PCOS Explained To Your Partner

This one is for your partner, family and significant other. One of the lovely ladies in the PCOS Diet Support community recently asked me to write an explanation of PCOS for our partners and significant others. Something that makes PCOS easy to understand.

I was diagnosed after being married for 3 years and my  hubby has been amazingly supportive. I’ve written this article with him in mind (even though he knows most of it anyway).

What is PCOS?

I have PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I know that you think of it as “woman issues” but it’s important that you know what is happening with me and my body because it affects both of us and I’m really going to need your help in coming to terms with it, living with it and getting it under control.

So, I do have “woman issues”. Basically I don’t ovulate every month, which means that my cycle is very irregular. I also might have some cysts on my ovaries. The biggest thing, though, is that I don’t process carbohydrates properly and my body is over sensitive to insulin. This means that I produce too much insulin for the carbs that I eat. The insulin also makes my ovaries release too much testosterone (all women produce testosterone – I just have too much of it).

PCOS is pretty common. Every 1 in 10 women have it so I’m not abnormal or alone in it.

 

The Symptoms

The symptoms of PCOS are pretty rough for me to deal with and can make me feel unattractive. I sometimes struggle with my weight. It’s not for lack of trying, I promise! All of that insulin quickly stores my carbs as fat and makes it difficult for me to lose it.

I have hair where I really don’t want hair and I may lose some of my hair on my head. I also may have bad skin (think teenage boy acne). It’s that darn testosterone.

One of the hardest things about PCOS is that having babies might be a struggle. It’s not impossible by any means but might take longer than we’d like.

 

What I need to do for me

PCOS explained to your partner foodPCOS is not a death sentence and I’ve made a decision that although I have PCOS, it doesn’t have me. There are things that I can do to manage my PCOS and help with my symptoms.

The biggest thing I can do for me is to lead a healthy lifestyle, keep active and eat properly. This will make my symptoms easier to manage (exercise and diet are huge in dealing with the insulin which will help with the testosterone). The way I eat is not necessarily aimed at me losing weight (although it will help) but on getting healthy. So we can change the way we eat and get healthy together. There are also some supplements that I take regularly which have been really helpful in managing my symptoms.

I can get help from my doctor or endocrinologist (hormone doctor) and there are medications I can take.

If we’re not ready to think about a family, I can also take birth control, which will keep my symptoms in check for a while. As soon as I come off the pill, though, my symptoms will come back so birth control is a temporary fix and can have unpleasant side effects.

If we do decide to have a family and we’re struggling to, we can go to see a reproductive endocrinologist to look into fertility treatments. They’ll want to check you out too and treat both of us if need be.

What I need you to do

PCOS explained to your partner heartThe biggest thing I need from you is your love and support. There are times when living with PCOS is going to make me angry, depressed and feel unattractive. Please just love me through it.

I’m going to do everything I know to do to eat properly and exercise. Please help me by eating healthy too and being active with me. Let’s go for lots of long walks, take up mountain biking or ballroom dancing. If you do have treats (which you’re totally entitled to), please hide them from me so that I’m not tempted by them. Also, please share with them with me once in a blue moon because I also deserve a treat every now and then.

Bearing in mind what I said about feeling unattractive, when I’m having an “ugly” day (and they do happen), please remind me how beautiful I am. Encourage me to get my hair done, have a pedicure or a massage. Sometimes I get so caught up in the daily grind of work, keeping a home and our family, looking after my health, that I forget to take some time just for me. I need you to help me do that.

Also, if I’m really struggling with my PCOS, I’d love for you to understand a bit of what I’m going through and to come up with a game plan with me to help me get this PCOS under control. I’d so love to do a course with you, “A Couple’s Guide to PCOS“. Can we look into signing up?

Thank you, seriously!

It sounds a bit trite but thank you so much for taking the time to read this. It shows me that you want to understand what I am going through and want to support me and that means the world to me. Thank you for loving me in spite of my many faults (PCOS included) and thank you for choosing to walk this road with me. Having PCOS is not easy but with you by my side, it makes it a little more manageable!

