With approximately 1 in 10 women of childbearing age currently affected by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the odds are that you know someone first hand – a friend, family member, neighbor or co-worker. These women are inspirational individuals, facing their struggles each and every day with an incredible level of strength.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) refers to a condition in which a woman has a higher than normal level of male hormones, which creates an imbalance within the body. This can lead to a number of different changes within the body, including everything from changes within the reproductive system to longer-term influences like heart disease and diabetes. While there are ways to minimize the impact on its life, for those that live with PCOS it can be incredibly difficult to explain to their partner, family, and other loved ones.
Here are 8 truths about love a woman who is living with PCOS that we wish you knew:
#1 – I just need you to ‘be there’.
Try not to overcomplicate your role when my PCOS is concerned. I am not looking to you to miraculously find a solution, I just need you to be there. Listen to me when I speak, and I mean genuinely listen. Show me that I’m not alone and that you’re going to be by my side every step of the way. Encourage and support any necessary life changes to minimize my condition that I choose to implement like dietary changes, and don’t expect me to always have answers as to why I’m feeling the way I do.
#2 – This can have a significant impact on my fertility.
It may be hard to accept, but if you are currently in a relationship with someone fighting PCOS, it may be harder to grow your family than you first believed. This isn’t to say that you are completely unable to have a child, simply that there are significant additional complications. If you want it badly enough, it is advised to seek professional assistance.
#3 – Sometimes I just need to stay home.
There will be days that I completely feel up to going out and having a good time with you, however, there will also be days where my symptoms are simply too much to manage. At these points in my life, I need you to recognize that the best thing for me may be to simply stay home in my comfortable clothes on the couch watching a movie, and that’s okay! That doesn’t mean you can’t curl up with me!
#4 – Life with PCOS can be expensive.
It’s a harsh truth to life with PCOS that many overlook, but this disease is one that comes with a significant financial burden. From doctors’ bills to medication, quality food to manage the condition to fertility treatment in order to have a family. The cost is one that will be ongoing throughout my life. If you are accepting me, you’re accepting these costs as well.
#5 – It’s not just my ovaries.
Often when we discuss PCOS, those who have never experienced it assume that the only part of the body that has been impacted is the ovaries, however, it’s a far bigger issue with that. Other common symptoms include depression, excessive hair growth throughout the body, thinning hair or hair loss on the head, acne and weight gain. It has such an impact on your life that it can lead to complete exhaustion, day in and day out.
#6 – There are times where my emotions are out of my control.
This isn’t just an excuse for being moody. PCOS has an impact on my hormones, which, in turn, has an impact on my moods. While I would love to say that I have control, there are times where I may lash out or act irrationally, but I don’t mean to! My moods take over, and I may even feel trapped within my own mind, watching myself lash out while unable to stop it.
#7 – I can’t just lose the weight.
We live in a society that is completely obsessed with being ‘thin’ in order to be seen as attractive. However, if you care for someone with PCOS you need to accept that their current weight may be out of their control. The condition alters the hormones in the body, which can influence the body’s sensitivity to insulin. While there are steps that you can take to minimize the impact, it may not be something that can be completely overcome.
#8 – There currently is no cure.
If you are starting a relationship with the idea that this is going to be short-lived, an inconvenience that will be taken off your plate the second that I’m cured, think again. At this time, there is no cure for PCOS. This means that I have to face every day accepting that this isn’t going to change, which is anything but easy… I need you to accept that.