PCOS Series: Breakthrough Bleeding

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One of the most common symptoms of PCOS is a wonky period schedule.  I know for myself, I have never in my life had a predictable cycle.  Sometimes they were 28 days, sometimes 34 days, and more often than not, any random number of days, meaning I could go months and months with no sign of a period at all.

Awesome if you aren’t trying to conceive, because who wants a period anyway, right?  But there is science behind why that happens, and it’s important to understand how your body is working so you can try to combat irregular symptoms, of which there are many in PCOS!

Some women with PCOS think they are continuing to have “regular” cycles because they bleed every month, but in fact what is often happening is called estrogen breakthrough bleeding or anovulatory bleeding.  This happens when there is no ovulation, which means no progesterone is produced.  Without progesterone to balance out the estrogen, the endometrial wall is constantly thickening, unable to shed because it is lacking the necessary hormonal messages.

A period that occurs during an anovulatory cycle can be irregularly heavy, due to the increased thickening.  Sometimes, however, the bleeding can be lighter.  Or you may notice blood clots, some of which can be alarmingly large.  Trust me, friends, I speak from experience.  In general, the advice is to notify your doctor if the clots you are passing are larger than an egg.  Larger than an egg!   Fun times.

It is helpful to know what is normal for you, so you can judge each cycle and note the differences.  Because of all the huge hormonal fluctuations in women with PCOS, periods can be very different even cycle to cycle.  I myself have had a cycle last for over 3 weeks with insanely heavy bleeding, flooding, clots, etc that had me nearly housebound.  If you find yourself in this position, talk to your doctor!  There are medications your doctor can give you to help stop the bleeding, not to mention, there are several ways to help manage PCOS symptoms.

Know what is your normal, keep a journal, mark your calendars, keep yourself informed.  Knowledge is power, my friends, and the more you know about yourself and how your body works, the better equipped you are to treat it and take care of it.  It is also super helpful for sharing the information with your doctor, who can then help you to come up with a game plan for treatment.

Speaking of doctors, if your doctor is not helpful with helping you treat your PCOS symptoms, or infertility, or anything for that matter, if they are quick to simply blame your being overweight for your health problems, RUN AWAY!!  That is a lazy cop out, and you deserve a doctor who cares and who will treat you fairly and with respect.

Also, women with PCOS aren’t always overweight!  There are lots of thin cysters out there, having the same problems, minus the weight issues that are often common with the disorder.

There is no cure for PCOS, only treatment.  This is why I am so passionate about learning everything that I can about it and sharing it with you.  There is still so much to be learned about it all, but understanding what is happening is a huge step in the right direction.

Stay tuned for lots more in this series, and be well my friends!

 

 

Self Diagnosis

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You know those crazy people who avoid going to the doctor at all costs and anytime they have anything wrong with them at all, they simply Google the heck up out of it, self diagnosing themselves and making a plan of action based on their short internet research that they think somehow qualifies them to do so?

Yeah.  I’m one of those crazies.

See, sometimes I am pretty good at it.  I can look up symptoms, do the research and if need be, even tell my doctor, the one I avoid at all costs, what I think I am ailed with.  Sometimes it completely backfires and my hypochondriac tendencies come through, convincing me that I am dying from a rare tropical disease that I must have picked up from the mysteriously tan senior citizen that obviously just returned from a cruise to an exotic locale, infected with xyz and therefore infecting me.   No really, my brain works like that.

So what crazy self diagnosis have I come up with now?  Well, I’m pretty sure this one is right on the money.  It all started back in May when the boys got pink eye.  (Funny side note here.  I titled that post “You can’t get pinkeye from someone farting on your pillow.  Probably.”  Do you know, that is one of my most popular posts that bring people in via search engines?  Everybody is dying to know if the old myth is true.  Funny.  Also, if that’s how you got here and you are wondering that very thing, the answer is no.  Fecal material introduced to your eye can, however, cause pinkeye.  You’re welcome, and no, that’s not how I got pinkeye.  It’s also caused by bacteria and by viral infections like the common cold.  That is what is most common.  The more you know…)

The boys got it, and a few weeks later, I got it.  It was bad.  And gross.  I used the eye drops, wore my glasses, pitched my old contacts and case and even pitched all of my makeup.  I used Lysol religiously and cleaned sheets, towels and pillow cases like nobody’s business.  About 10 days later, after the infection was completely cleared up, I put in a fresh pair of contacts.  By the end of the day, I had what appeared to be pinkeye.  Again.

What the what?!

Repeated my original plan of action.  Meanwhile, no one else in the house was ever infected.  Also, I noticed it was different this time.  My eyes weren’t crusting over, but they were very heavily tearing.  Also, I still had discharge, but it was white, not neon green.  Tmi?  Well, you’ve read too much to go back now, haven’t you?

Wore my glasses for what felt like forever, mostly because I hate to wear my glasses.  Just two days ago, I put a fresh pair of contacts in.  Again, my eye became irritated, only this time, it hurts.  Like crazy.  Like, I woke up last night at 1 am, and was unable to sleep all night because of the gritty, painful sensation in my eye.

Call me crazy, but that motivated me to call the doctor.  But first, Google.  What I believe I have is GPC or Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis.  It can happen from several different irritants, and perhaps it is linked to the original case of bacterial conjunctivitis aka pinkeye.  What happens, is the eye lid becomes irritated and forms these little bumps that is essentially a rash on the inside of your eyelid that spends it’s time scraping the bejeezus out of your cornea.  That would explain the crazy pain.  Wearing contacts can aggravate it further, which would explain why I keep getting “pinkeye” over and over again despite my OCD cleaning and disinfecting.

So now what?  Well, I am calling the doctor as soon as the office opens.  There are drops that can help, and in the meanwhile, I will need to wear my glasses for several weeks until the GPC heals.  Afterwards, I should be able to wear contacts again, but most definitely for shorter periods of time to reduce the chances of this lovely condition ever returning.

Like how I already have myself diagnosed, treatment plan in place?  I’m not a doctor, I just play one in my head.  I could be wrong.  I guess.  All I know is that I would like my eyeball to not hurt.  And be all red and icky.  Yes, that would be nice.  So, very reluctantly I will be going to an actual doctor today who will hopefully make it all better.  I will update later today because I know you will be worried sick about me.  Well, you might be curious anyway.

Here’s hoping your day is filled with far less eye pain than mine!  Lucky duck.