A prelude to my post: This post is about my PCOS story. However, it is a myth that males shouldn’t be reading this. The post isn’t gender specific like PCOS and more and more awareness should be spread about PCOS. Do share your experiences, if any in the comments.
My PCOS was diagnosed when I was in my late teens (17), which was about 2 and a half years ago. For those who don’t know, PCOS stands for poly cystic ovarian syndrome, which is a condition that affects females of childbearing age, affecting their fertility. Every 1 out of 10 women suffer from this condition. There are multiple symptoms which may vary from one person to another but in my case it was severe headaches, irregularity in periods, excessive weight gain, acne and slight hirsutism. Not to mention the crazy mood swings! Most of my symptoms can be easily ignored or covered under the mask of teenage side effects or unhealthy lifestyle. But yes, the irregularity in periods became a growing concern for my mother, and that’s the reason why even I bothered for a medical check-up. While going through the PCOS stories of many women on their blogs, I found out that most of them got diagnosed when they had difficulty in bearing their child, or the symptoms had taken such a form that they just couldn’t be ignored. (Every female needn’t necessarily have irregular periods in PCOS). This very fact compelled me to come up with a blog post. I urge all of you (even if you are a male) to go through my post. This is to spread awareness and extend my help.
Okay, so my doctor told me that even if I put down 5-10% of my weight, the symptoms were likely to reduce. As I had a tight schedules owing to the pressure of board exams that year, she suggested that morning walks were the best option. And I HATED getting up so early. Morning walks seemed ridiculous because what was the point walking the same path repeatedly, sweating, and not even reaching anywhere! Nevertheless, I went the first day after my mom insisted. I did not find even a single girl of my age and that was motivation enough to carry out the routine. I realised that I felt fresher and so I took out time for evening walks as well. In the evening, I could find girls my age, but they be sitting, laughing and chatting. Someone their age opting for a walk seemed awfully unusual for them. So, I became the object of fun and ridicule for them. How I encountered those girls has already been described in my post Oh yes! I’m fat and it’s none of your business.
Despite walking 2 hours daily, my weight did not seem to reduce at all. And what’s more, I observed that my appetite seemed to grow more and more. I would feel as if I didn’t even eat something proper. They say that teens are an impatient lot and that’s true. I quit walking, partly because it wasn’t bearing any concrete results and partly because boards were round the corner. A few people found that funny- walking for 2 hours and still retaining 67 kilograms , too at 17! They were insensitive enough to laugh at my face… Needless to say, they were ousted from my life forever. This is one reason why I am thankful to my PCOS. It helped me kick away stupid people out. But to overcome that void, I started pampering myself with a lot of emotional eating. Ice creams were routine and so were carb rich diets as only they could satisfy my appetite for a considerably long time.
After putting me on hormonals (EVRON-35, DRONIS- 30 and NORMOZ), for almost 18 months, she suggested sonographic test which indicated that the size of the ovaries was back to normal, but still, there were cysts all around. She made me quit the hormonals for a while (as they have their own side effects) to observe the results- whether my body had now become capable to perform the menstrual cycles on its own. Sadly, it hadn’t. So, I was put back to hormonals (NOVELON) with a strict warning that I reduce my weight, which obviously was ignored again by me. After continuing with NOVELON for 6 months, my sonographic tests suggested for an enlarged ovaries, the size of which had increased even more than what it was when my treatment had just begun. That is, the entire treatment of more than 2 years had reversed and I was back to square one! This troubled my doctor. She then suggested for a blood test (CBC, RBS, Hb1AC, TSH, PRL, FSH, LH), as she was afraid that my condition had progressed on to the next level, causing diseases like diabetes, etc. Thankfully, the blood tests were normal.
This was when I awoke from the deep stupid slumber. I should be exercising, controlling my diet, or else I would have to continue with eating medicines (which I hate anyway) for the whole of my life. I shared my problem of increased and never-to-be-satisfied appetite with my doctor. She explained that completely quitting on carbs isn’t a healthy thing in itself, because that lets you crave for it all the more. She explained why it were difficult to put off weight so easily.
Women with PCOS have some kind of dysfunction in the cells responsible for secreting insulin (Beta cells). It seems that these cells are responsible for detecting sugar in the blood stream and may over react, producing more insulin than is needed. This means that more glucose is stored as fat. High levels of insulin cause your body to store more fat and also causes your ovaries to make more testosterone (male hormone found in women), leading to symptoms like hirsutism (excessive hair growth). Some women even become insulin resistant. Unfortunately, Insulin and Insulin resistance is only one piece of this puzzle and isn’t the only reason that we struggle to lose weight… So, a major spike in Insulin levels has to be avoided, which indirectly means that lesser carbs and more proteins. Remember, lesser and not 0 carbs.
For never ending appetite, she suggested me to have a sumptuous salad (at least a bowl) and then continue with my food so that 75% stomach is already full with healthy things. Also, take as much sprouts as you can in the breakfast. Never forget to take the breakfast- it should be your heaviest meal of the day. All the doubts related whether you should have fruits are addressed in my post PCOS Fruits.
PCOS can be fought and won, just remember that you have to put in the efforts. You have to exercise daily, get a sound sleep and worry less. Eat more but eat healthy. I have earnestly sworn to shoo all my symptoms away. PCOS controlled me for 2 years and a half. It’s high time that I control it now.