What is PCOS/Endo?

PCOS SYMPTOMS, as defined here

Symptoms of PCOS may begin shortly after puberty, but can also develop during the later teen years and early adulthood. Because symptoms may be attributed to other causes or go unnoticed, PCOS may go undiagnosed for some time.

Women with PCOS typically have irregular or missed periods as a result of not ovulating. Although some women may develop cysts on their ovaries, many women do not. ( My last ultrasound showed 30+ cysts on each ovary)

Other symptoms include:

  • Weight gain. About half of women with PCOS will have weight gain and obesity that is difficult to manage. ( This is a huge struggle with me and I think I have found a diet to help with it, will link post later)
  • Fatigue. Many women with PCOS report increased fatigue and low energy. Related issues such as poor sleep may contribute to the feeling of fatigue. ( I work overnights and am ALWAYS tired or in pain)
  • Unwanted hair growth (also known as hirsutism). Areas affected by excess hair growth may include the face, arms, back, chest, thumbs, toes, and abdomen. Hirsutism  related to PCOS is due to hormonal changes in androgens. ( UGH! This is so embarrassing!)
  • Thinning hair on the head. Hair loss related to PCOS may increase in middle age. (This is starting as I am 35 this year)
  • Infertility. PCOS is a leading cause of female infertility. However, not every woman with PCOS is the same. Although some women may need the assistance of fertility treatments, others are able to conceive naturally. ( I was able to conceive naturally 2 times and have 1 living son) 
  • Acne. Hormonal changes related to androgens can lead to acne problems. Other skin changes such as the development of skin tags and darkened patches of skin are also related to PCOS. ( I haven’t had this issue, so far anyway)
  • Mood changes. Having PCOS can increase the likelihood of mood swings, depression, and anxiety. ( Most definitely have these issues but am learning to manage them)
  • Pelvic pain. Pelvic pain may occur with periods, along with heavy bleeding. It may also occur when a woman isn’t bleeding. ( I have lots of pain, usually related to a big cyst or just prior to having a cycle)
  • Headaches. Hormonal changes prompt headaches. (Thankfully I don’t have issues with this)
  • Sleep problems. Women with PCOS often report problems such as insomnia or poor sleep. There are many factors that can affect sleep, but PCOS has been linked to a sleep disorder called sleep apnea.  With sleep apnea, a person will stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep. ( I snore, lol, and I do have issues with insomnia)

Endometriosis as defined here

Endometriosis, sometimes called “endo,” is a common health problem in women. It gets its name from the word endometrium, the tissue that normally lines the uterus or womb. Endometriosis happens when this tissue grows outside of your uterus and on other areas in your body where it doesn’t belong.

Most often, endometriosis is found on the:

  • Ovaries
  • Fallopian tubes
  • Tissues that hold the uterus in place
  • Outer surface of the uterus

Other sites for growths can include the vagina, cervix, vulva, bowel, bladder, or rectum. Rarely, endometriosis appears in other parts of the body, such as the lungs, brain, and skin.

Symptoms of endometriosis can include:

  • Pain. This is the most common symptom. Women with endometriosis may have many different kinds of pain. These include:
    • Very painful menstrual cramps. The pain may get worse over time. ( Yes, when I do have a cycle)
    • Chronic (long-term) pain in the lower back and pelvis (Check! I don’t remember a time that I have not had pain)
    • Pain during or after sex. This is usually described as a “deep” pain and is different from pain felt at the entrance to the vagina when penetration begins. ( I don’t have this pain since having my appendix removed several years ago)
    • Intestinal pain ( Yes, especially close to my cycle)
    • Painful bowel movements or pain when urinating during menstrual periods. In rare cases, you may also find blood in your stool or urine. ( Yep 🙁 )
  • Bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods. This can be caused by something other than endometriosis. If it happens often, you should see your doctor. (No, thank goodness!)
  • Infertility, or not being able to get pregnant. ( I was able to get pregnant but it wasn’t easy!)
  • Stomach (digestive) problems. These include diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea, especially during menstrual periods. ( Oh yeah, all of this!)

 

 

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