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."

8166
views

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

How to Explore Your Sexuality Safely and Without Strings Attached

Is it bi-curiousity or is it something more?

268
views

When you're young and in college, you're searching for ways to express and discover yourself—and often do so through other people. You might have even had some thoughts or fantasies that led you to believe that you might be LGBTQ+. While you're in the perfect setting for sexual exploration, you should take the opportunity to be curious and let yourself dabble in some same-sex shenanigans.

It's easier said than done, though, because not everyone is quite so sure where they should start. If you find yourself unsure of how to experiment with your sexuality in college, try to keep these in mind:

1. Stock up on necessary protection

No matter who you're hooking up with, protection will never be any less important. Consider using a female condom or a dental dam if you're hooking up with a girl. If you're getting with a guy, always use a condom and even think about bringing lubricant with you in case you have penetrative anal sex.

On that note, it's a common misconception that men who have sex with men are inherently dirty and diseased. Their sexual practices can be really risky, though (like anyone's), if they don't use condoms or aren't careful about how they have anal sex. You're also mistaken if you think that sex between two women doesn't carry any STD risks. While you are less likely to contract chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV through lesbian sex, women are still capable of transmitting nasty infections like HPV, herpes, and pubic lice. So regardless of what's in your partner's pants, it's critical that you're guarding yourself against STDs and other unwanted surprises.

SEE ALSO: 8 Excuses To Use To Get Out Of Wearing A Condom

2. Educate yourself on same-sex relationships and sexuality in general

How can you expect to explore your sexuality if you hardly have a grasp on how same-sex relationships work? Like with any other unfamiliar topics, do some research before you dive into a world you barely know. You can even ask your LGBTQ+ friends for some information and they'll happily give you some pointers about same-sex love and even the sex itself. If you'd rather keep your questions to yourself, simple Google searches like "what is it like to kiss a girl/boy" and "how do gay men/lesbians have sex" will suffice.

3. Be honest with yourself about what YOU want

What are you looking to take away from your same-sex experience? Are you looking for a little bit of drunken fun with one of your gal pals? Are you genuinely questioning your sexual orientation and want to put your feelings to the test? Whatever your reason is for sexual exploration, remember that you are always in control of how you act upon the thoughts you've been having. Whether or not you choose to experiment is solely your decision and no one has the authority to pressure you one way or the other. You need to be honest with yourself about your intentions before you can even consider moving forward.

4. Visit your campus's LGBTQ+ center for some advice

Almost every college and university has an on-campus LGBTQ+ center that's fully equipped to answer any questions you may have on the subjects of gender and sexuality. The staff members are likely LGBTQ+ individuals themselves, so they can offer you personal words of wisdom on how to gently go about questioning and experimenting. And who knows, you might even meet someone there who's willing to help you along, if you catch my drift…

5. Be picky about who you choose to experiment with

Life isn't exactly like a John Green novel. You probably won't find the perfect hookup as soon as you go looking for them. Go with your gut and don't be afraid to hold your potential hookup to your dating standards. You might not want to go out with them, per se, but if you're planning on being physically intimate with them, it's in your best interest to find someone you can trust to be kind and understanding of your situation. Whether your ideal partner is someone you bumped into at a party or your best friend, ensure that they respect your boundaries and are open to being your "guinea pig."

6. Tread carefully if you're thinking about hooking up with a friend

A friend might seem like the best option for a no-strings-attached hookup, but complicating the emotional relationship you already have with physical intimacy might spell out disaster in the future. Even though you know and trust this person with the connection you already have, you're moving on to completely unchartered territory when you decide to make out or have sex with them. Unrequited crushes and awkwardness may very well ensue when you least expected them to. There's no telling how either of you will react to the encounter after it's over, so you have to be prepared for the worst.

If you're that certain that your friendship will be unharmed, though, then by all means, go for it.

7. Always go into a hookup with a clear, (mostly) sober mind

It's okay and perfectly understandable if you need some liquid courage to jumpstart your self-exploration. At first glance, experimenting with your sexuality can seem like a daunting task, so approaching it in a buzzed state might be a good way to keep yourself moving. However, with drinking to calm your nerves, moderation is key. It's important that you're not so drunk that you become vulnerable to unwanted advances from the people around you. Being too drunk to control yourself is never the answer to any problem, no matter how intimidating it seems. If you plan on drinking to psych yourself up for a same-sex hookup, make sure you limit your intake and surround yourself with trusted friends who can keep an eye on you.

Also, it's best that you don't use same-sex exploration as a coping mechanism for a bad breakup. Don't save the decision to hook up with a random person for the heat of the moment. Make sure you've given the idea plenty of thought and that you don't use your emotions as an excuse to act out sexually.

