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Many Sufferers Go Undetected....It May Be You.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Member Name: mythdata
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Disadvantages: Weight gain, acne, Excess hair, Irregular / Loss of monthly cycle & Infertility.
I was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of twenty four after I had been pestering my doctor for ten years previous to that. I have always known I had a problem but my doctor put my nearly non existent periods down to me growing up in the teenage years and then stress in my twenties.
It was only after me and my husband had been trying to start a family for two years without success that my GP started to listen and referred me to a specialist.
With a few hours of meeting my specialist he had confirmed that I has PCOS polycystic ovary syndrome, this is something I have researched fully and I feel that is it something that should be shared as this actually effects up to 70% of women.
Not every woman effected notices they have the condition, it only comes to light if you have problems conceiving or really bad painful periods. So this may be of interest as PCOS can be the cause of many things such as obesity, acne and excess hair.
WHAT IS PCOS
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects the ovaries, basically the ovaries are larger than they should be as they consist of several cysts.
One or both ovaries can be affected, the condition occurs when small follicles from on the ovaries, the cysts are formed when you release an egg every month. Usually the egg travels from the ovary to the uterus to either be fertilised or dispersed of, this then results in your monthly periods.
With PCOS sufferers this does not happen and the egg stays attached to the ovary and forms the cysts. If you do not have a period this is because you have not ovulated and the egg has not been released.
Many women with the condition suffer in silence without realising they have the condition, so here are a few of the many symptoms that indicate you have polycystic ovaries.
Irregular or absent periods is the most common symptom, I only got my period every six months and it would last for up to six weeks. These were very heavy and painful to the extent I would have to take a week off of work, since being diagnosed four years ago I have got medication that has helped make my periods manageable, so I can go about my day to day life when ever they do make an appearance.
Facial and body hair is another prime symptom, this can affect your chin, upper lip, fore arms and abdomen. As I am very fair haired I have not suffered with this problem, but suffers with dark hair can have a problem. There is nothing to do about this, but you can start bleaching, waxing, plucking, electrolysis and even to the extent of laser hair removal.
Acne can flare up on your face, if you have never suffered from spots then this maybe a sign of PCOS, but doctors will not diagnose the condition for have acne alone.
Weight Gain / Obesity is the major factor in my opinion, I was not obese but I certainly gained weight. I put on four stone in the space of two years and I was not doing anything I had not done previously, not matter how many diets I tried I could not shift the weight gain. After finding out about PCOS I realised this was down to my body becoming insulin resistant, therefore my body started to store fat instead of the sugar. There are steps to reduce your weight is was given medication (Metformin) to stop my body storing fat and therefore my weight dropped back off, I am not a small as I was before I gained the weight but I am well on my way.
Infertility is a major PCOS symptom, this is down to the fact that many with the condition do not ovulate as the eggs are not being released, many women with the condition can conceive normally. In my case I have been trying for six years and nothing but if this is the case and you can not get pregnant easily then steps can be taken in the form of medication and injections so stimulate the ovaries, with the help of medication you increase you chance up to 60% of conceiving naturally.
Being diagnosed was a major hurdle for me, as the doctors did seem to care. So when I finally found out it was great so I could say I told you so, to those who would not listen and palmed me off with pain killers.
Being diagnosed is very easy I don't understand why it didn't happen for me years ago. It was all done through a few simple blood tests and an ultra sound scan.
The blood tests were all taken at the same time, I was tested for the amount of male hormones present in my body (I did not even know women had male hormones), Glucose levels and my thyroid was also tested.
To check to extent of my ovulation problem I had to go and get tested every week, this was to check if I had changes in my female hormones, If my levels changed it meant I was able to ovulate. I never did have a change so this determined I didn't ovulate so my specialist could hit the problem head one.
Lastly I was given an ultrasound scan, to check the full extent of the cysts on my ovaries.
Being diagnosed was simple it was done in the space of a few hours at the hospital, as I had been referred to a specialist they dealt with it quickly, but if you have to have blood work done at you GP's surgery this can take some weeks and the appointment for the scan can take up to six months.
