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 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 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
The 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!