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Member Name: baileybird
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Disadvantages: The horrible symptoms that come with the condition
I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) when I was 17/18 years old. In 1998 most GPs weren't aware of the condition or how to treat it, in some cases this is still true 11 years later although the wider availability of the internet has opened up a wealth of resources for both patients and GPs.
I remember the Doctor telling me that I had a condition that meant it was unlikely that I would ever have children or a normal menstrual cycle and that it would probably be best if I had a hysterectomy! He told me what the condition was, but I wasn't really taking any more information in after that bombshell.
I went home and did some research on the web and there was a lot of information about PCOS. I returned to the GP the following week armed with my research and obtained a referral to a gynecologist.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is the name given to a condition in which women with polycystic ovaries also have one or more additional symptoms. Polycystic ovaries describes ovaries that contain many small cysts, usually no bigger than 8 millimetres each, located just below the surface of the ovaries. These cysts are egg-containing follicles that have not developed properly due to a number of hormonal abnormalities.
The main symptoms are:
Irregular menstrual cycle, causing infertility issues
Weight gain / excess weight - particularly around the middle
Hirsutism (excess hair)
Dark patches of skin
There are many other symptoms, and not all will affect everybody who has been diagnosed. Polycystic ovaries affects about 20% of women, whilst Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome affects about 5 to 10% of women.
There are many resources available on the internet, there is a UK charity called Verity which was set up in 1997, plus there are many others. There are also many books on the subject, which give advise on medications, supplements and ways to improve your health and the condition, I personally find the books written by Colette Harris to be very informative.
Several studies have been conducted over the years and there are many medications that doctors prescribe to assist symptoms. Personally I have tried quite a few and found that none have helped; the only way I am able to alleviate my symptoms is by eating a low carb diet and get lots of exercise.
There are many resources available if you have been diagnosed with PCOS or think you have it. It isn't a nice condition and it can be very embarrassing, however it is very common and becoming more so. There are things out there that can make it more manageable.
Summary: PCOS is a horrid condition but it can be managed.