PCOS is an endocrine disorder that impacts 1 in 7 women worldwide - that is a HUGE number when you think about it. Unfortunately, the reality is that number is likely much higher. The reason being, PCOS is a syndrome, which means there is not a single diagnostic criteria that is sufficient enough to make a diagnosis.

In order to receive a diagnosis of PCOS, 2 of the 3 following must be met:

1. Oligo-anovulation - This means that a woman is having 8 or fewer menstrual cycles per year. In my case, it was zero for 2 years. Once I started having a cycle again, it was still fewer than 8 per year for two years. 

After my first cycle, I didn't have another one for 15 weeks. The one after that was about 9 weeks, then it bumped up to 14 weeks and so on. It is now like clockwork, every 28 days.

I say this so you understand that there isn't something wrong with you if your body doesn't get right back into monthly cycles right away. It takes time, sometimes a significant amount, for the body to get back into the swing of things.

2. Clinical or biochemical evidence of hyperandrogenism - From a clinical perspective, the person may present with male pattern baldness, excess hair growth (often on the upper lip, chin, chest and/or back) and/or acne. 

From a biochemical perspective, this simply means that excess androgens, such as testosterone, show up in a blood test. 

I didn't have this element when I was first diagnosed. Although, throughout my journey, I have had spikes of high testosterone. I knew this from the extra hair that grew on my upper lip and confirmation in a saliva hormone test. It can tell you, it is pretty terrifying to see a hairy upper lip as a woman.

3. Polycystic ovaries on ultrasound examination - Generally an internal and external ultrasound needs to be done. 

When I had this done, my left ovary was black on the ultrasound because of how many cysts were present. The right also had a large number, but nowhere near the amount of the left. 

What's interesting, is that if I were to have Mittelschmerz (ovulation pain), it was always on the left side. 

If you suspect that you have PCOS, but have not had all three of these areas looked at, then I encourage you to speak to a doctor. 


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