The Fat Truth Behind PCOS: Part 2

Last month to celebrate Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Awareness Month we posted The Fat Truth Behind PCOCS: Part 1. A new month has come and we wanted to share the stories of two more members of the Fat Girls Traveling community. Enjoy part two and if this is the type of posts you’d like to see more of on The Fat Girls Guide, leave a comment below.

What is PCOS?

The following is a great image that explains and breakdowns the statistics behind PCOS.

PCOS Awareness Symposium 2016 Fat Girls Guide
Image from http://www.biovaria.org

Meet Kayla

Name: Kayla
Age: 31
Occupation: Staff Recruitment Specialist

How old are you now and what age were you diagnosed?
31 now and 16 when diagnosed.

When and how where you diagnosed?
I was 16 years old, I remember going into the doctor and I was really scared because I didn’t want to have any kind of exam. I had a pelvic exam when I was 13 years old and thought this would be the same. I don’t remember what we talked about or how I was diagnosed. I just remember being thrilled that I didn’t have to be touched to be examined and being told that I had PCOS which would effect my ability to have children and was the cause of my excessive chin hair growth.

Do you find it hard to treat PCOS and what difficulties do you face because of it?
I only actively tried to treat it from 16-20 years old. I was put on low level birth control (Nuva Ring) I was told to not take it out so I didn’t get my period at all. Before this they were terrible and I would bleed for weeks. After about 20 I didn’t have insurance so I didn’t see a doctor for many years. More recently I started going to the doctor again on the regular, because I began getting DVT (deep vein thrombosis) in my leg, because of this even if I wanted to birth control wouldn’t be an option to regulate my symptoms. At this point I take medication for depression and that’s it. I have asked to have a hysterectomy to help with things but due to my age and that I don’t have children I am not allowed to elect to have one done according to my doctor.  

What is one thing you wish you had known about PCOS when you were diagnosed?

What is was even, I was only really told that the birth control would make my periods go away and that I would likely not have my own children. I was 16 at the time and I don’t think that is information that I could process.

pcos-causes-treatment-gettyimages-966238152
Image from Health.com

Meet Amanda 

Name: Amanda
Age: 28
Occupation: Digital Marketing and Freelance Writer

How old are you now and what age were you diagnosed?
I was 22 when I was diagnosed and am now 28 years old. 

Did you have to ask your doctor about PCOS or did they bring it up?
My cousin was the person who asked if I’d ever heard of PCOS after I shared that I was experiencing excessive hair growth. Looking at her, I responded, “Nope.” She told me to look into it when I got home. So I did. I soon realized I had many of the symptoms. I knew I’ve had a few cysts from previous check ups with my Gynecologist but that was about it. When I went in for my appointment a few weeks later, I mentioned to my doctor that I thought I had PCOS and he agreed. At the time, I was just happy to have an understanding of what was causing my excessive hair growth, weight gain and more. 

Looking back, I wish my response I had been “how did you not diagnose this long ago?” “Why did I have to bring it up to you?” “What does this mean and how can I handle it” Here’s the thing, I loved my GYN. I was happy that he always made me feel comfortable. Yet, he let me down. He knew I was struggling with these issues and instead of giving me an answer he just kept prescribing me my birth control.  I have not gone back to him since. 

What is one thing you wish you had known about PCOS when you were diagnosed?

That there are lots of things that I can do to help manage it better then I did. It wasn’t until I begin self-advocating and looked into what I needed that I have been able to get a grip (note I say grip not a handle) on it. 

How does PCOS impact you most?
I grow hair back quickly all over my body but the main sticking point is the facial hair. I shave almost every day. Now I actually use a proper razor and facial cream but for a long time I’d just dry shave and be so rough with it. I was so embarrassed and I still get annoyed but not embarrassed.

My husband is really supportive. I am lucky. I’ve tried everything from different birth controls to supplements but nothing slows these black prickly hairs down. I am looking into laser hair removal but am not sure it will work. I didn’t get my period for 3 years at one point because of it and then after a lot of hard work to lose weight, my period suddenly reappeared but it’s still irregular. 

Anything else you’d like to share?
There are people who have an understanding of this, from nutritionists to trainers and more. Don’t settle for less when it comes to you and your body. If someone makes you feel like PCOS is just an excuse for something then LEAVE. If they only focus on the weight loss part to help you with PCOS, get OUT. You don’t have to stand by and take it. PCOS is very real and it impacts people so similar and different all at once. Listen to your body. Trust it.

What Now?

There are so few resources for people living with PCOS. Which is the reason  why this project was so important for us. The following are a few accounts that we love. They help inspire and guide those of us on a PCOS journey. Check them out! 

