Thursday, December 17, 2015

PCOS, Weight Issues, Acne, Fatigue & Other Issues - Women Health 1

I am not a beauty expert, and I do not have any background in makeup or fashion. I share the related content on this blog for fun. But today I am going to share something that I am qualified in, something related to my field.

Today's topic is something that I have dealt with for years, so it is going to be based on my personal experience. This post is going to act as a base for my upcoming posts on acne.

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It causes hormonal imbalance in women, which results in irregular periods, weight issues, hair loss, acne, excess facial and body hair (due to excess amount of the male hormones testosterone and androstenedione), depression, abdominal pain, fatigue and even infertility in some cases. However, with today's advancement in medical science, all this is treatable.

 MY STORY
PCOS is more common than you may think, it affects a wide range of women from all different ages. Even though, it is so common, I personally feel that it is still not dealt with properly. I have been diagnosed with PCOS (through ultrasound and blood work) back in 2008 and had a lot of above mentioned symptoms that bothered me,  but none of the doctors I saw did anything about it, and I have been to at least 5 different GPs and 3 specialists. It has been only recently that I received help and that too  because I actively asked for the medication that I thought would work for me. And this is the reason I am writing this article. Even though I have health care background and knew all along what was happening, it still took me so many years to get what worked for me. So, I can't even imagine, how many women have to struggle with this all their life without getting the appropriate assistance. So, I am going to briefly go over some issues in this post, but not all.
 
IRREGULAR PERIODS
So, lets start from the beginning. I always had irregular periods, but was told by doctors that as long as I get 6 a year, it is absolutely fine. And I was kind of fine with it, because just be honest, who likes dealing with cramps and bleeding every month? But I still insisted on getting the tests done to figure out the underlying problem, which showed what I was expecting i.e. PCOS. However, the doctor kind of brushed it off because I was having the minimum required number of periods.
 
ACNE
 Acne is also a symptom of PCOS. I have struggled with acne on and off for almost 7 years. Most of my teenage years were relatively alright with occasional breakouts but the major struggle began after 20. So, even though I was diagnosed with PCOS, I was sent to the dermatologist, who prescribed me minocin, which is a popular antibiotic for acne. 
  • It worked for the time that I was taking it but my acne came back as soon as I got off it.
  • Dried out my skin really badly and triggered eczema, which I never had before.
  • Messed up my digestive system.
 
Obviously, since my issue was different so this antibiotic did not work for me.
 
Few years later, I was also prescribed tetracycline, which is another antibiotic but again it did not work very well.
  • It caused excessive hair fall, so much that I lost hair every time I touched them. They literally came out in clusters, it was really scary.
  • It also resulted in yellowing of my teeth.                                                                                                                                                            
 SWELLING & WEIGHT
I did not have this issue in the beginning, but as the time passed on, I started getting facial and overall body odema. My face used to swell up at odd hours on its own and then go back to normal. So, that was very weird, and it made me age by a good 5 or 6 years.
  
Also, I gained weight and had trouble losing it. I ate well, worked out but nothing really helped.
 
WHAT I DID
All of it was getting so out of hand, that I felt self conscious all the time. I lost confidence and self esteem because I had this constant thought embedded in my mind that I do not look good. No matter what makeup I used, no matter what I wore, it just did not look good. Because my skin did not look nice, my overall body did not look nice. I had tried everything from expensive facial masks to essential oils, but nothing at all worked because my issue was internal.
 
So, I did my own research and printed out articles. However, PLEASE NOTE: when I am saying I researched articles, I am not talking about google or Wikipedia. I am talking about the peer reviewed journal articles, they are the genuine research articles done by the scholars. DO NOT believe everything on the news sites or random blog posts (I know this is also a blog lol but then I am not talking about all blogs, right?).
 
I made a list of the possible medicines that had the probability to work. I took it my doctor and discussed it with him. First and most common prescription for PCOS is  birth control pills, which might not work for everyone, and it did not for me either. I gave it 6 months but I had weight gain, hunger pangs and excessive  hair loss. Also, it did not help my acne.
 
WHAT ULTIMATELY WORKED FOR ME
So, then I asked for the medication that is used for diabetes, because the insulin resistance is a common cause of PCOS. The body tends to produces so much insulin to control sugar that in order to curb that the ovaries produce excessive testosterone. So, if the root cause is controlled then everything can be resolved. And this is exactly what has worked for me. Also, since it is diabetes medication, it is very inexpensive, but you cannot get it without prescription.
 
MY ADVICE
  • If you think, you have PCOS because you are experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms, talk to your doctor.
  • If you are being prescribed a certain medication, and it is not working for your, ask for a revision and share your concerns with your doctor.
  • If you have acne, and nothing has worked out for you, get a check up done, you might have PCOS.
  • If you are on birth control pills for acne or irregular periods, and you are gaining weight or dealing with issues like hair fall etc. DO NOT compromise, discuss it with your doctor because there are other alternatives like different kinds of birth control pills (with different hormones) or other medications.
  • If you have tried everything to lose weight and  have other accompanying issues, get your checkup done for PCOS.
  • DO NOT let yourself suffer because of something that can be controlled.
  • Also, everyone is different, so what worked for me, might or might not work for you but the key is to be informed.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY: take your doctor's advice because they know the medicine better but give your input because YOU know your body better.  
 
Have you dealt with PCOS? or Acne? or Weight Issues? or Irregular Periods? What did your doctor do? Did you get the appropriate assistance?
 
Thank you for taking time to read this post. Have a great day!