Thursday, May 30, 2013

The PCOS Diaries #1

The husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for awhile now to no avail. We tried changing our diet, working out more, charting my fertility using the basal thermometer, and all that other fun stuff. Three months went by, then six, then a year, then a year and a half, without any sign of a baby.

I finally decided to break down and go to a doctor.

The lovely OBGYN told me that since I was having a regular cycle, everything was probably fine. If there were other issues I would either not have a cycle, or it would be irregular, or I'd be in more pain during that time of the month. With a smile and a wink she told me that my husband and I just needed to work harder and more often, and that if nothing had happened in another six months, I could come back and we would do more tests then.

Then, during the exam, she noticed that my uterus was enlarged. She told me it was probably fibroids, which are non cancerous growths that occur in and around the uterus. She promptly scheduled me for an ultrasound, and reassured me that they just wanted to make sure everything was okay since we were trying to get pregnant.

Well, so much for being normal, I thought. Though, upon further research I learned that fibroids can happen in 8 out of 10 women. In fact, a few of my close friends had them.

Still, even though I was reassured that they were completely normal, I went home and spent the next two weeks worrying about what was going on with my uterus. What if I was pregnant already? Stranger things had happened after all... What if I wasn't? What if it was fibroids? What if I had to get a hysterectomy? What if it wasn't fibroids but a tumor instead? What if it was cancer? What if an alien was was hiding out in there? What if my uterus was a gateway to another dimension?

My husband and I affectionately began referring to my uterus as Schrodinger's uterus (like Schrodinger's cat - only less cute and furry) because it was full of possibilities.

The ultrasound was probably both the easiest and most horrible experience I have ever had in my life. While the ultrasound itself is painless and quick, the having to drink 40 oz of water and not being able to go to the restroom until the ultrasound is over really sucked. Especially considering that the waiting room was right next to the restroom, so I could see all the other patients going in and out of the restroom and use the loo and I couldn't! Also, hearing the running water did not help matters either! But it was over quickly, and then I was able to relieve my poor little bladder which was not used to holding so much water at once.

Then my husband and I not so patiently waited for my results, and worried some more - even though more friends and family members came out of the fibroid closet and reassured us that everything would be just fine.

Finally the doctor called to let me know what evil lurked in the heart of my uterus. Apparently I had not one, but two fibroids which happen to be about the size of a golf ball or ping pong ball, but no bigger than a baseball. She also noticed that I had Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome - normally this is something doctors only diagnose after you've had extensive bloodwork, but apparently they can tell just by looking at your ovaries as well.

I do not know if I will need surgery for the fibroids yet or not. I get to discuss that with a new doctor who specializes in these things on the tenth. However, from what I've heard from friends who have gone through this, if I do need surgery, it's really not that bad and nothing to worry about. And if I don't need surgery? Well, there are people who have conceived and given birth to healthy babies while having fibroids without having any problems.

The other part of my diagnoses - PCOS - I was not expecting. I knew that I had some of the symptoms, but I didn't have others, and I didn't know that doctors could tell you had it from a simple (if annoying) ultrasound. I had assumed it would require way more blood work. Anywho, PCOS affects 10% to 15% of women. Though, personally, I think it may  actually affect more than that because at least four of my friends have been diagnosed with it in recent years, and there are two I strongly suspect have it, but just haven't been tested yet. Thankfully it is easily treatable by medicine, diet, and exercise.

Even though all the waiting sucked, it's a relief to finally know what the problems are and that it's nothing serious, and that they can be fixed.


  1. PCOS is easy to see on ultrasound, because it causes physical abnormalities in the ovaries. It's more usual to diagnose it via bloodwork, mainly because ultrasounds are expensive and generally considered undesirable (I'm under the impression that the majority of women would prefer to have a blood draw than lie on the exam table with what amounts to a high-technology dildo in their lady parts).

    PCOS is, however, very treatable, and when treated properly it doesn't interfere with pregnancy. Best of luck!

  2. Wow! Sorry to hear about all your medical issues. I am glad that you found out what is going on. Hopefully that will help you find whatever treatment you may need. Good luck and stay positive.

    1. Thank you!

      I actually feel a lot better now that we know what is going on.