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 this letter. It was wonderfully written. I read it to my husband. He is already very supportive but it was nice to share this with him. I have enjoyed the master plan so far. He was happy that I found something that is not only helpful and supportive but educates me on PCOS. He did not hesitate when I asked to sign up for the master plan. I believe this letter will help our partners understand what we are going thru and understand what they can do to help us. Most partners and family want to help but just do not know how. Thank you so much for writing this since we do not always know how to ask for help.

  2. Thank you for writing this. Especially the part “ugly days” because I just told this to my boyfriend and he said that he doesn’t care if I’m ugly because I’m not. He’s helping me lose weight and he said that it’s okay if I gain more weight again as long as I will tell him.

  3. To all who read this comment, I am crying as I write this because I have 20 yrs old and I have PCOS and I have a lot of those symptoms and it’s so hard for me because no one really understands what I have and why I can’t just lose weight and why I don’t have a lot of hair on my head, this article made me feel like I’m not alone and there is hope for me! Thanks so much for writing this article and I really think there should be more PCOS awareness!

  4. Thank you for writing this! It’s so helpful to know that other people are feeling the same things that I am! Thanks so much!!

  5. Hey everyone 🙂
    My wife was diagnosed with this last week. We have a 2 year old daughter. I dont know how and when it happened but she has it. She is on medication and I am trying to be supportive in every way i can. The doc told her she can have more children and that she should not miss her meds. Gave her a 3 month course. From what i have read about this so far it doesnt seem curable. So is the doctor going to keep her on meds all her life? My wife wants to have more children but I am okay with having one daughter. I want my wife to live a happy and healthy life. I was overweight when i got married but have lost 20kgs in the last year and trying to motivate her to lose weight too now that the doctor also advised the same to her. Otherwise i wouldnt ask her to lose weight. Id tell her she is perfect the way she is.
    I dont know if this is really that serious. Whatever ive read about this syndrome is scary. Is she going to be alright? If she wants another baby, would she be able to conceive? What’s with the 3 month treatment? What can I do to help improve her condition? I am worried and I dont know what to do. .

  6. Almost made me cry, I hope that when my husband reads this it will help him understand what I have trouble expressing properly on my own

  7. Hi I am Ela my age is 19..I was almost 15 when my periods start getting delayed but at that young age I didn’t told it to anyone but when I was 17 I was diagnosed with pcos.. It was a very tough time for me. I visited gynecologists endocronlgist repeatedly. I had all of those ugly symptoms like hirsutism little weight gain problems mood disorders stress and rest many others.. I was so depressed.. I didn’t want to talk anyone.. I felt so different from other girls.. Currently I am on medication. My Doctor and parents supported me and I start believing that I will be all right. I have already lost 9kgs In past 6 months and now my dosage has been lowered by the doctor. My pcos is quite under control.. I also was provided with some mood disorder pills.. I am more confident than before. What I suffered in my teens was really hard.. I m still suffering but my bf is very supportive so I manage it.. But still sometimes I cry very hard… It’s something I can’t get rid off… Life is hard living with pcos but whenever I come across such articles I really feel boosted up and I feel I am not alone. There are other people who have pcos and are still living happy… Thank you so much for such a great effort.

  8. I am 21 . I was getting periods every 15 months n it started getting irregular day by day . My dkctor told me do tests. N she thought i may have lcod or pcos. M damn scared .tomorrow is my test . I dont know m strong enough to handle it. Very scared . The saddest part is it cant be cured.
    M crying .

    1. Stay strong G! Find other women that deal with it in a support group possibly for emotional support. Never forget were are warriors! 🙂

  9. Hi!
    Thanks for this, i liked it a lot – an explanation of pcos that anyone could understand, and also very heart warming!

    Though, i souls like to change one thing that caught my attention, this sentence:

    ”Thank you for loving me in spite of my many faults (PCOS included)”

    Couldn’t that be changed to something more empowering? 🙂 it’s typical women to blame them self for things they dont have any power over, we should stop this (and stop thinking we are not lovable) – also i dont think pcos is any fault – it’s a condition.

    Thanks for an awesome and resourceful website!

