Diabetes, Being a Girl, and PCOS


If you’re a girl you will get a lot of this.  If you’re a guy I’d be honored if you bravely read on…

I know men don’t have it easy.  But as a girl I often get frustrated by the unique struggles we face all while holding diabetes’ hand.  We carry children or children do not come into this world.  We’re the ones who might attempt to breast feed, which isn’t easy for everyone and involves carefully adjusting insulin needs.  Our careers, our relationships, our lives are sometimes negatively smattered with our once a month hormone excitement called PMS.  Once a month we women menstruate, sending a surge of hormones through our bodies, causing insulin needs to often rise and mess with our diabetes.  <sigh>  All this despite the fact we already make less money at work than our male counterparts.

In many women with diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome is another matter to deal with.  And it’s not an easy one.  I don’t know if it’s true but I’ve heard PCOS is the number one cause of female infertility in the US.  Here is my problem with it: Doctors have told me I need to control cyst formation by taking birth control pills for a long time.  Yet, these pills cause leg cramping for me-a serious side effect that is not to be ignored because it’s a sign of blood clots.  So the pills are officially out.  Pregnancy makes the cysts go away because of all of the extra estrogen.  But getting pregnant while raising two toddlers and feeling up to my ears with diabetes and parenting definitely doesn’t sound like the right thing to do either.  I’ve been off of the pill for long enough now that my cysts are growing again.  I have tenderness and cramping in my abdomen and my PMS symptoms are worsening every month.  This includes my moods.  I had no mood swings while pregnant and was shocked at how calm I actually am.  Since I’ve been dealing with PCOS for a long time however, my periods have always been torturous and my mood swings have left me feeling like someone fought me and won.  I feel like I have 2 decent weeks out of every month.  So half of my life is being seriously challenged and I don’t like it.

I could improve PCOS by having no sugar, by keeping insulin levels low.  Yet, how do I do that when I need sugar for lows and when type 1 diabetes often means giving extra insulin, not for food, but to lower blood sugar?  It’s a wretched cycle to be in and I don’t see a way out.  I’ll be talking to the doctor about metformin soon to see if that will help me use less insulin because lowering insulin resistance is supposed to help with PCOS.  Left untreated, ovarian cysts can turn into cancer so I don’t want to do nothing to help the matter.  They also hurt and can cause cramping that can make a gal scream (I’m exhibit A on that one).  Three years ago I ended up in the hospital with really bad abdominal pain from a ruptured cyst.  I don’t want to get to that point again.  I already eat pretty well and I already exercise.  I’m not overweight but I could lose a few more pounds.  I maintain my weight eating 1200-1400 calories a day.  (Clearly, I don’t eat too much)  I have other symptoms of insulin resistance even though I use one unit of insulin per 15 carbs.  We’ll see what the doc says.  In the meantime, is there anyone out there who has PCOS and has found a way to manage it?  Does it cause you to have terrible PMS symptoms?  Since PCOS causes infertility and increases risk of miscarriage, how did I get pregnant and carry twins you ask?  My doctors and my family and I all agree: a miracle.

I’ve made it through that, now I’ve somehow got to get through this.

3 thoughts on “Diabetes, Being a Girl, and PCOS

  1. jennine g-l

    My sister has PCOS and had no problems getting pregnant even though she was told that she couldn’t. She also has some friends that have gotten pregnant even though they had PCOS so I believe that Dr. are not always right in telling women that they will have problems with pregnancy.

  2. Sysy Post author

    I agree with you. I was very upset to hear I may never conceive and feel it was unnecessary stress to hear from a doctor. I would have preferred to hear that pcos can make it difficult to conceive so that I would have retained more hope.

  3. Renee

    I too am a type 1 and have PCOS. When I was 17 my doctor told me I wouldn’t be able to have children, a few years later another doctor said it would take work but could be possible. I am 25 now, no kids and only sleep with my one man. We aren’t taking any sort of precaution to prevent pregnancy…part of me is okay with this but part of me also fears that doctor number 1 was right and I will only be taking care of and spoiling my nieces and nephews. Seeing the way he is with them is bittersweet. I want to be able to create a family of our own someday. I know I’m still young but I hope one day (in the near future) I’ll be able to create new life. If not I hope adoption isn’t too difficult.

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