I don’t know a saying that rings more true than women who unite are unbeatable (is that even a saying?) But the point being, if women actually joined forces they could take over the world (maybe that was the saying..).
Anyway, even if you don’t suffer from or have PCOS it is still so important to know about what it is because then you can help other Queens out there by having more understanding AND you can spread awareness yourself.
What does it stand for?
PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary/Ovarian Syndrome, and affects a staggering one in FIVE within the UK. And currently one in TEN women worldwide.
What is it?
Ok, the important bit. Polycystic Ovaries mean that sufferers are not ovulating as frequently as you should be (releasing an egg) or even at all. This then also means very irregular and much heavier menstrual cycles. Because of this, these women are very likely to be suffering from infertility or finding it incredibly hard to conceive. This is one of the most important symptoms to be aware of because you should be thoughtful about what you say to women who are struggling to fall pregnant - a very mentally taxing situation and something to talk about with caution.
PCOS sufferers can also experience a build up of cysts (fluid-filled sacs) on their ovaries, which is caused by an overproduction of the male hormones (androgens). Supposedly the only time you may feel symptoms (I say supposedly as I am not a sufferer) is when a cyst ruptures, or if it gets very big, in which case you may notice the following; pelvic pain, belly pain, pain during sex, bowel difficulty, swollen belly, more of a frequent need to pee. Sadly, usually PCOS can be caused by an underlying condition such as endometriosis, another chronic illness that we touch about in another post.
What else can happen?
PCOS sufferers may experience much heavier periods, which can be obviously incredibly painful but also quite mentally challenging due to potentially being more on edge about possible accidents or having to deal with it at night. I like to put down an old towel when I’m on my period, and double up night pads, however there are also many period pants brands now that claim to be absorbent up to about 4 tampons,
Due to the hormonal imbalances you may also be experiencing acne and a higher growth of body hair. This can’t always be controlled so it’s important to be mindful about what you say to others. I was bullied at school by little boys for having a moustache, of which, I didn’t have PCOS, but imagine if i did? These girls and women are already dealing with a lot and insensitivity like that is just unacceptable. I personally disagree with doctors using the contraceptive pill as a ‘cure’ for acne, because you are getting the acne due to imbalanced hormones, and the pill imbalances hormones too. Also, it isn’t curing you as it’s more like a cover up and I’ve heard of a lot of women say that it just made them ten times worse when they then came off the pill. (If it works for you fine, but freedom of speech and all that)
What can we do?
In a world where everything is so ‘instagram perfect’ it can be hard to keep positive. It can also feel very isolating feeling like you are the only one in your friendship group who has this, however so so many women do, and Queens of Eve is one of those places where you can meet others, whether that’s on the instagram page or here!
We can keep talking about it. We can spread awareness and we can educate others on what PCOS is and what it means for those who suffer - if you are an employer for example, stop to think how you could help someone in a place of work. Or just how to help your friends!
Lastly, the UK’s leading PCOS charity ‘Verity’ can help those of you in need. Their instagram page is @veritypcos, and the website is www.verity-pcos.org.uk