My name is Angie and I’m 1 in 10 women who struggle with PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Up to 70% of women with PCOS never actually get diagnosed. That’s millions of women living with a condition that can affect them both physically and emotionally.
I had a precocious puberty followed by several subtle signs of the disorder like hirsutism, blood sugar issues, and pain during ovulation. I never got a definitive diagnosis until after a decade of vague responses from doctors and more pronounced symptoms appearing as I matured. It was a very alienating experience growing up being labeled an “attention seeking” or “hysterical female.” I got “Suck it up, buttercup. This is womanhood!” a lot. Thankfully, in the dawn of the Internet and my new diagnosis I wasn’t so alone after all. I found solace in online support groups.
PCOS isn’t only an endocrine disorder that affects weight, appearance (acne, hirsutism), and infertility; it affects the overall long-term health of women, as well. Women with PCOS have greater chances of developing several serious health conditions, including life-threatening diseases. Recent studies have found that:
- More than 50 percent of women with PCOS will have diabetes or pre-diabetes (impaired glucose tolerance) before the age of 40.
- The risk of heart attack is 4 to 7 times higher in women with PCOS than women of the same age without PCOS.
- Women with PCOS are at greater risk of having high blood pressure.
- Women with PCOS have high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.
- Women with PCOS can develop sleep apnea. This is when breathing stops for short periods of time during sleep.
- Higher risk of cancer especially breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer.
- Higher risk of thyroid disease
- More likely to suffer from mental illness because of hormonal imbalances.
September is PCOS Awareness month and the ladies at pcoshelp.org have some exciting activities going on this month to bring awareness and support to women with PCOS. We have a private Facebook support group Cysters and their Misters where women and their partners can find help and tips for daily life with PCOS. https://m.facebook.com/
Two of our PCOS Community members, Ashley Levinson and Ali Anne Contreras are nominated for WEGO Health activist awards HAAwards. Please read their bios and endorse them for their activism for this disease.
Ashley Levinson @pcosgurl
Ali Anne Contreras
There’s also a fun Internet challenge we have that’s going viral called #LemonFaceChallenge in which you take a selfie biting into a lemon showing how PCOS is a “lemon” of a diagnosis.
See more at http://www.pcoshelp.org/