Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: How PCOS Affects Me and Maybe Even You

It’s common knowledge that periods are no fun. They’re pain, fatigue, cravings and sadness all rolled into one big ball.


However, that is usually only about a week out of the average woman’s month. For me, it’s nearly every day. I have what is known as polycystic ovarian syndrome. It’s a very common hormonal condition, but despite its commonality, medical professionals are still in the beginning stages of trying to understand the causes and cures for PCOS.


September is PCOS awareness month, and it is important that we draw attention to this lack of medical attention so that those affected by the condition have a better chance of getting help in the future.


Drawing attention to this problem is very important considering about one in every ten women have it, but many never receive a diagnosis according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Science Office on Women’s Health. I easily could have been one of those women.


From the time I had my first period, I could tell something just wasn’t quite right. I hurt terribly, and struggled for weeks on end with cramps, headaches and sharp pelvic pain. The pain was unbearable. By the time I started high school, I knew it couldn’t be normal.


I went to the emergency room and they simply told me I was “overreacting." I left feeling that I had made it all up. Could it really be in my head? I went to a gynecologist in hope of finding answers. She told me I was just dealing with your run of the mill “period pain”, but should period pain last 25 out of the 30 days in the month? No, it shouldn't. She just gave me some birth control and sent me on my way. I left still longing for answers.


Within the next year, I pushed through tons of sharp pain. I missed tons of important events. I cried countless tears. Eventually, I went to the emergency room again and discovered I actually had small cysts on my ovaries that were causing the pain. Nevertheless, no further explanation was given and I was referred to a highly-regarded local gynecologist.


A year ago, I finally saw her. She decided it was time to test me for PCOS considering I had many of the typical symptoms like irregular periods, obesity, fatigue, pelvic pain, headaches, mood swings, depression, anxiety, and numerous other ones. I did a blood test to find my hormone levels were seven and eight times the normal female value. I was terrified and relieved all at the same time.  


I finally knew what was wrong with me, but it was crazy to learn about the risks that came with PCOS. I found out the if I wouldn’t have gotten treatment when I did, I would have had a much higher chance of heart disease, diabetes, infertility, high cholesterol, stroke and even sleep apnea.


Due to such early detection, I now have a better chance of controlling my hormones and lowering these risks. Although I haven't found a treatment that works for me yet, I feel much more confident now that I know what is wrong and can explore my options.


Although I am not a licensed medical professional, I highly recommend reaching out to your gynecologist or endocrinologist if you experience symptoms similar to mine and those with PCOS. If you want to learn more about PCOS, visit the PCOS awareness website to get a more in depth look at the condition. I know it may be scary, but the scary thing is not really knowing what is happening.


A lot of PCOS patients are labelled as “overreacting” or just “making it up”, but PCOS is real. It has real effects. It comes with real concerns. It affects real women, just like me and you.