  10. Hello my girlfriend of 5 years, and best-friendship of 15 years was recently diagnosed with pcos. For years she was told that it can be different things but she ignored them. I’ve loved her from the day we became friends so I would never leave her side. So for 5 years I asked and begged her to look more into why she was having mood swings, lashing out, when pressured would lose her cool. For years (2plus) she told me she would go to counseling and the doctor. But would not go to the doctor. She went to the Counclor but when it got too heavy for her she stopped. During those years I wasn’t a angel because I would get upset with what she was doing (as mentioned in the previous comments). I’ve gotten upset, then went through stages of listening, then got to the phase where I just took it, and now I’m at the stage where I’m tired and have to defend and stand up for myself with words. She’s finally gotten the diagnosis and even being for her, I’m tired and just wanted a sincere apology. But I’ve gotten basically get over it n be here for me. But what about all the years of hurt n change on me? I feel so unappreciated, unloved, and unwanted if I speak how I feel. I’ve backed up and taken breaks. But I still never left her side as far as I’m one call or 10mins away is she called. I love her children like my own so I know it takes a toll on them also. I don’t know what to do anymore. There are no groups for the significant others with their woman with pcos. It’s hard and I just want to be there for her always as promised but not lose myself in the process. All I think and dream about is her 24/7 and how I messed up or not doing. When I’m the same breath I am doing a lot. What can I do I’m a great man to her…but I don’t thing she will notice over her pcos.

  11. Thanks for your post! It helped me to kind of see it better from my loves point of view. My fiancée and I have been together for close to 7 years now, and she has PCOS as well. We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs through our friendship and relationship, but recently I feel as though she been shutting me out more and more. She’s really struggling with her self-image and self-confidence, although I do literally everything I can to help and make her beautiful and worth happiness the depression, and unbalanced hormones I’m assuming, take over and she’s blocked me out. Is there anyone out there has any way of lessening the hormonal acne or stopping it all together through healthy, non-prescribed, ways? My fiancée tends to self-destruct when she has those moments, she’ll shut me and the rest of the world out. All I want is for her to be happy, but she’s told me that (to her) there’s literally NOTHING that will make her happy. Although that hurt, I know its just got to be her PCOS talking. So I’m doing everything I can by reaching out to you guys. A little more about her is that she’s always had a bad immune system and is very sickly (like sick every other week sick, in and out of hospitals, etc.) she has a gluten and lactose intolerance and allergic to seafood.. She has dealt with an eating disorder, cutting and depressions before and I’m worried that.. Well you can guess. How active should we be each day? Water intake? Is there certain foods that you guys have found that help you the lose weight/acne?

    Thank you guys for all of your comments and support in this comments thread. I’ve found it to be very enlightening.

    Oh and for al of you ladies that deal with PCOS, when you feel down just remember that you really are beautiful and that there is always someone who loves you for you and not what you look like.

    And guys who love/know someone that deals with PCOS, remember that taking it one day at a time, to just breathe and to really try and communicate with her to understand her better, will help.

    You ladies and guys are not alone. Peace.

    1. Thank you all for the information on trying to understand my fiance recently being diagnosed with pcos. It has been hard on us both and I will always be here for her. I would greatly appreciate it if I could get advice on how to provide her the mental and emotional support she needs. I have been striking out big time. I always somehow upset her when I’m really trying to make her happy. We get into arguments over me making her feel like I’m always questioning her and getting mad at her because of the sudden change in her attitude. Which I was. I didn’t know all of this information because I didn’t know what was really going on with her. It seems like we can’t have a conversation without it turning into negativity. I was to worried about the way she was making me feel. I really messed up. I try to explain my intentions were not to upset her I was just trying to express myself to her. I feel as though she doesn’t ever want to be around me. I always tell her I will not ever leave her side but she pushes me away. I need advice please before I loose the best thing that has ever happened to me. Our love for each other. Please someone I need advice.

      1. Coming from a women with depression and PCOS the best thing you can do is think before you speak! Explain to her why you said what you do. If you have a question tell her you’re asking to know her better and how you can support her. Women are already hard ourselves, but PCOS women are twice as hard on us thinking were unlovable to the extreme than regular women. Just make her feel like she is the best everyday. It goes a super long way! Good luck and keep patience.

    2. C, your story reminds me very much of my own… The only way you will be able to deal with this situation is to make it clear that she needs to get help. It’s a tough conversation but it needs to take place.
      Please understand that I mean this in a supportive way: You can not fix her. She has to want to fix herself, and she will have to reach out to professionals for help. She will need a doctor’s care, a proper eating plan, and counseling for her depression. Tell her you will always be there for her, but she has to be there for herself. Be positive with her no matter how dark things get…I can’t stress that enough. She will not begin to feel better about anything until she gets a handle on feeling better about herself. That may take time, but it won’t happen until she gets started on wanting to feel better. This website has great advice and programs, but also check out an organization called TWLOHA which deals with some of her other issues.
      In the mean time, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Use the time to find happiness within yourself. You will need that strength and positivity, not just in this situation, but in any situation that arises.
      I wish you the best.

