My Life with Polycysitic Ovarian Syndrome

May 1, 2009
By Nona Ingram BRONZE, Bowling Green, Ohio
Nona Ingram BRONZE, Bowling Green, Ohio
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

When you’re young and you begin to have pains in your body, a doctor’s visit is probably one of the scariest things you would have to do. At least that was how I felt when I was eighteen years old. I never had a menstrual cycle in my life and all of a sudden I began to have terrible cramps. After several tests and examinations, I was finally diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome. I thought my life was over, basically because I didn’t know what exactly polycystic ovarian syndrome was, and my doctors were less than helpful on the topic.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a health problem that can affect a woman's menstrual cycle, ability to have children, hormones, and appearance. Things that are common when dealing with polycystic ovarian syndrome are high levels of androgens; these are sometimes called male hormones, although females also make them, missed or irregular periods, and many small cysts in the ovaries. There are also many other symptoms that women with polycystic ovarian syndrome have, including increased facial hair, acne and/or oily skin, obesity, and also insulin resistance sometimes resulting in type 2 diabetes. After I found that polycystic ovarian syndrome could help increase the chances of diabetes, I instantly because panicked. Diabetes is usually caused due to combination of hereditary and other elements; this then results in abnormally high blood sugar levels causing the condition to occur. I became even more concern with my overall health because diabetes is something that runs in my family heavily, and I am still at risk of get the disease, as I grow older with age today.

Figure 1

Above, Figure 1 displays the percentage of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome that suffers from the symptoms caused by the disease. As I read more documentation and began my own research on the disease, a stage of denial began. I noticed that I didn’t have many of these symptoms including some of the more common ones of women my age at the time, which was obesity and acne. I choose to get a second opinion which ultimate put everything in perspective for me. After finally receiving an ultrasound and actually seeing the images, recognition of my disease wasn’t too far away.

Figure 2

Figure 3

On the left, Figure 2 shows what ovarian cysts look like in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. On the right, Figure 3 shows what a woman without polycystic ovarian syndrome ovaries should look like. After seeing images much like these it was hard to deny what I already knew to be true. With acceptance came depression because of the high probability that I would be infertile.
The ultrasound image of my ovaries showed that my body was not going through the proper stages of ovulation, which caused all the missed menstrual cycles and ovarian cysts to form, and thus infertility was probably likely in my case as it is with a high percentage of other women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. It is said that about one in ten women of childbearing age has been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome and that it can happen to girls right at the peak of puberty, maybe even a bit later. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is in fact widely held as the common cause of female infertility.
Because women with polycystic ovarian syndrome do not often ovulate, releasing an egg, they began to form eggs or in this case, follicles that are much smaller than the average size egg. This then causes their ovaries to have a "polycystic" formation on an ultrasound image. In women with a normal menstrual cycle a mature egg develops. The egg then grows until it is big enough to ovulate. Since women with the syndrome are not able to ovulate regularly they cannot form eggs that are mature enough be fertilize causing infertility.

Infertility is one thing about polycystic ovarian syndrome that could cause a lot of grief within a woman, as it has with me. According to Figure 1, on page two of this text, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome are 74% more likely to suffer from infertility. Although this is a very common symptom and almost a certainty if a woman is diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome, women who do have the disease may still be able to have children, even though it could be incredibly difficult.
Although it has not yet been proven, many medical researchers believe that polycystic ovarian syndrome is hereditary, possibly passing through the mother and/or father’s genetic make-up. There have been many cases in which polycystic ovarian syndrome have been diagnosed to women who have had family medical history of the disease. Part of the reason why genetic studies of polycystic ovarian syndrome have not been conclusive is probably because there hasn’t been one uniform way to diagnose the syndrome.
This syndrome is very common in women of different ages and is not fatal or cannot seriously harm the individual. Although polycystic ovarian syndrome can cause more risks and really isn’t something a woman would be cheerful about, it is something that a woman can live comfortably with. I have learned to accept it in my life and take this syndrome one day at a time, crossing the bridges of the symptoms that come along with it when I get there.

Cocksedge, D.K. "A reapprasial of the role of polycystic ovarian syndrome in recurrent miscarriages." Reproductive BioMedicine Online (2008): 151-161.
Fertility Centers of Illinois. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). 2008. 11 April 2009 .
IVFWales Fertility Centre. Your Pathway to Treatment at IVFWales. 2007. 11 April 2009 .
Louis V. DePaolo, Ph.D. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). 1 April 2007. 11 April 2009 .
Virtual Medical Centre. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). 23 September 2008. 10 April 2009 .

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