Why PCOS Sucks

I know now that my PCOS was incredibly well controlled for close to a decade by simple birth control pills. Basically, I came off those, and all hell broke loose.

Now, I have a whole list of symptoms, but my acne isn’t bad, I can deal with cysts, and struggling to lose weight isn’t that big a problem. Obviously, the infertility part is a huge concern, but there are two symptoms that cause me the most daily distress.

Hirsutism
You can call me shallow all you want, but this seriously bothers me. Every new dark, coarse hair I discover symbolizes to me how screwed up my body is. Being blonde and fair skinned only makes it worse, because for most of my life, you would have been hard pressed to notice hair on my arms at all.

20120121-215335.jpgAnd now look at this Sasquatch-y monstrosity! I feel grotesque. These bastards are everywhere. So I shave, and I pluck, and I lotion, and all that only serves to remind me how barren I am. It sucks.

Hypertension
And then there’s the apparently never ending struggle with my blood pressure. Literally days after stopping birth control, it was higher than it had ever been, but fortunately I used to run pretty low. And it just kept creeping up.

Finally, about a year ago, one of my doctors started me on methyldopa, which worked absolutely fantastically until they started canceling my appointments and I couldn’t get a refill. So I was out for about a month, and now it’s not working as well, even with ever higher doses.

I’m apparently one of the lucky ones who’s pretty sensitive to blood pressure fluctuations, so if it’s even a little too high or too low I’ll get headaches, fatigue, weakness, and dizziness, all of which are also side effects of my medicine and renew themselves every time my dosage increases.

So it’s like I’ve had mono for the past two months or so, and that just makes me feel guilty. Guilty for not being able to take care of everything I would be able to take care of if I felt better, guilty for having a body that doesn’t work right, guilty for being boring because I never feel up to having fun, guilty for wanting to have children at all, because if I didn’t, I’d still be trucking along on birth control with not a damn thing wrong with me.

And then I feel angry at myself for feeling guilty. Which is just another thing to feel guilty about. Stupid vicious cycles.

Also: I take metformin. Doesn’t help.


16 Comments on “Why PCOS Sucks”

  1. Tigger says:

    I hear you on the hair – I swear I’m growing sideburns and a mustache, although my husband swears he can’t see it. I have a few random ones that just…started showing up. And it’s not like they grow in slowly – I swear they just sprout 1″ long! My sister once told me I had “ape arms”…lucky for her this was before I found out I had PCOS or I MAY have come unglued on her. So yeah, totally hear you. I also find that PCOS changes the way I see other people. If I see women with a little excess hair on their face, I automatically wonder if they have PCOS!

    Wish I had some way to help. The only thing that even remotely controls my PCOS is Met.form.in. I’ve been taking it for years and at this point I’m not even sure it’s working anymore. I know LOTS of women who take it for PCOS, though. For some it does help them lose weight, since several things are all wonderfully connected between the PCOS and weight gain and sugars. I don’t happen to be one of those anymore – if you have secrets for losing weight, do tell!

    • aprilvak says:

      My husband says he can’t see anything either. And then, of course, I have to doubt him and be more insecure.

      I’ve been taking metformin off and on for a couple of years, depending on the doctor, and the only benefit I’ve seen was it boosted clomid’s effectiveness once. That’s it. And not because I didn’t take it for long enough, because it’s for months each time. So when we’re done TTC, it’s back to BCP for me.

  2. Kristin says:

    Oh man, PCOS is a raging bitch. It screws with you in so many different ways.

    I’ll second Tigger’s recommendation to ask about Metformin, I’ve heard so many good things about Metformin from my friends who deal with PCOS. Good luck.

    ICLW #66

  3. EB says:

    Isn’t it amazing what birth control hides? I was on it for so long (16 years) that I forgot how bad my normal cycles were without it.

    I will third the other posters — I’ve heard good things about metformin from PCOS ladies as well.

    ICLW #103

  4. katery says:

    it’s not shallow at all, no one likes to see something like that on their own body, although you probably notice it yourself more than anyone else does. have you tried bleaching it?

  5. I was never diagnosed with PCOS, but I have had problems with hair as soon as I got off the pill. The hair on my head thinned out tremendously, my arm and leg hair got darker and the few little dark hairs that grew around my nipples multiplied! I am also blonde and very fair skinned so it really shows.

    Please don’t feel guilty. I know how that feels and it is killer. I don’t know what to say cuz I feel like my brain is fried. Hugz!

  6. Unfortunately, those are both side effects of pregnancy too. My bp chart looks like a mountain range and the belly hair is kind of freakish. Anyways, I’ve also heard quite a bit of good stuff about Metformin and it has been known to increase the chance of ovulation when used in conjunction with Clomid.

  7. Stephanie says:

    I’m so sorry. And I think that it’s hard for men to understand how much something like darker hair can affect us women. And the blood pressure issue sounds absolutely exhausting. I hope that your doctor can figure something out. My thoughts are with you!

  8. Theresa says:

    Hi from ICLW.

    PCOS sucks. I have a milder form, but having it at all sucks. STupid PCOS.

  9. Alix says:

    There’s nothing shallow about being distressed over hirsutism. I’m a PCOS sufferer and I have very bad hirsutism. The only places I’m not covered in thick dark coarse hair are my hands, feet, and (most of) my back. If I shave there is a 50/50 I will develop ingrown hairs, in many areas it never gets really “smooth” and it grows back faster than average. Bonus: I’m sensitive to razor burn and bumps so I have wait longer than I’d like to shave again else its hurts. Lucky me.

    In our modern society where its standard that women be hairless and smooth to beinga hairy women is embarrassing is like saying the Empire State building is kinda tall. Very stress and a time-consuming pain in the ass that I usually just let it grow.

    PCOS: not gonna kill you but just debilitating enough.

  10. Alix says:

    ^^

    Also I’m BC, spironolactone , and metformin and the hair is just as bad it was before.


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