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Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and PCOS expert who has been a leader in the online PCOS space for over 8 years. Tarryn has the support of leading clinicians from around the world who support her scientific approach to understanding and talking about PCOS this includes all medical journals and ongoing research. You can read more about Tarryn and the team here.

106 Responses

106 Responses

  1. Thank you for posting this! I just was diagnosed with PCOS and it has been quite the rollercoaster with my significant other. This really helps us as a couple understand and know that we aren’t the only ones going through this! I love your articles and can’t wait to read more!

  2. My daughter was diagnosed with pcos a few years ago. I teared up reading this and it helped me understand how she’s feeling. Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. I was diagnosed with PC OS 2 years ago after having my youngest son I have also struggled with endometriosis since I was 13 years old I have two very large cyst is well is for smaller says and I have a great deal of emotional problems because of trying to get my hormones regulated my husband is only supportive when he wants to be is very difficult for me to deal with this on my own I have two young children at home and I also have pack problems that keep me from working however when I bring this up to my husband all he says to me is that okay well if you want me to quit my job I’ll quit my effing job then I don’t know what else to do for you and I’m sick of this! I feel very alone I can’t even get my own mother to listen to how I feel about this I’m not sure what to do anymore I am very depressed I quite often I just want to feel like a normal person again how do I get my life back on track how do I get back to the old me and how do I make him understand what this is like because he refuses to see it from my point of view he is only concerned with how he feels what do you think that what he wants I don’t want to divorce him but I don’t know what else to do I feel like this is ruining my marriage if you have any comments or ideas on how this could be the result of itself or I can rethought it please please feel free to let me know I am very open to suggestion I cannot take it anymore thank you

  4. Well, I’m going to post on here because i was the “non-understanding” partner when this first became an issue with my wifes PCOS. She has had all of the above problems like hair in places she does not want, parts of weight she just can not get rid of, and periods of depression because of these things. Let me also remind the readers that my wife in the past year has lost 40+ lbs after finding out she has PCOS by living a healthy lifestyle, changing her diet and being active.

    Now i knew that my wife needed support and needed to be loved all the time, but after reading this article i can say that i will pay more attention to the times when she is feeling down, and recognize that my sweet hearted wife is still there, she just needs some help. A big part of me wanting to understand this is because we’ve been not-not trying to have kids for about a year with nothing yet. We do want to start a family as we are now at a part of our adulthood where we are semi-financially stable to be able to support a child. I didnt quite understand the medical definition of PCOS, i thought it was a pure hormone thing so this article helped me understand a little bit more of what she already knew. Thanks for this. -Andrew

  5. Wow thank you , I am in tears even as I write this. I feel that am all on my own and had no idea of explaining to my husband how I feel. But finding this site has been God sent for me, I am going to pass this on to hubby as it explains all I feel and all I want from him. I have been feeling lonely for 10yrs with this and now feels I have a little family if I may say who understand me and what am going thru. Thank you very much

  6. Thanks, I have shared the article with my husband. I hope he takes the time to read it and will understand PCOS is ‘real’ and not something ‘all women have’.

  7. I just found this on Pinterest and I just need to say THANK YOU! After reading that, I was in tears. This is absolutely perfect!

  8. My girlfriend has recently told me of her condition, and how PCOS effects her. I dont think of her any differently because of it, I was just worried about the health risks associated with it. This article is everything I think I needed.

  9. Thank you for sharing your story it gave me the courage as well as the strength to sit and talk to my partner comfortably about my situation.

  10. This really helped me gain an understanding of it all myself, so will definitely be using this to explain in more detail to my other half. You deserve a medal for being so helpful to all of us who are struggling to understand what this is and why it is happening to us. Thank you xx

  11. Beautifully written! If only my husband would take the time to read this, he’d get the full picture.

  12. I’m in tears reading this! You have said exactly how I feel a lot of the time! Thank you so much

  13. ThanK you for the information about pcos, I never understood what it meant before I read this. I truly understand what my girlfriend is going through, I love her so much I will do all I can to help, understand and support her through this.

  14. Thank you very much for this article. My granddaughter was recently diagnosed and she tried hard to explain it to me but your words made it so much easier to understand. Now that I understand better, I can give her better support and encouragement. (Thanks for all of you who left comments that helped me better understand others.)

