Monday, January 28, 2008

Polycystic ovary syndrome

I spent about 4 hours in and around the hospital this afternoon. It is yet another episode in the long drama that concerns my reproductive health.

Back in Junior year at college, I had unforgettable bloody experience while taking an exam for my Humanities I (literature) class. I stood up, or was about to, so I could turn in my blue book, when I realized that I was soaked in my own blood. It was my first class for the day and I had about 3 more to go. I waited until the room was almost empty before I stood up to leave. I used the backpack (which was conveniently red) to cover myself as much as possible, and then hurried off to the ladies' room where I changed into a red shirt that helped cover me up a bit.

My dad took me to the campus that morning (1.5 hours earlier) and I had to ask him to skip work so he can pick me up and bring me back home again. At that time, his office was very near the University. I couldn't possibly commute home, there was just so much blood.

That afternoon, at the doctor's, I learned that I needed to take some form of hormone therapy and that I had to take my condition seriously if I wanted to have kids someday.

In 2002, barely a year after that episode, I had to see the doctor again. I think it was after bleeding for a long time. By that time, I was about to start my job at Asia ACTs. I saw a differnt OB-GYN (a much nicer one, I must add), and learned that I probably had PCOS. To accurately diagnose me, I had an ultrasound that left me a bit traumatized by the experience. Hehe.

I took contraceptive pills for three months, along with Metformin, and also tried my best to shed off some weight. All of that to address the PCOS.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity, though it can affect women in a variety of ways.

The exact cause of polycystic ovary syndrome is unknown, but the condition stems from a disruption in the monthly reproductive cycle. The name polycystic ovary syndrome comes from the appearance of the ovaries in some women with the disorder — large and studded with numerous cysts (polycystic).

Polycystic ovary syndrome affects about one in 10 women in the United States and is the leading cause of infertility in women. Early diagnosis and treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome can help reduce the risk of long-term complications, which include diabetes and heart disease.

- from the Mayo Clinic website (

After three cycles of the pills, and mats of Metformin (which happens to be for pre-diabetics, I think, and helps lower the blood sugar), I had another ultrasound that showed that the polycysts were still there. Unfortunately, I didn't go back to see the doctor again.

Since then, I've been on and off various efforts to lose weight.

Today, 5.5 years later, I still have the same old problems.

Anyway, writing about this condition and my journey to ridding myself of it, is something that I intend to regularly post about from here on. Perhaps doing so will remind me more of how I should regularly consult with my doctor to be sure that I am getting better. It should also serve as motivation to take weight loss seriously.

As for why I was at the hospital today, that's for another blog post. On the other hand, here's photos of my very own ovaries. These are from the ultrasound I had just three weeks ago.

Ok, I don't know what's in there, but they said there are stll multiple cysts around both ovaries.


  1. Mec said...

    you might want to join this ygroups sis...

  2. PCOSinConnection said...

    A correction.

    QUOTE from another source: but the condition stems from a disruption in the monthly reproductive cycle.
    NOTE: This is not true. Not all women with PCOS have issues with their cycles. This is a symptom to the underlying cause of insulin response issues. It is a common symptom but not a necessary one to have PCOS.

    QUOTE: The name polycystic ovary syndrome comes from the appearance of the ovaries in some women with the disorder — large and studded with numerous cysts (polycystic).
    NOTE: This is true based on information from the 1930's. Today we know better although the name is stuck. PCOS is also refereed to as Syndrome O.

  3. Jeffrey Dach MD said...

    The fundamental problem with PCOS is anovulation and not making progesterone for two weeks every cycle.

    This lack of progesterone leads to hormonal imbalance in the ovary, causes the ovary to produce testosterone and leads to the irregular menstrual cycles and infertility. This is aggravated by obesity and insulin resistance.

    Progesterone is missing, therefore replacing it makes sense.

    To read more, click here:

    Understanding PCOS the Hidden Epidemic

  4. Mom To A Four Year Old said...

    I can totally relate. I have been struggling with PCOS for more than 6 years, and I've been to too many doctors before I got treated properly. I am still struggling with my weight issues, and I have a long way to go before I can call myself fit. Before, I thought that I can get rid of PCOS but after too many treatments, the distinct strands of pearls are still there on my ultrasounds. Sigh! I really hope that they can find a better treatment for us.


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