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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

My Battle with Amenorrhea

My visitor came today. My period usually comes only once every year to year in a half. This means I have amenorrhea. Amenorrhea is the name given to the condition when a woman fails to have menstrual periods. The condition is known as "primary amenorrhea" when the woman has never menstruated; and "secondary amenorrhea" if her periods cease after having been regular for months or years.

I am so happy when he (my period) comes that I celebrate his visit. I always refer to my cycle as masculine because it is like a man in the sense he comes when he wants to visit without asking and leaves whenever he is ready. He never calls or lets me know what he is planning. I miss him when he is away, and he never listens. Lol!

I have visited 2 gynecologist and one herbal specialist as I am always overly concerned with this, and everyone always assures me that I'm ok physically. The herbal specialist advised me to make a smoothie of beets and lychee fruit. Ewwwh! A few days after regularly drinking this my period visited for a little while and disappeared until the following year. I feel fine, but I may have Poly-Cystic Ovary Syndrome.

Poly-Cystic Ovary Syndrome - PCOS - is the most common endocrine disease that affects women of reproductive age (puberty to menopause). It is also one of the most confusing. It affects approximately 10% of women in the reproductive age group. There have been some new developments that are giving us a much better understanding of this problem.
PCOS is an unfortunate term because the word "ovarian" appears in the name of this syndrome. For years, many people automatically assumed that it is purely an ovarian disease. We now recognize that it is in fact, a systemic endocrine and metabolic disorder. Multiple factors are at work. It should really be called the "Poly-Cystic Ovary/Excess Androgen Production /Adrenal Hyperplasia / Insulin Resistant / Hyperpipidemic / Often Overweight / Anovulatory /Hirsute / Sometimes Acne" Syndrome.

PCOS is a total body endocrine disease. It is unfortunate and confusing that the word "Ovary" appears in the name. The abnormalities in the ovary are really more the result of the problem - not the cause.

The problem is further complicated by the fact that there is really no universal definition of PCOS even though most endocrinologists would agree on a set of criteria necessary to make the diagnosis. If there is one absolute that is necessary to make the diagnosis of PCOS, it is the complete or almost complete lack of ovulation. Women who are ovulating regularly on their own, cannot, by definition, have PCOS. There are however Reproductive Endocrinologists who feel that women who have all the features of PCOS except for the fact that they ovulate may have a subset of the syndrome. However, these women are much less likely to be insulin resistant.

The other criteria that must be satisfied is that the women have either clinical or laboratory evidence of increased androgen (male hormone) production, either facial hair and/or acne. Laboratory confirmation is important because women from certain ethnic groups such as Oriental, Hispanic, or Native American may show very little clinical evidence of increased androgen production even in the face of significantly elevated blood levels.

I mean I like to know that my period is there although it's a hassle when it comes. I feel a sense of loss without it. And if I ever decide to have children, I would not want the heartache and medical treatment it would take to overcome infertility issues.

If any of you womyn have comments, questions, help groups, or suggestions, please comment.

1 comment:

Carmen In NC said...

Please visit my page. I have PCOS too and posted a few site and blogs about it. I'll email you!