So, You Got Diagnosed With PCOS

By: Nour Jumma

A few months ago we published an article detailing symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. If you haven’t already, you can read it here to get a better understanding of what it is before you continue reading this piece. 

OB/GYN visits are intimidating as is, and having to hear some bad news along with it is dreadful – to say the least. Unfortunately, this syndrome isn’t something that can be ‘cured’. However, many of its symptoms can be managed in order to maintain a stable lifestyle/avoid daily hindrance due to PCOS. 

Disclaimer: This is subjective to the specific phase of your reproductive system, how long you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS, and your symptoms will vary from one case to another. This is purely from intensive research from trusted, official websites with unfiltered and unbiased information. Please make appointments with specialised doctors ASAP

So, what now? Take a deep breath, I’ll tell you what now. 

  1. You are not alone.
    Over 10% of women suffer from PCOS, and it’s the most common endocrine disorder occurring in all women. Find a support group. You will need it. Share your experience. You are not alone.
  2. Find the right doctor for you.
    Get a professional that continues to run tests on you until you are both satisfied with your final diagnosis. PCOS differs from each person, and your symptoms will vary. Here are a couple of OB/GYNs @thisismotherbeing has so kindly suggested that you could consider: 
    1. Dr Kareem Zaki in El-Maadi
    2. Dr Hanaa Abo El Kassem in Alexandria
  3. Ask your specialist all the questions.
    Don’t let your mind wonder about any aspect of your PCOS. Each woman is unique, therefore researching your questions online can often lead to inaccurate conclusions. You’ve had the blood tests, ultrasounds, and check-ups done, so your doctor knows your case best. Any information you reach online is highly subjective and may not apply to you.
  4. Monitoring your dietary intake.
    This is the biggest part of dealing with PCOS.

    An extremely significant side effect of PCOS is obesity. Your food intake will greatly affect this, as well as other symptoms you feel. Because of the insulin resistance, your body is more likely to be unable to process certain foods correctly (mainly carbohydrates), which leads to excessive weight gain despite a steady calorie intake. Monitoring your macros and food group intake can help you manage body functions that are otherwise disturbed with the insulin resistance.

    Some doctors could prescribe Metformin, which is prescribed for Type 2 Diabetics. This controls insulin levels.

    Ask your doctor if they can provide you with ideal PCOS dietary-friendly meal plans. Or better yet, subscribe to a long-term membership with a nutritionist you are comfortable with. Make sure you are 100% honest and transparent with your nutritionist/doctor. Tell them when you have an extra chocolate bar, when you crave ice cream, when you just wanna make cookies for the sake of it. Being transparent with your nutritionist means they will be able to alter your meal plans accordingly to allow for little satisfying indulgences. Do not ever feel shame when it comes to your eating habits. You are paying for their services and expertise. Hiding the handful of chips you had today from them will only increase the amount of time it takes for the nutritionist to be familiar with the way your body functions.

    After 2-3 years of this, you will be more knowledgeable of how your body works and the way it reacts to different foods and meal plans. You can then continue without a nutritionist if you wish to do so. This will help you manage becoming overweight/obese because of PCOS.
  5. Exercise regularly.
    Most specialists recommend 30-40 minutes 3-4 times a week of exercise. This helps control the weight gain symptom of PCOS. This can further decrease insulin resistance as well and help your body maintain a stable reaction to insulin. The maintenance of this will help your body reach a relatively normal equilibrium state/stable weight.
  6. Dealing with Hirsutism.
    Spironolactone is usually prescribed to control the excessive hair growth that results from the excessive hair growth that is a symptom of PCOS. Many doctors recommend a combination of medication and laser hair removal sessions which will eventually permanently remove any excess hair. However this is not necessary if the excess hair doesn’t bother you.
  7. Acne/oily skin
    A dermatologist is your best shot at managing skin conditions that come with PCOS. Your dermatologist will most likely ask you about your dietary intakes as well as it also affects how your skin reacts to PCOS.
  8. Avoid birth control.
    If your doctor suggests or prescribes birth control pills, immediately change your doctor or explain that you will not take any birth control pills. Most doctors prescribe under the pretense that it will ‘regulate’ your period. This is false. Birth control pills disrupt what is normal and healthy in your body. The menstrual cycle can be very self-sufficient without any chemically ingested hormones. You will most likely become in-fertile ingesting birth control pills regularly. They are not regulating your periods, they are making them obsolete. The ‘periods’ you get when on these pills are the aftermath of your body becoming infertile and completely thrown off its homeostasis. The pill will also worsen the weight gain, acne, increase anxiety levels and more commonly, depression.

    For a better understanding of this watch @thisismotherbeing’s video on the pill here (or honestly, just follow her and watch all her videos. I can’t express how empowering it is to understand how your body works.)

    If you want to regulate your period, your balanced and tailored dietary consumption and exercise will aid in regulating it.
  9. You can still get pregnant in the future if you wish to do so.
    Most women don’t find out that they have PCOS until they start having trouble conceiving. A doctor will most likely prescribe fertility medication, or recommend alternative pregnancy/child bearing methods. Your PCOS is unique to you. You do not need to start convincing yourself that you no longer want kids because you can’t have them. With the correct diet and hormone intake (if necessary), it is still possible to ovulate.
  10. In the long longterm (menopause).
    As you eventually reach menopause with PCOS, most symptoms will decrease and become less intense as the menstrual hormones come down naturally. It is very unlikely that you will live with this pain forever. 

You do not need to explain yourself when it comes to your appearance. You do not need to explain that you gained weight/have acne/have hair there because of your PCOS. If you wish to surround yourself with people, they have to accept you as you are, PCOS or not. 

Above all, be patient with yourself. Troubles with your reproductive system can be extremely nerve wracking if not dealt with correctly. Don’t pressure yourself, it will not help you manage the situation. Treat it like you would a cold, a broken bone, or an infection. 

Understand what it is, and how you can deal with it. Your PCOS does not make you any less feminine. Your PCOS is not a representation of your womanhood. 

Stay safe, 

  • NKJ

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