  12. My girlfriend of 9 years recently ended our relationship over what I suspect is a diagnosis of PCOS. She ended the relationship suddenly, completely without warning. I knew she had been to the gynecologist, but she did not share what she had gone to see the doctor for. Only 2 months ago, we were talking about having children; something she seemed very excited about.
    She only alluded to problems with her ovaries in a brief, unspecific conversation, a few days after she ended our relationship. I know from subsequent conversations that she is taking medication which makes her nauseous and fatigued. She refuses to discuss it in any detail with me, only having said it was something she needed to deal with by herself.
    Through my reading, I see that anxiety and depression are a significant factor in the lives of women coping with PCOS. My question is this: Would a diagnosis of PCOS compel a woman to end a relationship? Even a long-term one where love, respect and trust were present?

    1. I T might be depression. She is definitely going through something. When I have my bad days I’m incredibly irritated and have no will to live. i would suggest you give her space. Be patient and supportive.

      1. Thank you for your advice and reply “Me”.
        I just wish she would open up and talk with me about it. I have always been there and supported her through good and bad times. I would like her to know that no matter what her health, that hasn’t changed.

        1. Hi Mike. Something may have came up at her doctors appointment. Her doctor may have diagnosed her and brought up the difficulty of conceiving a child. For a woman who has high hopes of one day becoming a mother to hear that is heartbreaking. Maybe she felt so bad that she didnt want you to go without children either, or going through a hard time trying. I hope things have worked out with you both, i am sure she still loves you, 9 years is a long time and love doesnt dissapear after one DR visit. Tell her how you feel, pour your heart out and fight for the love of your life. Best of luck -B

          1. Thanks for your reply, B. Its been a little over two months since she ended the relationship, and although we are in contact, I still can’t get her to talk about it in any detail.
            Based on what she does tell me, I’m almost certain she is taking Metformin, judging by the side effects she has told me about. I strongly suspect that depression has been a factor. It’s ironic that when she is “down” though, I’m the first one she contacts.
            I’m very honest with her about my feelings, but with everything I suspect she’s dealing with, I don’t seem to be getting through to her. Perhaps it will just take some more time.
            Thank you for giving me some hope by saying that love doesn’t disappear just that easily.
            One thing I would like to address to all the wonderful women out there dealing with PCOS…
            The good men out here look past all the outward manifestations of PCOS. We fell in love with you, your heart and your soul. Regardless of what you may experience, we want your to know that you are and always will be a goddess to us.

          2. I was diagnosed with PCOS as well. It is a daily struggle and I myself have thought about ending relationships because I felt like I was holding my partner back and keeping them from having a family. I think that it has a lot to do with depression and feeling like we are broken and don’t deserve love. Just support her, give her time and let her know that either way you are there for her. Best of luck!

  13. This made me tear up a little. I’ve recently started seeing someone and he is already so supportive of my PCOS which I suffer with severely (every symptom for me seems to be severe) so thank you for this <3

    1. Good for you! That is great to hear and it’s encouraging for someone like me. Some women are diagnosed with PCOS while already in a loving, committed relationship. But for those of us who have struggled with it for years and tried to find the confidence, energy and time to date, it can be devastating. All I can think when considering a going out with someone is how repulsive my body is with horrible hair and any hair removal causes bad breakouts. It’s embarrassing. Even eating right I still gain weight if I don’t have time/energy for the gym for a couple of days. I’m miserable enough – why put someone else through that? And what guy would want to go through that?

  14. Thanks for sharing this letter. In fact me and my wife both are going through this depressing phase of not having able to bear a child. This article certainly helps me understand my wife’s complications and makes us bond stronger to fight and overcome this problem.

    Thanks a ton dear….Your letter really made an impact….!!

  15. Thank you for the letter. It is as if I was reading my own words. My partner has been very supportive and understanding, he just accepted it as me, but until recently I didn’t even understand certain symptoms and issues I should be aware of. I’m amazed every time I read this blog at how much support we all share with each other and how I’m not alone in my struggle. I just wish I found it sooner because I’ve lived this secret struggle and thought there was nothing I could do

  16. Thank you for this article which has helped explain PCOS better, especially the diet and carb element. I hadn’t understood this before.
    And to my darling wife, Jane, I do love you and will try harder. I am so glad you chose me to walk this road with you. XXX

  17. I was diagnosed with PCOS three years ago when I was a sophomore in high school. It had taken me a long time to come to terms with it and I didn’t really understand exactly what it was at the time. After reading this article, I can come to terms with it and actually go back to living my life. It makes so much more sense now. Thank you so much

  18. if my husband actually read things other than fishing, i’m sure he would find this useful.. but he’s just not taking it seriously. I am glad to see others think its useful though.

