Living with the daily maintenance. Let’s just get the particulars out of the way – I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. This is just my take on an unpleasant diagnosis.

Living with the daily maintenance.

Let’s just get the particulars out of the way – I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. This is just my take on an unpleasant diagnosis.

I’d like to tell you a few things about me. When I was young I began a battle with my female health. Several years and procedures later, I was diagnosed with PCOS. Mayo clinic describes Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) as a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. They may have irregular or prolonged periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs. The exact cause is unknown…1 Ok, so forgive me but this doesn’t quite cover it. They should say ‘so much extra hair you’ll be shaving along side your significant other!’ (Like I might be able to grow a beard myself!) Or the near impossible weight loss journey! Or the fatigue!…Thus began many years with my fight against PCOS.

I feel like I have a reasonable handle on it after 25 years of real daily struggle. That being said, I still struggle with weight loss and losing my hair…not body hair, but the hair on my head. You know, high androgen levels is why Uncle Frank is also going bald. Ugh! Thank you PCOS! Women may not handle balding quite as eloquently as the average man. We can’t always throw on a baseball cap and feel like ourselves. It can be an intensely emotional issue for anyone. So, you are seeing the bald spot getting bigger and then look twice in the mirror because you are looking more like a hipster every minute. That beard can rival any man’s, at least that is how it feels to a woman who is not in competition with the hipster community, HA! So, the excess hair…we’re talking on the face and arms and belly. (oh my!) I find myself in the bathroom with my husband shaving his face and I’m over here like, “Ummm?? My turn!” *sigh*. I mean I started out following my professional knowledge and began waxing. Unfortunately, this was short lived as waxing would leave me irritated and red for days, or even weeks. So, I began plucking this and that, but who has time to remove the forest each morning?! It’s like a daily ritual…like brushing my teeth. Anyway, the hardest part is to see all of this excess hair on other parts of my body but watch the hair on my head fall out. My hair started growing in a little thicker and much darker on my chin, under my jaw, on my belly, and on my arms…UGH!. Now, we wouldn’t want people calling up the news with a sasquatch sighting. HA! So, plucking away I go! And it really is difficult to try to cover up a bald spot…Sorry Uncle Frank, but no comb overs here.

Spent some quality time with my chin, tweezers, and my magnifying mirror. Fun times!

What about those infrequent or prolonged periods. I wasn’t as concerned with the infrequency of my periods, but literally thought I was dying when I did have it. The pain was so intense! It felt like a hot knife slicing right through me. And the loss of blood was like a open fire hydrant on a hot summer day. Eww! Let’s just say I had my fair share of necessities laying around.

Then there is the acne. We’re talking deep, painful acne. The kind that you can’t even cover up because it’s like a big dome of unhappiness that wanted to stay until every part of me was just as unhappy. If you’ve had hormonal acne, you know it’s not for the faint of heart. I still run into the nasty pimple here and there, as they like to bury themselves deep under my chin or around the corners of my mouth, OUCH! But I have found that my diet really plays into the appearance of my acne. Dang it! I love my food!

One of my doctors put me on a diabetic diet years ago. Though I am hypoglycemic, the idea is to keep your blood sugar stable with no big highs or lows. Anyway, I did end up losing 30 lbs but it didn’t last (my fault) and the weight came back on and then some (again, totally my fault). Overall I had gained 50+ lbs and had begun to believe that the years of being physically fit with clear skin and a normal amount of body hair were behind me. My PCOS was taking forever to get under control. I was working really hard again. Making sure that I was getting my exercise and fresh fruit and veggies. According to Elite Daily, celebrities such as Emma Thompson, Daisy Ridley, and Jillian Michaels are among those who are battling PCOS. 2 It’s a little intimidating to see those actresses listed, like Jillian Michaels. They are all in good shape in my opinion. Ah, I roughly have 25 lbs more to go and then I’ll be 100% satisfied with myself…Right?!! Nope, but I really think that my weight plays a huge part in my PCOS health. I feel terrible when I eat something I shouldn’t and gain >5lbs overnight! I know that it is mostly water retention, but it makes for a rough few days to get back on track. Losing that same 5lbs may take days…does that mean it’s not just water retention? Hmmm? The constant back and forth, yo yo weight gain and loss that happens is a migraine trigger for me as well. I feel so much better overall when my weight is managed. Either way, it’s a current life goal to feel happier and healthier. Find the motivation wherever you can!

So what does all of this babble have to do with PCOS?? For me, everything!!! PCOS has affected many areas of my life. To recap, PCOS causes hormonal imbalances where the female body has a higher androgen level. This causes excessive hair growth in unwanted areas and hair loss where it counts (the head, of course!). Also, it affects your metabolism as many women with PCOS have been found to have a slower metabolic rate. Of course, this means these women (ME) don’t need as many daily calories. 3 I mean, this is just more bad news, I know! The struggle is real!! It also causes cysts on ovaries or “Polycystic ovaries”. The ovaries could become enlarged and contain follicles that surround the eggs. They also may fail to release eggs which can lead to infertility. 1

See what I mean?…And this is just one of my conditions.

Reference links:

1 Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pcos/symptoms-causes/syc-20353439

2 Elite daily:  https://www.elitedaily.com/wellness/8-powerful-women-opened-struggles-pcos/2063376

3 PCOS diet support: PCOS Diet Support

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