PCOS explained to Loved Ones

I asked some people what sort of things they would want to see from this blog and a lot of people wanted a way to explain PCOS to their partner or friends who don’t have it and don’t understand what it is. So I thought I’d put it in a letter, I’ve addressed it to Loved Ones, but you can swap it out for who ever you want to write the letter to.

Dear Loved One

I may or may not have told you about this condition yet, but sometimes when we hear things, we forget them, at least when this is written down you can revisit this as often as you like as there is a lot of things that may not stick in your mind like others.

I have a condition called Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome and this means a lot of things, but basically that I produce more of the male hormone than most women, if you want more information, see my other posts. You may think of this as “Woman Issues” and if you’re a man you may not think that this has anything to do with you, but it does because I’ll need your help controlling it so it doesn’t control me.

I’m very self conscious about it because it affects me physically and mentally as well as internally. My hormones are all over the place at all times, so you can’t predict how I’ll be feeling by what week of the month it is, hell I can’t even predict how I’ll be feeling. Sometimes I can feel so confident that the world better watch out because here I come, and the following day I can be feeling self conscious and fat, ugly and teary or even completely sluggish and lethargic and want to do nothing more than sit in front of the tv and watch Queer Eye on repeat until I feel better. And sometimes I can be snappy and irritable and not understand why, and sometimes I can feel really paranoid that people are talking about the symptoms I’m trying desperately to hide.

The physical symptoms can be pretty bad, it makes my body store fat and makes it even harder to lose weight. I am trying to lose weight, I’m trying very hard even if it isn’t shifting as quickly as I would like it to. While I never want to be a stick and I love being curvy, I do feel very self conscious about my weight, and do appreciate compliments about how I look, even if I don’t always believe them. It’s nice to think about how other people see me in a good way.

It also makes me feel really poorly when I’m on my period, my period is usually very heavy for the first couple of days and I can get very painful cramps that lead me to having to go to bed and nap. I’ve even been physically sick from the cramps. Please don’t tell me any of those universal things like “it’s only cramps, all women get them” that’s not helpful and it’s very patronising.

Another thing I am very conscious about is the hair on my face. I can hide my wobbly bits under clothes, but my face is the one thing I can’t hide and having hair on it makes me feel so unfeminine, it hurts. This upsets me the most about the condition, and while I’m currently undergoing a treatment plan about this, it is still a bit sore point to my self esteem. Please don’t mention this. Unless I bring it up first. And this will usually be a low day and I will probably cry but please listen to what I have to say and then offer me a cup of tea afterwards.

Because PCOS affects my ovaries, and makes my periods irregular, it can also affect my chances of having children, which is something that I haven’t really thought about yet, but it is something I may think about in the future and I may need your support through this. If we are in a relationship, I hope this doesn’t turn you away. If we aren’t in a relationship, I may need your moral support during this time of my life but I’ll let you know when I’m there.

(Parents, pleasant turn away now) this part is aimed at future partners.

Sometimes I may not be in the mood for sex, this can be through low self esteem issues I might be having, or just because of low sex drive, but I’ll let you know which. As long as we can be open and honest with each other about our feelings, I’m sure we can come up with a plan how to tackle this issue when it arises. I hope you can understand this, it is as frustrating for me as it is for you, with all the hormones ranging around in my body I don’t know if I’m coming or going.

You can come back now parents

I just want to thank you for reading this so far, it really means a lot to me and I do have some requests from you, if that’s okay.

There isn’t any way to cure PCOS, but there are ways to manage it. I’m currently on the Pill which keeps a lot of my symptoms in check, but can also have its own symptoms. Please bear with me if I’m in a bad mood, it’s not me, it’s my hormones. Another way to manage it is to lead a healthy lifestyle, not focused on losing weight, thought that would be great, but just to stay healthy. I already try and eat healthily, but I need to start some more healthy habits like walking or cycling, or even swimming, it would be lovely if you wanted to start some with me and I’d love the company and probably stick to it more if I had someone with me.

When I’m having a “not as attractive” days please remember to tell me how awesome I am. Not because I’m fishing for compliments but I do need to hear them sometimes. Suggest some self care, reading a book, taking a bath, going for a walk together or something.

When I’m on my period and I’m feeling really poorly, please bring me a strong sweet coffee and I’ll love you forever. While I was working in a college I discovered that a Caramel Macchiato with an extra espresso shot was so good at making me feel better, I can’t even describe! But you don’t have to buy me one just making one is enough.

Thank again. I probably don’t say it enough, but thank you for being there, thanks for listening to me when I’m going through a difficult patch and thanks for reading this letter. I really do appreciate everything you do for me, and knowing that you understand even a little bit of what I’m going through really helps. I do try and be positive for you, but sometimes it’s all too much and I just have to let it out and I thank you for giving the space to feel like I can do that with you.

If you want to learn mor about PCOS there are a lot of websites out there that are very helpful, but please try not to get bogged down by the things it can cause. I’ve already done that, and all I need is just someone who will listen and understand.

Thank you again.

Lots of love

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