I was diagnosed with PCOS

Monday, September 02, 2019

This is a very personal story but I wanted to write about what has been a really  emotional journey for me and thought that maybe this post could help someone who is going (or has gone through) the same thing.

When I was a teenager my mom took me to see a gynaecologist, as I had not had my period yet. I remember being so scared - especially so because it wasn't just my normal first time check-up. From the beginning I felt that there was something wrong with me. After my doctor examined me (it was a pelvic ultrasound, no external exams), she said she couldn't give me a full diagnosis but I remember something being said along the lines of early menopause and infertility. Honestly, it did not make much sense to a 15-year-old.
I was prescribed a contraceptive pill to help trigger my period. There was no proper explanation as to why or how it would help and I had to take notes for everything, from when my period started and ended, to my moods and how I felt in general. For something that should have been so normal, it was not the best way to spend your teenage years worrying about. I was on the pill for 3 years and everything worked as it should. Then my doctor advised coming off of the pill to see how my body would continue to function.
The good thing was that I started having my period, although it was very irregular. I was feeling frustrated and did not want to go back on the pill. I still took notes every time I had my period and for the few times it didn't happen for 5 to 6 months. At that point, I just didn't care anymore. When I started university I wanted to forget about it all and avoided going to my regular check ups as much as possible.

After 3 years at university, I decided to take some time off and move to the UK. That's also when I met Tristan and I made a decision to go on birth control. I also started seeing a different gynaecologist who recommended this, as my periods were almost non-existent. In the back of my mind I always remembered that very first appointment where I was told I might have difficulties getting pregnant. Tristan knew about it from the start of our relationship and we decided we would come back to the topic once we were both ready for kids. 

That day came! In May 2016, I came off of the pill. I felt excited and happy but also knew that it might not be an easy journey. I wanted to know more about what causes my irregular periods and medical diagnosis, so I booked a private doctors appointment in October. My doctor did a very thorough exam (pelvic exam, ultrasound, blood tests) and I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (in short PCOS)

So what is PCOS? For people who are not familiar with this, in short, it is a condition that affects hormone levels in woman's body, including high levels of insulin. Women with PCOS produce higher amounts of testosterone (male hormones). This hormone imbalance causes irregular periods and makes it harder to get pregnant. Coming back to the insulin, I was also diagnosed with autoimmune thyroid disease at the same time - it is very common in women who have PCOS. My doctor prescribed medication which would help me to get pregnant. She warned me that it could take time but the whole experience was so positive, it made me confident enough to believe it would happen. In May 2017, I found out we were expecting! My pregnancy was without complications and Saskia was born 2 days before her due date.

Since I was diagnosed almost 3 years ago now, I feel like I can finally talk about it freely. I have accepted my condition and I think my positive pregnancy experience has definitely helped me to come to terms with it all. Thinking back, I wish I would have looked for answers sooner. I tried to ignore the situation for years and it really put a strain on my body. After I was diagnosed, I started feeling more and more confident and in control of my own body!

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