I was officially diagnosed with PCOS in 2002, but in all honesty, I think I had been suffering with the symptoms of PCOS for several years beforehand. I had put on a lot of weight in a short space of time, and I had been having to pluck the hairs out of chin every day for at least a year before I was diagnosed.
In order to get a correct diagnosis, I had to have a series of tests done, including full blood tests, urine test, MRI scan and an internal Ultrasound scan (which was quite frankly yuck). I was referred to see an Endocrinology Consultant at my local hospital, who told me the news that I had PCOS, and there wasn’t much to help me with the condition, just to try and manage my weight and when I wanted children, go back and see them and they would offer me some fertility help.
I felt very isolated, as I had never heard of anyone else with the condition and there was no information out there to help or advise me on how to manage the condition. I decided to try and find out more about the condition on my own, but when researching on the internet, I found a lot of the information and support networks were all American based. I then discovered Verity (the self-help group for UK women with PCOS) and without a shadow of a doubt, Verity saved me. I was at the point of feeling so alone, so isolated and feeling like I was the only person in the whole world with this condition. I was able to get information about PCOS, what causes it, how to manage it, and just knowing I wasn’t alone helped to feel more able to cope with everything.
After having PCOS for over 10 years now, I still struggle every day with the symptoms and managing the symptoms. I also struggle with my self-confidence, which is mainly due to the effects of living with the symptoms of PCOS. The symptoms I mainly suffer with are excess facial hair, being overweight, bad skin, and losing hair. I do sometimes feel that having PCOS has robbed me of my femininity, especially when it comes to plucking the excess facial hair out of my chin – there is definitely nothing sexy or feminine about doing that every day.
We live in a world where people make assumptions about you from the way you look, and I do struggle with this as well. Yes, I am a larger lady, but I am not a fat pig who eats cream cakes all day – in fact nothing could be further from the truth – I have lost over 5 stone following the Slimming World plan, and I intend to keep going – to help myself manage not only my PCOS, but my self-confidence as well.
It has only been in the last few years that I have really started telling people about my PCOS, and feeling more comfortable talking about the condition, and knowing that I am not alone makes it all the more easier.
If you would like to find out more information about Verity and the work they do to help women with PCOS, have a look at their website www.verity-pcos.org.uk.
You can read more of Sarah’s writing on her blog: firstname.lastname@example.org