  15. Thank you so much for sharing your inner thoughts with me and everyone else. My daughter was diagnosed at 14 and it has been hard from that day on. She has a good grip on things now at 19, but knows there is more to come! Lucky for us that my oldest son met someone with PCOS as well so we “deal” as a family! Having them both is such a blessing and we will persevere. The facts you revealed are very important for their partners. Thanks again for sharing.

  16. wow.. my boyfriend and i have been fighting alot lately, and i never quite had the right words to say to him to get him to understand what i am going thru without him telling me im using my diagnosis as a crutch.. i recently gained almost 30lbs and ive been dealing with issues reguarding self image and my boyfriend hasnt been very supportive.. today i was determinded to get him to understand my diagnosis so that he can give me the support i need. this article brought me to tears as i read it aloud to him.. i could not have said it any better and i want to give you the biggest thank you

  17. OMG, I’m in tears after reading this. Sometimes I feel that my husband cannot understand this. I will totally share this to him.

  18. Thank you for writing this article.. it brought tears to my eyes and reading all the comments, especially from all the supportive men out there, opened the flood gates.

    I’ve struggled with PCOS since I was 12, officially diagnosed at 16, and now at 23 I’m still having a very hard time coping. Every doctor I’ve ever seen about the condition has said that it’s the worst case they’ve ever seen/heard about. The highest they ever caught my testosterone level at was 212 but it usually runs in the 180’s last they checked (I was told that normally women should run between 40-50). Not really knowing what to do for me they put me on birth control, which makes me go insane, and metformin, which reduced the need to shave from every other day to every third day but mostly it just killed my sex drive. On top of that I’m allergic to glycerin which is found in almost every beauty product, including the moisture strips on all razors.

    They’ve done ultrasounds that showed that my ovaries are covered in small cysts. For years I didn’t get my period at all or I got it two weeks on two weeks off. I’ve been more regular over the past year but still haven’t gotten pregnant even though I haven’t used any type of birth control in years (figured, hey if it’s meant to happen it will happen). But I’m losing hope. I feel like I’m living in my own personal hell. I’m tired of all the dirty looks I get like I’m some sort of freak. I don’t even feel human let alone feel like a woman. I’m just at a loss.

    Good luck to all the women out there,and for those with supportive partners make sure they know how much you appreciate them

      1. Thank you 🙂 I forget too often that I’m not the only one going through this. It just seems like an endless battle.

    1. Wow everything you’ve said is how I feel all the time. I haven’t been to the doctor in a long time but I know my PCOS is severe. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone. Good luck to you and thanks for sharing!!
      Btw I’m 25 and was diagnosed at 16.

      1. I really need to find some people to talk to about all this. I’d love to start a kik group for women and the people who love them for who they are (hair and all lol) If you’re interested in joining a group like this or helping me start one kik me @ LifeMISunderstood
        have a great day everyone 🙂

  19. I just sent this to my boyfriend. I have been in a funk lately and I can’t really explain why. I have gained weight and know that I don’t feel beautiful. I can’t really explain to him what exactly bothers me or why I have these feelings. This article helped so much. He is so supportive and just called me to tell me the sweetest things! I am so blessed to have such an understanding and supportive boyfriend by my side!

  20. It mentions everything but I know my partner is much more visual. Can you make an upbeat YouTube video? That would be great for friends and relatives of cysters to understand, even if they are emotionally closed. Thanks.

  21. Pingback: 1 in 20 | Lost in the Move
  22. The love of my life is suffering from a hormonal condition that has all the symptoms of PCOS, though she has not told me the name of the condition yet just the symptoms, i am super sure that it is this only.

    I was surfing through the internet to know more about the condition, when i came across this fantastic write-up, written in a perfect and the most understandable way, brought tears to my eyes. I want to support my girl all throughout my life through this and anything else that comes her way ever. Just hope that we end up together soon.

    Thank you so much Tarryn for writing this up.

    P.S. She hasn’t told me because it is one sided love til now, i’m sure she will fall for me soon.

