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Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: The Two Women’s Diseases Doctors Miss Most

Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: The Two Women’s Disease

Eight years ago, when she was just 16, Ashley Nicole Ingram was in her ob-gyn’s waiting room flipping through an issue of Glamour when she saw a story about polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). “I realized that that might be the reason I was having such erratic periods,” recalls Ingram, now a political campaign manager in Los Angeles. “I ripped it out and showed it to my doctor, but he told me it was normal for young women to be irregular. I saw a number of doctors in my teens, and they all said the same thing.” But when Ingram was 18, her hair started falling out; then she gained a whopping 60 pounds. So she made an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist, a type of doctor specializing in hormonal issues, who ran a blood test and told Ingram what she’d already known in her gut: She had PCOS. Not only that, but she was also showing signs of early diabetes, a complication of the condition. It had taken her nearly a decade to be diagnosed—and believe it or not, that makes her one of the lucky ones. Many women with PCOS suffer year after year before their illness is correctly diagnosed. The story is just as dismal for endometriosis, a painful condition that, like PCOS, affects as many as 10 percent of young women, takes seven years on average to be diagnosed and is a leading cause of infertility. “I had symptoms even as a teenager—heavy, clotty periods with diarrhea,” says Kristina Grish, 34, a writer in New York City, who was diagnosed with endo three years ago. “The pain was so bad I’d curl up in a fetal position for a day, and go through super tampons in an hour. Yet every gyno I saw told me it was normal.”

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http://www.glamour.com/health-fitness/2010/07/endometriosis-and-polycystic-ovarian-syndrome-the-two-womens-diseases-doctors-miss-most

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