It’s about to get all awkward up in here because today I’m talking girl parts and crazy hormones. If you’d rather run screaming in the opposite direction than read about menstruation (or a lack thereof) then now is the time to do so.
Ahem. *taps mic* You still there? Okay. *deep breath*
I have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
I don’t have all the usual symptoms of PCOS–trouble with weight gain, excessive body hair, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, etc.–but I have the weird hormone levels and the resulting ovarian cysts. I’ve known for over fifteen years that my body does not function the way a normal, healthy female body should, but I was only diagnosed about a year and a half ago.
Good stuff about PCOS: I save a lot of money on tampons because I only have periods every few months. I very rarely have hormone-induced mood swings. If I forget to use birth control, my chances of getting pregnant “on accident” are pretty slim.
Bad stuff about PCOS: I get cysts on my ovaries that make my lower abdomen ache so constantly that I only notice if I’m in severe pain. My fertility is questionable. I have a very high risk of getting uterine cancer. There is no known cure.
So yeah. Thanks, hormones!
When I cut my hair last year, I noticed that it wasn’t as curly as it used to be. The hair that is growing in now is almost entirely straight. My hair had always been at least wavy, but the curls were undoubtedly a result of puberty hormone changes. I’d wager a lot of money I don’t have that my newly straightened locks are a result of more hormone changes.
Of course, I was pregnant, and that messes with your hormones quite a bit, so I didn’t think much of it then. But I’m not pregnant anymore and I’ve started noticing other changes as well. Almost constant sweating, no matter what the ambient temperature. Dramatic–almost frightening–weight loss. Dramatic–and definitely frightening–mood swings. (We’ll talk about both of those symptoms soon, don’t worry.) There seem to be dozens of little neon signs pointing frantically at an endocrine imbalance that seems to be getting worse.
What is want is for my dang reproductive system to just function normally. What I’ve got instead is a disheartening diagnosis and a few options for medications that may or may not treat a handful of my symptoms, that could possibly cause other problems for me, and that are definitely not going to take care of the root issue. That being, of course, that my hormones are all out of whack and nobody seems to know why.
I’ve been praying to know what to do so I can be healthy. When I heard these words on Sunday, I reached the sad conclusion that God probably isn’t going to give me the cure for my PCOS. Let’s be honest, though: I wouldn’t know what to do with it and nobody would believe me anyway. But even without a cure, God has given me the resources and abilities to move toward better–if not ever perfect–health.
I may not be able to fix everything that is wrong with my body, but there are things I can do. I can choose a medication that feels like the best choice right now, and if it doesn’t work I can try something else. I can find a doctor who might have more insight into what exactly is wrong with my body. I can make healthier lifestyle choices in general.
I can’t fix everything–nor can I make the girls look at the camera when I want them to!–but I should fix what I can.