Today I thought I’d share a PCOS update and just share how things are going, what I’m learning, and all that has been happening!
This will probably be somewhat lengthy because I want to share my story and progression as well and write for someone who may have just found out they have PCOS and what to expect, what to do, and in a later-stage scenario what treatment options are available!
For those of you that don’t know, I was diagnosed with PCOS during the summer of 2016.
It was waaaaay out of the blue, and I’m not going to pretend it wasn’t hard – it was. And because it was so unexpected, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t know anyone in my circle who had this, and truth be told I hadn’t even known that this was a thing.
When I was out of the doctors office I sat in my car and just cried ….. I felt lost, all alone, and was also scared.
Some of you might be thinking “But what is PCOS?” so I’ll go ahead and break it down again for any newbies here on the blog.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome/Stein-Leventhal Syndrome (PCOS for short, and commonly referred to) is disorder in women that is characterized by an elevated level of male hormones (androgens) and infrequent or absent ovulation (anovulation).
In my case, this also means I have cysts on my ovaries to a moderate degree, I can’t feel them and they don’t hurt me but their presence makes it hard for my body to function in a reproductive manner.
While PCOS is the most common reproductive disorder in women, the bad thing is that it’s not only harder to conceive but you’re also at a high risk for CIN and CC.
Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN) and Cervical Cancer (CC) tend to gravitate to women with PCOS because your ovaries and hormones are already out of whack (maybe even years out of whack!) and you already have cysts grown.
At a short glance, you think that the ovaries and cervix aren’t that close together, but if you look at it closer you will find they’re closer together than one might think! There seems to be several contributing factors as to why women with PCOS have a higher rate at developing CIN and CC, although the link between PCOS, CIN and CC are still being researched.
Unfortunately, I know a 23 year old who found out they have PCOS and CIN III (the most aggressive type of CIN) within one week.
Am I saying I have either of these? No, and my OBGYN hasn’t said that I do either – but I am overdue for a checkup and would like to see the progression or regression of my cysts and PCOS!!
One of the main (and natural ways) to help ease PCOS symptoms and sometimes shrink cysts that have form is through nutrition, whole eating, and weight loss. (Although on a side note, people at their prime BMI can still have PCOS).
When I found out I had PCOS I was about 251 lbs. and as of right now I am around 210 lbs. so I’ve shed a good amount of weight, which I’m pretty proud of!
I switched up my eating from over-processed junk to whole foods, and nuts and fruit and switched out sodas for water, lemon water, natural hot teas, unsweetened tea and the occasional coffee.
Three days after I was diagnosed I went to a bookstore and bought some amazing, highly recommended books that I’ll link below! These helped me a lot and I started to not feel so isolated and alone on my journey!
My biggest change I would say would be eating whole foods, cut out the junk and a decent workout routine to help shed some pounds ….. I’m not saying become a female bodybuilder (but if that’s what you’re into then you go girl!) but go at least 3 days a week to your local gym and supplement the other two days with something at home like pilates and yoga videos! Super easy workout regimen and you won’t get burnt out!
Typically, I got to the gym and work hard M, W, and F and do pilates/yoga at home on Tu and Thurs. because another contributing factor to PCOS/weight loss is STRESS!
So, having two days when you do something like yoga stabilizes your body as far as hard work + the needed relaxation.
And yes, yoga is still an amazing workout ….. look it up!
If PCOS cysts grow (as they normally grow larger before shrinking) there’s both natural and mainstream-medical ways to remove them.
Natural ways include wholesome diet, exercise, massage therapy, Chinese medicine and acupuncture.
I was just telling my Hubby the other day how I’d be interested in getting an acupuncture treatment to just “try” it because there’s a reproductive acupuncturist about 45 minutes away from me! (Side note: no, I don’t like needles. At all. But these are super-thin and supposedly you don’t feel them so ….. ya girl is interested, haha!)
Mainstream-medical ways include “laparoscopy” and “laparotomy”. Unless a woman is already in the menopause phase of her lifetime, many doctors prefer laparoscopy because this way only the cysts are removed instead of the cysts and an ovary as is done is laparotomy.
