19 Women Spill All On Living With Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

19 Women Spill All On Living With Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

"It's a lifelong dream to have a family with children of my own, and to be exposed to the probability of not being able to have children of my own scares me."

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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, otherwise known as PCOS, affects five to ten percent of women in the United States. PCOS has many symptoms, including irregular periods, excessive cramps, infertility, weight gain, and body hair. Not all women with PCOS experience all of these symptoms, however, they experience some combination of the above and others. These symptoms are difficult to live with for a variety of reasons. I mean, who would want to have excessive cramps that force them to call off work every time they get their period or who wants to be told they'll never be able to have children of their own? Not me, but as a woman with PCOS, many of these symptoms are my reality.

PCOS isn't something that just affects your normal girl next door. In fact, many celebrities have been very open about their struggles with PCOS. Pretty Little Liars star Sasha Pieterse-Sheaffer has been very open with her struggle with PCOS, detailing how the weight gained related to the hormone imbalanced caused her to gain seventy pounds. She's radiated body positivity and awareness for PCOS while on Dancing With The Stars and beyond.

Country superstar Kacey Musgraves has also been very open on Twitter & in interviews about having PCOS. She turned to the social media platform to get advice from other women with what to change about her diet and lifestyle. Other celebrities who have PCOS include total badass and celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels, Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley, Victoria Beckham, The Bachelor contestant Simone Ormesher, and others.

Lately, I've been really struggling with excessive body hair, which comes along with having PCOS. I get hair on the side of my face and chin, forcing me to have to go to desperate measures to remove it at LEAST every other day because it grows back so quickly. If I go a few days without removing the hair from my face, it's beyond noticeable and I spend the entire day freaking out thinking someone is going to comment on it.

While body hair is the worst part of living with PCOS to me, I know that every woman has a different story. I decided to talk with some women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome to hear their story and see what made PCOS so hard for them. An outstanding EIGHTY-EIGHT women with polycystic ovarian syndrome responded to my survey, and their responses were very eye-opening. Many of them brought me to tears - PCOS affects women every day in such extreme ways, and yet most people don't even know what it is. If it wasn't for me having it myself, I wouldn't have the slightest clue.

So, what is the worst part of living with PCOS? Here's what nineteen of the women I spoke with had to say.

1. Infertility has removed a bond like no other.

"I hate the idea that I won't be able to have children of my own one day. I'm okay with adopting but I would rather have that close bond of something I made." She isn't alone. 19.3% of those surveyed said the worst part of PCOS for them is the struggle with infertility.

2. My extreme cramps are no joke.

"I get extreme crippling cramps that almost send me to the ER each month. I'm unable to move or breathe through them. I get to the point where I can't sit up by myself and can't do anything without help. I have many of the other symptoms and I can deal with them and get by with them but my cramps knock me out of commission and I hate having to do they "I can't work because of my cramps. I've had people look down on me for 'overreacting' on it." Maybe next time someone calls off work or skips class because they're cramping, we shouldn't be so judgmental.

3. Infertility has crushed a dream of mine.

"It's a lifelong dream to have a family with children of my own, and to be exposed to the probability of not being able to have children of my own scares me."

4. The medical community has no idea how to help us.

"My biggest challenge has been trying to get doctors to firstly take me seriously, and secondly to treat me appropriately. I've had to fight for every blood test and panel." Maybe this is why it's so hard for a woman with PCOS to get a diagnosis - the medical community just doesn't understand.

5. No guy will be a fan of a woman with facial hair.

"I am constantly thinking about if people can see the wiry hair on my face, 24/7. I feel sick when I think about getting a boyfriend and having him touch my face and feel stubble." Girl, SAME. I've had kids come up to me and ask why I have hair on my face - talk about uncomfortable.

6. Infertility is a roller coster.

"I love children and want nothing more than to have one of my own. When I do finally ovulate and we find out we're expecting, it results in a miscarriage due to uterine fibroids. Infertility is an emotional and mental roller coaster, which feels will never end. The heartache, the depression and on extremely difficult days, psychologically, I don't even recognize myself."

7. This bleeding is too much.

"When I have my period, which comes on average every 18-20 days (pretty regular, which is not typical for PCOS), I am completely incapacitated. I bleed through super plus tampons in a matter of minutes, blood regularly runs down my legs, and pools on the bathroom floor. It's embarrassing. It's expensive. In addition to my struggles, my husband also struggles with this. He has to sit by and watch me cry in a pool of blood, every 3 weeks. I know it kills him."

8. Hair loss isn't feminine.

"Hair loss is a major concern for me, as it isn't considered feminine...it's going to be difficult to find a guy who is okay with my advanced hair loss at 26."

9. No matter what I do, the weight won't come off.

"I exercise 4-6 times a week, eat clean and healthy but my weight stays the same. Sometimes I look more toned than other times but I find it hardest to carry so much weight around although you're putting in the hard work with exercising, eating an incredibly restrictive diet (no dairy, no wheat, no sugar, low carb, low gi) cheat snack once every two weeks under 1600 calories per meals and still look the same." This is why it drives me up a wall when someone looks at an overweight person and just assumes they never work out. You don't even know.

