76 Things Women With PCOS Are Tired Of Hearing
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a syndrome that occurs when a women’s hormones are out of balance. This sounds like a small problem, but it can cause severe problems that make it hard to function day to day.
PCOS is the number one cause of infertility among women and occurs in around 10 percent of the female population.
It has many symptoms, but the most common are:
- Weight Gain and trouble losing weight
- Excessive hair on the face and body – often the facial hair is very thick and dark
- Hair Loss
- Irregular periods, we often will have fewer than nine periods in a calendar year
- Fertility problems, as I said before, PCOS is the number one cause of infertility in women, even ranking above endometriosis
You get the idea, not fun. I only listed a few of the many physical symptoms, however, there are also many psychological problems that accompany the physical ones.
Women who have PCOS often get mean comments about our appearances and life choices (not having babies). But, because people don’t know the whole story about us and are often uneducated on PCOS, people talk without understanding what they said.
I asked groups of women who live with PCOS to tell me about comments people make to them. Whether it be about weight, pregnancy, or other topics. These are some things they said:
1. My best friend said, “You’re so lucky you can’t get pregnant. That means you don’t have to take the pill. I wish I had that!”
2. It grinds my gears when healthy women complain about their normal period. How about you bleed for months at a time? Or how about you feel how it feels when a cyst bursts inside you? I wish I had a normal period with “normal” cramps. They take Midol, they’re good to go. Me? Doctors give me narcotics, and it still doesn’t take away the pain!
3. “Oh, clean eating and Shakeology will cure your PCOS. My friend used to have PCOS and she swears by it.” PCOS has no cure, you can only treat it.
4. “Can’t you just get gastric bypass?”
5. “Isn’t PCOS just made-up, and an excuse for women to be fat?”
6. “When are you giving me a grandbaby?
7. “Can’t you just do laser hair removal?” I have, repeatedly…in four places. It always comes back.
8. From kids who I know don’t completely understand, “Why do you have a beard if you are a girl?”
9. “If you just try *insert diet or pill* the weight will fall off. It’s all about willpower!”
10. I have such terrible cysts, and it sometimes hurts during sex. I told my doctor and she said, “Well, your husband must be doing it wrong!” Of course, I told my husband, and he wished he would have been there to give her a few choice words.
11. “Why do you have so much body hair for a girl?”
12. “Children are expensive. Why do you want one?”
13. My boss told me when I asked off for another doctor’s appointment, “You really shouldn’t need to go to the doctor this much to get pregnant.” Like are you f***ing kidding me?
14. I used to have such bad pain that I would curl up in bed and sob. My sister said, “Get over it, all women get cramps.”
15. “The pain is all in your head. Try walking it off and maybe it’ll help you,” the obviously pregnant ER doctor told me when I went in for pain. It was so bad I couldn’t stand, let alone walk.
16. “I mean, you can still have babies, it’s not impossible Just harder.”
17. “I’ve gained weight and my periods have become irregular. I must have PCOS too.”
18. Oh, and “just adopt” as if it’s effortless and exactly the same. My husband and best friend are adopted, I love the idea of adoption. But, I feel shame when people demand that I adopt. I want a biological child, but that doesn’t mean I don’t also want to adopt someday. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad person for wanting a biological child.
19. People just assume I’m lazy because I’m overweight. Even though I spend my summers wearing a 45 pound pack hiking all over the West, fighting fires in the summer. I burn 4,000 – 8,000 calories a day on the line.
20. I talked with someone about my PCOS and the only thing they seem to hear and comment on the most is, “Oh, so you just need to lose weight and then you will get pregnant. That’s not that hard!” Just because I’m overweight that’s the only thing they say. Not, “Oh man, I didn’t realize how hard to lose weight is and the daily struggle dealing with cravings can be.”
They don’t take into account the hormones I need to take to help me have a period causes weight gain as a side effect. The other thing would be the excessive hair and acne. They say, “Oh, it’s not that bad and you can’t even tell.” Yeah, because I shave, epilate and tweeze two to three times a week.
21. This was said with good intentions, “Don’t worry. God only gives you what He knows you can handle.” However, all I heard was, “God doesn’t think you can handle motherhood.”
22. I’m lucky not to have periods. Because infertility is so much better.
23. A friend’s 5 year old daughter asked me, “Why do you have boy hair on your arm?” I have very dark thick hair on my arms.
24. “It’s OK…it sure is fun trying anyway!”…Says everyone about having troubles getting pregnant.
25. “You look like a woman, but deep inside you must be a man!”
26. One of my doctors, before I was diagnosed with PCOS, told me I needed to get right with God then I would have periods again!
27. “Oh did you notice the dirt on your chin? It’s not dirt? Oh wow!”
28. “Just relax and it will happen.”
29. “It’s not the end of the world, some people have it way worse than you.”
30. People telling you, “Getting pregnant should be natural. You shouldn’t have to plan it.” Some people have no idea how much planning some people have to do, or you won’t get a baby.
