Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone imbalance that affects millions of women around the world.
It causes irregular periods and can also cause infertility, which can be extremely lonely for women who want to start families. Though there’s no cure for PCOS, many symptoms can be treated with medication or lifestyle changes.
If you have close friends or family members who are going through this journey, here are a few things you can do to give them maximum support.
Before you can help someone effectively, you need to at least know and understand what they’re going through. This is where educating yourself about PCOS comes to play.
As a friend, you need to know what PCOS is, the symptoms, medications, and how the condition affects your friend’s everyday life.
If you don’t know what PCOS is, it’s time to do some research. Read about the symptoms and treatments for PCOS. Don’t worry, we’re not asking you to study medicine.
A simple Google search can give you almost all the information you’d need about the condition and how to assist your friend.
If you’re able to talk about your friend’s PCOS, that’s great. You can help by listening to their concerns, and offering advice and support as they navigate their way through the ups and downs of hormone imbalance.
Whenever you can, offer to go with them to appointments so they don’t have to go alone.
You can help them navigate the medical system, remember important dates and information, and feel less alone.
Believe us when we say that your presence would mean a lot to them.
Don’t judge if they don’t want to talk about it.
Naturally, some people feel very reluctant to discuss their health challenges. It’s important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t pressure your friend into talking about their PCOS if they don’t want to.
It’s also important not to be offended by their reluctance and to avoid the assumption that they’re depressed or unhappy because of it.
If your friend doesn’t want to talk about the specifics of their struggle, then don’t force them. Instead, try spending time together doing something fun or relaxing so that both of you can forget all about PCOS for a while.
When your friend is diagnosed with PCOS, it’s important to check in regularly. It can be difficult for her to get the support she needs because of the stigma associated with PCOS and its symptoms.
She may feel isolated and lonely, but you can help her feel connected to others by regularly checking in on how she’s doing. A good way of doing this is by asking questions like:
- How are you feeling?
- Are there any new symptoms?
- What treatment plan have you been following?
- How has that been going for you?
Asking questions like these would convey your thoughtfulness, and it’ll encourage her to talk to you when she’s feeling frustrated or overwhelmed with PCOS.
Respect their space and boundaries.
Another thing you can do to support your lady friend is to respect their need for privacy. If she doesn’t want to talk about it, don’t push her. Also, don’t speak about PCOS in front of your other friends unless she asks you to, or it’s necessary for some reason.
Just because she has it doesn’t mean that she wants everyone else to know what’s going on with her body.
Talking about it in front of others might seem like a good idea at first, but it could end up making things worse and make her feel even more isolated from others who don’t understand what she’s going through.
If you want help supporting your friend, ask her how best you can be supportive, and then follow through with whatever she says.
Assist in finding helpful resources
You can also help find resources such as primary care providers, mental health professionals, or support groups in your area if they ask for them.
It’s important to help your friend find a good PCOS specialist who can be their primary care provider. A doctor who specializes in PCOS will have more knowledge than the average doctor and can better identify the signs that they are experiencing symptoms of PCOS.
One of the biggest struggles with having PCOS is dealing with depression and anxiety-related issues stemming from both physical and emotional symptoms.
Having a good mental health specialist who listens while also offering helpful advice while letting us vent our frustrations has been key in helping many people cope better during difficult times.
Encourage them to seek treatment when possible.
If your friend has PCOS and is considering seeking treatment, encourage them to talk to their doctor about their options.
Then be honest with them about what you know about the pros and cons of each option, as well as their risks and benefits.
You may want to discuss the cost of treatment options too. This can help her make an informed decision about what she can afford on her own or through insurance.
Finally, if your friend isn’t interested in formal medical intervention for PCOS but is still feeling frustrated by it, encourage them to try other natural remedies, like herbal supplements, or alternative therapies that can help manage symptoms without prescription medications. The bottom line is to support them and their decisions in every way possible.
Be sensitive about body issues.
Body image issues are common for women with PCOS, as the condition can cause weight gain or infertility, both of which may be sources of shame for your friend.
If she brings up her appearance, try not to make any judgments about it. Instead, listen and support her as she talks through what she’s feeling.
Remind her that there is nothing wrong with her body. Her experience is just a part of having PCOS. You can even offer to join her in her diet plan or gym trips.
If you’re not sure what to say or if you don’t know how she feels about her body, ask her. It’s okay if she doesn’t want to talk about it. Just know that knowing you care is important and that there will probably come a time when she does want to talk about it.
PCOS is a complex condition, but support from loved ones can help.
PCOS is a complex condition that affects women of all ages, races, and ethnicities. While it can be difficult to understand what your friend is going through, you can help by doing some research about the condition and being supportive. The following are five ways you can help:
- Help your friend with infertility issues by researching different treatments or options for getting pregnant.
- Let them know that they aren’t alone in dealing with PCOS symptoms like irregular periods or acne. Many other people have these issues too.
- Do whatever you can to support them physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
At the end of the day, PCOS is a complex condition and every case of it is different. Apart from support, another most important thing you can do for your friend who has PCOS is to listen to them.
You don’t need to be a doctor or even know all of the facts about PCOS to help. Just be there for them as they go through this journey, which can be very lonely at times. They’ll appreciate it greatly, and their symptoms may improve too.