8. Be honest with your partner about your intentions

Before you set someone up as your homosexual "test drive," make sure that they are fully aware of what's happening and why it's happening. Your partner deserves to know that your connection is strictly physical and that it was initiated in your quest to explore your sexuality. Clarifying the nature of your relationship from the start prevents either of you from reading too far into your interactions, sparing you both from hurt feelings later on.

Also, keep in mind that not every LGBTQ+ individual is open to bi-curious hookups. Your desired partner might be looking for a relationship with somebody who is more sure of their identity, and that's okay! There will definitely be another person down the road who's willing to guide you through your experimenting. Finding the ideal partner may take some time, but the search will be well worth it when you finally meet someone who satisfies all of your expectations.

9. Pace yourself and only go further if you're 100% comfortable

Regardless of your and your partner's sexuality or gender, consent is ALWAYS mandatory. BOTH of you must be consenting to what's happening at all times with the utmost enthusiasm for it to be a consensual encounter. As you explore your sexuality, know that you can revoke your consent at ANY TIME without having to make any excuses. Should you lose interest or start to feel anxious, you have every right to stop and remove yourself from the situation. Just because your partner is also a girl or is also a guy doesn't mean they are entitled to your body any more than a partner of the opposite sex is.

Don't feel ashamed for giving up on a same-sex hookup because you got too self-conscious or even felt afraid. You can experiment in small doses and go as slowly as you need to so you can maximize your comfort.

10. Don't be afraid to admit that experimenting isn't for you

So you kissed a girl and you didn't like it. Or you got with another guy and didn't feel any sort of spark when he touched you. It's okay for you to acknowledge that your same-sex encounter didn't ignite a major transformation in how you see yourself. It could have been that you didn't vibe with your partner or that you just don't vibe with the same sex altogether. Only you can determine why it didn't work for you. Don't assume that you MUST be heterosexual if your hookup didn't leave you feeling any different. Likewise, don't assume you must be gay if your hookup DID affect you physically and emotionally.

11. Don't let anyone label you— not even yourself

Labels do not determine your self-worth, nor do they get to dictate how you "should" behave and feel. Just because you had a homosexual encounter doesn't mean you're automatically gay, lesbian, bisexual, or anything else. Sometimes, a kiss is just a kiss, sex is just sex, and a crush is just fleeting and not deserving of a full-on identity crisis. You can apply a label to yourself if you feel it fits, but don't force yourself into a rigid mindset that doesn't work for you. Only use a specific label if you are 100% comfortable with what it entails. And if you're still confused about who you are, give yourself time to sort it out. In terms of your sexual orientation (and gender identity, for that matter), when you know, you know.

12. Let your feelings go wherever they're meant to

So what you anticipated to be a one-night stand seems to evolved over time into a romantic crush that you can't stop thinking about. Your first instinct might be to panic because "this wasn't supposed to happen," but honestly, how can you be so sure of that? If you are meant to develop feelings for someone of the same sex, then so be it! Clearly you are attracted to this person in more ways than one and clearly they have the potential to make you happier, so why not go for it? You deserve endless love and adventures with your special person, whomever they turn out to be. Let your heart guide you in the right direction and it will all work out in the way it's destined to.

Whether you're gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, or whatever else, you are every bit as valid as anyone else and you are entitled to love and happiness however you come by it. Experimenting may be a defining experience for you or it might not turn up any revelations at all, and it's okay either way. At least you know you put yourself out there and were brave enough to challenge conventional society and explore your sexuality.

OMG, check these out

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Take This Quiz To Discover What Your Sexual New Year's Resolutions Should Be Based On Your Personality

Let's actively nurture our sexuality in 2019

Dr King
Dr King
5253
views

Everytime late December and early January approach us, it's inevitable that we'll hear some sort of discussion about resolutions in preparation for the new year. Often you'll hear people talk about how they want to start going to the gym again, developing better study skills, or quitting a bad habit. While all of these things are wonderful, I don't want us to forget about the importance of affirmations within our sex lives as well.

I know what you're thinking right now as you read this. You're probably thinking one of two things. Either (1) you don't care about making any sexual resolutions as long as you're not having bad sex or (2) your sexual resolutions may be too ambitious. Well due to the fact that only 8% of people successfully fulfill their New Year's resolutions, I don't blame you for thinking it's unobtainable. However, maybe you should try a different angle.

Make sure your sexual New Year's resolutions that are tailored toward your personality. Based on psychological research conducted by Paul Costa and Robert R. Mcrae, there are ultimately five primary personality traits that can be used in order to sum up people on a general basis. The five factors are openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. If you're wondering which trait broadly describes your personality the most then take this quiz! The results will also show you what New Year's resolutions you should make for your sex life in 2019 based on your personality so that your sexual needs will match up with your personal needs as well.

Dr King
Dr King

OMG, check these out

Facebook Comments