  23. This made me cry! thank you so much for summing up everything i have wanted to say to my boyfriend since i was diagnosed. I really hope it helps him to understand. Thank you again

  24. Alright, so I’m a dude. I’m a little hesitant to reply, but I’m going to share my thoughts regardless of the daunting pink font before me.

    When my wife and I began dating we had no idea that PCOS existed. Time went on and symptoms began to pop up as we got married and stopped using birth control. After that, she went to the doctor and was officially diagnosed with PCOS. More than a year has passed and I have seen her educate herself on PCOS, and through that education I have been informed, albeit to a much smaller degree.

    Through this new knowledge I have been left thinking, “Ok, this isn’t too complicated; you just need to eat healthy and exercise. Boom. Mischief managed.” (Apologies for the reference. I couldn’t help myself)

    The problem is that I haven’t sat back for even a second and thought about how I would handle this if I was in her shoes. Moreover, could I manage it alongside a spouse whose daily life remained unchanged?

    Could I resist the temptations that my husband so carelessly paraded around me? Would I go exercise instead of joining him at a happy hour? Would I say no to dessert at his family’s weekly dinner while baseless animal noises escaped his mouth as he consumed delicious sugar and carbs? He’s such a sucker for sweets.

    The answer is simply: no.

    That is not the type of environment I could succeed in, yet I put my wife in that environment all too often.

    I am a Christian man, and a consistent prayer of mine has been that God would help me be the type of husband who is easy to be partnered with. Why? Because I’m a big dummy man 100% of the time and I don’t want to make my wife’s life any more difficult than it already is.

    I need to adopt this same outlook on our lifestyle, specifically in regards to PCOS. This isn’t her struggle. This is our struggle. This isn’t her lifestyle. This must be our lifestyle.

    Thanks for writing this article. Sometimes we need someone to tap us on the shoulder and gently point us in the right direction.

    1. Hi Chad,

      Awesome to see your comments here.

      I’m actually Tarryn’s husband and believe me, just because Tarryn runs this site and PCOS is always in front of us doesn’t mean I succeed as a husband – often I miss it. Hey maybe I am the reason this got written in the first place – lol. In all seriousness though PCOS is a hectic condition and there is a lot more going on that the obvious. I’m encouraged that there is another guy standing up here so I thought I would send a quick reply.

      I’m also reminded to take action with my wife’s words of wisdom…

      Bless you brother.

      Tim

      1. Hello guys. Just wanted to drop a small comment on this article.
        My girlfriend of 4yrs and soon to be my fiancee also has pcos. I
        admit it is rough at times but I wouldn’t change her for the world. For she makes me the man I am today and so blessed to have
        her in my life. Its a struggle but we will conquer this fight.
        Glad to see more good men out here and that Iam not alone.

  25. Thank you for creating this letter. It is exactly how I want to explain it and what I want from my partner. I haven’t shared with him but I will.

  26. Thank you for writing this, I find it difficult to explain this to my friends and family, they don’t understand and this was something we need, so thanks. I was diagnosed in 2003 and I still have problems with mood swings. I get really sensitive and angry.
    In Sweden, we don’t know so much, thanks to you and insulinlab I lost over 30 kg.

    keep up the good work and you make me going strong. I would be happy to get more information and support for you.
    /Rebecca

  27. This is so great. Shared this with my boyfriend and I think he finally understood what was going on. I was met with tons of support and love, he actually offered to do the diet with me and has agreed to help me stay on track. Thank you so much for writing this, it has brought me so much hope!!!

  28. This really pulled my heart strings as you summed up they way it makes us all feel and the struggle we are fighting every day

  29. I have already sent this to my husband. Thanks for shortening my words into a man-sized portion!

  30. Thank you for posting this article, I going through the “unflattering” phase. I’m lucky though my hubby snuggles with me and slices up some strawberries and other PCOS friendly berries tops it with whipped cream as my monthly treat, then we watch one of our top 5 movies…while I’ve been watching my diet staying active I have seen an Endocrinologist yet…I think Im afraid of more bad news….

