Taking Charge of Your Health

Welcome to Living
Healthy Chicago. I’m Jane Monzures. Many health issues can
involve life-long management and can take a toll
physically and mentally. That’s why it’s important to
connect with a medical team that can help you manage. This next woman says that
advice is what’s helped her navigate a syndrome
that first impacted her in adolescence. Melanie Sulok’s health journey
started as a young woman when she began to notice some
concerning health changes. Probably 12, 13, 14 and
through the high school-ish age time I had male pattern
hair, like facial hair. There was some anxiety and
depression that goes with it. I didn’t start having
menstrual cycles and that was a
concern for my mom. – [Jane] Melanie’s mom took
her in to see her doctor and she was diagnosed with
polycystic ovary syndrome. – It’s the most common
endocrine disorder in women comprised of a
number of components. The most important
components are irregular menstrual periods, some
evidence clinically of increased
androgen production. Usually that manifests
by excessive hair growth, acne, or scalp hair
thinning or hair loss. Then cystic ovaries
on ultrasound. Those three components
are really what define the syndrome. We can treat the symptoms. There are many treatment
options now available. – I didn’t know much, at 17
you don’t have a whole lot of information or process
how it’s going to affect your life. – [Jane] For Melanie,
treatment meant working with a medical team to
find the right medications to help manage symptoms
over the years. – The treatment really
has to be individualized and it all depends on the
phase of life that they’re in. It’s varied over
time what we’ve used because things in
her life change. – Things regulated themselves
to a more normal state. Then menstruation, regular
menstruation happened which benefited me a lot. Fatigued was cut dramatically. The change in the male
pattern facial hair, the color changed from dark
to a lighter more blond color. – What treatment does is it
converts the terminal hair to a vellus hair in essence. So it’s less visible, less
frequently needs to be removed. – I didn’t realize how
bad I felt until I started feeling good. So it’s good, I’m very lucky. – I can tell you that I’ve
noticed improvement in her on her physical exam. – [Jane] And while Melanie
still has ups and downs when it comes to managing
PCOS, she says overall she’s feeling good
and looking forward. – I’m pretty settled
in my life right now, I’m gonna just keep going. Just like anyone with
any type of an illness you just take every
day as it comes. Currently I think
everything is good. I have no complaints
at the moment. – [Jane] She hopes to spread
awareness to other women to encourage them to
get the help they need. – There is help out there. I would say if you have any
symptoms like the no periods or the missed periods
or that type of thing, or if you notice facial hair
or body hair that isn’t normal for you to at least touch
base with a clinician or a physician. It does make a difference. – I think it’s important
to know that there is help both from support groups
and also from the physician or social worker
or psychologist. – There is treatment out
there to make you feel better. It has done it for me. – We’re so happy you’re
feeling better Melanie,

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