This week, we’re continuing our coverage of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Awareness Month and and sharing your stories. We asked you, our community members, to share your PCOS stories and so many people generously stepped forward. This week, we’re sharing Amber Carvalho’s story.
How did you discover you have PCOS?
I’ve always had irregular periods, but it started to become only once a year, and for awhile I loved it. But later I was finished with school, had a good job, married, and had a nice house to start a family, and never could. My husband and I never used any preventatives before and then really started to try and have a baby with no luck. So, I went to my OB that I avoided for some time, and we did the blood work and found that I had PCOS.
Did PCOS affect your ability to conceive? How?
Husband and I have been together for 9 years and never have conceived. It makes me feel almost like I’m broken and my purpose in life has been taken away. We still have hope that one day, but it’s an emotional roller coaster. Making love becomes a chore and sometimes feels pointless. There’s a lot of stress on the person, but also on the relationship.
What treatments did you try and what worked for you?
My doctor first started me on Metformin. This has helped to decrease my insulin and has also helped me lose a lot of weight. Since I’ve started, I’ve only missed one period so far and actually get a positive Ovulation strip reading. Next step, I’ll be on the Clomid next month.
If you could give one piece of advice to PCOS sufferers, what would it be?
Don’t wait! Seek the medical attention as soon as possible. Get your weight regulated quickly and really watch what you eat. My life quickly turned a 360 and it was very difficult. PCOS can do a lot of damage to your hormones, causing weight gain, acne and acne scars, unwanted hair that just keeps on coming, and unusual spots on your skin.
How would you describe PCOS, and how it affects your life, to people who don’t know anything about PCOS?
PCOS is very stressful on a person, and can even affect their spouse and their relationship. There are horrible side effects, but mostly the sadness of being infertile. There is a lot of stress involved, because not only can you not conceive, but you now have to strictly watch your diet and exercise every day. And even though there’s medication that can help conceive and help control your hormones, there is no getting rid of PCOS. It’s your label forever.
What would you like the general public to know about PCOS?
i would want the general public know that just because you have PCOS, it doesn’t mean you have to adopt or give up on having a family. You can still get pregnant; you just have to take the first step to get tested to see if you have it. Diet and exercise is key. If you stick to the diet, you are more likely to conceive. It’s a long road, but in the end it is worth it. For people that have never gone through infertility issues, please be supportive to your friends or family members with this condition. Never tell them to just adopt or give up! They are big no no’s to say as it actually puts down someone who is suffering from infertility issues like PCOS.
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?
I think having a hard time having a child will make us appreciate every little detail about our child, even the not so fun stuff such as morning sickness and back pains. A child is what we have wanted for so long and no way would we regret our decision. People like us want to be involved in every moment of our child’s life, and love the good and bad, no matter what.