  31. I believe that I had PCOS all my life although it was only at 26 and my periods stopped even though I was not pregnant that I was diagnosed.
    I have 2 daughters – the first was conceived withe the help of Clomid, the second was conceived naturally. My youngest daughter is fine (for now anyway).
    Sadly my oldest daughter was diagnosed when she was 13 and now at 17 she has still never had a natural period. This article will be a great way for her to explain PCOS to her friends (and her future husband when she meets him).

  32. tarryn I don’t think anybody would have explained pcos better than you! lots of love n god bless you…I can’t explain in words wat I am going through..since tryin for a baby has turned out to be a night mare…but will not keep up…will fight til I achieve it..thanks once again

  33. Very well said. I have a hard time explaining my situation to my partner and sometimes I think he say ok because he really don’t understand and know how hard and sensitive it is for me to go through this. So thanks a lot for this, now I can better explain it and hope he would understand it more.

  34. Thank you, my husband even teared up! He’s always been supportive but this was a lovely reminder and encouragement x

  35. Thank you for writing what many of us struggle to put into words. I gave this to my partner to read, although he is already so supportive, as it conveyed all things I have tried to say but couldn’t as I felt like I was wallowing! I am recovering from having a large ovarian cyst removed yesterday and am feeling particularly unattractive and dismayed at thought that I could be here again due to the PCOS so this has helped to voice things for me so that he understands better how it is affecting me – thank you again! 🙂

  36. Thank you so much for writing this! I literally teared up during this article…you managed to say everything that I’ve always struggled telling my partner. Though he understand more or less what PCOS is, you article is articulate and clear, and most importantly covers everything, which is why I immediately sent it to my boyfriend.

    I’m incredibly grateful. 🙂

  37. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I sent this to my hubby as I felt like a)I wasn’t sure if I was explaining things fully to him since I just got diagnosed and I am still finding things out and b)it was so beautifully written. The day I sent him this, he went to the store and stocked up on things that were healthy and friendly for my new diet. He also started to research. Thank you for explaining and expressing what I couldn’t.

  38. Both of my daughters have PCOS and I believe my Mom had this also. Thanks for helping them know there is support and help. Knowledge is power and listen to your body. Again, thank you for this article it is helpful and thought filled.

  39. Thank you for writing this. I’m in tears. It’s good to know I’m not alone. My husband is my biggest supporter but it helps when you know you are by yourself in the fight. Thanks again.

  40. The love of my life was just diagnosed. This gave me some really good tips, but I have been doing these things anyway. Thank you for the great article.

  41. Thank u, easier to let my hubby know ive tried to explain but not able to as nice we ended up fighting so now i have better way next conversation with him

  42. Wow! This had everything in it that I want my boyfriend to know for now and for when we’re married. Thank you so much!! From the bottom of my heart. I sent him this adding little bits that I wanted to say and his response was one that bought me to tears. I feel so much more supported now that he knows what I’m going through. And I honestly think our relationship and perspetive on this PCOS will be so much better and more positive.
    God bless you and everyone else dealing with this Syndrome.
    You made my day
    🙂
    Faiza

  43. Interesting – my daughter, and possibly my other 3 daughters, plus one of my daughters-in-law, have PCOS. I realize it’s a struggle for them, but didn’t realize the “big” picture, only had bits and pieces. Hopefully, this information will contribute to my being a better listener. Thanks!

  44. Well I’m in tears, that is beautifully written and as I’m just starting out in a new relationship I will ask him to have a read as well. As always your support is invaluable and so much I have learnt from you and your website has already changed my life, thank you from the bottom of my heart xxxx

    1. I am in tears as well! Glad I am not alone! lol. I am single and just keep thinking what man will ever want to deal with all this. But I know I need to stay hopeful!

      1. Definitely stay hopeful. It’s been 13 years from my diagnosis, and this year will be 10 years I will have been with my husband. Any man worth your time won’t make you feel less of a woman by having PCOS.

    2. I’m in tears too my hubby read it and kissed me. I was diagnosed 14 years ago when I was 18 I did the birth control until it almost killed me. I had blood clots in my lungs from Yasmin. So there wasn’t much I could do to help control it. I never knew that all my depression anxiety body issues were caused by PCOS. Thank you so much for posting and starting this site!

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