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Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects one in every five women in India, yet there’s little information on the disorder. I first got diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 14. It caused considerable havoc in my life then and continues to do now.
Most women living with PCOS will tell you how difficult it is to deal with – not because the problem is difficult to deal with but because there are multiple syndromes, each with its own share of problems.
There is massive misinformation on PCOS and dealing with it is difficult. Unlike infertility specialists and endocrine doctors, there are hardly any PCOS specialists. More often than not, patients are just given conventional tips like ‘Manage your diet and exercise’ or worse, put on metformin or other hormonal drugs to screw their happiness (pardon my french).
I am now celebrating a decade of living with PCOS and here is what I have learnt:
PCOS by itself is not harmful but it can lead to multiple problems such as infertility and put you at a very high risk for other critical illnesses. Hence, do not ignore that occasionally ‘missed’ period or spurt of acne and get an ultrasound done if you feel that you are showing even one or two symptoms.
The cause of PCOS remains undiscovered till date. There are many studies that point out that women’s pain and diseases are considered with less gravity than men’s. So, if you are diagnosed with PCOS – do not fret about – how did this happen to me! Even doctors know little besides that it is a metabolic/endocrine disorder due to genes, lifestyle and diet issues. After I was diagnosed, I spent years being disgruntled – you don’t want to begin your teens with a gynaecological disorder, do you?
Worse, I ate home food and was in a stress-free environment with healthy parents (and so could not blame those factors). If you spend your time concentrating on ‘Why did this happen to me?’ – You can’t really focus on action points to go ahead.
PCOS leads to irregular periods (thereby putting you in a state of constant anxiety wondering when next), weight gain, acne, excess hair growth on your body, hair fall. While all of these can be independent issues – PCOS really strikes at the psychological aspect of being a woman. Not enough hair where there should be, too much hair where there shouldn’t be, random acne, feeling of unattractiveness etc.
So, how does one deal with it?
Sometimes we have to show a proverbial finger to the parlour aunties poking fun at our moustaches, dates who don’t call back, random people who have weight loss tips and doctors who think that drugs are a magic cure. To cure your PCOS entirely is impossible. And you have to come to terms with it as much as being clueless that you don’t know what caused it in the first place. So, be strong and ignore those who have random opinions on your body without having a right to counsel you. Stop seeking advice from random people – they are not authorities and your journey is different from theirs. Even this article is a personal account – I know people who are both worse and better off than I am. Ultimately, you are by yourself on this path.
A regulated diet helps a lot. Unfortunately, I have not had access to home-cooked meals for a long, long time. Recently, this has changed and I can already feel the difference. Eating right (no processed food!) can be a game-changer. What makes the most difference though is managing yourself emotionally.
Eating healthy food, not giving a f&*k about naysayers and exercising is pretty much all you need. Like most simple things, this is easier to say than do and I continually struggle with it. Avoid doctors who will just put you on oral contraceptive pills or hormonal medicines and pretend all is well. There is no quick-fix to PCOS. It’s a monster that can be tamed, not obliterated with pills. Unfortunately, PCOS symptoms are tolerated happily or fixed in other ways. Acne? Use this ointment. Hair Growth? Laser. Weight Gain? Gym membership at New Year’s.
Most people worry about PCOS when it comes to child-bearing. That is wrong! You are important and your health and happiness should come before anyone’s need to reproduce, including your own sentiment! I do not have kids but if you are struggling, my best wishes for you to conceive. But don’t see your PCOS as an obstacle to just child-birth, see it as an obstacle to life!
Do not worry, be positive and take control of your life to deal with PCOS before your disorder shapes itself into multiple diseases!
Image via Pixabay
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Lover of good books and great conversation. I run a podcast called India Booked. Personal
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