08 Feb Interview with Clara and Helena on their experience with PCOS
Today we want to focus on one of the most common syndromes in women, which in some cases has had a great weight in infertility. And so that you can learn more about what PCOS is, we wanted to get to know it first hand with the testimony of Clara and Helena, two women aged 28 and 29 who have been living with this pathology for years, a disorder that they share but with some different symptoms.
1. What symptoms did you have and when were you diagnosed with PCOS?
Helena: It was about 8 years ago that my gynecologist decided to do an ultrasound scan to assess the state of my ovaries. I have suffered from severe acne since I was very young, which I have had to be treated by dermatologists and, according to what she told me, could be related to the PCOS. It was.
I don’t remember having any other symptoms apart from the acne, but it is true that at no time was I told much about PCOS or what it might mean for me to have it. I was simply kept on birth control pills as a treatment.
Today, I know that my ongoing acne, hair loss and battle with weight gain are all consequences of PCOS. Luckily, I am hair free!
Clara: I was diagnosed a year ago. I had been taking the contraceptive pill since I was 18 and one day I decided to stop taking it. Since then, I stopped having regular periods and started to suffer from severe acne. So I went to a gynaecologist and a nutritionist and they told me that I had post-pill PCOS.
2. How has this pathology conditioned you physically and emotionally in your daily life?
Helena: Physically, it has meant that at 29 I still suffer from acne (although to a lesser extent than a few years ago), my hair is very weak and thinning and the scales show much more weight than I would like.
Regarding the emotional state, I think I have so long assimilated that it is something that is in me and that I can’t change, that I try to play it down as much as possible. We all have our little faults, don’t we?
Clara: It has not affected me significantly. During the period when I was not taking contraceptives, I did notice the effects of PCOS, it affected me a little more, especially the acne. But it hasn’t been a major conditioning factor either.
3. Which treatments are you currently carrying out?
Helena: The gynecologist prescribed birth control pills and the dermatologist wanted to supplement them with Metformin, which apparently controls insulin levels to keep my symptoms at bay, so today I am on these two drugs.
Clara: Currently none. I finally decided to go back on the contraceptive pill, so the symptoms have disappeared, although they do not cure the syndrome. During the time when I was not taking the pills, the guidelines recommended to me were a specific diet, a series of vitamin supplements and a good rest in order to manage stress.
4. Are you happy with your treatment or have you sought an external alternative?
Helena: No. I don’t think that taking pills all your life is the solution, although I don’t know if there really is one. For a few months now I’ve been reading about some natural food supplements that help women with PCOS, maybe I’ll give them a try.
Clara: Eventually I would like to go back on birth control, although in a professionally guided process, and follow the guidelines I mentioned above to ease the symptoms of PCOS.
5. Have you been able to prove that a healthy, nutritious diet restores hormonal balance? What foods have you had to take out of your diet?
Helena: It is true that I have noticed that the worse I eat (lots of pasta, bread, chocolate), the worse my symptoms are. As a curiosity: there is a brand of seeds that I have vetoed (or almost) because it is terrible for my skin.
Clara: Yes, I noticed it mainly in my acne. I was advised to cut down as much as possible on gluten and lactose and to completely abandon ultra-processed foods, such as ready-made meals, pastries, foods with a lot of added sugar, etc.
6. Would you give any advice to a woman who is suffering from this syndrome?
Helena: Patience. Don’t let any doctor tell you that what you have is not important (yes, I have experienced it) and that you don’t need to change your habits or have annual check-ups, because it is. Find out more about PCOS from specialists and learn to listen to your body, because although it may seem strange, it tells us a lot more than we think.
Clara: They should see a nutritionist who is specialised in this area. Although PCOS is a syndrome that cannot be cured, it is possible to reduce its symptoms almost completely. Eating a diet according to your needs, doing some physical exercise and managing stress are factors that help a lot.
7. Have you ever been informed about the impact of PCOS on the search for pregnancy?
Helena: A doctor told me that it might be a bit more difficult for me to get pregnant, and that it would be even more difficult if I develop amenorrhea because of PCOS. However, he told me that PCOS is not synonymous with infertility and that I can have children on my own or through a fertility clinic.
Clara: I have not been informed, but I have done it myself. In PCOS it is common to have a missed period, if you don’t have a period it means that you are not ovulating and therefore pregnancy cannot occur. However, by following the right diet, taking the right vitamin supplements and regulating your stress, you can achieve normal menstruation and then get pregnant.
Clara and Helena are just two of the many women who suffer from this disorder, a syndrome that brings different symptoms and other illnesses that they will have to deal with throughout their lives but that, thanks to the good work of gynecologists and other specialists, such as nutritionists or rheumatologists, they will be able to improve their quality of life and reduce the severity and frequency of their symptoms.
Two women who have not yet experienced whether PCOS conditions their fertility or not, but if this is your case, remember that at Reproclinic we work hand in hand with the best specialists and professionals who will treat this pathology to successfully carry out your maternity.
With our Repro+ Pack, you can get your first and second consultation free of charge, a consultation with our fertility coach and a discount on your treatment! Find out more or make an appointment using our form.