In case no one has formally greeted you yet, welcome to the PCOS club! Right now you might be feeling nervous, anxious, confused, bitter, or maybe even angry. All of those emotions are perfectly normal and I think most women carrying a PCOS diagnosis have felt them at some point in their journey. Maybe some of you might be slightly relieved to FINALLY know what is going on with your body! In either case, you’re probably wondering, “what’s next?”
1. Go Ahead and Cry
Right now is the time to take a couple of days for self-care. I hate that phrase, but I truly support what it means, especially since it looks different for everyone. When I was diagnosed at age 17, I cried for days. I had been told by the diagnosing doc some really terribly inaccurate information about my chances of being able to eventually conceive which totally got me down. Your inner circle will probably try to be supportive and say things like, “It could be worse,” or “It will be okay.” But when your world is crashing down around you, things like that are hardly helpful.
It is 100% okay and understandable to be in your feels for a while after receiving such a life-altering diagnosis. Treat yourself, re-watch Gossip Girl for the fourth time, paint your nails, talk to a girl friend, journal. Do whatever you need to do to get your emotions out, then start planning your regroup.
2. Regroup and Start Your Research
After you have allowed yourself to mourn in your own way, you probably will want to begin figuring out what’s next and how to make your situation better. I like to begin by doing some research and making lists. This site can be helpful, as it’s intent is to provide information on PCOS and to create a community where women living with this condition can feel understood. So go ahead and bookmark this page, add your email, subscribe, etc. for all of the up-to-date information regarding PCOS that is available.
Having a background in research, I feel that it is important to note a few things before you conduct your first round of learning more about PCOS. Please make sure to only source information from credible sites. There are a vast number of blogs and web pages devoted to sharing information about PCOS, but not all of them are accurate! Information from medical or government funded websites are typically pretty safe. These would include .gov sites as well as the CDC, among others. Bloggers should also be CITING their resources when giving what is perceived to be factual information. If a post does not cite sources, I’m not saying that it will always contain false information, I’m just saying be wary of trusting it.
3. Make a Doctors Appointment
If you have been diagnosed by your PCP (primary care physician) you will definitely want to follow up by making an appointment with your Gynecologist and vice versa. There are four different types of PCOS, and you will want to know which type you have and the methods offered for mitigating side effects and symptoms. You also want all of your doctors to be in the know about your new diagnosis, because there are numerous comorbidities that can run parallel with PCOS.
It is likely that you will have many questions, especially after you have started looking into the syndrome, so write a list down! Ask your questions no matter how small or insignificant they may seem.
4. Look into Reproductive Endocrinologists in Your Area
“Repro Endos” as we sometimes call them, have a LOT of experience in the realms of women with PCOS. Especially those who are also trying to get pregnant. It is SO important that in addition to your regular Gynecologist, that you follow up by making an appointment with a good Reproductive Endocrinologist. This doctor is the one who will help you achieve balance for your condition, monitor your hormones, conduct ultrasounds and other tests to look at your lady parts to make sure everything looks as normal as it can for PCOS. They’re basically the experts in this field. If you prefer more of a natural approach but still want to have the visit covered under your insurance, look into Functional Medicine Reproductive Endocrinologists. Personally, I would begin by asking your insurance company for a list of FMRE’s that would be covered, then go to good old Google to look at their reviews on bedside manner. If you’re local to Pittsburgh or the surrounding area, send me an email and I’ll give you the scoop on good local docs.
5. Know This is Not a Death Sentence
There are plenty of worst case scenarios that might be running through your mind right now, and that is perfectly okay. Just don’t stay there in your mind or you’ll drive yourself crazy. All I have ever wanted in life is to be a mom, to not have hair on my face, and to not develop diabetes. The fact that I might not have control over any of that terrifies me, but in the end I know that as long as I am doing all of the things I know to do to mitigate the side effects of PCOS – I am doing my best and the rest is in God’s hands.
Many women successfully manage their PCOS, weight, co-morbid conditions, and PLENTY go on to have their rainbow babies! So keep your head up, sis, because this is just the beginning of your story, not the end!