This post is for you, your partner and your family. It has been on my mind for so long – actually, it has been on my mind since I was 15 years old.
So here it is – “How to explain PCOS to you partner” – to the people you love and who love you.
A way to make PCOS relatable and easy to understand.
I have based this post on the many conversations I have had with my husband and family about PCOS – and I hope it can help you.
A little background information:
Like I said, I was 15 when I started thinking about this – about how to tell people close to me, that my body is not “normal”
Back then I didn’t have a boyfriend – I didn’t even have a diagnosis.
What I had, was a body that was acting really weird and a doctor telling me that I would probably never have children of my own.
I felt broken and unlovable; and I had absolutely no clue how to talk to people about that!
So little that I actually chose to study for a certain career path, based on the fact that it would have to become my whole life because I would probably be alone forever.
Since then, my doctor (a different one from back then) retracted the statement and modified it to “you might have a hard time having kids” but that still didn’t make it easier to talk about.
I got diagnosed officially in 2014 – a year after I started dating my husband (then boyfriend).
However I was already sure that I had PCOS and I chose to tell him about it on one of our very first dates.
I knew he wanted kids and I felt it was important to be upfront about my condition, because this could very possibly factor into his dreams and hopes too.
So, how to explain PCOS to your partner in an easy way?
This post is based on the conversations I have had with my husband over the years (and with my family) about PCOS, with him (them) in mind.
What is hiding behind the letters PCOS?
Here is what I told him:
“I need to tell you about something very personal. It is hard for me to talk about and it might be made harder by the fact that it is a very feminine issue. However it is going to have an impact on your life too if we are going to be together, and I know I will feel better if you know and understand what I am dealing with on a daily basis.
I have PCOS – behind those letters is the long name “Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome”. What that basically means is that I don’t have a regular ovulation once every month – and that in turn means that my periods are very irregular.
For some women with PCOS it means not getting their period very often – for me (and those like me), it means that my periods are very long and drain my body for energy.
It also means that, among other things, I am very sensitive to carbohydrates.
So when I eat carbs, my body produces too much insulin, causing my ovaries to release too much testosterone.
While all women have testosterone in lower levels, my body releases so much of it that it’s effecting my entire body, causing complications that can feel very embarrassing to me because they sometimes make me feel like less of a woman.
However, I am not alone in having PCOS. Actually every 1 in 10 women have it – a lot of them just don’t know it.”
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
This made him – I think – a mix of curious and nervous, so he wanted to know more:
“There are so many symptoms of PCOS and they vary from person to person.
They can be really hard to deal with because they can feel really embarrassing and make me feel unattractive and manly or freakish.
Some days I feel fine – and others I am having a really hard time coming to terms with my own body.
First of all, I struggle with my weight. And I am not saying that to get pity “Nooooo, you don’t” comments.
Despite a healthy lifestyle I have to really be careful to not gain weight.
Because of the overproduction of insulin, my body quickly stores carbs as fat – making the struggle of loosing weight extra hard!
The high levels of testosterone in my body causes me to have hair in places I really don’t want to have hair – and to make it even worse, it also causes me to lose hair the few places where I really want it to stay.
Sometimes my skin breaks out and make me look like a teenager – all because of the hormonal imbalances in my body.
In my case PCOS also brings about very painful cramps in my uterus.
It also leaves me embarrassingly tired, even though, to others, it might not seem like I have been doing much.
Sometimes they think I am just being lazy – and emotionally that really hurts me, because I am actually trying my very hardest to be active and participate in a normal social life.
But worst of all – for me and maybe for us – , I might have a really hard time getting pregnant.
Now I know that it is not impossible – but it might take longer for me and I might feel really useless and broken as a woman at times.”
How I help myself:
In later conversations we talked about what I do to help myself:
“PCOS is not the end of the world and as time goes by I am figuring out more and more ways to cope with it.
I have chosen to go about treating my PCOS with natural remedies. It’s what fits me and my body.
I tried the artificial hormones (birth control pills and an IUD) as a treatment but they made me more sick, so going the natural way is my choice!
Leading a healthy lifestyle, keeping active and eating the right things are keys to my treatment.
I also take a range of supplements to help my body get back into balance.
Sticking to it all will make my symptoms fade and become more manageable.
It can be really hard for me sometimes, but it works for me to keep in mind that everything I put into my body can either make me feel better or make me more sick.
Some might think I eat like I do only in order to lose weight – but that is not the case.
I eat what I eat, and do what I do to get healthy – if that also helps me lose weight, that is a great bonus but I am not “dieting”.
I get ultrasound scans regularly to make sure any potential cysts in my uterus are found and can be removed.
I have had one which wasn’t found for a long time, so this is very important to me.
I won’t take any hormone-filled birth control, but until we are ready to think about having children I will use a Caya diaphragm which is made from medical silicone and won’t disrupt my natural hormone balance.
Should we want to have kids, my work on getting my hormones into balance will hopefully pay off.
If not, there are places we can go and get help.
I am working accepting my PCOS – accepting that it is part of me, and that there are things every now and again that I have to do differently than others.
For a really long time I was so angry at my body and at the doctors who couldn’t figure out what was wrong.
Now I am working on accepting myself and my body for what it is.
The accept of myself is a really big step towards healing.
All in all I help myself by sticking to a certain lifestyle.
I know my choices are hard to understand for some, but I can feel it helping and that’s great encouragement.”
The help I would love to get from you:
After that, my husband wanted to know how he could help:
“I can say it really short: Love me!
Living with PCOS, there will be days where I feel really angry, sad or unattractive – your love and support are the most valuable help you can give me.
In your love and support lies an accept of me and my differences.
I can imagine and understand that it will be hard sometimes to be with me, because there are things I cannot/will not do.
Hearing you say that I am beautiful means the world to me.
I soak it up every time you say it.
On those days when I feel unattractive and freakish, it is your love and kind words that keeps me going.
It would be a huge and wonderful help if you would help me stick to my diet by eating healthy with me.
Even better if you also want to stay active with me. If we can make it our lifestyle that would be a great help.
You can eat treats, for sure! We can make some that I can eat too and then we can eat them together every now and then.
I don’t need you to hide part of you or your life from me in order to make my diet easier – but please don’t eat treats every day!
There will be days when you are going to wonder what is happening, or be times when you don’t understand something PCOS-related.
You can always ask me! I will always try to give you as straight an answer as I can. The more we both understand about this, the better!
Talk to me about the things you find hard – maybe my way of dealing with a particular issue is not the best way – maybe we can come up with a better way together?!”
Thank you so much for reading along!
Maybe you are one of the people in my life, who are trying to understand me better. Maybe you are someone struggling to find a way to talk about all of this with your special someone. Maybe you are someone who loves a woman with PCOS and works hard to understand and support her.
Who ever you are – thank you for caring enough to read all this.
It really does mean a lot and it tells me something about the wonderful person that you are.
As always – feel free to comment down below if you have any thought or questions on the matter.
I would love hearing from you!