In my first few encounters with doctors about PCOS I felt confused and powerless. The doctors only confirmed my PCOS symptoms, wrote me a prescription, and sent me away. Not one doctor gave me treatment options, guidance, or support. In this post you’ll learn the symptoms of PCOS and how to feel in control during your next doctors appointments.
Most PCOS symptoms seem unrelated and totally random. When I was initially diagnosed with PCOS I didn’t even know that all of the problems I suffered from were related let alone symptoms of PCOS. I just knew that I hardly ever had periods without the help of birth control pills, I was super hairy, and that I was overweight for the majority of my life.
In 2011, I went in for a birth control refill at the clinic on my college campus and the doctor on staff took one look at my chart (I completed one of those medical history documents), the dark skin around my neck, and told me I had PCOS. She never discussed my PCOS symptoms or treatment options for polycystic ovarian syndrome. Now that I think of it, she never even told me what PCOS stood for.
From then on, whenever I switched gyno’s (I changed health insurance plans a few times in grad school), I would tell them I had PCOS, and they would write me a prescription for birth control pills. One doctor even told me that I shouldn’t worry about treatment because it wouldn’t matter until I wanted to get pregnant. No one ever discussed my symptoms of PCOS as being related to one another or how to manage them.
Sigh, if I knew then, what I know how. I’ve created the PCOS Symptoms Checklist below so that you won’t have to go through what I went through.
I’ve also created a worksheet for you to complete before your doctors appointments so that you can feel knowledgeable and in control of our treatment options. If you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS for a while and you still don’t feel like you are on the same page as your doctor this worksheet should be helpful for you as well.
Before your PCOS doctors appointment
Once you have documented all of your PCOS symptoms, its time to find a doctor! A pretty easy way to do this is to log onto your insurance company’s website and click “find a doctor” from there you should be able to select you desired area and the type of specialty doctor (most insurance plans will require that you be diagnosed by a gynecologist before you can be referred to an endocrinologist). Another way to find a doctor is to ask the women you know. By asking a friend or family member you’ll be able to discuss the doctor’s reputation and get a feel for their personality before you meet them. You could also do you quick search on a service like Zoc Doc.
Make sure you bring your worksheet with you to the doctor and be prepared to take notes. I would even recommend starting a PCOS folder or file. I have a accordion file with all of my test results and notes.
What questions should I ask my doctor about PCOS?
The first question I recommend asking your doctor in relation to PCOS is: “What is PCOS?” If your doctor can’t explain PCOS to you in a way that makes you feel confident in their knowledge to treat you… leave. Seriously, don’t waste your time.
Below is a list of other questions to ask your doctor:
- What treatment methods do you recommend for treating PCOS?
- What medications do you recommend? What about natural treatment options?
- How do you feel about birth control and PCOS?
- What should I know about insulin and PCOS?
- Have you treated other women with PCOS?
- What other specialist should I see? Nutritionist? Endocrinologist? Fertility Specialist?
- How can I mange my weight with PCOS?
- How often should I come in for check-ups?
Your doctor should also have some questions for you about your medical history, family planning, and current medications. Download the FREE Worksheet so that you can be prepared during your next PCOS doctor’s appointment.
So, what do you think?
How were you diagnosed with PCOS? What symptoms did you notice before you knew what PCOS was? Did you download the checklist? Did it help?
Don’t be shy, talk to me in the comment section below!