Good morning Facebook family and friends! Today is September 1st and I am going to share something with you about my life. September is PCOS Awareness Month and I have PCOS.
PCOS is an acronym for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Wait men!!! Don’t keep scrolling!!! I know you see the word “ovarian” and you start screaming internally and just desperately want to casually carry on with your day. But I promise, if you keep reading and follow my posts this month, you will discover the secret to understanding women. #RealMenTalkAboutOvaries
I don’t talk about PCOS a lot, not because I am embarrassed or ashamed, but it is because I refuse to let it define me as a person. I am Jennifer. Not Jennifer with PCOS. But there are millions of men and women out there who don’t understand what it is, and furthermore, a countless number of woman who have PCOS and don’t even know it. So I am taking advantage of September by posting a daily fact/topic about PCOS in order to spread awareness, all in hopes of helping women who wake up every day wondering what the hell is wrong with their body and mind.
I was officially diagnosed with PCOS in Dec 2015, but looking back I believe I developed PCOS between the ages of 12-14. I always knew something was wrong and at 31 years old I found out that PCOS was the answer to everything. I want to try to be very clear on what PCOS is this month, because it is a whirlwind. It is described as the “silent disorder that wreaks havoc on a woman’s body” and when I try to explain it to people, they are just left with questions (which is why I am going to need a whole month to do it).
PCOS is an endocrine is disorder that effects more than just the ovaries. There are different types of PCOS and every woman’s body that has PCOS handles it in a different way. 1 in 10 women have PCOS.
First here is the definition of the endocrine system.The system of endocrine glands in the body. The endocrine system chemically controls the various functions of cells, tissues, and organs through the secretion of hormones. The endocrine system includes the adrenal glands, parathyroid gland, pituitary gland, and thyroid gland, as well as the ovaries, pancreas, and testes. -The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
The glands that I have issues with are adrenal (sex, energy, and stress), pancreas (insulin), ovaries (reproductive), and now through recent developments, possibly thyroid (metabolism).
Ever wonder why my upper lip is red and puffy? It’s because I just waxed! My adrenal gland produces too many androgens (or male hormones). All women produce androgens, I am just on overdrive. Therefore I have symptoms like hirsutism (hair growth on my face) but I am 100% a beautiful woman, so deal with it.
We all have a medulla. It’s right by our kidneys. That is what controls physical and emotional stress. When dealing with something, the medulla sends a signal to your brain to tell it how to handle the situation. You know what mine does? It goes berserk and sends all the signals. So you know what I do? I treat it. I take a medication that regulates it and I educate myself on what is going on with my body so I know how to counteract the symptoms; things like closing my eyes and taking a few deep breaths to regulate my heart rate, meditating frequently, and analyzing my reactions to make sure they are appropriate for the situation at hand. Most women with PCOS suffer from anxiety and depression, and some can be classified as having a panic disorder, when really their hormones are just out of whack. Education is just as, if not more, important as medication.
My pancreas also produces too much insulin, so I am at very high risk for diabetes. I need to eat healthy because I literally don’t want to die from food. My blood sugar can get out of balance very easily and my body will feel the effects of it. It is all about building a meal with a low glycemic load and eating those meals at certain times so I don’t become diabetic.
Unfortunately the worst part of PCOS is the ovary part. PCOS is the #1 leading cause of infertility in woman. Eggs in the ovaries don’t fully mature and become cysts, therefore ovulation does not happen. But many woman with PCOS have balanced out their endocrine system enough to where they were able to ovulate and get pregnant. So it is possible and women with PCOS should never give up trying to conceive.
What a lot of people don’t know is that every single day I live in pain from inflammation of my ovaries. I tell people this today not because I want pity, but it’s to let every other woman out there who feel like they have golf balls stuck in their lower abdomen know that they are not alone. You can still be fun, successful, and happy if you don’t let PCOS run your life, I am living proof.
This is just the tip of the iceberg on what PCOS is all about and how it effects my life and the lives of millions of people. When you see my daily PCOS posts this month (I promise they will be shorter!), please read and share it with people who may be dealing with some of the same issues or having trouble understanding PCOS. I also changed my profile picture to include the color teal, because when you see the color teal this month, it is a sign to think of someone who is dealing with female reproductive system issues. If you have PCOS or know of someone who deals with these issues (like me!), then rock the color teal yourself to show support.
Thanks to my family and friends who have known about this and that have supported me and thanks to all those who will read this today and continue to love me for exactly who I am, because I think we can all agree that I’m awesome. I also need to thank my doctor, Dr. Lina Shammas, who properly diagnosed me after years of searching for answers, sat with me for over an hour to explain to me what exactly was going on with my body, supported my decision to treat the majority of my symptoms holistically rather than with pharmaceuticals, and takes my phone calls to discuss new symptoms that may develop. She is amazing.
If you want to read more about PCOS before my next post, check out this site
Or if you need help managing your PCOS, I love this site
Don’t forget to love yourself, because there is no replacement.