Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – Zoe’s story

An adult walking outdoors

Zoe shares her story of PCOS

I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in my first year of university.

Before I started university, I was really into running and the gym. I regularly worked out with a friend, ran lots of 10ks and tried to eat healthily.

But that all changed when I started university. Fast food and eating late after a night out became much more appealing than the gym. I was enjoying my new-found freedom. At the time, I also wasn’t really looking after myself, and gained a lot of weight.

Finding out I had PCOS

With my new lifestyle, I understood why I had put weight on. But as the months went on, I noticed that my periods became really irregular. At first, I put it down to being in a new place and feeling stressed about essays. But then I would go a few months without getting my period.

So, I contacted my GP. Straight away. They suggested I might have PCOS. It wasn’t something I had heard of before. I was sent away with a leaflet which listed the common symptoms - weight gain, irregular periods and unwanted hair growth. Information was also included on how it can affect your fertility.

My treatment

Even though my fertility wasn’t the top of my agenda at that stage in my life, I remember worrying about how it might impact me later on. PCOS means you don’t release eggs every cycle, and fluid-filled follicles (swelling) develop on your ovaries.

I went for a transvaginal scan and I remember being really surprised at the screen. To me it looked quite worrying. But the consultant was really reassuring, explaining how common it is, and how a healthy diet and lifestyle can really help.

Living with PCOS

I got myself a book on how to eat well with PCOS. I learnt that it’s important to eat a low GI diet, and to avoid too many refined sugars, as they can increase your risk of developing diabetes later in life. I also found out about the importance of eating well and keeping active.

I was also recommended to go onto the contraceptive pill to help regulate my cycles. This was more practical for me too, instead of always wondering when my next period would start.

A decade later, I’ve been fortunate to have children and currently have regular cycles.

For me, PCOS is a reminder to look after your body and to maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle.

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