So your girlfriend/wife/sister/daughter/girl you met last week just told you she has PCOS, what the heck does that mean? And how does it apply to you? First, I’d like to say THANK YOU on behalf of all women who live with PCOS that you’ve taken the time to learn more about this disorder that she is living with!
A Guys Guide to PCOS
What the heck is PCOS? It stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. (I’ve got A Quick Guide to PCOS if you’re interested in more specifics! Here, I’m just going to focus on what YOU can do to be a support to her!)
The name of this disorder is misleading though! Polycycstic ovaries are only one symptom of the endocrine disorder that affects more than 5 million women in the United States!
What are the symptoms anyway?
Most likely? Everything you’ve written off as “PMS” is one of her symptoms of PCOS. But unfortuantely? It doesn’t stop there! The hormone imbalances cause these symptoms to come and go with no real reason. (And not always at “that time” of the month either!)
- Weight gain and/or trouble losing weight.
- Extra hair on the face and body.
- Thinning hair on the scalp.
- Irregular periods.
- Infertility/Trouble getting pregnant
- Mood Swings
- Extreme fatigue
So how do you treat PCOS?
Unfortunately, there’s not a cure for PCOS, but it is possible to manage it!
- Diet and Exercise: PCOS effects insulin levels, so one fairly simple way to manage it is by eating an insulin-friendly diet! (Low carb, No Processed Sugar, limited dairy.)
- Medication: Birth Control Pills help to regulate hormones. Metformin helps to control glucose and insulin. (These are the two most commonly prescribed.)
- Supplements: This list could be pretty huge (it seems like there’s a vitamin or essential oil for everything these days) but my 6 vitamins that increase fertility article is a good place to start!
But what about me? What can I do?
I bet you thought I wasn’t going to get to you! (But before you can help her, you need to understand what she’s going through!)
Be supportive! I know, this is easier said then done. (I did mention mood swings, after all!) And I have to admit that there are times when my husband is trying to be supportive and all I want to do is yell, scream and be generally annoyed. Poor guy gets more than his fair share of eye rolls!
How? This is a bit more complicated! Is she interested in attempting a PCOS diet? Then encourage her – and PLEASE stop eating ice cream in front of her!! Are you currently trying for a baby? Accompany her to Doctor’s appointments (if she wants) or offer to take part in charting her fertility!
Be patient! I know this is easier said than done sometimes! But if her PCOS diagnosis is new? She likely is trying to deal with a lot internally. Relief that she has answers to why she’s felt so off. Fear that she may never get to naturally conceive a baby. (Yes, women worry about this – no matter how old or young they are; or how far off potential babies may be!) So she may just need some time to process this all. Be patient with her, but elt her know you’re there when she’s ready.
Help boost her confidence! There are so many aspects of PCOS that make a woman feel “less than”. The physical symptoms are pretty brutal – acne? Thinning hair? Weight Gain? UGH! And that doesn’t even touch what’s going on inside.
Let her know she’s beautiful. Compliment her, but be genuine! Let her know you love her. (And for the love of all things holy!! DO NOT RANDOMLY BRING THEM UP!! Yes, I’m yelling at you. Only because I know several men who have done JUST this!)
Be understanding about the infertility aspect. Maybe you aren’t ready to try for children. Maybe it’s something that’s just not a big deal to you. But no matter how she has always felt? In some way, it’s going to cause an issue for her.
Part of what makes a woman a woman is her ability to have children. (Even if that’s not something on her radar right now, or she doesn’t even want kids! It’s still a biological aspect for her.) So knowing that she may not be able to? Can really take a toll on her psyche. So be understanding. Be patient. Just be there.
I want to thank you for stopping by! (Especially you guys, who I know may not be huge on visiting a pregnancy site!) I hope that this post helped you to better understand what’s going on and how you can help a woman you care about! If you found this post helpful, or you know someone who could use a gently nudge? Please feel free to share this post on Twitter and Facebook!