With it being PCOS Awareness Month, I feel like I should focus more on sharing the cold hard truth of PCOS and what it’s like to live with it daily, as well as ways that we can combat it. I’ve shared before that it’s very important to understand that PCOS looks very different for every woman. This post is what PCOS looks like for me, the day-in and day-out of living with it month to month. I’m an estrogen-dominant PCOSer, weak in progesterone, and thankfully low in testosterone, which tends to be a big trigger for most women.
This is what PCOS feels like… for me. This post is to bring awareness to this syndrome that so many people simply do not understand. They think it’s just the infertility side of things, but don’t quite realize how truly uncomfortable every day can be with PCOS.
This is my life.
Every month I have moments where I feel like a 50-year-old woman going through menopause. Without warning, I get extremely hot, break out into a sudden sweat, and get cold and clammy shortly after. This is normal… when you’re 50. I’m turning 30 in 4 weeks. THIS IS NOT NORMAL.
Emotional Roller Coaster.
I will be the first to admit that I sometimes get very depressed. I also have days where I am extremely annoyed very easily and lack all patience. These are often the same days that I feel extra hot and sweaty – just all around imbalanced. They’re the days I crave more carbs. They’re also the days that I get mentally exhausted and a headache, which means I’m physically exhausted and fall into a very deep sleep at 8:30 at night. This happens multiple times a month.
My ovaries hurt all the time. After “george”… around the time I’m supposed to ovulate (and don’t)… when I actually do ovulate… before “george” hits. Sometimes it’s sharp shooting pains from my ovary down to my thigh. Sometimes it’s a deep rolling pain from my ovary to my uterus. It makes sense. I’ve seen what my ovaries look like on an ultrasound… strands of pearls on both, several tiny follicles seemingly on top of each other, each one fighting for their chance to grow into a healthy viable egg. Except there is no winner… no healthy egg… so they fight… they rupture… they die… they leave fluid behind that causes pain and bloating.
The extra fluid produced from the cysts rupturing and ovulation (when I’m lucky) causes extra bloating. My jeans fit tighter on these days, which makes them very uncomfortable. Most women only get bloating right before “george” and during. I get it regularly.
My uterus hurts all the time. I get “george” cramps when “george” isn’t due. My OB said it could actually be adenomyosis that possibly developed after I had Zoey, in which case there is nothing we can do. It’s chronic pain. I live with it. The only answer is a hysterectomy. Did I already mention that I’m not even 30 yet? Pain management is the only option, and I choose to not live on pain medication, so it’s there. Every month is different… but it’s there. Adenomyosis is only totally diagnosed during examination after the hysterectomy so we’re only guessing here. Some months I’m totally okay 90% of the month and only hurt during that 10%… some months those numbers are reversed.
Some women with PCOS experience excessive hair growth where it doesn’t belong as a result of testosterone. I experience hair loss. But I have to say, it’s not nearly what it could be, and for that I am so incredibly thankful. A lot of my hair loss is also attributed to having Zoey, but I still have plenty of it to go around. Sometimes it’s coming out in clumps in the shower as I wash my hair, but it always seems to grow back in thicker, so that’s good news. This is more of an annoyance to my shower drain than anything, and I’ll take it over the excess hair growth.
I’m pretty much recapping at this point, but this is the cold hard truth: my uterus, my ovaries and my lower back hurt all the time. As I type this I’m hurting. I feel like “george” is here and well, it’s not. It left a week and a half ago. I often hear other women complain about how much they cramp when on “george”… try feeling like you’re on it several times a month.
This is the mental battle that comes with PCOS. Feeling like you’re a failure as a woman… it’s something we all battle with. I think of that scene on “What To Expect” when J.Lo flips out on her husband about how she’s the one with the bad eggs… she’s the one who got them to use their money on fertility treatment that didn’t work… she’s the one who can’t do the one thing that a woman was designed separately from men to be able to do. It’s hard. It’s brutal. It’s real life for a woman with PCOS.
This is me. It’s a part of me. Every day, I look in the mirror and tell myself that PCOS does not define who I am. Every day. I still struggle… I pray for healing… for peace… for some sort of guidance on whether I should be pursuing adoption, heavier fertility treatment, or just give up all together and focus on raising an only child. I recognize that I am blessed. I recognize that there are thousands of women with PCOS who never conceive at all. And here I am, begging for my second chance. I recognize this. It doesn’t make it easier. As Zoey asks every day for a sister, it gets harder and harder. This isn’t just me or my husband is affects… it’s her.
This is what PCOS looks like for me. What does it look like for you?