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PCOS: My Warning Signs

PCOS is short for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and I had never heard anything about it expect that Whitney Thore’s on “My Big Fat Fabulous Life” has it.  That show might be the first time I had ever heard of this syndrome, I definitely don’t remember them talking about it with us in sex ed.  Then I was diagnosed with PCOS and I learned a lot about it real fast.  I want to share with you the warning signs, or symptoms, my body was sending me to lead to my diagnoses.  It is funny to me now but I will admit that I was SERIOUSLY convinced that I was going through Early Menopause and it freaked me out…A LOT.

#1 Missed Periods

This is a big warning sign for women that something is up with their body.  Usually when you stop getting your period and you are in your twenties it is a sign that you are pregnant.  I stopped having my period around fall of 2014 and I didn’t have another one until I was diagnosed with PCOS around April/May of 2015.  I had the birth control arm implant and I knew that it was sometimes normal for people to have change in their cycle and to stop bleeding all together.  So after worrying for a couple of months and taking many pregnancy tests during I was finally convinced that the implant had just caused my periods to stop.  However, along with the other symptoms below I realized it was something much, much more.

#2 Hot Flashes and Night Sweats

Oh my god!  There was never a morning that I wouldn’t wake up and my pajamas would be damp because I was sweating so much while I was sleeping.  I was living in the basement of my parents’ house in the middle of January, in Minnesota and I would still sweat while I slept.  But it wasn’t just during the night,  I was also experiencing hot flashes during the day.  I would be sitting at work in the middle of winter and all of the sudden I am on fire and feel like I might pass out because I am so hot all of the sudden.  You might be able to start seeing why I was thinking I was going through “The Change” at the ripe ole’ age of 27.

#3 The Beard

Now I know tons of women that have some sort of hair on their faces and depending on their ancestry it can sometimes be a little darker.  I grew up watching my mom pluck the excess facial hair every morning, using a mirror and the sun to help her see them.  It was normal to me for women to have facial hair and when I started getting more and more of those annoying black hairs I didn’t think much of it.  I didn’t really think much about it being a bad thing until I was getting a facial and the lady made a comment that I might want to get my hormone levels checked being I had so many dark hairs for her to pluck.  I of course just brushed it off as genetics and went about my way.  One day I made a comment to my mom about my facial hair and what the lady had said to me.  My mom then informs me that she didn’t have excess facial hair until after she had kids.  So basically she didn’t have any issues until her hormones went through a shit storm of changes and caused the excess hair.

So there I was thinking to myself that:

1) I am going through some sort of hormonal issues right now

2) I haven’t had my period in like 6 months and I am not pregnant (took another test just make sure I wasn’t 6 months pregnant)

3) I am having hot flashes.

Of course the most logical explanation is “OH MY GOD, I AM GOING THROUGH EARLY MENOPAUSE!”  Because like I said before, I never heard about PCOS, it wasn’t even a blimp on my radar  until I started getting my hormone level tests back from the doctor.  My Estrogen levels were just fine (no early menopause) and then I saw that I had higher Testosterone levels than some men.  Once I saw my results, before the doctor even said anything, I had already realized that she was going to tell me that I had PCOS.

Why isn’t something that we talk about more?  It affects between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 women of child bearing age (  That’s a pretty big number of women and PCOS can be pretty dangerous if you don’t take care of yourself.  All you have to do is look at the fact sheet that I linked above and see all the increased risks that women with PCOS are susceptible to.

I cried a lot when I first got my diagnoses of having PCOS because I thought my life was over and I would be doomed to be childless.  I thought that my boyfriend was going to leave me because I was “damaged”.  Then I had my follow-up appointment with my doctor and she was very reassuring that everything would be okay.  I left there hopeful and with treatment options that I will share with you in a later post.

Do you have PCOS?  What were you first warning signs when it came to your diagnosis?  Please share your story with me in the comments below.

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