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A Diagnosis

Posted Sep 24 2012 6:38am

Hello there and welcome to a new week!

***The post talks about THOSE issues- periods and somewhat gross medical stuff, so if you are a man or sensitive/weary of the topic, read with discretion please! Or not at all ;)

First of all, to anyone living in the Western Massachusetts area, could the weather yesterday be anymore perfect?! Bright and sunny, the bluest sky I have ever seen, nice and dry (yay for good hair weather), not too hot and not too cold, with a pleasant breeze… ahh pure bliss.

So how do I know what the weather in the western area of the state was? Well I was visiting my dad this past week to celebrate his birthday! His actual birthday is the 25th, but because we all work/go to school during the week, coming on the weekend was the necessary option. Fine with me though, as it was an excuse to see my lovely family and also to take a mental break from nursing matters.

We all forget birthday cake candles lol, so we improvised with candle sticks! It worked fine :) My dad and uncle!

My older brother and his wife came down for a few days as well, as did my Aunt and Uncle for Saturday night… my uncle just had a birthday too. September is a busy month for our family! My time there was truly delightful- we went for a few walks, all got our baking and cooking on, and hiked up a nearby small mountain.

As always, seeming my family was wonderful and the activities we all partook in were just icing on the delicious cake that I baked for everyone ;) . Plus the bed I slept in while there was pretty much the comfiest bed I have ever been in, no lies here. There was some kind of foam top over the mattress, similar to memory foam but way comfier, and the combination of being overtired and that bed, well it’s safe to say I slept like a rock.

Father and the pups

When I came back on Sunday I just did some homework and relaxed. Today after I workout in the morning, have breakfast and such, Ma and I are going to pick up my new baby… Caleb the kitten! Gooooo I cannot wait, so many more pictures coming your way and soon too!

All right it’s time to move onto a more serious subject matter, one I alluded to on Friday.

If you have been reading my blog for pretty much any amount of time at this point, you likely have come across the subject of my period, or lack thereof. Now that we are reaching the end of September, I have officially been experiencing Amenorrhea for four years now. It has been four long years since I have had a natural period, the last time being the first month I was a freshman in college.

It’s been an obnoxious time to say the least.

I have slowly but surely gained nearly 20 pounds back from my lowest weight, exercise a whole lot less than that dark time, take in plenty of healthy fats and other essential nutrients as well, am less stressed and on edge… yet it has not come. You have been through this all with me as I blog about the anger I feel around a bodily function I have no control over. What has been the hardest part about this is not knowing how much more weight I have to gain, how much more food, or how much less exercise I have to do in order to get it back. That lacking knowledge is a terrible burden that often makes me feel hopeless and scared, that I could not possibly continue challenging myself and going against the eating disorder if no results are ever yielded, aka I get my damn period back naturally.

Well I am here to tell you that I have FINALLY found an answer, an explanation as to why I have not had my period in four long and frustrating years….It turns out that I have Polycystic Overy Syndrome, PCOS.

Last Monday I went to my gynecologist, received an ultrasound of my ovaries and indeed it was confirmed that I have a whole lot of cysts in my ovaries, aka PCOS. In order to be diagnosed with this disease, you have to have two of these three: 1) amenorrhea, 2) hormone levels that are off, and 3) an ultrasound, which reveals the cysts. Obviously I have the first one, my h ormone levels were tested to be fine, but it was the ultrasound that made everything clear.

This is the time that I want to apologize for those readers who suggested that I could potentially have PCOS, you were right. When I first saw those words, I scoffed them off assuming there was no way in hell I could have it. My naive self thought PCOS was something only overweight and obese women could get because of excess estrogen and fatty tissue. Clearly incorrect and also the fact that PCOS is often genetically passed on was a sure sign to me that I couldn’t have it… the disease does not run in my family.

According to PubMed Health (a place I often read health articles) PCOS is a fairly common condition (1 in 15!) in which a woman has an imbalance of female sex hormones. This may lead to menstrual cycle changes, cysts in the ovaries, trouble getting pregnant and various other health changes. It is linked to:

  • Estrogen and progesterone, the female hormones that help a woman’s ovaries release egg.
  • Androgen, a male hormone found in small amounts in females.

Hormone level changes make it harder for a woman’s ovaries to release a fully mature egg, which is normally released during a natural period, also called ovulation. With PCOS, mature eggs are not released from the ovaries and instead they can from very small cysts in the ovary, which grow in size without treatment.

This is NOT my ultrasound photo, but it looked pretty dang similar to this… though the cysts were not as large.

Because I thought it was a waste of both time and money, I was actually not even planning on going to the ultrasound appointment. I am sick of having all of these appointments that have yielded no answers and only increase the medical bills that I have yet to pay off (poop insurance, how I hate you). I knew this procedure was going to be costly and was basically set on NOT going, when at pretty much the last minute I decided, “ahh the hell with it, at least we will be able to rule out things going on in there”(uterus).

Within two minutes of looking up there, the tell-tale signs of PCOS could be seen- small dots which run along the edges of my uterus making a “pearl-like necklace” appearance. When my gynecologist came in he almost threw up his hands with both relief and delight at finding the answer… he quite literally went “Aaaha! Got it.”

After the procedure I asked him WHY, why did this happen to me and how much of it has to do with the eating disorder? He reported that limiting my intake and messing with my body did effect my hormone levels, but more so I was predisposed for this to happen, it was likely going to occur anyway. Again, WHY? His answer… it’s just one of those things; a disease that can effect 1 in 15 women and regrettably I among them even without the genetics to back it up.

This leads me to the next necessary question, where do I go from here? Unfortunately there is no cure for PCOS, however it’s something that can be treated and the symptoms calmed down with certain measures. Because I don’t need to lose weight (and this helps with obese women), the other option I have is to take birth control to help regulate my body and control the symptoms of PCOS.

Therefore I am back on birth control and in time I will get my period back, helping to relief the effects of PCOS. I couldn’t help but to ask, the annoying question that is on my mind with BCs, will it make me gain weight, the long argued debate of whether this is true or not. As an answer to this, I am on a low-dose pill that will help with what is going on. My next question had to do with my ability to have children, would I? Yes is the answer, but it is likely to be more difficult for my body to conceive and fertility treatments are probably in my future. Right now though, I am not going to think about pregnancy, it is one worry I cannot concern myself with.

So there it is, one of my medical appointments finally paid off!

Polycystic Overy Syndrome is really not the biggest deal and while I am upset that I have this, I am more relieved than anything right now…. Relieved that finally, finally I have found an answer to this issue that has burdening me for years. I know my body is not broken, that while my efforts to get better from the eating disorder have paid off in so many areas of my life, this is not one of them and there is a reason why, a scientific explanation that I have the ability to treat. I am not progressing with my life without this very normal female bodily function.. I am bringing it on to control it and I am regulating the body I have abused for so many years now.

As always, I will keep you updated on how the BC is helping or making me feel, or any other information that comes along with this process! I will say it one more time, what a relief to have an explanation.

**********

-Have you ever heard of or know anyone with PCOS? Or does anyone have it themselves? I welcome all insight into this, I am a newbie with the diagnosis but am certainly planning on educating myself more.

-Alright off this topic, do you enjoy hiking? When is the last time you went?

-Did you do any fall activities this weekend or cross of activities from the ole bucket list? Hiking was on mine :)

-How was your weekend? Tell me any and all things you did!

Enjoy the day friends… I know I will… Caleb comes home today :D

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