June 16, 2015

PCOS

A picture of a tattooed woman in a meadow of Gypsophila flowers

I've been finding it hard to fit in regular posting lately. I got a temporary job which is a bus and a train ride away, so I'm just easing into a working day routine again - it's been two years since I had a "real" job. I haven't had much spare time, so blogging and general internetting has taken a back seat. Real life, huh.


I'm going to be talking about my ovaries and the (long, arduous) process I've gone through so far in trying to get a definite diagnosis for whatever's going on with them. I've been sitting on this post because I just didn't know where to start, but here goes.

I suspected something wasn't right a while ago. I suppose the symptoms I suffer point towards some kind of hormonal imbalance - long cycles, acne, pain in my ovaries and my body hair apparently darkening since stopping Yasmin. PCOS had crossed my mind before now. What's that I heard you say? I'm not overweight? Well that was my misconception too, that slim women couldn't have PCOS. After some reading online, it's clear women can have PCOS without being overweight. Some refer to themselves as "skinny cysters". I shan't be going that far.

I went to see my GP, told her about my concerns/symptoms and she referred me for a pelvic and transvaginal (internal) ultrasound. I had this a little over a month ago on a Sunday morning at 8am (I had no idea the NHS did weekend appointments!). The internal scan itself wasn't painful - I actually found the non-internal scan more uncomfortable because of the pressing down on my ovaries. The technician put me at ease and explained everything she was doing, plus the room was low lit - always helpful to have some mood lighting for a pelvic examination... She told me that there is cysts present on both ovaries, but I would have to book in with my GP to go over the details. This phased me somewhat, I assumed I'd be having a consultation following the appointment. It was a shock to hear I have cysts, but I almost felt relieved that there might be a reason behind all the symptoms and that it's pretty much out of my control. I think I've been less hard on myself since.

When I saw my GP 10 days later, she didn't tell me much at all, other than my uterus is 'normal', but my ovaries are larger than expected and there's multiple follicles/cysts. She mentioned PCOS briefly, adding, "but you don't fit in with the typical symptoms, so don't worry. There could be all sorts of reasons for the acne and 42 day long cycles." All the while I'm sat there looking like the dark moon emoji. If I was overweight, I'm certain she would have diagnosed PCOS right there. I felt patronised and as if she didn't take me seriously because my BMI says I'm underweight. She told me to book in for a blood test on my hormone levels (because, you know, doctors can't just take your blood?!). Another 7 day wait. I left the appointment feeling so frustrated and had a bit of a melt down when I got home. My advice to anybody else going through this - don't expect miracles. There's no fast track to a diagnosis it seems.

I did come away from the appointment with a prescription for Yasmin and something topical for my skin. I was, and am, extremely hesitant about going back on the pill. This isn't something I've taken lightly - I'm at my wits end with my skin and the pain. I don't know if I'm going to start taking it yet. I just never expected to be in this position when I decided, almost a year ago, to stop taking the pill. I didn't realise there was an underlying cause to the acne, etc.

The appointment for my blood test was with a lovely nurse who let me talk things through with her, I felt a bit less doom and gloom afterwards. She reassured me that so many women with PCOS have conceived naturally. I went back for the results (another 5 days), but guess what? The test wasn't completed by the lab so I only had partial results. However, the doctor was able to give me my LH (luteinising hormone) level (which is elevated), but testosterone and a bunch of others weren't ready. I rang the surgery yesterday and was told by the receptionist that the doctor wants to see me regarding the results because the notes say "consistent with PCOS diagnosis". I'm trying so hard not to panic.

Aside from my skin woes, I have to weigh up whether I (we) put off trying to conceive until next year, or start trying now. Basically, high levels of LH can be an indication of infertility. You can forgive me for wanting to cry my heart out right now, I'm sure. The nurse said I have youth on my side. I'll be 27 next August, which is still young, but I guess it's a different ball game when it comes to fertility issues. It feels so wrong to be worrying about this at 25. I'm just sitting tight until Friday. I booked in with a different doctor to see if he can offer more in the way of advice and options. It seems to me that, unless you're actively trying for a baby, the only conventional option in managing (or covering up) PCOS symptoms is to take hormonal contraceptives. I feel like it's going to be an impossible thing for me to treat naturally, but maybe I'm just overwhelmed and looking for the quick fix.


If you have any questions, please ask. Also, I would really appreciate any advice if you've gone through the same thing. Drop me a line below x

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3 comments

  1. I really feel for you. I went through something similar. I knew something was wrong but it took such a long time for anyone to listen to me and take me seriously. If you ever want to talk, please feel free to drop me an email. I know how hard it can all be. I'm out the other side now, there is light at the end of this tunnel, even if it doesn't always feels like it.xx (frankieconvine@gmail.com)

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  3. Sorry to hear about what you're going through. I hope everything picks up soon. It's so inspiring reading your journey from coming off the pill at the beginning and actually inspired me to come off of the Depo injection/hormones also.
    Will be keeping you in my thoughts :) xo

    www.scarletstate.blogspot.com

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