Poly cystic ovarian syndrome. PCOS for short. It is an imbalance of hormones in the female body which results in several side effects and medical issues and affects 1 in 10 women globally.
I first heard of PCOS while I was travelling through Australia. It started with 3 months on the road, 4 months off the combination pill, and no sign of my period. Of course alarm bells were ringing. One of my roommates, who happened to be a nurse, thought it might be PCOS. At this time there was next to no online content to help explain the condition. I was told it affects those who are unsettled, like travellers or athletes – when the body is put under a lot of stress. So, at first this was what I accepted my body was going through. I assumed my body was having a tantrum due to my unsettled placement in a new land.
Months kept rolling through until I had clocked up to around 22 in total with no trace of a menstruation cycle. I then thought it was time to see a doctor. I conveniently scheduled an appointment with a gynaecologist whilst on a UK visit.
My doctor confirmed it. I have PCOS. My left ovary is not doing it’s job properly and my hormone levels are all out of whack.
The diagnosis was around two weeks of back and forth visits with the specialist and the GP. I do not have the clear and obvious symptoms of hair growth and weight gain so they were not too quick to voice their opinion. Finally, the blood works and ultrasound scan revealed the truth. PCOS through and through, probably disguised by the excessive Bali UV exposure and my healthy lifestyle.
Treatments of PCOS involve manipulating hormone levels using combination pills or other alternatives. However, these increases the risk of blood clots, blood pressure and migraines. This is something I am not prepared to put my body through ever again. So, instead of hijacking my own body I have opted for the “keep an eye on it” treatment and deal with it when I absolutely need to.
So, I got talking to some babes about their ovaries.
In recent weeks while gathering info on PCOS, it has dawned on me that it is so much more common that we are led to believe. Actually, statistics say 1 in 10 women have it. It sounds terrifying. PCOS – the be all and end all. But I have found just having a general knowledge and awareness of it takes the fear factor away and strips it down to just a small part of my daily life. PCOS Awareness is a movement I strongly support, and I encourage other ladies to get more vocal about their own experiences – you might even find someone close to you going through the same thing.
I have discovered 4 beautiful ladies close to my everyday life that also have PCOS. Each of us have our own stories and experiences; some more intense than others. While my symptoms are more mood based and stagnant menstruation cycles, I have discovered the physical pain of extreme cases can tear some women lives apart and even hospitalise them. Being a woman is not easy…
However, through talking to others about PCOS I have become more relaxed in knowing that I am not alone. My intolerable and irrational mood swings are actual normal for a PCOS gal. Skin flare ups and fluctuating weight gets us. Even over bearing anxiety and sleepless nights is part of our PCOS lives. It is just a part of us.
But what does PCOS actually mean for our future?
My doctor touched upon the higher risks of high blood pressure, ovarian cancer and diabetes. This is why we need regular checks and blood tests to ensure no signs of these are present.
We also briefly discussed the risk of fertility complications in the future. I was only 23 when I was officially diagnosed, so children was and still is a long way away for me. However, it is hard to hear you may not be able to have children no matter what your age is. This information really took a hit on my existing anxiety problem and took me a long time to process. To be honest I don’t think I have fully come to grips with it yet.
In the next coming weeks I will be seeking help from a gorgeous lady here in Canggu who claims to of cured her PCOS. I am not sure what I expect out of meeting her. I do not know what she can do for me. But if I can get an ounce more clarity on my body then that will be worth it.
For the time being, I will continue living my semi-vegetarian life under the sun, surfing when I can and using yoga to calm my racing mind. Someone told me coffee and cheese is a bad trigger for PCOS, but they are not getting the cut.