If you've never experienced Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), thank your lucky stars. I've been dealing with the painful, annoying, life-altering symptoms for many years. It's a complicated, often misunderstood disorder where menstrual cycles are irregular, too long, or nonexistent, and the ovaries collect fluid that presents as cysts. However isolating the disorder, though, there are some things every grown-ass man does for his partner with PCOS, simply because he cares. And if he doesn't, well, it's time for a very necessary conversation.
Women's Health reports that one in every 10 women of childbearing age are affected by PCOS. Honestly, I'm surprised the number isn't higher. When I received my diagnosis I'd already had my first cyst removal and a year's worth of agony, though I'd always had issues with cramping and discomfort. And still, despite the years of excruciating pain, I hadn't anticipated how long and daunting my journey towards reproductive health might be.
After I was diagnosed I endured another surgery to remove additional cysts and, eventually a surgery to remove my right ovary. The thing about PCOS is, though, it's indefinite and the symptoms are relentless. I'm convinced my issues with PCOS are what contributed to my two miscarriages, my ongoing troubles conceiving, and my random bouts of high blood pressure at every other doctor's appointment after I finally ended up pregnant.
When you're going through something like PCOS, it's important if not absolutely vital to have someone who consistently has your back. Otherwise, it's a lonely, painful, terrifying road. So with that in mind, here are the basics every grown-ass man does for his partner when PCOS is taking over.
He Researches PCOS
The very best thing you can do for someone dealing with PCOS is to research the crap out of it. The more you know about the disorder, the better. It's so complex, and varies from woman to woman, so it's vital you take in as much information as you can so you can learn how to support your partner to the best of your ability. When your partner sees you educating yourself on your own, she will know you really, and truly, care.
Disclaimer: my grown-ass man didn't do this, and I felt very alone through my procedures. Don't be like him.
He Gets The Pain Relievers, STAT
Those cysts hurt. The cramping hurts. The relentless headaches, nausea, and moodiness all hurt and are all uncomfortable. So for all you grown-ass men out there? Get your partner some damn medicine. Ibuprofen was my go-to to help alleviate the cramps, but other woman might just prefer a heating pad or hot bath or to be left alone. They key is to simply ask what your partner needs, and then get it for her.
He Provides All The Comforts
"All the comforts" means hugs, non-sexual massages, and really anything else that makes your partner feel like she's supported. Much like with pregnancy or childbirth, PCOS is easier to get through when you have a supportive partner.
Again, I always felt like I was enduring my PCOS alone, and that only added to how depressed I felt because of the pain. Comfort her. It helps.
Actively listening is an underrated trait. Seriously. I wanted someone to vent to when my swollen ovaries were causing incredible pain. I wanted someone to validate my physical and mental anguish, by telling me they heard me. It's one of the easiest things to do, and yet, we're all too distracted to actually hear when someone is talking. Make an effort to listen to her complaints. You don't always have to fix it — and, honestly, you can't — so just hear her and make sure she feels heard.
He Drives Her To Her Appointments
It's a small but thoughtful gesture to offer to go with your partner to her appointment with the doctor who's in charge of treating her PCOS. Better yet, ask the doctor questions if you're in the room. Be present. Show that not only are you there to be supportive, but you're there to learn and be an active part of her treatment process.
I went to all my appointments alone, then tried to explain what the doctor said to my partner, later. It'd have been easier, and much more comforting, if my partner had just been with me.
He's Her Person
There's really no other way to say it: just be there for her, any way possible, for as long as possible. Otherwise, why are you together?
He Takes Care Of Her To-Do List
Do you know how difficult it is to do basic things when there's a cyst flare-up? Or, even worse, if the cyst ruptures? I do! It's really hard! Every grown-ass man should know that when his partner is in pain you take the burdens from her, so she can focus on getting well. Period.
He Knows He Doesn't Have To Understand To Empathize
Like I said, PCOS is complicated, which is why it's OK if you don't completely understand it. Grown-ass men do more than the basics when their partner is suffering, regardless of how much they know about the disorder ailing them. You're together because you care for one another, so when something like this is diagnosed, you have to be present. You just have to.
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