10. The weight is something everyone can see.

"I gained weight as soon as I got my first period. I ballooned up 50 pounds between the ages of 11-12 and for a 5'2 girl? That's a BIG change. It ruined my social life in school and my confidence in myself. Now 10 years later I'm still struggling with losing weight and doctors won't take me seriously when I tell them I can't lose it. I've been trying to lose weight since I was 8, yet doctors just tell me I must be lying or not trying. That's the worst part. I can live with the hair, and the heavy bleeding and the pain, but the weight? That affects the way the rest of the world sees me."

11. Yeah, in case you haven't got the hint, this weight is bullshit.

"I literally gain weight regardless of eating a burger vs a salad. It's bullshit." Once again, don't assume because someone is overweight all they stuff their face with is crap.

12. My depression and anxiety has me trapped.

"It's ruined my life. I don't leave the house."

13. Not only is facial hair embarrassing, but it also isn't covered by insurance.

"Facial hair is what keeps me in the bathroom every morning crying because I feel so unattractive and unfeminine. It's painful when it grows back and it's just everywhere. And even when you shave, you can tell where it was and it just grows back. No doctor cares to hear about it and permanent hair removal, unlike other PCOS treatments, is considered "cosmetic" and is outrageously expensive/not covered by insurance." The fact that insurance doesn't cover this is beyond ridiculous to me...

14. Acne doesn't end once you've gotten older.

"I've had problems with acne since going through puberty and now half way through college majority of people have none. It makes me feel insecure about my face."

15. The place where I hold all my weight is awful.

"My weight gain goes to my waist and when I look in the mirror it's like a beer belly or pregnancy belly. I recently went to a baby shower and there was a game to try and get the waist correctly with string. The pregnant woman's waist (~32 weeks) was the exact same as my waist. It makes me incredibly insecure about my looks every single day." I hold all my weight in the same area and let me tell you, it makes me so uncomfortable. Why does my stomach have to look like this?

16. Have you realized that the weight gain is miserable?

"I've actively been trying to lose weight for over 12 years now. It's so frustrating when I see people that don't have to watch what they eat or worry about exercising, while I have to count every calorie and exercise every day of the week just to maintain the small loss I've accomplished. Along with excessive body hair (I have to shave my neck every day so I don't grow a beard) and acne, it's hard to leave the house some days. One of the worst feelings is the thought that people just assume you're lazy because you haven't lost any weight since the last time they've seen you, when in reality you're probably more active and healthier than they are in other ways, it just doesn't show." PREACH SISTER.

17. Adult acne makes me seem unprofessional.

"Adult acne makes you feel as though you're not a professional, you're self-conscious that everyone is looking at your acne and not listening to what you're saying and it discredits you and your opinions."

18. You think an occasional clot is bad? Try living with this.

"Clots, clots, clots! Every time I sneeze or stand up it feels like I'm going to flood my undergarments. It's embarrassing and such a hassle to keep up with."

19. This social stigma sucks.

"It's frustrating how people simply view it as a fertility issue and not as an endocrine issue. They assume that the only thing wrong is your ovaries, which obviously is very wrong. People write it off as "not serious" when there are serious impacts of PCOS on those whole live with it. The general public seems very uneducated on the overall illness." I'm hoping this article helps people begin to understand PCOS some more because I agree completely - it's something that is so misunderstood.

Note: Responses may have been edited for clarity or length. A huge thank you to all who responded to my survey - many responses were very similar, so I hope your thoughts are echoed through this. My hope is that through this article, more awareness can be brought to PCOS, how it affects countless women, and what we can do to increase awareness and decrease the social stigma.

Cover Image Credit:

Sasha Pieterse-Sheaffer

Literally, so hot RN

Literally, so hot RN

10 Things Every Couple Must Complete On Their Bucket List Before They Die

If you're interested in doing sexual things that are more outside of the box, here's an intricate list of things every couple should check off their sexual bucket list before they die.

Dr King
Dr King
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In my personal experience, I noticed that conversations centered around sexual exploration are talked about in terms of what we've already done. Countless times I've played the game "Never Have I Ever" to break the ice and find out what other people have done. Even then people mostly want to know who has done butt stuff, who have had threesomes, and who has hooked up with a certain amount of people already. However, we rarely talk about all the sexual things we'd like to embark in and even when we do, it's usually kind of basic or standard.

If you're interested in doing sexual things that are more outside of the box, here's an intricate list of things every couple should check off their sexual bucket list before they die.

1. Use weed lube

Foria Pleasure's enhancement product made of cannabis oil and coconut oil provides women with mind-blowing and longer lasting orgasms. The increasing popularity of the product has gotten featured on Cosmo, PopSugar, and VICE.

