In the United States alone, roughly 5-10% of women suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, yet it's something that isn't widely talked about. Being one of the major causes of infertility in women, PCOS can have a major impact on a woman's physical and mental health. After suffering from the condition for years, one woman decided to speak out about overcoming her obstacles, which led her to defy the odds and get pregnant naturally.
For those who are unaware of the condition, PCOS is typically associated with irregular periods (or none at all), infertility, excessive hair growth due to higher levels of male hormones, weight gain, hair loss and skin issues (including acne). Many women who are told they have PCOS are also warned that the chances of conceiving naturally are slim. Although some women with PCOS find luck with fertility treatments, such as IVF, many aren't as lucky.
Kate Smith, who is now 34, was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 22 after she had been struggling with irregular periods and weight gain since she was 17. Her doctor warned her that "men might leave [her] because [she] might not be able to have children", which both shocked and angered Kate. As much as she didn't want to take what the doctor had said to heart, Kate then found herself hiding her condition from the people she was in relationships with.
Due to Kate's young age, the doctor told her to continue living her life and to not worry too much about it. It wasn't until she turned 30 that her health began to plummet and Kate began to realize that her condition probably couldn't be ignored any longer. "I started getting severe flare-ups of fatigue and digestive issues," she said. After two years of going to the doctor regularly, only to find out it was still the PCOS causing the issues, Kate decided to do everything in her power to get it under control.
After beginning a strict diet and workout plan, Kate lost over 50lbs and was feeling better than ever. "I was so committed in my mind to making my body as healthy as I could be and in the back of my mind, I kept thinking that I needed to give myself the best opportunity I could to start a family when that moment came," she explained.
Not long after she began feeling better, Kate fell pregnant- naturally! "It was a shock! I think it was largely down to losing weight. I've completely changed my whole lifestyle- I've changed the way I eat, the way I view food. Food is now a medicine for me rather than a comfort," she said of her pregnancy.
Kate has taken to social media to speak about her experience with PCOS and getting pregnant without the use of fertility treatments. Women everywhere are getting inspired to take action against their own struggles with the condition in hopes that they, too, will get a similar chance. Although Kate is at risk for more pregnancy-related complications due to heer PCO, she feels so happy to have been blessed with a child she never thought she would have.