Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sometimes It's Hard To Be A Woman

I'm still sick, and miserable with it. I came home from work at around lunchtime yesterday, had a nap and then spent the day on the couch in my jammies watching DVDs and reading blogs, swigging heartily on my cough bottle and necking paracetamol like it was going out of fashion. My good humour was waning by teatime - I was thoroughly dosed but the drugs weren't working and I was getting new, jittery aches and pains.

Influenza, perhaps? SARS? No, worse. A period.

Really I should be thrilled. I have something called PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) which means that I don't really have periods and never had. I was diagnosed with it at 15 and treated with different forms of the pill for years - the hormones in the pill suppress the condition and simulate periods, so it's a solution of sorts. The hormones in the pill unfortunately also helped me to put on weight and made me depressed so in my twenties I decided that I'd had enough of being a pudgy bag of mental and would like to try a more progressive treatment. I did a bit of research, spoke to a woman who was being treated for infertility as a result of PCOS over in the UK, spoke to my doctor and asked that she recommend a specialist who would be willing to try an alternative treatment with me. She did and now here I am, four years later, menstruating.

It's great, really. The medication I've been on for the last few years is very hard on my system (metformin is traditionally used to treat diabetes and spironolactone is used to treat heart conditions and cirrhosis, I thankfully have none of those) and there have been times where I really wonder if it's worth continuing with. So I really shouldn't be complaining, this is evidence that all my efforts haven't been in vain. It's just a pity that Auntie Flo decided to pay her visit when I'm already feeling like a bag of boiled snot.

Womanhood, eh? It's not all high heels and lipstick. Still, there's fun to be had. I googled slang for menstruation, to see if I could find any that tickled my fancy.

I'm having my euphemism today.


Annie Rhiannon said...

You've got the painters in, lady.

AJ said...

God I soo Love being a man !

Rosie said...

indeed, Annie. Miss Scarlett has come home to Tara...

two words, AJ: multiple orgasms
(we win. no question)

Terence McDanger said...

A pudgy bag of mental, ha ha.

As for multiple orgasms, sure I have them all the time. Just a couple of weeks apart like...

backpedalbrakes said...

Munster are playing at home...

(what rugby has to do with menstruation is beyond me, mind)

davey said...

The girl I've been seeing recently has the same condition Rosie, which means that making the choice to start using birth control (other that the annoying type) has additional complications.

I did a bit of research into male birth control, as I had some recollection about a monthly injection being available, but everything i found still looked as though it was still in the experimental stage.

While my experimental days of lapsing into monsterism were indeed fond ones, there's gotta be an easier way..?

Rosie said...

i like it, Catherine...

i kinda still am a pudgy bag of mental, Terence, i just can't blame the drugs any more.

Davey, if she's being treated for PCOS with anything other than the pill then there really is no choice but condoms, as anything else means fucking with her hormones. and if she's being treated with spironolactone she needs to be very careful not to conceive. solution? make condoms fun. teach her how to put them on with her teeth.

Rosie said...

flippancy aside (and at the risk of sounding like the public service announcement that follows hollyoaks - if you have been affected by any of the issues in this episode...) my email address is there if there is anything you want to know about PCOS. the websites can be confusing at best and scary at worst, and doctors are inclined to tell you to fuck off and live with it unless you're trying for sprogs.

pcosinct said...

A few things to address.

For all who do read this should know that being PCOS does not necessarily mean that the patient is going to have no menstruals or lack of. Many women with PCOS still have a normal menstrual cycles. Menstrual issues are only a side affect to the core problem - insulin issues.

PCOS is prediabetes so while you may not be diabetic now (bravo by the way), you are indeed at risk for it and your body functions the same as a diabetic type 2. The only difference is that your insulin levels do not meet the guidelines to be clinically classified as diabetic. This; of course is a great thing. Living your life as a diabetic will help you keep diabetes at bay.

Lastly to all reading this; women suffering from PCOS should not be on any form of birth control hormone. BCH's put the patient at greater risk for all the risk factors associated with all BCH's, increased issues with insulin, cysts and other hormonal issues. The reason why many doctors put the patient on BCH's is to trigger menstruals. This can also be done alternatively with provera which is temporary while maintaining your natural cycle. There is also treating the PCOS which should be done anyway. Treatment is a Diabetic Type 2 diet plan, exercise, and for many, naturals and/or metformin (as stated by Rosie)

Good luck Rosie! Email me if you would like more information.

Angi Ingalls
PCOS in ConnecTion
PCOS educator for more than 18yrs

pcosinct said...

Davey: Other alternatives

Female Condom - can be inserted early and worn longer then a traditional condom

Diaphram/Cap/Sponge: all can be inserted hours in advance. Must wear an additional 3 hours after sex. Total hours allowed to wear: 24 to 30 hours. I have used this meathod for 4 years and LOVE it. Does not interfere with spontanous moments.

Rosie said...

thanks, Angi. your article on your visit to the gynae rang some unpleasant bells, i had exactly the same experience myself and it took me a long time to get over it. good on ya for doing something about it :-)

davey said...

Thanks Rosie/Angi, little overwhelmed but appreciate all the help.

I'll try to digest all the information as best I can before hounding you with queries. Considering it's such a new thing with the girl, I don't want to delve too deeply into what is potentially a very personal thing, but then I suppose at the stage we are it's an issue that could potentially affect us both.

Umm.. did I blink and suddenly we were all grown ups? I feel very confused being so serious. Someone do something irresponsible, quick!

Rosie said...

yeah, best not go charging in with the well-meaning advice unless asked, Davey, at least not yet.

Someone do something irresponsible, quick!

eh, like meeting strange men off the internet, or getting a tattoo???

pcosinct said...

or max out all of your credit cards on shoes, shoes and chocolate. ooooo Im hooked. lol