Thursday, November 29, 2012

My PCOS diagnosis

I went to the doctor on April 17, 2006 because my periods have stopped completely for several months and I was having abdominal pain. The lack of a period, to me, meant no possibility of having a child (which I wanted). I was diagnosed with PCOS on April 22 of 2006, after having both an abdominal and vaginal ultrasound. This was the first time I heard of PCOS and I had no idea that I've been suffering from symptoms for years (and still am).

The conclusion of this ultrasound stated that both of my ovaries are "generous" in size and have a few more peripheral follicles than are usually seen. They said these findings are somewhat borderline but may represent a mild degree of polycystic ovarian disease. My uterus appeared normal. After looking at the ultrasound results and other symptoms I was having, the doctor diagnosed me with PCOS.

I've done a lot of research in regards to PCOS and since I was in high school I've had the following symptoms: 

  1. Even during early development, I had irregular menstrual periods. Included in this was very heavy bleeding and painful, painful cramps. 
  2. As I gained weight throughout the years, my periods became more and more infrequent.
  3. At the point that I saw the doctor, I had not had a period in almost a year.
  4. When I met Ana's father, we had sex often without protection. I never got pregnant. The doctors suspect my PCOS and lack of periods led to my infertility.
  5. Signs of hirsutism showed increased hair growth on my face, stomach and toes.
  6. Cysts on my ovaries (shown by ultrasound).
  7. Oily skin, acne, and dandruff. This was often troublesome in high school as kids in school would make fun of me for acne or dandruff. I tried hard to control it with over the counter acne products and dandruff shampoo. This didn't do much.
  8. When I was a child I had very, very thick hair. My hair has (and still is) thinning and I notice that one side is thinner than the other side.
  9. Patches of skin on my neck that are thick and dark brown. I remember my mom always telling me to "wash your neck better". I would scrub and scrub but it would not come off. Little did I know this was part of PCOS.
  10. Skin tags on my neck and armpit areas. Not many, but there are a few small skin tags that I've noticed in the last few years.
  11. Pelvic pain... this comes and goes and I think it has to do with cysts "popping" or with ovulation.
  12. Anxiety - I have high anxiety and it's usually controlled. Until the loss of Ana, anyway.

This was the beginning of my journey with PCOS. This is something that is a constant daily struggle in trying to conceive... or just trying to feel secure about myself. Symptoms like the patches of dark skin, acne, or the hair on my face left me very cautious of what other people would think about me. I still have many of these symptoms, but I've noticed that some of them have lessened since I've started my weight loss journey. I hope that continuing with my weight loss will help my symptoms lessen more and more.

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