We should know about PCOS!
Last month I got an email from a woman named Christina. She had read through our Dictionary of Loss and wanted to share her experience with me. In our email discussion, I discovered that she runs a site about something called PCOS. She had endured the death of her own son and felt that PCOS had something to do with the complications of his birth and death.
PCOS was a new acronym to me. I clicked the link she sent to her site (oak.cats.ohiou.edu/~cp391990). I read about PCOS and what its manifestations look like in women with the condition. I sat shock still. I read the information outloud to my husband. He said, "Well, that all sounds pretty familiar, doesn't it?" I emailed my ob/gyn who I haven't seen in ages -- in fact I've avoided all health care professionals for about two years now because of a lack of insurance and just a general "I don't care anymore" attitude. I asked if she had ever heard of PCOS and if I might have something like that based on my history with her and our pregnancy and stillbirth. She wrote back to say she definitely believes I have and *have had* PCOS.
Shock still again.
So I went head long into an investigation of PCOS, reading everything on Christina's site, paging through all the links she offered, ordering a copy of Dr. Thatcher's PCOS book, immediately taking myself off sugars and carbohydrates in my daily diet. The no-sugar, low-carb thing came from a discovery that many PCOS women are also insulin resistant. After consulting with a nutritionist and reading some web information, I decided that it couldn't hurt to do this until I can find a health care provider to work with on a regular basis.
Okay, let me tell you that there is a list of signs that may show up in PCOS women. Some have all of these, some women have only a few. But these signs are things like skin tags, infertility, irregular cycles, velvety patches of brown skin rash, etc. I have had a skin rash on my chest like that for AGES! We have tried everything for it. Vitamin C, lotions, fungal stuff. Nothing ever worked. Two weeks with no-sugar, low-carb, and guess what?!? The rash is almost completely gone. And when I had a night where I just couldn't resist the popcorn, guest what? Large patches of the rash returned!
I'm still learning about PCOS and the way it causes infertility, pre-term labor, pregnancy complications, and more. I'm just beginning to interview health care providers to find someone who understands the breadth and depth of PCOS and who will be willing to work with me on this. I'm still in shock that simply changing the food I eat has solved a skin rash I've had for years!
Obviously, I'm not a doctor. I'm new to this. But if you have had a pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or experienced infertility, I highly recommend you check out PCOS and see your health care provider to see if this might be affecting you. It can't hurt to be informed!
PCOS - Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Christina's PCOS Pages - oak.cats.ohiou.edu/~cp391990
PCOSA - www.pcosupport.org
Dr. Thatcher's PCOS site - www.ivf-et.com/body.html
Soul Cysters - www.pcos.net
PCOS.net - www.soulcysters.com
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