What's wrong with me?


by tissa

September is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome awareness month. Are you aware?

Organic NUTritionist recently wrote a blog entry called "What can cause you to be overweight?", in which he/she mentioned Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Since September is PCOS awareness month, I wanted to share my story in hopes of raising awareness about this disorder.

I was diagnosed at age 17 with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I had known for years that "something was wrong with me," but I couldn't get any doctors to take my complaints seriously. They always had excuses for my symptoms (more info below), from "teen girls have irregular periods" to "you Middle Easterners are a hairy people" to "she must be sneaking food." (This last one was directed at my mother, with me in the room.)

In addition to the physical toll that this disease has taken, it has also taken a huge emotional toll. The disorder is very cosmetic and "physical" in that the symptoms are highly visible, but most people don't know what they're seeing. What they see - to put it kindly - is a woman who looks the opposite of our societal ideal of what a woman should look alike.

This disorder is something I rarely talk about - mainly out of shame and embarrassment - but I'm tired of feeling ashamed and embarrassed by something I didn't choose. And let me make it very very clear - I would never have chosen this, and I wish I didn't have it. But, it's something I live with every day, and I figure, if I had the nerve to get onstage after 9/11 and tell airport security jokes, then I have the nerve to be open about my disease.

So without further ado, here's some basic information about the disorder. And you can always learn more by Googling "PCOS." If these symptoms sound familiar to you, or if they're ringing true about your sister, friend, roommate, daughter, etc, then please find a reputable doctor in your area.

Your "Cyster,"

Tissa Hami


What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem that can affect a woman's menstrual cycle, ability to have children, hormones, heart, blood vessels, and appearance.

How many women have PCOS?
About one in ten women of childbearing age has PCOS. It can occur in girls as young as 11 years old.

What causes PCOS?
The cause of PCOS is unknown. Most researchers think that more than one factor could play a role in developing PCOS. Genes are thought to be one factor. Researchers also think insulin could be linked to PCOS.

What are the symptoms of PCOS?
Not all women with PCOS share the same symptoms. These are some of the symptoms of PCOS:
- infrequent menstrual periods, no menstrual periods, and/or irregular bleeding
- infertility
- hirsutism: increased hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs, or toes
- ovarian cysts
- acne, oily skin, or dandruff
- weight gain or obesity, usually carrying extra weight around the waist
- insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes
- high cholesterol
- high blood pressure
- male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
- patches of thickened and dark brown or black skin on the neck, arms, breasts, or thighs
- skin tags, or tiny excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
- pelvic pain
- anxiety or depression due to appearance and/or infertility
- sleep apnea: excessive snoring and times when breathing stops while asleep

What tests are used to diagnose PCOS?

There is no single test to diagnose PCOS. Your doctor will take a medical history, perform a physical exam, and possibly take some tests to rule out other causes of your symptoms.

How is PCOS treated?
Because there is no cure for PCOS, it needs to be managed to prevent problems. Treatment goals are based on your symptoms.

Does PCOS put women at risk for other health problems?
Women with PCOS have greater chances of developing several serious, life-threatening diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer.

How can I cope with the emotional effects of PCOS?

Having PCOS can be difficult. Many women are embarrassed by their appearance. Others may worry about being able to get pregnant. Some women with PCOS might get depressed. Getting treatment for PCOS can help with these concerns and help boost a woman's self-esteem. Support groups located across the United States and on-line also can help women with PCOS deal with the emotional affects.

From: //www.4woman.gov/faq/polycystic-ovary-syndrome.cfm


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more from tissa

so proud of you!

by PersonalPersia on



Takes a very brave person to write this, I'm proud of you!!


Thank you Tissa jan for sharing about PCOS

by Monda on

You are not only a beautiful woman, brilliant off and on stage (deservedly above Cho), but also admirable for your openness with this most personal piece of information.


Thanks for reading

by tissa on

Thank you all for reading my story!  Your kind words of support are much appreciated.

Anahid jan, you are so sweet.  Thanks for your support and encouragement.  I'm glad to know you in person now.

JJ, many thanks for reading, and for creating this invaluable forum where we can all exchange our stories.

Anonymouse, as the article says, not all women with PCOS share the same symptoms.  There are indeed thin Cysters.

Yana, what I'm hearing you say is, you've got someone for me.  ;)

Shepesh, I am sooooo telling your wife.

Mehdi, I will forgive your comments here since you called me "brilliant" and "smart" when you commented under a previous blog entry of mine.  This disease is, unfortunately, very real.

Flying Solo, thanks for the support, and for the wonderful stories you write.  I may not always comment on them, but I do always read them.

Natalia, muchas gracias for reading and commenting.

Yolanda, much thanks for your supportive words.  They mean a lot.


Yana "Lots of sex" is a good way to overcome?! How so?

by Anonymouse on

Everything is sacred.


Thank you for

by yolanda on

Thank you for the article! I read every single word and you are truly as courageous as a lioness! I know I am just a coward!......I hope one day we will have medical breakthrough to cure the disease! Good luck with everything!



Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez

Thank you for sharing your story

by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez on



Flying Solo


by Flying Solo on



This is a meaningless "disorder"

by Mehdi on

The medical establishment business, in their infinite inability to resolve ANY of mankind's health issues, keep on naming conditions. It is as if by just given name to a condition they have accomplished something. But that is how the big pharma then finds a way in to start selling their "cures" and make a killing. Most often these cures are by far worse than the original condition. But the medical establishment can very easily get away with it as they have an incredibly huge and powerful lobby abd they control the law. This is a shame. If you want a solution, I recommend you look elsewhere than the established medical BUSINESS, which makes money only if people are sick and not if people are healed! Smarten up!



by Shepesh on



Dear Tissa thaks for sharing

by Yana on

You are so brave and I am sure a beautiful person as well.  I knew of an American girl thad had this disease and she overcame her depression by Yoga, meditation and lots of sex!

shad zee



It says 1 in 10 women. That's 10% of American women or millions.

by Anonymouse on

It also says one of the symptoms is "weight gain".  Now could someone who is not overweight get this disease too?  Is weight gain always a symptom? 

Everything is sacred.

Jahanshah Javid


by Jahanshah Javid on

I appreciate your courage in stepping forward and raising awareness about this disease.

Anahid Hojjati

Dear Tissa, thanks for raising awareness about PCOS

by Anahid Hojjati on

Dear Tissa,  I like how you wrote in your blog:"..and I figure, if I had the nerve to get onstage after 9/11 and tell airport security jokes, then I have the nerve to be open about my disease."  By writing this blog, indeed, you are raising awareness about PCOS.  Thanks for sharing your story.