Receiving a PCOS diagnosis can be incredibly overwhelming. Between the seemingly endless symptoms and the many unknowns, it’s a lot to take in.
Read on for 4 things you need to hear if you’ve just received a PCOS diagnosis. We’ve got your back, cyster.
PCOS diagnosis: 4 things you need to know
1. You aren’t alone
This one’s important, because receiving a PCOS diagnosis can make you feel incredibly isolated – particularly if you’re experiencing unpleasant symptoms. But, remember: you aren’t alone.
In fact, it’s thought that around 1 in 10 people between the ages of 15 and 44 have PCOS, though it’s difficult to know for sure. The NHS considers PCOS to be very common, so rest assured that whatever it is you’re feeling and experiencing right now, many others can relate.
If you don’t yet have a PCOS support system, and you’d like to connect with others who have shared experiences, join our private Facebook group, where members can connect, send one another kind words, and generally have each other’s backs. We can’t wait to see you there!
2. There are lots of ways to manage symptoms when you receive a PCOS diagnosis
We know it’s scary – and can be incredibly frustrating – but sometimes it takes a fair amount of trial and error before landing on an ideal method of managing symptoms (and what’s best for you and your body can change over time, too).
The bad news is that there isn’t a cure for PCOS. The good news: there are lots of treatments and methods of managing symptoms that you can try, such as medication, dietary and lifestyle changes, supplementation, or a combination of methods.
Try to bear in mind that we’re all different, and that what works for one person won’t necessarily produce the same results for another. Honest communication with your GP is crucial for helping you to get the care and support you require, so don’t be afraid to let them know if a treatment method feels a bit off for you.
3. There’s nothing to feel embarrassed about
PCOS symptoms can trigger feelings of shame, embarrassment, and distress.
Those such as acne, thinning head hair, and hirsutism (where hair grows thicker in areas like the face, chest, and neck) can affect the self-esteem of the sufferer. But, try to remember that whilst, yes, these (and other) symptoms can be massively unpleasant to experience, you do not have to feel embarrassed.
If you are experiencing persistent feelings of shame, try opening up to your loved ones, fellow cysters, or a professional to get the support you need. PCOS charity Verity helps people with PCOS to access important information and connects those who have PCOS in local groups to provide support to one another.
4. PCOS is not your fault
Frustratingly, the cause of PCOS remains unknown. However, if you have been given a PCOS diagnosis, it’s through no fault of your own.
Experts believe that genetics are likely to be a big influencing factor in whether or not you’re likely to have PCOS, and that lifestyle factors could play a role too. It’s also thought that an imbalance of hormones – raised levels of androgens, often referred to as male hormones, which include testosterone – could have something to do with the cause of PCOS.
All that to say – it’s absolutely not your fault that you have PCOS.