Sunday, September 11, 2011

What the heck is PCOS? And Can it be cured with medicinal marajuana?

OK...of course I am joking about that second question.

Learning about this condition gets me in a tizzy sometimes, but the more I learn about it, the more comfortable I am talking about it, and the more determined I am to control it.

When I was about 13 years old, I noticed that my menstrual cycles did not occur every 28 days as I was taught in health class.  I thought I was a mutant; thought that maybe I was pre-selected not to have a monthly cycle.  I would go several months without seeing a cycle.  Embarrassed, I did not tell anyone about what was going on with me.  I just hid all the unused pads in the back of my closet.  My mother found my hoarded items one day and asked me if I was pregnant; I was not even sexually active at the time so I knew that wasn't the case.  When my mother took me to my physician, he told me that it happens a lot in my teenage years, but I should be fine when I become an adult.  Great advice doc...just chill for a few years and you will eventually be OK.

By the time I was 18, I was so used to NOT having regular periods that I was surprised when they did come about.  I averaged 2-3 periods a year.  And couple of months after my 18th birthday, I began to notice facial hair.  Talk about devastation!  I knew that woman in my family were somewhat "hairy"...but no one in my family had it as bad as I did (well except for my

Then came college (pausing for a happy reflection of the great times in undergrad).  I learned how to keep the facial hair under control (somewhat)...still sporadic with the periods.  I noticed that while my other friends are not dealing with acne anymore, I still struggled with it.  And so began the excessive weight gain.  I blamed it all on the extra Doritos runs on the weekends...but I always wondered how I got a beer belly...and I don't drink beer.

On to adulthood...more hair...more weight...more acne...and less periods.  To handle the hair...tried everything except electrolysis (not brave enough for that yet).  To handle the weight...tried Atkins, Six-Week Body Makeover, Weight Watchers.  All were very effective...for a while...then I always fall off the wagon...and gain more weight than I lost.  To handle the acne...Proactiv, Noxzema, Neutrogena, name it, I'm sure I've tried it.  I mainly have to change products every so often so that my face would not "get used to" the product.  For the periods...I went to a new gynecologist,  and she asked me if I ever heard of polycystic ovary syndrome...

Finally, it has a name!  This familiar condition that I have just accepted as a part of life is actually something that I have to control.  But how?  Do I give a pep-talk to my nether regions?  She gave me a drug to induce my cycles, and then put me on birth control.  I was single at the time, so I was all for the birth control.  Then I found out that the birth control was affecting my blood pressure.  Did not want to be the one to take one prescription to counter act another prescription to counteract another bye-bye birth control pills.  At the time, I was not knowledgeable of the affects of PCOS.  I just thought...OK, my periods are not as sporadic as it used to be, and I may not get pregnant for now.  No problem, I'll just try to exercise more, use more Proactiv, and buy more razors and dilatory creams.  Then, I met this guy...fall in love...and got married.  New game-plan...

Of course we weren't planning on have children right away.  We wanted to enjoy our marriage for a year before we have any children.  During the cycles suddenly became regular...I mean every single month!  I thought to myself...yes!  I'm normal.  This must be what my old doctor was talking about.  But year after year passed, and no baby.  Even downloaded an ovulation app to my smartphone so that we could keep track.  We are now in year four of marriage...and still no baby.  Now I'm worried.  Time to really learn about this PCOS business.

Over 5 million women in the U.S.  have PCOS.  I started reading more about the condition and found that it affects so many health issues, including heart disease and insulin resistance.  Women with PCOS have high levels of androgens or male hormones...and that causes the hair growth.  It also can cause depression, which I have experienced on occasion.  There are other symptoms that it causes, but I've said too much already.  I will deal with the symptoms individually in later blogs as I learn to control them. 

My mission now is to get this thing under control before it takes me out.  First step is to loose this weight.  I have learned a few things about what I should be eating and how it affects my condition.  In future blogs I will post how (and if) I am achieving my weight loss goals.  I'll even post a few tasty recipes I've found.

I thank you for reading one of the most intimate issues of my life!  ETJ! (Enjoy The Journey)


  1. Aneesah you're so brave to share this! I'm confident that PCOS will not defeat you. Kam and Syd will come soon :) Stay encouraged!

  2. Bless you! This is very brave! Sharing your your journey gives you more cheerleaders and your fellow sufferers hope and probably some short-cuts!

  3. Thank you so much ladies! I was nervous about posting this...but it is one of the many ways I'm trying to cope. And it relieves so much tension in my life!

  4. You're really being a blessing to others. It takes a lot of humility to expose personal things and many aren't willing to do it. I know women with PCOS that have conceived with proper treatment and I really believe this is the first part of your journey. Let's help each other with weight loss.... :)

  5. This condition has been around for so many years before MD's even had a clue!!! How well do I know about just about everything the book says about PCOS---it's nobody's friend, that's for sure. Just thanking God for the 3 miracles the MD's didn't anticipate.

  6. Your journey sounds very similar to mine. The one thing you didn't mention that I was plagued with was menstrual cycles that would last for months. I had no idea when or if they were going to end.

  7. Cresha...I must say that I did not have the long cycles. That's one thing I am thankful for. But I know that it was difficult for you. In the book I am currently reading, there was a woman who had a similar story to mine, except she dealt with hair loss. I didn't even know that was one of the conditions! I'm really learning so much.

  8. Hair loss is most definitely one of the symptoms. I have always felt that PCOS was the reason for mine, although I can't be sure. I had to get a lot of it cut, and it was my first time having to get it cut. It has since grown back a lot since I transitioned to natural hair. I don't want to experience that again.

  9. You blame Doritos...I blame Dre's job at Papa John's :-|

    Keep writing and keep motivating.