PCOS is a condition close to my heart. It has such profound psychological effects on those with the diagnosis that it is almost unimaginable. It is traumatic and devastating.
PCOS is a complex endocrinological disease with a severe impact on women's health.
When first receiving the diagnosis and gaining some understanding as to how it will affect one's life is shellshock.
The condition has many phenotypes but broadly characterized by:
- irregular periods
- infrequent ovulation
- cysts on the ovaries
- excess body hair
- often excess body weight
- insulin resistance.
The chaotic hormonal milieu is responsible for all this.
The outlook is just as worrying as there is a risk of developing Hashimoto thyroiditis, Type II diabetes and various cardiovascular issues.
How does it feel to hear all this, especially if you are ready to have babies?
It feels like the rug has been pulled off from under your feet. It is a shock and disbelief at first, numbness even. Then frustration and anger kick in, finally fear and anxiety, overthinking and worry takes hold of every minute of your life. This all often lead to anxiety and depression.
The psychological effects of PCOS are, sadly, almost always overlooked, despite the various clinical trials that have proven that women with PCOS are at a higher risk of developing mental disorders than healthy control groups.
Women often feel that that very core of being a woman has been taken from them, this leads to low self-esteem and self-confidence.
As PCOS is a complex condition, it comes as no surprise that it takes longer, even for years, to digest the diagnosis. This transition period is normally tough, it can feel that you are re-living the moment you received the diagnosis, and it feels just as raw as it did for the first time.
What can we do to alleviate these ever-intensifying feelings?
Firstly, every woman has to go through it at their own pace. It normally helps to gather information and become fluent in what the condition entails, so I always suggest my patients to empower themselves with knowledge and understanding.
It is a visceral reaction to withdraw and grieve, do it if this feels right. If you feel ok to push yourself and stay involved with friends and family and social life, do it. There is no right or wrong in this.
Acupuncture is proven not only to help with the physical consequences of PCOS such as regulating the menstrual cycle but the emotional aspects too. It is a fantastic modality to tend to the heart and soul, to patch it up and nurture it, strengthen it so they can heal and function healthily once again. With that recovered strength we then can continue our journey on that rocky road of PCOS, so that we can make the necessary changes to feel better and preserve our bodies as much as it is possible.
If you have (recently) been diagnosed with PCOS, reach out to me, I am happy to talk to you as someone who understands the condition, to whom you can talk freely and show your emotions freely.
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