Tuesday, 31 March 2015
Let's Talk About... PCOS
PCOS is something that is still, in this day and age, presented as something your hairy, overweight Great Aunt with a moustache has, when in fact it's quite the opposite. Currently in the UK alone, 1 in 10 women have PCOS. When you put that into perspective, that's a very significant number of women. Just imagine you're in a bar or at the gym, when you're at a party or a wedding, even when you're at work - that's a good handful of women who have this condition.
If you're not sure what PCOS is, it's a condition that is caused due to over stimulation of male hormones in the blood, affecting a woman's 28 day reproductive cycle. Sometimes when the egg comes to be released from the ovaries, these male hormones can affect the release, causing the egg to turn into a cyst. This therefore can lead to irregular periods and potentially fertility issues.
There are quite a few symptoms such as acne; excess hair such as above the lip, on the stomach, around your nipples; irregular periods; you may struggle to lose weight or be severely overweight; hair loss; and potentially a deeper voice.
It's important to know the difference between polycystic ovaries and PCOS - Polycystic Ovaries occurs in almost 20% of women yet they may not even show a single symptom to suggest they do have polycystic ovaries. PCOS is when you do show the symptoms however you don't show any sign of cysts on the ovaries. Oh my, polycystic is a difficult word.
So, why should there be more awareness? Well first of all, believe it or not in a world where we're living for and have access to instant information, for most likely the vast majority of women who are diagnosed with polycystic ovaries, they haven't a clue what to actually do next. You might get offered a leaflet or you might get guided to a particular website, perhaps even told 'just go on the pill' (because it will clearly solve everything).
What I'm hoping to do is share my own journey on the road to reducing my symptoms, in order to help you on your own journey if you too have to deal with this unfortunate and confusing condition.
All I will say to start off with is this: forget pills and other medication. Focus on you and your wellbeing. Look at your diet and re-evaluate if there are elements that can be changed. Sugar (pure, natural or in a carbohydrate form) is the biggest thing that will affect you and your hormones. Therefore carbohydrates too (do NOT cut them out, however) also ought to be regulated - be smart with them. Also ensure you're getting plenty of fat. Avocados are your hormones' best friend.
This post has been sitting in my drafts for far, far too long and I'm still nervous about posting this (which it finally now hopefully is!). Although this is a topic I want to shout from the rooftops about, I get panicky about revealing these things to God knows who. Please be kind. This is a sensitive topic, not just for myself but for many others too.
If you have PCOS, or have a similar health concern, please feel free to share something about your experience in the comments below. Do you have any tips or found anything in particular that works well for you? If you aren't affected by any hormonal issue but you've still got this far, thank you for reading this post! I hope it brings more awareness of the issue to you.
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