest parts. Doctors often have no idea about the disorder, and the little they do know they don't really care about. To date I have been on 5 different contraceptive and hormone balancing pills and two forms of anti depressants to get the balance just right. Yasmin is the pill that saved me ultimately  it calmed my skin and moods down after 3 months (the time it takes to get into your system properly). My mum actually only found out about this little miracle pill through going through countless womens forums looking for a solution - and we discovered doctors are hesitant to give it out because of its price - it was only when my mum brang this up that they happily - and quickly prescribed it.

[Via weheartit]

After that I've been on many trips to A&E where cysts have burst in my ovaries causing me such serve pain I've had to be put on morphine, I think this has happened to me 3 times to date. And early last year I had a diagnostic laparoscopy a key hole surgery procedure in which surgeons make three small holes, fill you with carbon dioxide and operate on the ovaries. I had 6 holes drilled into each ovary to help my menstrual flow and in the future fertility. The aftermath of that procedure was the worst I've ever felt physically in my life to date. 

Diagram of a diagnostic laparoscopy [via google]

My experience with PCOS is alike to many others I see, alot of young women are shunned away from medical practices and we are told we are 'drama queens' and 'its just a period' my favorite was in Southampton General where a male doctor had the nerve to ask me if I actually knew what a period was and how it worked after I had passed out from my recent period... arsehole. So my plee to you is this, if you do have any of the PCOS symptoms don't be afraid to ask to get blood tests and put the suggestion forward - you know your body better than anyone else when somethings wrong you just know. I've spent years from medication to medication, operations after ultrasounds upon double figures now, don't be afraid to get the help you deserve. PCOS can be made easier if we just make people recognise that it does exist, and get the correct medication for their own needs, and if you want to? be aware there are cosmetic surgerys out there to save you from your PCOS woes.

To say my ride so far with PCOS has been a breeze would be a lie, but it is a disorder I am living with and continue to learn about each day. Please don't be afraid to question doctors and persist when somethings wrong!

[Image via google]

I hope this helps someone out there confused with their body or struggling with PCOS - Were all in this together! 

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