31. “I just have to open my legs and I get pregnant.” My friend keeps saying this to me.
32. “Well, you’re fat because you have a disease. That makes it so much better because you have an excuse to be fat.” One of my close friends told me that.
33. “You used to be so pretty. Isn’t there any pill they can give you?”
34. I heard, “Too loose weight, eat no carbs, eat no sugar, and get lots of exercises. I won’t be able to fall pregnant, I’ll be able to build muscle easy as I have higher testosterone levels.” Might as well be a hamster on the exercise wheel only eating lettuce leafs.
35. My personal favorite, “Everyone can lose weight. Just control what you eat and stop being lazy!”
36. “Just lose weight and you’ll get pregnant. It worked for my hairdresser’s sister’s cousin’s best friend’s neighbor.”
37. The worst was when my sister was pregnant with her third, after her and her husband reconciled after a year long separation, ”If I have triplets, you can have one.”
38. “PCOS has nothing to do with your weight, it’s just an excuse. You should go on a stricter diet.”
39. “I completely understand.” No you don’t. I promise you don’t understand unless it’s happening to you. It’s so much more than just cysts on your ovaries.
40. “But you’re not hairy.” We don’t all have exactly the same symptoms!
41. “A hormone imbalance is easy to fix.”
42. Them: “Have you tried (insert any commercial hair loss shampoo here that they’ve never actually even tried)?”
Me: I’ve tried like literally every hair loss shampoo and remedy there is. It’s hormonal and shampoos can’t fix it.”
Them: “OK, but you should still totally try it, this one totally looks like it could help.”
Me: “It’s hormonal.”
Them: “OK, but…”
43. “Can’t you just shave your face and neck?”
44. “You don’t want kids, they suck.”
45. “I’ve never heard of PCOS, are you sure that’s a thing?”
46. “Wait so you get hair everywhere on your body, except your head? That’s not possible.”
47. “God has a plan,” or “It’ll happen when it’s meant to be.” That’s lovely, but at some point, that perfect design goes into menopause so kids are no longer an option.
48. “PCOS and endo? Is that an STD?” Endo = endometriosis.
49. “So why do you look like a man?” After I explain PCOS, they reply, “Explains a lot, you’re so manly!”
50. “Intrauterine insemination? In vitro fertilization? If God wanted you to have kids, He would have given them to you.”
51. “That’s too bad. You would make such a good Mom.”
52. “If you keep waxing and not shaving your hair will get less and less.”…I’ve been waxing for 20 years, still waiting for that to happen.
53. “It’s not that bad.” Ugh. It sucks. The painful cramps and when a cyst bursts? I’m hoping to be killed so it’ll stop.
54. “But you’re not fat?” Yes, and do you have any idea how hard I have to work for that?!
55. “I know you are trying to have kids, but do you want one of mine? Babysit for a while. You’ll change your mind I promise.”
56. “When are you going to have kids? You’re the only one left in the family (on both sides) to not have kids yet.”
57. “It’s not hard to loose weight. All you have to do is diet and exercise.”
58. If you do (insert current fad) diet, you’ll loose all that weight.”
59. “Your not trying hard enough.”
60. “Must be nice not having to worry about getting pregnant.”
61. “Why do you keep trying if you know you’re at a high risk for miscarriage?”
62. My adopted mom asked me if I was meant to be a boy because I have hair every where and have to shave my face. It was such a harsh blow. She still, to this day, doesn’t understand what I deal with. So disheartening.
63. “Oh it looks like you’re forming a PFD here,” said my pediatrician talking about my weight gain. Responding, I asked, “Uh. PDFs are digital files, what’s a PFD?” He replied, “A personal flotation device.”
The doc thought it was so funny but I cried for hours when I got home.
64. “Get a bottle of wine and a hotel room for the weekend,” which was said by one of my 95 year old patients when I explained my PCOS and fertility issues. That one was actually kind of cute…But the whole, “Don’t think about it so much. You have to stop trying for it to work,” stuff gets old.
65. “We’ve got two babies now. Isn’t it about time you had one too?”
66. “You really need to start thinking about losing weight, the older you get the harder it’ll be.”
67. “It’s a good thing you can’t have kids, they ruin your life anyway.”
68. “It’s easy to lose the weight! You just need to focus!”
69. “When are you having a baby? You’re getting old.”
70. “So do you need an antibiotic or steroids to get rid of it?”
71. “Well I never had a problem getting pregnant.” Like I really need to hear all about how you didn’t have any problems getting pregnant!?
72. “You’re body produces too much testosterone? Maybe you were supposed to be a man.”
73. “Wow, I wish I could go years without a period.”
74. I had an older nurse ask, “Why are you struggling with fertility? You’re so young?” I told her I had PCOS and her response was, “Wow! I guess they don’t make them like they used to!”…I don’t know what to even say after that.
75. “Are you pregnant?”
76. “Maybe you aren’t meant to be a mother.”
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