An Open Letter to Teens With PCOS

Dear Teen With PCOS,

Here's what you really need to know about having PCOS.

Sad teen girl sitting on a wicker chair
JGI / Jamie Grill / Blend Images / Getty Images 

You Are Not Alone

It can feel like you are the only one in the world that has this awful condition, but you aren’t. At least one in ten women will develop PCOS. This means there are lots of girls in your school who have it, many probably don’t know they do yet or are keeping it to themselves.

PCOS Isn’t Your Fault

Let’s face it: You never asked to have PCOS. You did nothing to develop this condition and there was nothing you could do to stop it. PCOS is a genetic disorder. Someone in your family had it and somehow it got passed on to you. You didn’t get PCOS from eating too much or not exercising enough.

Be Glad You Got Diagnosed When You Did

As much as it’s not fun to manage this condition as a teen, it really is a good thing you got diagnosed when you did. So many women with PCOS don’t get diagnosed until they are older when they are trying to have a baby or after their symptoms have gotten really bad. Knowing that you have PCOS now means you can take control over PCOS before it takes control over you.

Avoid Closed Facebook Groups

Just about everyone is on Facebook these days and everyone has an opinion. What works for one woman with PCOS isn’t necessarily going to work for you. If you want advice about something, trust the experts, not others on Facebook. Everyone thinks they are a nutritionist. If you have questions about nutrition, dietary supplements, or want a meal plan, consult with a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in PCOS.

Many people find their self-esteem is worse after time spent on Facebook. They beat themselves up if they haven’t lost weight and/or look like the before and after pictures people post of themselves. It’s best just to avoid Facebook groups targeted to women with PCOS because of these reasons.

You Can Have a Baby

We hate it when doctors tell young women when they get diagnosed with PCOS that they may have a difficult time getting pregnant or worse, that they may not be able to have children at all. No one knows what the future holds. Why worry you now, when having kids isn’t on your radar and after having just dumped a complex diagnosis in your lap. The fertility world is constantly advancing its treatment options-when or if you will need them.

Everyone Needs to Eat Better and Exercise

Diet and physical exercise are the primary treatment approaches for PCOS. You may feel like you are the only one who needs to eat a certain way but guess what? The way women with PCOS should be eating is how everyone should eat. This includes a diet that focuses on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and healthy fats. Your parents should eat this way and so should your siblings and friends at school. Most teens have poor eating habits and aren’t getting the nutrients they need. Eating a healthy diet now will not only help your PCOS symptoms but will also help you to have a long, healthy life. The same goes for exercise. Government guidelines recommend that children get 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

You Are More Than PCOS

There are a lot of symptoms of PCOS that can affect how you feel about your body. Putting yourself down will only make you feel worse. When you feel bad about your body, stop yourself and focus on the parts of you that you really like. Do you love the color of your eyes or hair? How about how strong your arm or leg muscles are? You are smart. You are strong. You are amazing. And you are so much more than PCOS.

Love, Your Friend With PCOS

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