In the past few weeks, I’ve mentioned having PCOS a few times in my posts and on Twitter. I have also had a lot of people who have mentioned being new blog readers. I thought I would catch everyone up, in case you are interested and/or have emailed me. I’ve gotten lots of emails lately asking me about my PCOS. I know everyone’s situations and opinions are different. For that matter, some facts even vary. I thought this could answer some questions (you have asked me) though I’ll still try to reply to emails as well.
So, I do have PCOS. I don’t mind people asking me about it. I, too, found out so many answers to my questions and concerns by reading about other people’s situations and stories regarding their PCOS.
PCOS is polycystic ovarian syndrome. It’s the most common hormonal disorder among women of the reproduction age. (Mayo Clinic) With PCOS, your body doesn’t process carbs and sugar properly. It will take them and create cysts. Therefore, a form of insulin resistance. There are many side effects. Some of them are body hair growth, irregular menstrual cycles, acne, diabetes, infertility, etc.
I’ll get to where I am now, but first, here is a bit from my past….
-In Feb 08 I got off of birth control. It was just not agreeing with my body and I was forgetting to take it.
-From Feb 08 to July 08 I would have irregular and very light periods. I would maybe spot a day and bleed a day at different times of the month.
-Finally, after 60 days I had nothing so I went to my normal OB (Sept 08). She did lab work and said the results showed signs of PCOS.
-In Oct 08 I went to a new doctor that specialized in fertility who did indeed diagnosed me with PCOS. While I was having an ultrasound, he found the septum in my uterus and scheduled my operation to repair it.
-End of Nov 08 I had surgery on the septum and it was repaired. While in surgery, my doctor found endo. I believe he said it was at a 2 out of 4. He lasered as best he could.
– After surgery, I took a round of birth control Dec 08. Birth Control is good for the uterus and doctor wanted it to help with the healing after my surgery.
-In Jan 09 I started the Lupron Depot shots. I had a shot once a month Jan 09-June 09 Lupron Depot shots helped heal and repair endometriosis. It put me into a menopausal state so that everything could heal and rest.
-Starting in May 09, I began taking Metformin. It is a drug that also treats diabetes. It also helps with PCOS as it helps the body to process carbs and sugar.
-In February 09- until pregnancy, I really started cutting all the bad carbs an sugar from my diet. I lost about 5 or 6 pounds.
-After my last shot I began taking birth control to get my uterus up and going. I took three rounds of birth control. June, July & Aug (09).
-Each month when I went into the doctor, the checked my labs and all the levels they needed to keep an eye on.
-Once I started birth control, I did begin to cycle.
-I took FertilAid as my prental and when I got pregnant I switched. Also used pre-seed.
-I had an HSG just check for scar tissue from the surgery and the blockage of any tubes at the end of Aug 09.
-The first day of my last cycle was on Sept 4 2009,
– I took a positive pregnancy test on Oct 3 2009 .
– I stayed on the Metformin through the 12th week of pregnancy.
– I had a wonderful and pain free pregnancy with Cohen, who was born on June 7, 2010.
I blogged throughout everything listed above. Here is a post that talks a little more about it as well.
Though we had quite an eventful and emotional past before preparing to try and conceive, we feel very fortunate that we did get pregnant so quickly once we started actually trying. Cohen will always be our first pregnancy and first baby. We miss him so terribly bad, but we thank God for him every day.
Four weeks after delivery, I went to the doctor. He was going to put me back on Metformin (which is the glucophage that helps with insulin resistance). It seemed to be helpful with the first pregnancy. Instead of waiting to see what my PCOS was going to do, we were going to be proactive. Well, my liver enzymes were elevated so Metformin was put on hold. Flash forward a month (last Monday). I go to the doctor to find my PCOS has returned and I have lots of cysts. My liver enzymes are almost back to normal but not quite (one was and one wasn’t). Note: My doctor said more than likely my liver enzymes became elevated from the c-section surgery and pain.
I will also say, I know that hormones do take time to regulate after a pregnancy. That’s just part of the deal.
Since PCOS deals with insulin resistance, it makes weight very EASY to gain and very HARD to lose. If you have PCOS, I can bet you probably know that and agree with that. Oh, and you probably HATE that, too! It’s the pits.
With my previous PCOS, I never felt as though I had any pain with it. Birth control probably kept it dormant for many years. I’m not sure if I’m having pain with it now as I am still healing from my c-section. My doctor told me I shouldn’t be having any pain with it. I’ve also not had a cycle yet. I pumped until my 4 week appointment (which was about 5 weeks ago) so that my hormones would not change drastically until we knew what my PCOS was doing.
I’m not sure if I have endometriosis again or not. Not exactly sure how that works at this point. That will be a question for my next appointment.
So. last Monday 2 months post delivery, I had not lost one pound since delivery. Why? PCOS. Most days (after Cohen passed), I was only probably eating only 1000 calories. I hadn’t been counting them, but I had NOT been eating awful. I just really wasn’t hungry. I would order food (thinking I was really hungry), in abundance and variety, and never get much down.