THINGS TO DO TO HELP
There are many things a PCOS sufferer can do to help with some of the awful symptoms associated with the condition.
The contraceptive pill is the best way to stop these symptoms, as this adds certain hormones into your body this will regulate periods and help with things like weight issues, facial hair and long periods. In my experience it made the whole thing manageable but if you are trying for children this will not help obviously.
Trying to keep a healthy weight is advised, you can get medication to help with weight loss but you may need to implement healthy eating and exercise if this is something you don't to normally.
If you are trying to conceive doctors will not give you medication of operate if need be, if you are over weight so this is something that needs to be done before you can do anything.
If you are trying to conceive and you have been tested to determine the full extent of the problem, you are then open to many other options that may help if the weight loss and healthy diet didn't help.
It is common for doctors and specialists to make you wait 2-3 years before assisting with fertility medications. I waited and now I have been pursuing my other options.
My first treatment was a drug called Metformin, this is used to reduce the male hormones and improve your body's intake of sugar. These should increase the chance of ovulation by up to 90% and regulated periods, so you can conceive. I started with 100g a day but as time went on I was put up to 850g a day, I felt like I was rattling and the side affect were awful, I had headaches, loss of appetite, sickness and upset stomach form the minute I started taking these, after a few weeks the side effects did subside but after 9 months this was not helping.
Ovarian drilling is an operation that is performed under general anesthetic, here your ovaries are burned with a small laser in the hope that they will react and start to work unaided. During the operation surgeons may clear your tubes and removes cysts, with many women this is all it takes to get them ovulating again. I have had this procedure twice and both times it has been unsuccessful, now I refuse to do it again as my ovaries already have scaring from previous attempts and if they are scared there is lass chance of them releasing eggs.
The next medication was Clomifene, also know as clomid this is used to stimulate your ovaries and is highly effective in making you ovulate, These were taken for five consecutive days once a month. These could only be taken after a blood test to check you were taking then at the time you are due to ovulate.
Clomid is highly effective in making you ovulate, but you run the risk of multiple pregnancies. Unfortunately this has not worked for me but seems to make me ovulate. Your doctors will only let you take a few courses of this mediation before moving you on to another method.
Gonadotrophin injections are used to give direct stimulation on the ovaries, also helping you to ovulate. With this you are required to have daily injections to increase your chances of conceiving.
If any of the above treatments do not work for you, some times they can be used along side other treatments, for example clomid and metformin combined have a really good success rate.
I have been on all of the above treatments over the past four years, it is basically trial and error and a very long waiting game. If these all fail for me I have the last option of IVF, which is a route that can be very costly and the success rate is not fantastic.
I was only diagnosed after I had trouble conceiving so the doctors kept me hanging for years when this could have been controlled many years earlier, with a simple blood test or scan. I have now been trying to conceive for over six years without success, so I now have to pursue other avenues as many of the treatments mentioned above have failed.
It is said that PCOS can lead to infertility, but don't be put off by my experience as I have known many fellow sufferers to go on and conceive perfectly healthy children. If you are not in the market for children yet than PCOS can be controlled very easily with medication, your first hurdle will be getting diagnosed.
So if you are having trouble conceiving go and get tested for PCOS, if you are suffering from any of the symptoms outlined above then this maybe the possible cause, you don't need to be trying for children to get help. I know a few women who have decided against kids and they just get help to regulate periods and help with weight issues.
PCOS is very different in every woman, on the outside you would not notice a thing with me, I am not over weight, hairy or spotty but I just don't ovulate. Other women seem to react well to medications but suffer with weight and hair so it is swings and round abouts.
If this review has enlightened or helped anyone in anyway then it has been worth the three hours it has taken me to write it, I feel that this is a condition that is over looked which is a shame as so many people suffer with it being undetected.
Summary: PCOS affects over 70% of women, Many go thought life without knowing.
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