Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. The simple answer.

The 3 main features of this ‘condition’ are:
– Cysts that develop in your ovaries (polycystic ovaries)
– Your ovaries do not regularly release eggs (ovulate)
– Having high levels of “male hormones” called androgens in your body

Polycystic ovaries contain a large number of harmless cysts up to 8mm in size. The cysts are under-developed sacs in which eggs develop. Often in PCOS, these sacs are unable to release an egg, meaning ovulation doesn’t take place.

Symptoms of PCOS can include:
– Irregular periods or no periods at all
– Difficulty getting pregnant (because of irregular ovulation or failure to ovulate)
– Excessive hair growth (hirsutism) – usually on the face, chest, back or buttocks
– Weight gain
– Thinning hair and hair loss from the head
– Oily skin or acne

Sounds like fun eh? I think PCOS should be re-named HHDD. The Hairy Hormonal Devil’s Disease. Sounds a lot more catchy!

So, now we know the basics of what the ‘syndrome’ is (& I’ve seen loads of forums arguing whether it should be classed as a syndrome or a disease), but what does that mean for me?

If any of you have been diagnosed – it will be different for each and every one of us. For me personally…..well let’s see…..

– Irregular periods – check. A major pain in the arse. If you don’t know when it’s coming – you cannot be prepared enough to prevent little ‘accidents’ and getting caught short. It leads to what feels like permanent paranoia and potentially wasting a tonne of money on panty liners etc (sorry to any men reading this!). It then means I want to go to the toilet a hundred times more often to ‘check’ whether I have come on or not!

– Infertility – check. I do not ovulate at all. I can’t do the one fundamental thing a woman was designed for. Sometimes I can forget – other times I feel like a complete failure – and the rest of the time it is anywhere in between! The hormonal imbalance makes me feel like permanent PMT. Great for me and boy does my husband love that!! It also makes me quick to react to criticisms of sorts. Oh great……just point out MORE things I’m crap at……because I can’t do the most basic of things like reproducing!! Even a friggin’ rat can do that.

– Excessive hair growth – check! And what they also don’t tell you is accelerated hair growth too. Having to deal with hair removal EVERY day just to feel like you look normal. Any girl with PCOS will know all the problems of shaving bumps….ingrowing hairs and more. The whole shave vs epilation vs veet vs waxing will have been tried and tested by us all! Again this just makes me feel paranoid all the time – especially in a skirt or swimming costume scenario.

– Weight gain – the only thing I have managed to escape to some extent. My size and shape isn’t ideal but is more down to my own laziness!

– Thinning hair/hair loss – check. I could probably provide enough hair to make 10 wigs a week!! Ok – that might be a small exaggeration – but brushing my hair every day does result in a LOT of hair. I have to Hoover the carpet lots because my hair is everywhere and the drain is always clogged by the time I’ve finished in the shower. Again – this results in paranoia about my looks and brushing my hair or having a shower somewhere other than home.

– Oily skin/Acne – check to the oily skin. I’m extremely lucky that I don’t have acne, but I do still get several spots and it does get me down. Spots are very visual and make me feel like a spotty teenager still. They definitely knock my confidence and I hate them.

So there you have the basics of how it makes me feel…….paranoid, with little confidence and hormonal as hell, meaning I can’t predict my reactions….never mind anyone else having a chance to!

If any of you have wives/girlfriends/partners living with this dreaded ‘syndrome’ – good luck!! Hopefully this might help you understand some of the reactions you receive……