View this post on Instagram

This is so very important so READ IT! – #Repost @pcosoracle ・・・ Raise your hand if your Doctor gave you these recommendations when you were diagnosed with PCOS🙋‍♀️. . Oh how that advice really didn't help🤦 . ⚠️Whether or not you are looking to conceive, PCOS is a condition that must be addressed as soon as possible to prevent further risk factors like Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, endometrial cancer. . ⚠️The Birth Control Pill does not balance your hormones or treat PCOS because it doesn't get to the root cause of the hormone imbalance. 👉Hormones in the brain communicate and control the ovary. The birth control pill works by inhibiting the signals sent by the brain to the ovaries resulting in ovarian dysfunction, causing changes in females natural reproductive functions. While on the pill, the brain receives a message indicating to the endocrine glands that no hormones need to be produced because of the synthetic hormones found in the pill. So the brain does not release hormones to signal to the ovaries to produce hormones and an egg is not released. . ⚠️Weight loss does not get to the root cause of PCOS. 👉But also telling a woman with PCOS to 'just lose weight' isn't helpful especially if she is trying everything possible to do that. Weight loss is different for women with PCOS and hormonal imbalances. 👉You need to work with your body. Weight gain and difficulty losing weight is a symptom of PCOS. All symptoms arise for reason. The hormone imbalance must be addressed first. When your hormones are balanced, weight loss will come. . Be your own health advocate! Keep asking questions. Keep searching for the answers you need to reverse your PCOS.💛 . . #pcosoracle #hormomehealth #gethealthywithme #healinghormones #pcoscyster #pcoscysters #hormonebalance #pcosweightloss #nourishnotpunish #holistichealing #womeninspiringwomen #pcossupport #pcoslife #womensupportingwomen #pcos #pcoslifestyle #periodproblems #pcosdiet #pcossucks #pcosawareness #menstrualcycle #womenswellness #choosehealthy #selfcare #pcosproblems #holistichealth #pcosjourney

A post shared by ✨MY PCOS BODY✨ (@my_pcos_body) on

View this post on Instagram

PCOS IN THE NEWS || PCOS Challenge: The National Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association (@pcoschallenge ), PCOS researchers and advocates are featured in this @selfmagazine article on polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Advocates and researchers are pushing for awareness. “We're taking back control by sharing our stories,” Ottey tells SELF…" Read now at: pcos.ch/self-pcos (see link in profile) . . . . . . . . . . . #pcos #pcosawarenessmonth #HRes146 #pcosawareness #pcosadvocacy #pcoschallenge #prioritizepcos #infertility #fertility #infertilityawareness #pcossupport #cysters #healthy #health #ttc #ttcsisters #ttcjourney #pcosfighter #vegan #paleo #keto #wellness #womenshealth #skincarecommunity #ttccommunity

A post shared by PCOS Challenge (@pcoschallenge) on

View this post on Instagram

#Repost @ketty_andrea with @get_repost ・・・ Have you been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)? Do you identify as a PCOS advocate or professional (i.e. mental health, medical, social work, nutritionist, etc.)? Are you related to someone with PCOS? If so & you are interested in participating or have any questions, please contact me through here or via email at kfernandez1@knights.ucf.edu. This study aims to explore patterns to better understand the lives of women living with PCOS. Participants must be over the age of 18. (PS: if you attended PCOS Challenge Advocacy Day this year, I’d LOVE to hear from you) #pcos #pcosfighter #pcoswarrior #pcoschallenge #prioritizepcos #pcoscommunity #pcoscysters #polycysticovariansyndrome #polycysticovarysyndrome #pcosadvocacyday #pcosadvocate #leanpcos #pcosweightlossjourney #pcosjourney #pcoscysters #pcossupport

A post shared by PCOS Sisterhood (@pcos_sisterhood) on

View this post on Instagram

📣PSA: Going gluten and dairy free may improve your symptoms, but I guarantee you that this alone will not heal your PCOS.⁣ ⁣ If you’ve gone GF/DF and your PCOS improved, incredible! If it didn’t, there are many other things to consider when treating your symptoms.⁣ ⁣ 👎🏼There are claims being thrown around on Instagram from Dietitians who promise that going gluten and dairy free is the answer to all your hormone balance problems. If you hear this, run. RUN the other way and take your wallet with you.⁣ ⁣ 🤲🏼PCOS is a complex condition that involves a unique cacophony of hormonal imbalances, inflammation, insulin resistance, and cortisol disrupt. I wish it were as easy as leaving the bread and yogurt off your menu, but unfortunately, PCOS is more complicated than that.⁣ ⁣ You deserve evidence-based nutrition guidance. 👉🏼 My best advice when it comes to gluten and dairy is to try eliminating them for a short period of time (I usually recommend three months). If your PCOS improves, keep going. If not, that’s okay too! There are plenty of other strategies to employ to help mitigate your symptoms. ⁣ ⁣ Nutrition is more nuanced than cutting out a couple foods and expecting miracles. ✨ Please be patient with your diagnosis, your body, and yourself. Your PCOS will likely respond to a variety of different treatment approaches and working with someone who understands this condition can be crucial to your healing process. ⁣ ⁣ Have you gone gluten and dairy free for PCOS? Tell me your experience below 👇🏼⁣ ⁣ #pcos #pcosdiet #pcosweightloss #pcosawarenessmonth #pcosawareness #pcosjourney #pcossupport #cysters #cysterhood #cystersquad

A post shared by PCOS•Fertility•Hormones (@thewomensdietitian) on

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