2. Have a sex marathon at the Secluded Intown Treehouse Airbnb

This Airbnb in Atlanta is the #1 most-wished listing worldwide and makes for gorgeous scenery considering you're surrounded by nature. The bed is centered directly in front of the best view of its lush woods so it would be insane not to use that to your advantage and have a marathon sex session to become one with your partner and the environment.

3. Kiss in front of the Eiffel Tower

What's sex without a little romance as well? If you can afford a romantic getaway to Paris which is arguably the most romantic city in the world, make sure to kiss in front of the Eiffel Tower as a mechanism for emotional foreplay.

4. Join the Mile High Club

If you're up for something daring, have sex with your partner while you're both on a plane. One of you can head straight there as the other follows about five minutes later. Then one of you can bend the other over the sink and keep going until you're both finished. To eliminate the risk of looking too suspicious, I would at least encourage for this to be done while most people are sleeping so that people aren't wondering why the bathroom is being occupied for so long.

5. Attend a sex party

This doesn't necessarily mean you have to partake in the festivities but it's worth checking out. What happens at sex parties vary but to my understanding, it's a social gathering where couples hang out or engage in whatever sexual activities they desire as long as consent is given by whichever parties are involved. Usually, these parties are hosted at people's homes or in hotel rooms at conventions.

6. Bang against your partner's desk at their corporate job

It's a thrilling fantasy to be bent over by your partner against their desk at their fancy executive job where they have to be professional toward others on the outside but all kinds of nasty with you behind closed doors. If your partner has a job as a general manager, data analyst, consultant, accountant, corporate controller, etc then this activity is perfect for you!

7. Have a sex marathon in a snow cabin

If you're looking for a baecation at a snow cabin during the winter, here a few Airbnbs to consider. Just don't forget to have some everlasting sex sessions while you're there.

8. Play "hide and go seek" in public

This isn't inherently sexual, but if you wanted to test the waters and see how creative you can get, you could go on a picnic in the park first. Then leave trackers—whether that be bread on the ground that the ducks can eventually eat or turn on your bitmoji's location on Snapchat to have your partner find you. Then when they finally meet up with you, you both can celebrate by having sex at your final destination.

9. Bang at a sex dungeon

In Chicago, there are some of the best underground sex dungeons to fulfill the deepest fantasies of those in the kink community. There are multiple playrooms that provide all the types of bondage accessories and plays you can think of.

10. Have a baecation at Desire Couples Resort

Embrace your adventurous side and indulge in an all-inclusive, clothing optional couples resort located on the glorious beaches of Cancun. This place is tailored toward couples who are apart of the swingers lifestyle but everyone is welcome to explore. Public sexual activity is permitted in some areas of the resort so it could be a great opportunity for the two of you to try things you've never even thought of before.

Dr King
Dr King

OMG, check these out

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I Used To Think Hormones Didn't Matter Until They Ruined My Life

Hormones have spent five years ruining my life but now I'm using them to get my life back.

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I've never been one of those girls that used "Sorry, I'm on my period" as an excuse for my behavior. I've always thought that saying that didn't make sense, that I should be in control of myself and my actions at all times and that blaming it on my hormones was an irresponsible cop-out.

Then, one day in high school, I woke up at a sleepover in excruciating pain, worse than any I'd ever had before in my life. After months of doctors visits, ultrasounds and CT scans, and even surgery, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal condition that affects 5 to 10 percent of women worldwide.

My body's hormonal imbalance was causing me terrible symptoms: pain, mood swings, acne, irregular cycles, stress, and so much more. The doctor that ultimately diagnosed me was Catholic and anti-abortion and told me "Birth control would help manage your pain but I don't prescribe it." That was the moment that I truly felt hopelessness and devastation.

Right before I left for college, I decided to take my medical fate into my own hands. I went to a different doctor and was given an IUD. It worked great for a few months and then my body rejected it. I got a new one and it rejected again. A last-ditch third effort was also rejected and then it was time to attempt another method.

I spent six months on the shot, which left me feeling amazing for a few weeks right after I was given a major dose of hormones but made me miserable for about six weeks after that when the hormones started wearing off while I waited for my next batch.

Now, finally, I'm on the pill, which generally has been a great choice for me personally. There are still some days that I feel down. I still get bad acne and headaches and a plethora of other symptoms that are influenced by hormones but generally, I'm much happier and healthier now.

Hormones are fascinating. They control everything in our bodies and even the slightest imbalance can have dramatic effects and leave you feeling miserable. It's a great scientific achievement that we have medications such as birth control that we can use to manipulate hormone levels and their effects but this technology still has so far to go before it's perfect.

Now I know how important hormones truly are and how great their effects can be on every aspect of my day-to-day life. I'll still never say "Sorry, I'm on my period" but I'm a lot more comfortable now recognizing when I'm having a bad day or if I'm having physical symptoms like acne, pain, and headaches.

Hormones have spent five years ruining my life but now I'm using them to get my life back.

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