[PCOS] Me: Not Fitting the Mold
If you have ever struggled with amenorrhea (absence of a menstrual period) or infertility I hope my story helps shed light on the struggles with these lady issues and to know you are not alone. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Katelyn and although I do not fit the typical mold for what someone with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) I sure have it! For those of you who are unfamiliar with this condition, PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age which is characterized by ovarian dysfunction, increased androgen production, and disorganized gonadotropin secretion. Simply put, PCOS is an umbrella term used to label a group of symptoms that all appear to be connected to the menstrual cycle and to have a strong correlation with insulin sensitivity. These irregularities can cause facial hair, acne, obesity, insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, etc. I did not display even one of these symptoms, I mean, minus a pimple here and there during puberty but that is beside the point. I do NOT fit the mold for PCOS.
Thank you to Northern Life Wellness, a top-rated chiropractor in Burnsville, MN, for providing this touching story.
I always wondered why I had such an irregular menstrual cycle. When I say “irregular” I mean getting my period on a monthly basis was rare and even when I would start to spot the duration was anywhere from 2-15 days. Yes, quite abnormal! I guess I chalked it up to being an athlete (thin frame) and being a very active adolescent. However, following a pelvic exam many years ago, I was officially diagnosed with PCOS. Following the diagnosis, my OBGYN had made the suggestion to go on birth control to help regulate my period. Unfortunately, these hormones completely screwed up my cycle. I had gone from having virtually no period to having my period more than I didn’t. Talk about a mood killer. After a few months, I made the decision to go off birth control. This lead to two years of an absent period.
When I started Chiropractic school in 2016, I wanted to learn more about new, alternative approaches to manage my symptoms in hopes of restoring monthly bleeding to normal. It was suggested by one of my professors that I get a deep tissue massage to my adductor muscles (inside leg muscles). I questioned the purpose of this and wanted to know more about why these muscles get tight and how this therapy could possibly help with my issues. My professor went on to explain that overactive adductor muscles cause an inhibition of the pelvic floor muscles which enables the uterus to function how it should. Since the adductors muscles stabilize the pelvic floor it is important to work out the tension in the muscles to relax the pelvic floor thus, having the uterus function at its optimum capacity. In addition to other therapies including acupuncture, massage therapy with an emphasis on trigger-point release to the abdominal and pelvic muscles, nutritional changes, progesterone cream, and obviously, chiropractic adjustment. The chiropractor focused on the upper lumbar region and the sacrum as those are the levels that innervated (control the function of ) the reproductive organs and tissues. As a result, shortly after these therapies, I started spotting again. This technique in combination with the others listed above helped to restore my menstrual cycle. At first, it was still a little inconsistent and wasn’t completely back to normal (it never WAS normal). Nonetheless, I can tell you that I have now had a consistent period for the past 3 months!
Recently, I have been routinely seeing an acupuncturist to maintain the progress made thus far. The whole philosophy behind acupuncture is to bring energy to certain areas in the body where stagnation is found. There are hundreds of locations on the body that relate to specific organs. These needles are then placed along these channels, called meridians, to allow energy to flow more freely to the organs. Weekly visits to my acupuncturist along with herbal formulas prescribed has kept me menstruating at a normal cadence. It’s crazy the information I’ve learned in chiropractic school and am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a fantastic field. I’m hoping this information will reach those who have or are living through similar struggles. Just know that you are not alone and it may be worth trying alternative methods in managing PCOS and infertility.
If this is you, or if your not sure why you have been struggling to get pregnant, or maybe it sounds like a friend of yours, then I urge you, please consider sharing this post and trying alternative therapies. Specifically, consider talking to a chiropractor. Our office specializes and deals with issues of infertility all the time. We have also grown to become one of the largest pediatric practices in the state of Minnesota! Don’t wait another month to see if your period will just magically come back or normalize on its own. Make the choice to prioritize your health and seek out a specialist near you. Always remember, knowledge is power, and the more you know, the more you are empowered to make educated decisions about your health.