Categories

A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

I spent most of Valen­tine’s Day 2004 in the emer­gency room. I was scream­ing when I arrived in the ambu­lance, and that’s some­thing. I sel­dom make any loud nois­es! I could­n’t help it, though. I was in some of the worst pain of my life because an ovar­i­an cyst had burst. The doc­tors could­n’t real­ly do any­thing but pump me full of painkillers and put me through lots of tests to rule out more seri­ous prob­lems.

Short­ly after­wards, I learned that I could have bled to death had that cyst been right at a blood ves­sel. I’d nev­er been warned of that, and had fall­ed into think­ing that it did­n’t real­ly mat­ter that I was­n’t under treat­ment for PCOS any more. Obvi­ous­ly, I was wrong.

Poly­cys­tic Over­ian Syn­drome, or PCOS, is more a col­lec­tion of prob­lems with a com­mon root than a sin­gle ill­ness. The symp­toms can, in fact, be so diverse that many physi­cians do not tie them togeth­er to see the over­all pic­ture. The main symp­tom is that women with PCOS do not ovu­late nor­mal­ly, but form ovar­i­an cysts that can lead to oth­er prob­lems. They usu­al­ly suf­fer from amen­hor­rhea (fail­ure to men­stru­ate) or dys­men­or­rhea (irreg­u­lar or painful men­stru­a­tion), infer­til­i­ty, and in some cas­es dys­pare­u­nia (pain dur­ing sex). The hor­mon­al imbal­ance can lead to weight gain, hir­sutism, acne and oth­er prob­lems. There is a very high inci­dence of depres­sion in PCOS suf­fer­ers, as well. In some cas­es, women who gain a lot of weight may devel­op PCOS as a result of their weight gain. In most, though, it seems that the imbal­ance caus­es the weight gain. In my case, I was quite thin when the PCOS start­ed, and after final­ly get­ting treat­ment for it I start­ed los­ing weight with­out diet­ing.

Cur­rent thought is that PCOS may be caused by insulin resis­tance, which can lead to type II dia­betes. Thus, treat­ment with Met­formin (glu­cophage) is some­times help­ful. Doc­tors have long used birth con­trol pills in an effort to mod­er­ate the hor­mon­al imbal­ance that is an impor­tant fac­tor in PCOS. There are actu­al­ly two kinds of birth con­trol pills, though—those that increase the lev­els of andro­gens, and those that use estrogen/progesterone. For years I was giv­en the andro­gen pills, which unfor­tu­nate­ly increase the lev­el of the hor­mones that are already too high. Switch­ing to an estrogen/progesterone pill gave far bet­ter results.

Women with PCOS have a much high­er risk for heart dis­ease, dia­betes, and some forms of can­cer. Endometrio­sis, mis­car­riages and infer­til­i­ty are more com­mon among women with PCOS than among those with nor­mal hor­mone lev­els. It is, there­fore, very impor­tant for women who think they may have PCOS to seek treat­ment even if they aren’t wor­ried about hav­ing chil­dren and are not both­ered by the overt symp­toms. PCO­Sup­port is the best resource I’ve found for infor­ma­tion about PCOS.

Katie is my mir­a­cle baby. I was told by sev­er­al doc­tors that I would nev­er bear a child with­out fer­til­i­ty treat­ments, as I’d nev­er ovu­lat­ed reg­u­lar­ly. About a year after hav­ing surgery to remove a great many ovar­i­an cysts, though, I was suprised to find myself preg­nant. Since then I’ve had two mis­car­riages, and I’m some­what reluc­tant to try car­ry­ing a child again. Hope springs eter­nal, though!