Plus, with laparoscopy you can generally go home the same day and there is less pain afterwards! If I ever needed help with mine I would definitely prefer this surgery over a more painful and invasive one such as laparotomy.
However, if a OBGYN sees fast growth, or CIN/CC forming then even younger women opt to have both the cyst and ovary removed. If this is the case, they will keep whichever ovary is healthier and preserve it so that 1) you will still have one of the two ovaries in your body and 2) you still have a chance at conception!
As I said earlier, soon I’ll be making an appointment with my OBGYN to check up on my PCOS + cysts and it’s important to not “forget” about this and have it regularly checked on.
How do I feel about PCOS now? Well, I won’t lie and say it gets easier, or better, or more comfortable because it doesn’t … especially if you are working towards being healthy, getting your hormones on track, and doing the best you personally can to help fight the battle PCOS presents.
I will say that I feel better having educated myself on the subject, getting books to read to learn about it, and finding other women that have it! Knowledge is definitely power when it comes to your own body and personal bodily conditions.
Working on it takes a lot of mental power, it gets tiring, and sometimes I just want to throw my hands up in the air and say “I’m done!” and throw in the towel.
But I don’t for multiple reasons ….. because I want to be the best Autumn Renae that I can be, who God intricately made.
Because I want my husband to see a woman who cares about her body, who’s a fighter and fighting for their future as a couple both reproductively and health wise.
Because I want to live a long, healthy life and help others along the way.
Because there’s a reason I have PCOS, and having PCOS has made me learn all the more that I have to lean on God and know He’s in the middle of it.
Because I hold onto the hope that my husband and I can produce children, our children, our beautiful amazingly created children that will bear our name and do great things with their own lives.
It’s easy to get tired. I don’t always want to eat healthy, wholesome foods. Going to the gym certainly isn’t my favorite thing, and I’m terrible when it comes to stressing out and being a worrywart.
It’s so easy to get angry with God, the one who holds this earth in the palm of His hand and say “Why God!? Why me? Why us!? What have I done so wrong to deserve this??? Why are You making me go through this when it would be so easy for you to just take it all away and give us the perfect life – a husband, children, a beautiful home and a white-picket fence!? WHY GOD!”
Here’s a big, giant tip for you: don’t get angry with God.
Instead, learn to rely on Him, rest in Him, and get close to Him. He really does hold the power to everything and He will hear your prayer and mine.
His timing is perfect, His Will is perfect and sometimes you just have to slow down and just break apart in His hands and let Him transform your heart and mind.
Now, keep in mind I’m not saying to sit around and do nothing about your condition …. far from it! God also gave you a brain, let you be born into an era where you can have amazing care and resources and even find others around you going through the same thing.
Use the amazing ways we can connect nowadays to your favor and research, get help, find solutions, make some PCOS friends and keep God in the middle of it.
My fingers have been flying so fast on this keyboard it isn’t funny, and I believe that this post is meant for somebody out there that I don’t even know – but God does.
During your journey (and mine as well) you’ll find that PCOS isn’t the end of the world.
It takes guts, determination and hope in Jesus Christ to get through all this mess: but we will get there. I will get there.
Where “there” is, I can’t exactly say because each one of us has a different life, but you will make it and it will be okay.
My personal update is that learning to eat nutritiously and with whole-foods has been a game changer for my and my journey, and that educating myself and my husband on the subject has helped us cope and move forward on this journey!
Here’s the books I mentioned above:
If you click on the links above, it will take you to Amazon where you can read reviews, take sneak-peeks of inside each one and possibly purchase them!
I linked them to Amazon for convenience, however you can also find them at bookstores such as Books-A-Million and Barnes & Nobles (I got mine at B&N) and possibly other well-known bookstore chains.
These two have been the most helpful and educational for me personally, and I hope you give them a try if you or someone you know is going through PCOS!
It’s my hope that this post has helped someone going through PCOS, the mental challenge it produces as well as the lifestyle that follows closely behind! It takes loads of time and patience and something that takes guts to challenge.
After my next visit to my OBGYN, I’ll do another blogpost and give a more in-depth personal update of what’s going on in the inside!
Thanks for reading this as always, friends!