The Internet

I have a shelf full of textbooks and resources.

I also have online access to medical journals and peer-reviewed articles…… but what did I do? I went to the internet.

I googled.

I googled for hours, in fact I googled for days. My strained eyes burned in protest, but I dismissed their complaints as I read “just one more”. It became an obsession. I lost control. I felt the need to peruse endless amounts of unreferenced and biased information that left me more exasperated than when I began. I found a few useful resources, but most websites remained simple and extremely repetitive…..”PCOS is when you are overweight, have too much hair and cannot get pregnant”. That’s way too vague. PCOS is so much more complicated than that. It is classified as a “metabolic disorder” and let me tell you, metabolic disorders are unbelievably complicated.

Success stories, of course, are always uplifting, but I often found the details to be quite vague and occasionally riddled with inane opinions and ludicrous advice. I mean, who were these people confidently handing out medical advice with such self-assured entitlement? I felt lucky to have a medical background so that I could filter through some of the nonsense but I could only imagine how overwhelming it must be to try to decipher through the plethora of conflicting advice that exists on the internet. Don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to criticise the people who have shared their very personal stories online, as I myself am doing, but I do find some of the unintentional misinformation to be misleading.

Here are some basic facts about PCOS (from a book, NOT from the internet)

  • Another name for polycystic ovaries is Hyperandrogenic anovulation.
  • Hyperandrogenic – this mean an excess of “androgens” or male sex hormones. In other words, you are producing way too much testosterone and this is causing hormonal imbalance and chaos……which naturally results in “anovulation”
  • Anovulation – The prefix “an” means lack of, or without. So this imbalance of hormones is causing you NOT to ovulate.
  • PCOS accounts for 30% of cases of irregular periods, or no periods
  • PCOS accounts for 75% of all cases of “anovulation”
  • Only 50% of women diagnosed with PCOS are obese
  • Only 40% of women have elevated serum testosterone levels (in their blood)
  • In other words, not all women with PCOS experience the exact same symptoms
  • PCOS is considered to be an endocrine disorder…..(what does this mean?)

I will delve into the nitty gritty of PCOS later, but here is a picture that illustrates how complicated this endocrine disorder is. This “simple graph” is trying to illustrate the normal hormones that are produced and regulated within the cells of your ovaries.

Image-1

Gardner, D. & Shoback, D. (Eds). (2007). Greenspan’s Basic & Clinical Endocrinology (8th ed.) (pp. 527-530). New York. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

*Deep frustrated sigh*

Overwhelming, isn’t it?

So even though I may still fall prey to the occasional late night of “googling”, I have vowed to spend my time productively researching the information that will educate and empower me on this journey. And of course, I will share this with you 🙂

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(Flashback to my “Nursing School” days in 2004, when we predominantly studied from books, not the internet)

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