PCOS and Endometriosis – A Patient’s Story
One in ten women suffer with a combination of PCOS and endometriosis, and often go undiagnosed. Such is the case with our patient, Tiffany. She was a healthy middle school girl who was very active in sports, but when she began to menstruate, things started to change. Her cycle was always irregular, and sometimes she wouldn’t have a period at all. She wasn’t overly concerned though, and attributed these changes to her active lifestyle. However, by the time she entered high school, her situation worsened.
Tiffany began to experience a great deal of pain and would sometimes bleed three weeks of the month. Things progressively got worse and lasted for years. She had no idea what the problem was. Tiffany’s mom, and other close family members, had been diagnosed with PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. The symptoms include pain and irregular periods, among other things. Weight gain is sometimes associated with PCOS due to an increase in male hormones. Since Tiffany never gained any weight, and her mom and relatives all gained quite a bit of weight, she never thought that she could have PCOS.
One night, when Tiffany was 21, the pain and bleeding were so severe that she had to go to the emergency room. An ultrasound was performed, and it was discovered that she had a cyst the size of a tangerine on one of her ovaries. She was also told that a smaller cyst had likely ruptured and that was probably the cause of her severe pain. The emergency room doctor recommended that she follow up with a gynecologist.
Diagnosed with PCOS and Endometriosis
Tiffany made an appointment with Dr. Litrel of Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists. After gathering her history and performing his own ultrasound, he diagnosed her with PCOS and recommended laparoscopic surgery to remove the large cyst. During the surgery, Dr. Litrel discovered that Tiffany also had endometriosis, which he treated during the procedure. Endometriosis is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus known as the endometrium, grows outside your uterus.
Dr. Litrel told Tiffany that she may have a hard time conceiving, although it wasn’t impossible. He advised her not to wait too long to try to conceive as her situation was severe. Tiffany shared that her mom had to have a total hysterectomy at the very young age of 24, and that her aunt had one at a young age as well. She also had a few first cousins with PCOS and endometriosis.
Feeling Relief After Treatment
After the surgery, Tiffany had relief for the first time in years. She began to have regular cycles, her pain lessened, and she had energy again. Dr. Litrel performed ultrasounds on her every 3-6 months. After about a year or so, her symptoms would begin to return, and she eventually needed two more surgeries. Her symptoms improved greatly.
“Dr. Litrel helped me so much,” Tiffany says with gratitude. “He is not only an excellent doctor but a Godly man who prayed with me before my surgeries. I loved that!”
Dr. Litrel continued to monitor her and perform follow-up ultrasounds. It was during one of those appointments that Dr. Litrel had the pleasure of telling Tiffany she was pregnant. She and her husband were ecstatic!
Tiffany’s son Kru was born a few years after her first surgery. Kru is now 11 months old and about to become a big brother. Her baby girl, Remington, whom they will call Remi, was due at the end of April, 2019.
“Dr. Litrel helped me so much,” Tiffany says with gratitude. “He is not only an excellent doctor but a Godly man who prayed with me before my surgeries. I loved that! Feeling respected and not like a number, I know he really cares about me. He made me, and my problems feel unique, though I know he had a lot of other patients. He always listened to me. The whole practice is wonderful. Each provider I have seen has treated me well and has shown me they care. I recommend Cherokee Women’s Health to all my friends.”
Help is Available
Tiffany’s struggle with PCOS and endometriosis may sound familiar. Many women just live with the symptoms and don’t seek a diagnosis or treatment. As Tiffany’s story proves, help is available and you don’t have to suffer in silence. If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, seek help. Call us today at 770.720.7733.