– PCOS –
IVF is the only option for us. After many blood draws, hormone scans, dye tests (which was excruciatingly painful) and ultrasounds, it was determined that I have PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome. PCOS begins with an imbalance in hormones, namely the male hormones called androgens. 15% of the population are affected with PCOS, however it’s extremely difficult to diagnose, as a combination of symptoms are usually present all at once. Below are several symptoms which may indicate PCOS
- Irregular periods – women with PCOS have high levels of male hormones, and the ovaries are not able to produce enough progesterone to regulate periods
- Adult acne – this one plagued me for years…thank you hormones! Because there is such an imbalance in hormones, your body is overstimulated and reacts with acne
- Hair growth in unlikely places – this is not just a few stray hairs growing in unsightly locations, this is growing hair on the chin, sideburns and upper lip (locations that women typically do not grow hair)
- You can’t get pregnant – PCOS is a leading cause of infertility. When your body doesn’t create enough progesterone for a complete menstrual cycle, it causes undeveloped eggs to turn into cysts in your ovaries. The cysts then prevent healthy eggs from travelling down your fallopian tubes and into your uterus. https://www.prevention.com/health/6-symptoms-of-polycystic-ovarian-syndrome/slide/4
- You are pre-diabetic or have type 2 diabetes – Researchers are not yet clear on the link of insulin to PCOS just yet. However there is evidence of the body not being able to properly process insulin, and PCOS
- Weight gain – if you have unexpectedly gained weight, specifically in the abdominal area, and you have a difficult time losing weight, it may be an indicator for PCOS. This is not a symptom that should be used for diagnosis, but certainly one that may be related to other symptoms for diagnosis
There isn’t a blanket treatment for women experiencing PCOS, so a treatment plan will be very personalized to the symptoms an individual is experiencing. In my case, very, very few of these symptoms related to me. I had a regular cycle, no unsightly hair growth, my body processed insulin properly, and I had no weight issues. I had a bit of acne in my adult years (although I was able to shake the acne years before trying to conceive)…my only real symptom was that I couldn’t get pregnant, and my ultrasound of my ovaries revealed cysts. I began taking a low dose of Synthroid, (a medication to regulate hypothyroidism) prescribed by my doctor, and we began discussing our plan of action with the staff at Conceptions.
I remember that IUI (intrauterine insemination) was suggested to us, however, once I got the diagnosis of PCOS, I began to do my research to find out if this was the best route for us. Upon familiarizing myself with the affects of PCOS, I discovered that the likelihood of IUI being successful was not positive. Due to the lack of progesterone, which led to eggs not maturing, therefore turning into cysts…there wouldn’t have been an egg waiting to meet the sperm introduced to my uterus through IUI. I met with our nurse to ask her if she agreed with my findings and she told us that we would probably have less than 1% chance of getting pregnant on our own, or through IUI. I had a choice here…I could either fall to pieces crying on the floor, or I could take charge and be empowered. I chose to find strength, take charge and accept that IVF was the path we were going down. This was our decision and I was going to be the director, the leader and the pillar of strength for my husband and I.
– one of us has to be strong –
*this post is not meant to portray that women diagnosed with PCOS cannot become pregnant on their own, naturally. Women diagnosed with PCOS get pregnant everyday, this is just a portrayal of my experience.