Living in the Pacific Northwest means it is common for almost all of us to lack somewhat in Vitamin D but for some of us levels can get extremely low... like "dirt low" as my doctor referred to my levels.
Turns out Vitamin D deficiency can lead to numerous health problems like osteoporosis, heart disease, increased risk of cancers, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, PMS and infertility issues, etc.
Frequent symptoms that effect those of us with very low levels include: obesity (and subsequent difficulty in loosing weight), depression and other mood/anxiety disorders, excessive fatigue, muscle, bone and joint pain, restless sleep, poor concentration and headaches.
Wow. Seriously. I'm relieved that there is a reason for so many of the symptoms I've had over the years. The obesity, clinical depression, headaches, fatigue and daily pain - it's not all in my head.
For more information about Vitamin D deficiency, please visit the 501(c)(3) non-profit Vitamin D Council website here.
An official diagnosis of PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, also known as Stein-Leventhal Syndrome) was also in the cards. About time.
PCOS is one of the most common hormonal endocrine disorders in women but because there are no specific tests that can resolutely end in diagnosis, physicians have to rely on a combination of tests and symptoms to diagnose women effected with the condition.
PCOS is a hormonal disorder which can result in irregular menstrual cycles, cysts on the ovaries, infertility, acne, hair growth issues (excessive growth and thinning), pelvic pain, anxiety and depression, sleep issues, obesity (excessive weight gain and difficulty loosing it) and increased risk of diabetes. Yikes.
There is no cure for PCOS however there are some things that can be done to help with the symptoms.
- Lifestyle modification - weight loss specifically in order to keep insulin and glucose levels under control which have been found to directly correlate with PCOS symptoms.
- Birth control pills - the steady hormone levels can help control menstrual cycle issues, lessen acne issues and reduce male hormone levels (androgens) which are a key factor in the development of PCOS issues.
- Diabetes medication - if patient is suffering from insulin related issues in correlation with PCOS.
- Fertility medications
- Topical medicines for acne, hair growth issues.
For additional information about PCOS, please visit the womenshealth.gov page about the disorder here and the 501(c)(3) non profit called the PCOS Foundation here.
I am sharing my health concerns here as I know I am not alone - there are many other women who are suffering from issues like I am, many probably thinking that the symptoms they are experiencing are "all in their head" and may not feel like they are being heard by their doctors.
All I can say to you is keep searching, there is a doctor out there who will listen and help and you are most definitely not alone.