Monday, June 16, 2008


As I mentioned in my previous post(2 in one day! I must be MAD), I did some shopping this weekend- bathing suit shopping, to be exact. The only thing worse than bathing suit shopping is shopping for jeans that fit and don’t cost a million dollars, which I’m going to have to do soon, since the zipper broke on my favorite pair. But I digress…….. the point I’m trying to make is that I think I’ve finally come to terms with my body and the weight that PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) has caused me to gain. I didn’t cry. I didn’t throw fits. I didn’t get discouraged. What I did do was laugh at each ill fitting suit and say “This ain’t gonna happen” and promptly take it off. It was a little bit cathartic to look at myself in the mirror and know that I’m doing what I can to get down to my pre-PCOS body, but I’m just not there yet, and maybe never will be, and it wouldn’t be my fault, and there might be nothing I could do about it, and all I can do is just try and be happy with myself how I am.

Since we’re on the topic, let’s talk symptoms. Some people have asked me what it’s like to have PCOS. What does it do? Does it hurt? I’ll break it down in my own words and how it affects me. If any of my darling readers has anything to add, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do!

PCOS, or Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, occurs when the follicles growing in the ovaries don’t fully mature. Instead of getting released in ovulation, they stay inside the ovary and create cysts on the outer walls, thus causing an anovulatory cycle and making “baby making” impossible during those cycles. It doesn’t hurt, but it can sometimes get uncomfortable and there can be a lot of pressure, but it isn’t constant. I’m not sure if the hormones cause this, or if this causes the hormones to go crazy, or if they both work together, but the hormones go way out of balance.

The hormonal imbalance causes multiple outward symptoms. On me, the most noticeable ones are weight gain-mostly around the midsection- and acne on my face (which is how I knew that this last cycle was going to be a long one. I gained 10lbs in 2 weeks and my face looked like a pizza.) Other people can experience excessive body hair growth known as Hirsutism, or thinning hair that is similar to male pattern baldness. Skin tags are also not uncommon. Because of these major changes that occur in the body, depression is not uncommon in women with PCOS. The weight gain, I am told, is caused by an insulin resistance in the body. Because of this, people with PCOS are at a higher risk of developing type II diabetes- which, I can imagine, isn’t a walk in the park either since it means no more chocolate. (The horrors!)

Some days my symptoms bother me more than others, but for the most part it’s not hard to live with. Aside from the potbelly and the pizza face, I’d live quite easily if I wasn’t trying to get pregnant. I should mention, too, that PCOS a lot of times causes a great lack of libido. I went from “in the mood” quite often to almost never. This symptom is a little worse for the Hubbs than it is for me, and sometimes I’ll hear “Is babymaking the only thing I’m good for?!?!?!” Sorry, honey!

Again, this is all in my own words. If there is anyone out there who has more expertise and would like to add some information or correct something I may have wrong, please do. Also, I’d love to hear your experiences with PCOS.


Amy said...

I think PCOS sucks big monkey balls.

KC said...

Glad to hear you are comfortable in your own body. I finally did the same thing last week with my bikini.

As far as PCOS, thanks for the lesson. I have never heard of this before.

I recently just finally beat my battle with acne with a trip to the dermatologist. My acne was due to hormones too. She prescribed Cleania (face wash) and clindamycin phospate lotion. I feel like a new woman as far as my skin/faces goes.

nancy said...

You just gave me more info on PCOS than I've ever known. Sorry I can't add anything to it!

Jen said...

I agree with Amy.
Sucks monkey balls.

Mel said...

I have suffered from PCOS for almost 17 years now.
Holy shit, I cannot believe that I can actually say that.

When I was on the pill, everything was actually fine for me. My skin was great and I was skinny as a rail. When I got off the pill 19 months ago, I immediately gained 10 lbs within like 2 months (and another 10 lbs since I started fertility treatments and my RE put me on an exercise ban) and my skin turned in to a teenage boy's face. It is so gross. My RE put me on Metformin, which helps some, but I actually, honestly MISS the pill. I never thought I'd say it out loud.

You have most of the facts spot on!
Basically, PCOS sucks ass!

Tricia said...

I can't add to the PCOS info, you've done a great job outlining it. I've been through my share of fertility treatments and a lot of the symptoms associated with all the hormones I had to take sound similar to what you've experienced with PCOS. I say dido to Amy's comment.

SAHW said...

Jill, this post came a the perfect time for me. I just got back from the clinic with an unexplained diagnosis. I do ovulate, but many of the other things you've mentioned are sounding awfully familiar - weight gain mostly at midsection, random acne after years of clear skin, extra facial hair, and even the skin tags! I might have to talk to you a little more about this after I do some more research. If you have any links you especially trust and like for PCOS info, would you mind sharing them with me via my blog? Thanks :)