Since my ovaries do have cysts, it will more than likely prevent ovulation and have several other side effects, as PCOS can. The cysts will not go away until weight is lost. The cysts will not stop forming until carbs and sugars are no longer part of my diet. Is that what I want? NO. It basically means, as of last Monday we were looking at a multiple year road ahead… before our next pregnancy. While we don’t have timeline, we know we want more children…sooner than later.
My doctor has me doing 30 days of HCG right now. I’m doing drops. In case there is anyone reading that doesn’t know, this is the hormone produced with pregnancy. Hcg is also often given in larger quantities shots when people are undergoing fertility treatments. When pregnant, a woman makes a LARGE amount of the hormone. No, not enough for a positive pregnancy test. I think this is a good site to read more about hcg.
My doctor believes this is my best option for where we are and what I’m going through. He would like to see my c-sections a year apart. The main goal is for it to help my PCOS, which does consist of a weight issue, and get my body back on the road to conceiving. When I say weight issues, that implies the weight that hasn’t come off since delivery because of the PCOS. Studies show by losing 5-10% of your body weight, your PCOS will improve significantly. Well, post baby weight is much more weight on me than my PCOS is use to.
Even if I wanted to exercise, I can’t exactly do a boot camp 2 months post c-section. Plus, I know it’s frustrating exercising with PCOS and not losing weight. Metformin can’t help because I can’t take it yet with my liver enzymes elevated. I can stop bad carbs and sugar, but there is no way of knowing how much it will help and how quickly it will help. Though, I have cut the bad ones now.
A lot of people have asked me if this can be a diet that anyone can do. I know there are all different types of hcg treatments. You can maybe do some reasearch and your down and speak with your doctor. I’m not considering this to be strictly a weight loss diet for me, although I have heard people getting great results with it for specifically dieting. I have someone I’m very close to doing it and they taking pills and getting a shot once per week (with a set amount of calories but no specific foods) and it is working great. These 30 days on HCG I’m doing because of my fertility issues. As I’ve previously mentioned, I really don’t care about having my pre-baby body right now as I just had a baby. My nervousness was about looking pregnant still. Yeah, that happened…this week.
I am having to eat a VERY specific diet with the hcg. I got two packets at the doctor, one of which included the food instructions and list and one that was a book that talked about hcg treating medical issues.
I don’t really think this is the “easy way out” either. I know this route is right for me, right now. I’ve prayed about it. I think my fast few years have been anything but easy and I can only hope this is an easy way to quickly manage my PCOS, for now. Believe me, diet that goes along with the hcg, will be much harder for me than exercising. I have 3 1/2 ounces of proteins, 3 1/2 ounces of veggies and 3 1/2 ounces of fruits twice a day. These are all specific ones too, not just any veggie, protein or fruit. You can have water, tea and coffee in any amount, at any time. You can also take vitamins, which I am. No, your body does not go into survival mode. It’s a normal mode because of the hcg. I will go have checks weekly with my nurse at my doctor’s office.
I think it may seem like I’m trying to defend my reasoning for using the hcg, but I’m not. I guess I just honestly wish I wasn’t having to take any extra measures. I wish things would happen on their own. However, people take actions on their fertility all the time, and though God is in control, he certainly works through doctors!
As I started this process, I also had another positive sign about it. TWO months after delivery and someone finally asked me when I’m due :*( This was Monday. I had been scared of the question and I kind of thought I was past the point. I don’t feel as though I really look pregnant, but I am carrying most of my post baby weight in my stomach. It was an older gentleman who asked me. I met him 10 minutes prior and he asked me at the end of our conversation, “when you are due?” I replied, “oh, I just had him.” I then bolted for the door so I wouldn’t cry. I immediately texted Brent.
I am praying for a light at the end of this tunnel. I’m just trying to keep trucking.
PCOS won’t go away. It will be around forever, well until menopause. I will have to keep it in check when it is around. However, it’s quite important to take complete control right now as we are still wanting to have more children. As I get older, I will have to keep it in control because it can cause other issues such as heart disease, blood pressure issues, etc. I will regulate it with my diet. My diet in being the things I eat. I refuse to be “on” a diet. It will simply be my lifestyle. I will eat few bad carbs and sugar. We probably all have battles and that one will be mine. I will win.
My best advice to those of you with PCOS, who have asked, would be to cut most your bad carbs and sugar. I think any doctor will tell you that. With PCOS, you are more likely to lose weight by doing that than by working out.
Brent and I feel so blessed to have had such a wonderful pregnancy that resulted with an amazing little boy. Cohen isn’t with us here, but he is still our child. No child will ever replace him. They will just be blessed to have him as a big brother We know that God will bless us with more children when the time is right. When I get scared and wonder about the future, I just tell myself, we have come this far and we aren’t in control of this. No matter how bad we want to be sometimes.
No, PCOS has nothing to do with congenital heart defects.
I’ll pray for you all that may be trying to conceive. Just know, that beautiful babies can come with PCOS….
Just don’t give up.
I also like to remind people, I was a 10 year wait. My parents actually tried for over 10 years. My mom had a lazy ovary and my dad had some health issues from Vietnam. After about 11 years of trying, they decided to adopt a baby. They brought my brother home on January 4th, 1983. I was born on January 4th, 1984. Miracles do happen, and sometimes I have to remind myself that I am one. God decides when, and how.