Wrapping up #PCOSawarenessmonth

pcosSeptember was a month that gave women the perfect excuse to wear teal nail polish, all while embracing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and raising awareness to it. With over 198 tweets this year, #PCOSawarenessmonth was able to reach people from all corners of the globe – from the United States to South Africa to China and to our homeland, Australia!
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And what was most exciting is that 24% of contributors were male.
Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 11.24.23 pmIt’s great to see men getting involved in women’s health, as PCOS could affect their partners, mothers or even daughters. You shouldn’t be surprised if someone you love is affected by PCOS since 1 in 10 women between the ages of 18 to 44 have the hormone disorder.

So what exactly is PCOS?
In scientific terms, PCOS is when your body does not produce high enough levels of estrogen. This causes you to have ‘hyperandrogenism’ aka abnormally high testosterone levels (male sex hormone), which may cause ovulation to stop making it more difficult to have children. And for women that are able to fall pregnant, with PCOS they have an increased risk of miscarriage.

Or in short, PCOS is when you have imbalanced female sex hormones.

What are the consequences of PCOS?
– irregular or absence of menstrual periods
– acne, hormonal break outs
– weight gain/obesity/ difficulty losing weight
– excess hair growth
– depression
– cysts in ovaries
– difficulty getting pregnant
– miscarriages
– infertility

The Oral contraceptive pill and PCOS
Unfortunately, many women are frequently prescribed the pill as the first line of defence for their PCOS. The pill lowers testosterone levels in women with PCOS. This is pivotal for those with PCOS as testosterone at abnormally high levels is what triggers excess hair growth and acne as well as prevents ovulation. The intake of the pill will allow the user to temporarily regulate these symptoms and the symptoms listed above. Emphasis on the ‘temporarily’, as the truth is OCPs do NOT cure PCOS. Sadly, there is yet to be a PCOS. The disorder remains incurable and once the user gets off the pill, their PCOS symptoms will continue to affect them.

Women and their personal PCOS journeys
This is Liz Marie, who was diagnosed with PCOS at 25. Her raw and honest blog post will be of comfort and inspiration for those with PCOS and have had difficulty getting pregnant. You can find her post here:

And here is Amber Benge who managed to treat her PCOS by restoring hormonal balance in her body without prescription pills. Amber is a remarkable testament of treating PCOS symptoms naturally and holistically. You can find her here:

Don’t forget to share your PCOS journey with us on our Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/tbhthepill
Or Tweet us @tbhthepill

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#WorldSuicidePreventionDay

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To mark #WorldSuicidePreventionDay we will tribute this post to all women who have suffered from suicidal thoughts as a side effect of the pill. Contraceptive pills contain different levels of artificial estrogen, a hormone that prevents ovulation (release of an egg). Studies have shown that estrogen directly influences the emotional wellbeing of women. While most articles and doctors claim that the pill reduces PMS, it can also induce anxiety, depression, insomnia and mood swings. However, doctors will not warn you of this.To explain on a chemistry level, estrogen effects the production increases the production of neurosteroids, which can cause mood swings and anxiety. Simply said, estrogen from OCPs can trigger or worsen anxiety. Being on the pill raises the estrogen levels in your body as much as 100 times more than the body naturally produces.

Doctor Jerilynn Prior, a researcher and Professor of Endocrinology at the University of British Columbia has found that by preventing ovulation with the pill, this leads to estrogen to build up and actually worsen mood swings from PMS and emotional health.  The estrogen build up also prevents the thyroid gland from releasing hormones. This leads to the hypothyroidism (inactive thyroid) which causes you to feel mentally sluggish, foggy, depressed, over stressed and experience more unpredictable mood swings.

Hormones are often over looked when it comes to mental health. However, it is imperative that we bring awareness to the role hormonal imbalance, in particular estrogen dominance and its destructive effect on the mental health of women.

If you have or had experiences of any negative suicidal thoughts feel free to open up to us with your stories. We are hear to listen, you are not alone.

More information on the pill (Dr. Jerilynn Prior ‘The Pill at 50’)