Today is the beginning of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Awareness Month and we’d like to get the word out about this medical condition that affects millions of women. We asked you, our community members, to share your PCOS stories and so many people generously stepped forward. Throughout the month, we’ll be sharing these interviews and information on PCOS. Kicking it off today, is Amber L. Amber blogs at Luv, Laughter & Happily Ever After.
How did you discover you have PCOS?
As a teenager, my cycle’s were always abnormal and my mother always feared that I would have trouble getting pregnant. When I was 17, I went on the Depo injection to stop my periods because they were so bad. I was on it for seven years before I went off the injection, when my husband and I decided to try to conceive. I stopped the injections in January 2009. Once the medication wore off, my cycles were back to being all over the place. In the mean time I had started seeing a new primary care doctor, who is just fabulous and was going to put me on Metformin to help me lose weight. I have always had a difficult time losing weight no matter how much I diet and exercise. One day, I was searching the internet and discovered PCOS and it just clicked to me that I had all of the other symptoms listed. At my next appointment with my primary care doctor, I discussed this with her and she had stated that she had been thinking that I had PCOS and wanted me to follow up with my OB/GYN. In the mean time I had a couple of cycles that were just horrible and long and when I was finally able to see the doctor she agreed that I had PCOS. It was confirmed that this was what was causing my infertility problems when I had an ultrasound done and cysts were found on my ovaries. I immediately began taking Metformin to help with treating the PCOS and discussed our fertility medication options and what other testing we would need to do.
Did PCOS affect your ability to conceive? How?
PCOS has affected our ability to conceive, as I do not ovulate on my own, which causes irregular menstrual cycles. We have been trying to conceive for over two years now with no success.
What treatments did you try and what worked for you? We did five rounds of Clomid. I believe that one round did help me ovulate, but did not result in a pregnancy. After this, we met with a Reproductive Endocrinologist, who recommended two rounds of Femera, neither of which worked. We are currently taking a break before we try our next option of taking Femera and the injection, Meopur, with the option of trying naturally or doing an IUI.
If you could give one piece of advice to PCOS sufferers, what would it be? My advice to other PCOS suffers is to not give up Hope and to find a support system and talk to other people who have dealt with the pain of having PCOS and struggling to conceive. No one else that I know has had to deal with PCOS and it’s hard for them to understand and be supportive of, when they don’t know what to say to you. That’s why I have turned to fertility sites, such at Attain. It’s easier to talk to other’s who know what you’re going through and to have their support.
How would you describe PCOS, and how it affects your life, to people who don’t know anything about PCOS?
PCOS is a condition that doesn’t just affect your fertility and your ability to have children. It effects every part of your life. I struggle with losing weight because of this disease. The excess hair on my face and the skin tags on my neck are a constant reminder of this horrible disease that effects my self-esteem. I have to watch what I eat because I’m at risk of developing diabetes due to hormones being off balance. Sometimes I just don’t feel like doing anything because of the depression that PCOS can cause.
What would you like the general public to know about PCOS?
I would love for people to know that PCOS is a disease. It is not just an infertility problem. It effects other area’s of a person’s life. I believe that insurance companies should cover more infertility options if a person has a disease such as PCOS, because it is just that, a horrible disease that effects every part of my life. PCOS is no different than someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes or high cholesterol, yet they cover those medications and treatments.
If you have children now, do you think that your fertility difficulties made you a stronger person? A stronger couple? A stronger parent? Why or why not?
Unfortunately, we have not been blessed to have our own little family yet, but I believe that this journey we are on has helped us to appreciate children more and I know that when we are able to have our own family, it will have helped us to appreciate them just that much more and realize that children really are a gift.
Thank you, Amber, for sharing your story with all of us!