Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

What is PCOS? And why am I mentioning it?

Let’s define what it is?

This is from the Better Health Channel web:

Polycystic ovary syndrome (or polycystic ovarian syndrome – PCOS) is a complex hormonal condition. Polycystic literally translates as many cysts. This really refers to there being many partially formed follicles on the ovaries, which each contain an egg. These rarely grow to maturity or produce eggs that can be fertilised.

Women with PCOS commonly have high levels of insulin, or male hormones known as ‘androgens’, or both. The cause of this is unclear, but insulin resistance is thought to be the key problem driving this syndrome.

In some women, PCOS runs in the family, whereas for others, the condition only occurs when they are overweight.

PCOS is relatively common, especially in infertile women. It affects 12 to 18 per cent of women of reproductive age (between late adolescence and menopause). Almost 70 per cent of these cases remain undiagnosed.

Up to a third of women may have polycystic ovaries seen on an ultrasound, but they do not all have PCOS. To be diagnosed with PCOS, women need to have polycystic ovaries and the typical symptoms described below.

Symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome

Women who have PCOS may experience:

  • irregular menstrual cycles menstruation may be less or more frequent due to less frequent ovulation (production of an egg)
  • amenorrhoea (no periods) some women with PCOS do not menstruate, in some cases for many years
  • excessive facial or body hair growth (or both)
  • acne
  • scalp hair loss
  • reduced fertility (difficulty in becoming pregnant) related to less frequent or absent ovulation
  • mood changes including anxiety and depression
  • obesity
  • sleep apnoea.
  • you don’t have to have all of these symptoms to have PCOS

Note: more info: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/polycystic-ovarian-syndrome-pcos

Gynaecologists

I personally went through this. It wasn’t very clear to me at the beginning like 10 years back. I was working in Singapore back than and I experienced a very sharp pain at the side of the lower abdominal. So, I went to investigate it a few times with the GPs and they would sent me to get an ultrasound done externally and internally. I wasn’t really sure what they meant and probably I wasn’t paying much attention to it and I can’t remember why I didn’t follow it through.

Many years later, I didn’t experience any pain or whatsoever at all until one day few years back now, I had abdominal cramped and I took Panadol and it didn’t go away overnight. My former partner back than took me to see a local GP first thing on a Sunday morning. He had no idea what is wrong and referred me to the hospital. So, we went to the Cabrini Hospital and did a few test like the ultrasound. They rang up a gynaecologist and he came to see me and he wasn’t sure what it is as the result wasn’t cleared. So, they scheduled me for an operation. When I woke up, he was saying I had a burst cyst and had internal bleeding and he managed to rescue the ovary. He also said this thing happens and it will go away when you have a child.

Few years later after that incident, I had no episode and I had a child and he is now almost 2.5 years old. My thought was so I won’t experience that pain anymore? Not really it came back 1.5 years ago and I had an episode of an intermittent bleeding between menstrual. A very unusual for me because I know my body and I know this is wrong. With that pain, this time I want to make sure to investigate it properly. I went to see my GP and she done and organised all these tests for me. It turned out nothing wrong with it. So, she organised me to see a gynaecologist from the Women’s Hospital and I was rejected because I am not living in the zone. My thought was so nothing wrong with me and I was being rejected and I just let it go.

I think later a had some pain again, so I went to see a different GP at my other work place area. He suggested I might need to start taking oral contraceptive pills which I am against it. Who knows what it will do to your body. Anyway, he has referred me to see a private gynaecologist which I went. The gynae said I had too many cysts in the follicles and they are really angry. He suggested to take contraceptive pills and to take probiotics. I only take probiotics and keeping an eye on it. I was alright I guess until one day I received a letter from the Northern Hospital and I wasn’t sure what was it about and I attended the appointment and then I realised my initial GP has done another referral for me.

After the initial consult with this gynae from the hospital, he has sent me to get the ultrasound done again. The second consultation, he has diagnosed that I has polycystic minus the syndrome and suggested to take the contraceptive pills. I was really reluctant but I did.  He also suggested doing an endometrial test and I did. The result came back all cleared. He suggested doing another ultrasound again in 3-months and I did. Finally, with the last ultrasound, he said the cyst has grown bigger from the last scan and he suggested to do a hysteroscopy and polypectomy. This whole thing went on for almost 1.5 years. I wasn’t really keen but the thing he said to me if I don’t remove it and it might leads to cancer. BANG!!! I was concerned and scared and so I went to have all these done last week. I’m still waiting for the result.

Exercise, Fit and Healthy

What I wanted to say here is, both gynaecologists were very surprised that I don’t have any of the symptoms and I managed to have a baby. I have seen many female patients from the GPs referral under the EPC Plan for all these years. Each patient came in with most of the symptoms and they all shared a same goal to have a family and to be healthy as they can’t conceive easily.

In my opinion, I have been blessed with a beautiful boy and looking after myself being fit and healthy for all these years. Exercise and being healthy has been part of my life.