Episode number 2 has just been released and is available for you to listen.
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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a whole-body condition with multiple symptoms and multiple body systems affected and is associated with “an increased risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, high blood pressure, and poorer psychological wellbeing” (1). The main symptoms of PCOS is irregular or late periods, which is typical of anovulatory cycles and high level of male hormones. The symptoms related to this are male patterned hair growth (hirsutism), acne, male patterned hair loss, weight gain and infertility. PCOS is the most common endocrine condition among women of reproductive age and yet a lack of knowledge about its aetiology combined with symptoms that overlap with other diseases and disorders, means up to 70% of women are undiagnosed. Some sources say PCOS is present in 12 – 21% of women of reproductive age (2) and others 8 – 13% (3) and 5 – 10% (4). In adolescence, the period of a young person’s development between the ages of 10-19 years of age (5), diagnosis can be particularly challenging due to the cross-over between diagnostic criteria for PCOS and normal symptoms of puberty. For example, polycystic ovaries, irregular cycles and even mild insulin resistance are healthy and normal presentations during puberty, which can pose a challenge for physicians.
In this episode, I'm interviewing Jessica Hallock, a psychotherapist, artist and mother from the Northern Rivers region in NSW. Jess shares intimately with us her journey with taking the pill and a PCOS diagnosis all by the time she was 18. In a remarkable series of choices, Jess manages to transform this diagnosis to now living completely PCOS free whilst enjoying the inner riches of her connection to herself as a woman.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that is not isolated to the ovaries themselves, even though the name may have you believe this. As mentioned above, it is a complex whole body condition that is essentially a lifestyle condition and one that can be largely treated with adjustments to how one is living, eating and caring for ones self. Jess is a living breathing testament to this as she began to realise that self-care at the very least, needed to be the absolute foundation of her life.
As Jess explains, the contributing factors to her PCOS diagnosis were her weight and therefore her BMI and potential tendency to insulin resistance. As a teenager, these tendencies are expected to some degree as the body is adjusting to new hormone levels but from Jess' story she was pushing the boundaries here as a consequence of the choices she was making. Adding the pill into the mix, which can worsen PCOS symptoms in some cases and she was well on track for this diagnosis at 18.
What I loved about interviewing Jess, was the simplicity with which she shared her story and how she did not identify with her diagnosis. She did not allow this PCOS diagnosis to own her and took the necessary steps to start looking after herself, connecting more deeply and being empowered by this.
Jess mentions a modality called the Esoteric Breast Massage, that supported her along the way. For more information on this head over the Foundational Breast Care
If you'd like to check out the article that inspired this interview, you will find it here
And to get in touch with Jess, see her website for contact details:
1. Medicalxpress.com. (2019). Why the definition of polycystic ovary syndrome harms women. [Internet] Available at:
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-08-definition-polycystic-ovary-syndrome-women.html [Accessed 11 July. 2020].
2. Australian Family Physician. Polycystic ovary syndrome; an update. [Internet] [Place unknown] Boyle J & Teede H. Vol 41, No. 10, 2012 October [cited 2020 July 9]. Available from: https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2012/october/polycystic-ovary-syndrome
3. Jean Hailes. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Health Professional Tool. [Internet] [Melbourne] [cited 2019 April 9]. Available from: https://jeanhailes.org.au/contents/documents/Resources/Tools/PCOS_tool.pdf
4. Wang, S. (2019). Androgen Excess and PCOS Society. [Internet] Ae-society.org. [Accessed 10 July. 2020].
5. Adolescent health [Internet]. Who.int. 2020 [cited 22 July 2020]. Available from: https://www.who.int/southeastasia/health-topics/adolescent-health