    1. Mine is the same. I just have learnt to keep quite and hide away. I have sent the links but he said I was forcing it on him.
      So I’m with u lady. X

      1. Same. Mine could care less. Too busy with his fantasy football crap. Football has always been apart of hisd life he says. At least he could try to pretend that he cares about my health. Now I also just try to keep quiet. I have too many other things to worry about. I will exhaust myself trying to get him involved with pcos.

      2. I’m in the same boat Michelle. I’m 27 and every time I bring it up my partner says I’m pressuring him into it. I just wish he would understand this condition a little more. I’ve had mine for around 9 years now and have both of my ovaries riddled in cysts (too many to count at least 20 as doctors words) im lucky to ovulate 3 times a year. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to conceive and so badly want to have a child. It kills me playing the waiting game as if I become infertile there’s nothing stopping him from leaving me down the track and being able to have a family.

        1. Don’t give up ladies. Men are just unusually thick headed sometimes. My wife is dealing with this and it took me a while to catch up to her. We do love you, but sometimes its easier to put your head in the sand and hope it goes away than deal with the problem. Don’t ever give up hope.

  19. I have been diagnosed with PCOS when I was 15. Thank you for sharing this post. I’ve shared this with my boyfriend. He understands my problem and does everything he can to help me deal with this condition.

  20. I just read this as my youngest daughter just found out that she may have PCOS. She explained it to me the best she could and of course I offered support. She is so scared right now, and this helps me understand better what is going on. We will be going to a gynecologist next to confirm. I want to post this to her page.

  21. that was easy to read and understand and i am glad to know that there are answers to what is going on and I love my wife no matter what its not a flaw or fault its just some thing that is and its part of life and btw we have one child and hopefully going to adopt another if we can have another!!! its in Gods hands!!!!

  22. Thank you for beautiful article, it really helped my husband.He forwarded it to me and said:

    BUB i just read this article on PCOS, brought a tear to my eye!!

    I understand what you go thru now and will help and be more supportive. I can see why melanie put you on such a strict eating plan, not just for your chron’s but also to help you with this.

    Will also give u a treat once in a blue moon 😉

    Love you so much darling:)))

  23. Thank you so much for this! I just learned about my PCOS two weeks ago after trying to have a baby for about six months and had surgery yesterday for some other ovary issues. It has been a real struggle trying to figure this whole thing out and even harder trying to help my husband understand. This was extremely helpful and, after reading it, my husband said a lot of things made more sense now. So thank you for this!

  24. I just read this article because my husband was researching it last night. Thank you so much! It made me tear up, not only because it helped me realize that i am not alone in this, but because it helped my husband realize how much of his support i need. We’ve decided to make lifestyle changes together as i have just been diagnosed. The last year has been quite the challenge for us both as i have felt iv lost the person i used to be. Its constantly a rollercoaster of emotions that he never really understood. I have hope now that things will improve with love, support and determination.

    Thank you so much!

  25. This just made me cry like a baby. I currently have no one who supports me or even cares enough to try to understand. My family and friends think my issues are all in my head and are fed up with me. I’ve given up on ever finding someone who will love me through this horrible disorder until just now. Thank you for writing this! Reading this and everyone’s comments has given me a slight glimmer of hope.

    1. Dont feel that way Chelsea. I too feel like people dont reaLize the affect it has on us because its not like they see sores or bruises on the outside. They dont feel our symptoms. They dont feel the struggle that we feel. But you are not alone. You are understood by all of us and even though I am a private person I appreciate the support and openess of other women who are wiling to share their experiences. It helps me to be more open and possibly help someone feel understood and supported just like you and I.

    2. I’m sorry you’re going through this. I just found out today I have PCOS. I always wondered why I couldn’t get pregnant, I wasn’t trying ,but I wasn’t not not trying. At one point with my mood swings I didn’t understand why I would feel the way I feel. And then I had my borfriend telling me my emotions were all over the place, I tried to control them , but I couldn’t. So when i told him what I was dianosed with all he said was ” I told you you had a hormonal imbalance”. I just wanted to sit and talk about how I was feeling about being diagnosed. I tried to brush it off like it wasn’t a big deal to me, when in actuality it is killing me inside and I’m just trying to smile on the outside. I’m gaining weight and even when I tried eating right and working out nothing came off. I feel ugly and I too want to be told I’m beautiful from my biyfriend. I do also feel alone because no one understands what I’m feeling inside. There are many times I feel very ugly and all I want from my boyfriend is to tell me I’m beautiful, and he doesn’t. Today I was diagnosed and I will try to control this as much as I can.

  26. Loved it! Showed this article to my boyfriend and first thing he said to me was “You are Beautiful”. I really feel like this article will give him a better understanding of how I feel and will help our relationship. Thank you!

  27. LOVED this! What an easy way to explain to others what I go through. Very simplified and understandable for them. Thanks! I’ll be sharing it.

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