Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Are you asking yourself "What's PCOS?"? A lot of people have never heard of it. A lot of people have heard of it, but doesn't understand the implications of the syndrome. What harm can come from some cysts on the ovaries, right? Wrong.
PCOS stands for Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome. Now, one would think that because the words "cystic" and "ovary" are in the name that everyone who has this syndrome would have cysts on their ovaries, right? Wrong again. Women with this syndrome can have cysts on their ovary or ovaries, but not all do.
PCOS is a complex syndrome, that effects many different things in the body. It can lead to life threatening complications. Most, but again not all, women with PCOS also have insulin resistance. This can lead to full blown diabetes. Therefore, the person must follow a low glycemic index diet.
PCOS can lead to heart problems and heart disease. With PCOS, more male hormones are being produced in the body than female hormones. In turn, this affects the whole hormone system. A person can display a whole host of symptoms or just a few. Some of these symtoms can be:
-Excessive Body Hair
-Male Patterned Baldness
-Metabolic Syndrome (the body has trouble regulating insulin)
-Patches of thickened brown skin
-Oily skin or dandruff
-I've also read it can lead to uterine and/or ovarian cancer
..and probably more. That's why PCOS is classified as a syndrome..because so many different things are affected.
PCOS is the number one cause of female infertility in the United States. With PCOS, a woman doesn't necessarily ovulate each month as they should. They may not have regular periods. According to: http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/polycystic-ovary-syndrome.cfm PCOS affects between 1-10 to 1-20 women of childbearing age. As many as 5 million women in the United States may be affected and it can occur in girls as young as 11 years old.
If pregnancy is achieved, the pregnancy is at a higher risk of complications. Risk of pre-natal death, or the baby needing NICU time is higher for the babies of mothers that have PCOS.
My youngest daughter, turned 15 the end of September. The beginning of November, after a brigade of tests, she was diagnosed with PCOS. Relieved that we finally had a diagnosis for her symptoms, we thought she'd start some medicine that would make her feel better. Oh how wrong we were.
See, there's no cure for PCOS. There's not even a concrete treatment plan. There isn't much funding out there for the study of PCOS and/or clinical trials so that a cure can be found or a concrete and effective universal treatment plan can be made. The best place to find out about current research on this conditon though, is at: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/research/
My daughter is still suffering. She's frequently in pain. She frequently feels sick to her stomach. She absolutely loves show choir. Just loves to perform for people, yet after a show she's so wiped out she comes home and goes straight to sleep. Sometimes too tired to do anything the next day.
Since the diagnosis, she's become more withdrawn and sad. She's afraid to eat, because she doesn't want to gain weight and become obese. If she doesn't eat, then her blood sugar isn't stabilized and she's sick and dizzy. Following a low glycemic index diet isn't fun for a 15 year old. She doesn't like much of the food that she can eat. Getting her to eat, and to eat the right foods is a constant battle I fight every single day.
Most little girls dream of their wedding day, and of someday becoming a mom. My daughter feels this dream has been ripped away from her. She knows that for her to become a mom may not be very easy. She struggles with wondering if men will be turned off of marrying her because of her condition. A little dramatic? Maybe. It's still how she feels, and her feelings deserve to be validated.
As a mom, watching my 15 year old daughter struggle with this syndrome hurts me. My heart breaks for the way this syndrome has made her think of herself. My heart breaks for each day that she doesn't feel good. I just want to scoop her up and hug her, and tell her everything will be ok. The reality is though, that I don't know how this will effect her life. I don't know that she won't develop a life threatening complication. I don't know if she'll ever become a mother.
I don't want to leave you with the image in your mind that my daughter is an overweight, acne-ridden, balding, sad girl because she isn't. She's a beautiful young lady who like the slogan says..will "Fight Like A Girl". And we all know how hard a girl can hit, right?! Here she is this past fall, before her homecoming dance.