PCOS! Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome! I could write about this condition for dayssss! I remember when I started meeting my symptoms one by one. Anyone living with PCOS knows that these symptoms can be shocking…to say the least! Here is a list of some of the er…more shocking ones!
1. Hello, Moustache!
Hell no! Like helllllllllllll naaaaah! That was my reaction when I saw the first out-of-place strand of hair on my chin! And this was soon followed by another…and then another! Cue shocked shriek! WTH was happening to me???!
To be honest, I have always been on the hairy side. I’ve had side burns since I was a girl, and until the age of 16 (when I was introduced to hair removal cream…lol) I also had hairy arms and legs. But I never thought much of it…until I started sprouting chin hair in my mid-20s.
Not all PCOS girls are unlucky to have this symptom, but for those that are, well a good shaving stick is your friend! I have had to learn how to keep my chin as smooth and feminine as possible, without any of the tell-tale bumps one can get from shaving. Until I have enough courage to go for more permanent solutions, my stick will have to do for now!
2. I weigh WHAT???!
That weight gain that comes with PCOS is REAL!!! It sneaks up on you like a thief in the NIGHT!
So, check this out! I used to be a skinny girl. Skinny, as in I had to take a popular drug to help me put on weight! Skinny, as in I once had to accompany all my meals with a Malt drink…just to put on weight! Skinny, as in eating was a necessity for me, and not something I could toy with!
Then all of a sudden, from nowhere, my clothes started getting tight! Ahn ahn?! My washboard flat stomach started bulging through my clothes! Was I dreaming?! And my scale which I used to literally beg to increase in number, suddenly increased by 5, 10, 15kg!!! Haaaa! The skinny girl had become a fatso! And it wasn’t fun!
I’m still struggling with weight loss, but the solution to the weight conundrum is simple. Even though us PCOS girls have to work harder at it, eating right and exercising often soon helps get us back to a decent weight! Fingers crossed!
3. What happened to my hair???!
The awful thing about PCOS…the cruel irony…is that as you sprout hair everywhere you don’t need it, you lose it in the very place you do! Your head! The gods of PCOS have a very wicked sense of humour!
I have always had hair. My hair used to cascade all the way down my back. In fact, I took it for granted. I was one of those girls who would give a disinterested shrug whenever I got complimented about my long locks. What was the big deal? It was just hair. Ehn yes…just hair….until I started LOSING IT!!!!
The first indication that something was amiss was when the girl, who had been braiding my hair for years, commented suddenly “Aunty, wetin do your hair? E don cut for middle!” I gasped and used a mirror to check. True true, there it was, a small bald patch in the middle of my head. And it all went downhill from there. My hair that was once too thick for me to comb was suddenly hanging limply…too scanty to even pull in a ponytail!
It took years of hair cuts, treatment, and a proper diet, to get the hair back on some form of recovery. I still have a long way to go to recover my once lustrous hair, but at least, I’m not near bald as I was a few years ago.
4. What happened to my Sex Drive???!
One minute, you are a sex kitten…no, make that sex tiger! Always roaring and ready to go!!! And the next minute, you have as much heat as a piece of frozen titus fish! Kilon happen?
At first I thought it was the stress of TTC that drastically reduced the tempo of my own bedroom action. My hubby and I are both passionate people, and our bedroom time was always enough to make my feet curl. Yes, the TTC strain might have contributed, but Madam PCOS was more to blame for the sudden frost in my sexual heat, the cooling of my libido, and the dryness of my lady parts. Sex became not even tolerable…but almost unbearable!
Thankfully, with the management of the condition, passion has been restored in my bedroom. So, worry not, PCOS gal! It won’t last forever.
5. Where did my periods go?
This is one of the symptoms that thankfully eluded me, but I know so many women whose hitherto clockwork periods packed their bags, and said Adios! From having a textbook-perfect 28-day cycle, my friend Ijeoma’s cycle extended to 30, then 35, then 40…until it got to a point when it would only come when induced. Yep, PCOS at work!
But, with her, she found that when she ate healthier, exercised more, and lost weight, her periods were more regular…so she had to make healthy living a part of her life. Anytime she slips up, she immediately sees the result when her periods cease…so, it’s enough reason for her to get back on the treadmill!
6. No, this Pregnancy Test can’t be right!
A lot of PCOS women I have had cause to chat with, probably as much as 80% of them, tell me how they were as fertile as rabbits in their younger days. One of my friends, I’ll call her Tola, said her problem was how NOT to get pregnant! Even when she took that popular morning-after pill, she would still conceive! All this was happening when she was still casually dating, so it was a big inconvenience for her.
And then, she got married and started trying for a baby…but it wasn’t happening! In her mind, it just had to be her husband’s fault because, after all, she had been able to conceive in the past, and multiple times too. However, her husband’s sperm count, mobility, and motility where all perfect. It was like filmshow when the spotlight beamed on her, and it was revealed that she had PCOS. PC-gini??! She was shocked to hear that her follicles were producing eggs too immature to rupture. To her, it was almost laughable! She?! Fertile she?! It was impossible…except, it wasn’t. Luckily, after making lifestyle changes and commencing medication to induce ovulation, she conceived, and had her daughter.
The irony? Immediately after she had her daughter, her fertility seemed to return with a vengeance, and she conceived her son less than 6 months later…and her second son less than a year after her first son was born.
So, PCOS ladies! These symptoms might be shocking, and maybe even traumatic…but with the right management and treatment, can be reversed…if not completely, to a good extent. It is a lifetime condition, but sometimes, all it takes is making radical lifestyle changes, eating better, and living healthier!
Stay healthy, ladies!