Departing from writing about matters related to collaborative reproduction, I am eager to share with you information that just came to me about a progressive approach to managing a condition I was diagnosed with close to thirty years ago: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
September is National PCOS Awareness Month, and it is by coincidence, I suppose, that I came to learn about the approach Children’s Hospital in Boston is taking with early PCOS intervention during this month of heightened awareness about the condition. I became inspired to write following a fascinating discussion I had earlier this week with Dr. Norman Spack, a board-certified pediatric endocrinologist at Children’s Hospital, about what it means to be a second generation PCOS patient (I suspect this is the case because of the parallels between my and my mother’s medical and infertility history).
Early Intervention for PCOS
It appears that pediatric endocrinologists—at least those in Boston and hopefully this is the case in your area, as well—are now acknowledging that young women (fifteen to eighteen months post onset of first menses) who are experiencing menstrual irregularity need to be tracked, and perhaps treated by endocrinologists years, or more likely, decades before planning for a family.
While I was diagnosed with PCOS in my late teens, I was not “treated” until I hoped to become pregnant. This was standard practice in the early 1980s.
It is wonderful to see the progress being made in acknowledging that PCOS is not just a problem when in baby-making mode. According to Dr. Spack, if young PCOS patients are tracked from their mid-teens, it may not only impact the extent of fertility treatments that the patient might endure when pursuing parenthood, but can assist in the long-term management (and possible avoidance) of some of the lifestyle and other health related effects of the syndrome.
So far, I have been fortunate to successfully manage my PCOS. I have never been treated medically, was successful with fertility treatments, and have not yet developed so many of the other health issues that often come along with the diagnosis. I celebrate National PCOS Awareness Month by bringing this information to you and hope that what I have learned this week is an indication of both hope and promise for the next generation of young women who will come to know the impact of being diagnosed with this condition.
By Amy Demma for FertilityAuthority