Bringing PCOS out into the open

PUBLISHED: 11:20 29 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:50 04 May 2010

LOOKING FOR ANSWERS. Julia waits for the treatment which could give her the chance of a family. Photo: HELEN DRAKE

LOOKING FOR ANSWERS. Julia waits for the treatment which could give her the chance of a family. Photo: HELEN DRAKE

CELEBRITIES Victoria Beckham and Jules Oliver, the wife of television chef Jamie, have opened up the discussion on a condition suffered by up to 10 per cent of all women of childbearing age. They and pop stars, Suzanne Shaw and Kym Marsh, formerly of the

CELEBRITIES Victoria Beckham and Jules Oliver, the wife of television chef Jamie, have opened up the discussion on a condition suffered by up to 10 per cent of all women of childbearing age.

They and pop stars, Suzanne Shaw and Kym Marsh, formerly of the group Hear'Say, suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome which, at its worst, can lead to infertility.

Not so long ago the condition wasn't talked about even though the syndrome often runs in families and has long-term implications for the sufferer.

Now the famous names have brought PCOS out into the open and Prickwillow sufferer, Julia Wisbey, talks to LESLEY INNES about her experience of the condition and her search for sufferers locally.

NURSERY school worker Julia Wisbey longs to start a family.

She loves children and spends a lot of her time round youngsters, through her job at the nursery and as a leader with the 4th Ely Brownies.

But Julia, 27, suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome and so far she has failed to conceive, despite trying for a baby for more than a year.

"When I feel down it makes it hard working with the children," she said from her home in Main Street, Prickwillow. "Sometimes I have a good cry on my way home from work. That's my way of releasing it.

"I'm up and down emotionally. My sister-in-law is pregnant with her second child and that can be difficult for me. I just feel my body is letting me down. I feel it's my body's fault."

Julia and her husband, Craig, decided shortly after their wedding last year that they wanted to try for a family.

Julia suffered from some of the symptoms of PCOS and decided to consult her doctor for a diagnosis.

She was given blood tests and waited 14 weeks to see a specialist at Cambridge's Addenbrooke's Hospital.

An ultrasound scan, more blood tests and an examination at the Rosie Maternity Clinic discovered that Julia has cysts on her ovaries but her fallopian tubes are unaffected.

"I had to sit there with all the pregnant women," added Julia. "It was quite hard. The doctors don't really tell you much. I talk to Craig's mum about it and she's lovely and really helpful, but it's not like talking to my mum. I can't ask her the questions I would like answers to.

"I feel like I've got other people telling me when I can start a family. It's so frustrating."

Now she must wait until August for another appointment at the hospital to find out what treatment can be offered.

While she waits, Julia has cut out cow's milk from her diet, because it is believed it can cause a hormonal imbalance, and has researched and tried herbal remedies.

Many sufferers of PCOS have a weight problem and Julia was overweight from the age of 13 to 20.

The condition is also thought to run in families and Julia believes her mother, who died six years ago, may have suffered from the condition.

Now she would like to meet sufferers locally who could share their experiences.

"I need to talk to people who know how I am feeling inside," she said. "I want someone who can tell me about treatments they have tried and what worked for them or didn't work.

"I feel like every time I go to Tesco I'm being followed by pregnant women. I see them all around me and all I want to do is start a family."

INFO: Julia can be contacted on 01353 687930.

For more information about PCOS, visit the website of the self-help support group, Verity, at www.verity-pcos.org.uk.

FACTfile PCOS

# UP to 10 per cent of all women of childbearing age will develop PCOS.

# DIAGNOSIS is made by ultrasound scan and blood tests.

# WOMEN with the disorder frequently have a mother or sister with the disease.

# SUFFERERS are more prone to developing diabetes, heart disease, cancer, miscarriage and infertility.

# WOMEN often struggle with their weight and up to 35 per cent of sufferers are overweight, leading researchers suggest that obesity is contributory factor.

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