Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Some conclusions

Another blog with no pictures! Sorry!  I have come to a few medical conclusions and I wanted to share. Everyone who is reading might never struggle with these things, but statistically you do know someone else who does!  So here we go...

1- When my grandma was pregnant with my mother she was given a drug called DES.  At the time the medical community thought that it decreased miscarriages and pre-term labor.  By the 1970s DES had been banned for use during pregnancy because it had adverse side-effects.  There have been quite a few studies done on the "Daughters of DES" (those who were exposed to it in-utero), and their risk of certain cancers is nearly doubled and they have an incredible rate of fertility problems.  Other than having babies a few weeks early, my mom has not seen any effects of DES.  Just recently the medical community has started to research the "Granddaughters of DES".  That would be my sister and I.  They have not come to any solid conclusions, but it is suspected that many of the same fertility problems are passed on.  Now I will probably never know, but it sure does explain a LOT of the issues my sister and I have!

2- OB/GYNs are not trained to treat anxiety/depression and Psychologists/psychiatrists are not trained to treat Poly cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).  Your thinking "DUH!", but this has made a HUGE difference in my life.  Nearly 35% of women who suffer from PCOS also develop some sort of anxiety/panic/depression problems.  This is a huge number!  It makes perfect sense really.  We have all heard of post-partum depression and physicians are trained to look for it.  A woman with PCOS experiences the same amount of hormonal imbalances that a post-partum woman experiences.  The difference is that she experiences it over and over again every cycle!  The range of hormones affects the way the neurotransmitters in her brain create serotonin.  When these are out of wack her body begins reacting with anxiety and panic (This is all according to the Mayo Clinic, so it is pretty reputable info).  Now, back to my main point.  OB/GYNs are not trained to look for depression, and have no tools to treat it.  The docs I have seen have often pushed me to just wait a few more months to see if the PCOS resolves itself, or prescribed high-powered birth control  (Birth control pills and I do not get along!).  Docs in the mental health field treat anxiety and depression with high powered anti-depressants.  If counseling is provided, they concentrate on thought patterns.  The problem is that the PCOS has caused the Anxiety/Depression!!!! But nobody connects the two!!!  Heal the PCOS and you will most likely heal the anxiety/depression.

3- In my case, my first signs of anxiety, a strange rapid heart beat, began 3 months into my PCOS symptoms.  I had no idea what it was and so I ignored it!  When I spoke with my OB/GYN about my PCOS symptoms she felt she needed to follow the military Doc rule that I had to be trying to conceive for 1 year before they would intervene.  What she missed was that I was a nervous wreck because my body felt out of control.  Fast forward to a few years later and I was then having full blown panic attacks and in the ER 11 times in one year!  The docs there were looking for all sorts of explanations for the panic attacks.  Even though I always informed them that I had PCOS, no one ever put two and two together.  Eventually my serotonin levels got so low that my panic attacks turned into depression symptoms.  Now I was a candidate for a mental health professional.  This whole time my PCOS got worst and worst.

4- Where am I today? I have come to understand a lot about myself and had to let go of a lot of unfounded expectations about myself.  I still have the same issue with Doctors being so specialized that they cannot treat me as a whole person, but I always try to keep the whole picture in mind.  I now treat the anxiety/depression with very low levels of meds, but I am also on a new drug for treating the PCOS.  It has not been pleasant, but it is necessary for my future health.

That's all.  Thanks for reading :)

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