Coping with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

By Kimberly Castelo

Folx who have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) often have issues around:

  • Obesity
  • Hair growth on face, chest
  • Acne
  • Infertility
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Male pattern baldness
  • and more...

These issues can be difficult to manage. Many folx with PCOS tell me that they eat correctly and work out but always struggle with weight. Folx also have shared with me the devastation they feel when they try to have a child and yet struggle with infertility because of PCOS.

Given that PCOS affects so many areas of a person's life, it can often have an effect on their self-esteem. So what should people know about dealing with PCOS?

First, you are not alone. There are many people just like you who have struggled and are struggling with this daily. Find people with whom you can talk about your struggles. An example of this kind of help could be a support group or friends and family who are willing to hear you.

Talk to a dietitian, a trainer, and your doctor about ways to manage your PCOS through diet, exercise, and possibly medication. It is important that at this stage you focus on “non-weight-scale” goals like how you are feeling, your energy, and how your clothing fits. Focusing on the weight on the scale can be very difficult and discouraging...a number is not the all-inclusive way to tell if we are healthy!

For unwanted facial hair, getting waxed can be an option; a birth control pill can manage the testosterone hormone (something that folx with PCOS have too much of). Again, talking to your gynecologist or endocrinologist can help you decide which form of treatment is right for you.

Infertility can also be so devastating. Fortunately, there are many treatments to help ovulation and thus help people with PCOS in their ability to get pregnant. However, it is really easy when dealing with infertility to focus on the goal (to get pregnant) and to ignore the joy of intimacy and sex. Oftentimes, partners struggle to work through these issues and often feel like it is just a task instead of being fun.

If you find yourself in this place, please know that you and a million other people and partners who struggle with infertility feel the same way! Talking to a sex therapist can help rekindle the joy of making a baby so that the focus is not simply on the outcome!

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About Kimberly Castelo, LMFT-S, CST-S, CIIP

Kimberly (she/her) is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, Certified Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist, and a Certified Integrated Intimacy Professional. She has a private practice that focuses on sex therapy, attachment, social justice, and partner work. 

Kimberly is a Washington State Supervisor, an AAMFT Supervisor, AASECT Certified Sex Therapist Supervisor and an EFT Supervisor-in-training. Kimberly also provides sex supervision through the Modern Sex Therapy Institute where folx train to be sexual educators and therapists. 

Kimberly is a national speaker, speaking on topics of faith, sexuality, grief, coping with Multiple Sclerosis, high tone pelvic floor, menopause and more! She is a gifted teacher and emphasizes the freedom that comes from education!

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