Make PCOS Awareness Part of Your Care

For women and girls with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) accepting, learning and understanding PCOS can sometimes be a daunting task. However, armed with the proper tools and support, women and girls are able to make the right choices to optimize their long term care.

At the time I was diagnosed in 1999, I knew nothing about PCOS and in turn I found out there were not many options to learn about the syndrome. By chance I came across what was then the premiere organization for PCOS, The Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association (PCOSA).

At last I had found resources and women who understood what I was going through and immediately was on a path to self education, volunteerism and what would turn out to be over 15 years of advocacy with and for the PCOS Community!  However, I learned quickly, except for a small group of cysters and doctors, the resources, awareness and sensitivity were lacking.

It is hard for anyone who is not living what you are living to completely understand the impact a syndrome or disease can have on you personally. For many who support you, they have to sit back, offer support and in essence let you go through a very personal process.

I was confused, anxious and desperate to find answers and solutions, to a growing women’s health issue that affects so many but is often not discussed.

Another issue affecting awareness is there are many stigmas associated with PCOS, many women and girls are afraid to open up about their experiences and feelings. Until these stigmas are removed, we cannot expect others to understand.

This is why knowing you are not alone, knowing others are out there dealing with what you are dealing with and being open to sharing stories in turn will increase awareness and sensitivity.

With that being said, Where does one start? Here are 4 steps:

Knowledge

Knowledge is power. There more you know about PCOS the better equipped you are to make the right decisions when it comes to your healthcare. The mere acceptance of the first solution thrown at you is not always the best path for you.

Learn from what advice surrounds you (books, cysters, support groups, articles), then you are able to discuss the best options for your health with your healthcare team.

Explore Treatment Options

For some, medications are a necessity and solution to overcome the symptoms and overall cause of PCOS while for others a more natural approach seems to be the key!

Treatment goals are based on your symptoms, whether or not you want to become pregnant, and lowering your chances of getting heart disease and diabetes. Many women will need a combination of treatments to meet these goals.

Bottom line treatments are as varied as the symptoms, find what works best for you and take your time getting to where you want to be. Nothing happens overnight. Realizing this is the biggest and most valuable step you can take!

Acceptance

Many women with PCOS have difficulty accepting PCOS because they feel different, ashamed and set apart from what is considered to be the norm. But, when we think about it, what is normal???
You have the ability to overcome! As with anything else in life, you research and learn, and you fight!!!!

Accept PCOS and ACCEPT who you are and where you are in life. Know you are not alone and within you is the power to make change!!

Advocate

As PCOS is reaching epidemic proportions for many young women in urban cities and 70% of women with PCOS are still undiagnosed, it is vital that we stand together with non-profit organizations like PCOS Challenge and PCOS Awareness Association (PCOSAA) to find ways to collaborate and find answers before more generations go through decades of not knowing what is wrong.

Although PCOS at times is very personal to all of us we sometimes have to think of the greater good and realized how many of us are dealing with this and to make change we have to join together to make our voices strong and our message loud.

Please join in this September for PCOS Awareness Month and take part in the many campaigns and activities to bring up our community together.

We are the change!

ashley-levinson-imageAshley Levinson has been a PCOS Awareness Advocate for over16 years, serving her mission and passion to bring more awareness to a syndrome that affects so many, including herself.

She has served as an executive and advisor to many PCOS and Women’s Health Organizations and has made multiple appearances including Discovery Health Mystery Diagnosis, Woman’s World, Fox News and Glamour Magazine’s as a finalist for Woman of the Year in 2008. Follow Ashley on Twitter and Instagram @PCOSgurl

 

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