Unofficial Symptoms of PCOS
Women with PCOS face all kinds of potential symptoms and struggles, and while poor self-image isn’t on the list of symptoms on WebMD, it is often paired with the condition.
September is PCOS Awareness Month and if you haven’t heard of PCOS we recommend you read about it on our blog <here>. The condition messes with the body’s hormones, resistance to insulin, and causes all kinds of symptoms that make it difficult to diagnose. Although, debatably the hardest part of having PCOS for many can be how public and visible the symptoms can be. While there are specific medical symptoms to talk over with your doctor, there are side effects that can come with managing the frustrating aspects of PCOS and visible on-display indicators that can impact one’s self-image.
The unofficial symptoms of PCOS
Gaining weight, growing hair in unwanted places, acne, balding, and infertility are all symptoms of PCOS that can take a huge toll on a woman. Of course, there are inspiring body-positive women out there who are embracing their facial hair, flaunting their curves and bare their blemishes proudly. They are leaders in showing us that beauty isn’t so narrowly defined. Still, that path isn’t for everyone. Pile all of that on top of finding out that PCOS may impact your reproductive system and it’s no wonder so many women with PCOS face negative self-image, depression, stress, anxiety, and withdraw from social situations and relationships. Being told that your body doesn’t work can leave many women feeling vapid, useless, hopeless. Girl, we see you and we know that it can really get you down in a way where all the episodes of F.R.I.E.N.D.S and no amount of late-night Chinese food can bring you back up. The good news is, it’s not hopeless.
PCOS can be managed
First, meet with your doctor. See your OB/GYN or even go straight to an endocrinologist to get to the bottom of what’s going on in your body. Then together, come up with a plan to manage your symptoms. If your doctor sees that infertility could be a potential issue for you, there are many treatments to help. Egg freezing is an option for women who have PCOS just as it is for women without. Actually, they make a pretty great pair. What causes infertility for women with PCOS is that the follicles aren’t releasing as many (or any) eggs — in other words, you ovulate less with PCOS. In egg freezing, the eggs are already retrieved so when you’re ready IVF is used to fertilize the eggs. It’s kind of like skipping steps but in a non-cheater way. In other words, there are options.
Managing unofficial symptoms
While depression, anxiety, and stress might not be official symptoms of PCOS, up to 50% of women with the condition report being depressed. It’s still worth talking to your doctor about the relationship you have between your self-image and PCOS if it’s affecting your life. Changes in diet, birth control pills, and even therapy might be methods your doctor recommends to address depression or anxiety. Even if you know you aren’t ready to tackle society’s expectations by becoming an influencer to publicly disclose your symptoms, you can arm yourself with research, ask all the questions, and tackle your own hurdles by handling your health and giving yourself options.