*A collaborative post
It’s been ten years since I was first diagnosed with having PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). It was an out of the blue diagnosis, which in hindsight had I done some research and put all my symptoms together would have concluded with PCOS. The condition is when small cysts cover the ovaries and other symptoms present themselves. It’s a condition that affects over 3.5 million women in the UK and can present itself in different ways in different women. Here’s how I live with PCOS ten years on.
When I was first diagnosed I had several classic symptoms of PCOS; my hair was thin and lacked volume, my periods were irregular and often absent, I had lots of unwanted hair on my face and I wasn’t in control of my weight. I remember having issues with pain in my abdomen but never associated that pain with my ovaries. Generally, although the cysts on ovaries can be painful they can also be unnoticeable. Natures Best have a wealth of information for those with PCOS including articles with more information on PCOS symptoms.
PCOS and fertility
One of the biggest concerns for me living with PCOS was infertility. I hated the fact that I could struggle to get pregnant due to having PCOS. In fact, I was once told by a gynaecologist that I would struggle to conceive naturally and that was a huge blow. I had always wanted children and had imagined myself as a Mum so to be told I couldn’t conceive naturally was mentally painful.
When my husband and I first began trying for a family, we were optimistic. We were both in our late twenties and ready to become parents. Although we had been told that we would struggle to conceive, we weren’t sure how the gynaecologist would really know for certain unless we tried. So we did and it took us over two and a half years to conceive our first baby. Olly was born in 2013 and was the centre of our world. He was our little miracle as he was conceived naturally aside from prescribed medication.
We knew it could take a while to conceive a second time, so when Olly was two and a half years old we tried for another baby. It didn’t happen quickly and we were advised to lose weight and get ourselves into a position where we could receive medical intervention if we didn’t conceive. By some sheer miracle, our second baby was conceived after two and a half years of trying and baby Freddie was born in January of this year.
PCOS and weight gain
Another symptom of PCOS is weight gain. I have always been overweight of varying degrees over the years. Since Olly was born, I lost five and a half stone and this helped us to conceive Freddie. I put on weight very easily and since Freddie has arrived via caesarean, I have gained most of the weight back (but can’t attribute this to PCOS rather lack of exercise and not watching the calories) I don’t think there will be a time when I don’t struggle with my weight. It’s a huge thing for me and I really hate how hard I find it to lose weight. I’m working on it though and watching my meals and cutting out snacks and certain drinks.
Living with PCOS ten years on from my initial diagnosis my outlook is very different. I now have two very beautiful children who are my world and I feel incredibly lucky to be their Mummy. Moving forwards, I’m looking to improve some of the other symptoms I get but having just had Freddie, I’m waiting for my hormones to return to normal. Thankfully, my periods are regular (although heavy), my hair is adjusting to the postpartum hair growth / loss and I’ve lost a little bit of the weight I’ve gained in recent months.
In pregnancy I was taking a specific pregnancy multivitamin to support me and my growing baby, but now I no longer take those, I am looking to take additional nutritional supplements to alleviate some of the symptoms once my body has recovered and my hormones are back to normal. These include taking a general multivitamin and a daily dose of CoQ10 to support my cell function (especially my muscles and my metabolism). I’ve also developed iron deficiency anaemia so I’m looking to boost my iron intake and take a regular dose of iron in tablet form as well as increasing it in my everyday diet.
How do you manage your PCOS symptoms? Do you struggle with your symptoms?
Disclosure: Post written by me in association with the #NaturesBestPCOS campaign to help raise awareness of PCOS.