PCOS and Fatigue

I was recently reading through some of the Facebook posts from women with PCOS and I found a long-running wall asking if anyone else is tired all the time?  OMG!!  When am I not tired?!?


On all the “official” PCOS sites no one mentions fatigue but I’m exhausted!  Seeing all the comments, it made me realise that while this Syndrome has been known to the medical profession for 75 years (if the gal on Facebook is correct), it seems to me that doctors don’t know all the symptoms to look for!  I rarely sleep and when I do I dream some wild vivid dreams that makes Helios think I’m completely off my trolley. 


It’s the concentration and fatigue issues that affect my job.  I get so tired that I find myself crying in the office.  I know part of this is stress-related; however, the stress effects my concentration which affects my stress which starts the no-win situation that leaves me unable to sleep. 


It’s not just the lack of sleep that’s the problem.  It’s my strange woolly-head that makes me unable to concentrate.  It’s as if I’m drunk or feint.  Some days I fear getting behind the wheel. 


I’m not saying I don’t want to work – far from it!  BUT instead of slogging myself to death, it would be nice to do something I enjoyed and where I didn’t wake up in a cold sweat thinking about all the many things that I cannot hope to accomplish in a mere 7 hours.  I’m finding my life increasingly difficult to cope with.  I cannot help but wonder if my problem is stress, sleeplessness, or a mixture of the two. 


One thing is for sure: I cannot carry on crying in the toilets at work!


Still, I’ve got my chin up – I’m having my next laparoscopy on Monday and a whole week off to sleep!  Things have got to improve after that.





6 thoughts on “PCOS and Fatigue

  1. I can’t remember a time when I felt fully rested…sometimes I feel like im ADD…concentrating is difficult. hmmm…could this all be related to PCOS?!

  2. Dear Kasdaniels,

    YES! Concentrating is difficult! At work I find myself flitting from task to task without finishing things and sometimes feeling overwhelmed with it all…

    I’ll mention this to my gynaecologist when I see him on Monday. Not that he’ll know anything about it. I find it tiring that we seem to have to fight for answers and a diagnosis and treatment and more treatment when the treatment isn’t sufficient…

    Speaking of treatment, when is your surgery? How are you coping?

    Keep your chin up.


  3. Foxy,

    It can be extremely hard (if not impossible) to pinpoint the exact cause(s) of fatigue. For example, in my case it could be my endometriosis or my anemia or my sleep apnea, or my fibromyalgia…. When you have multiple chronic illnesses it’s often so hard to say what causes what! Any chronic illness I know of can lead to fatigue… especially when sleep disturbances are involved. Chronic illness leads to stress and stress leads to fatigue. Once you add medications to the mix, it can be impossible to pinpoint the specific cause & effect.

    It sounds like you have lots of factors going on… You sound stressed about lack of good sleep, stressed about the PCOS, stressed about the concentration/fatigue issues affecting you at work, etc. Plus you must be having some degree of stress since you’re about to have surgery. (Everyone gets some degree of anxiety before surgery). So it’s not surprising that you are feeling stressed out based on what you have described.

    Obviously if you are stressed out to the point of crying at work you are pretty stressed out indeed. Do you have any special relaxation techniques you use (i.e. meditation, acupuncture, relaxing music, hot cup of tea, hot bath, etc)?

    In addition to stress, it’s possible that your hormones are affecting your moods (i.e. the crying). Doesn’t PCOS tend to throw hormones off sometimes? Maybe that is contributing to things…

    I know how upsetting it is when my concentration is affected. For me this is usually tied to my fibromyalgia. This can be incredibly frustrating! You are right that these types of issues can turn into a vicious circle.

    Lack of sleep can certainly impair ability to concentrate but as you pointed out there may be more to it than that. The funny feeling you’ve described (similar to feeling drunk or like I’m going to pass out) happens to me with my MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity). There have been many times where I determined I could not drive (times that I couldn’t have predicted). It can be VERY inconvenient but I’d rather call my husband to leave work and come to pick me up than fall asleep at the wheel and hurt myself or others! Drowsy driving is not a good thing!! I have had days where I was totally fine to start, then got exposed to some sort of chemical (i.e. a smell or something that really bothered me at the dentist’s office) and then I just knew I had no business driving. Is it hard to call my husband and say, “I can’t drive home safely”…. when he’s in the midst of back-to-back meetings at work? You bet. But NOTHING is worth the risk of a car accident that could have been prevented!

    Chronic illnesses can make it very challenging to simply make it through the day… much less accomplish all of the things we dream to get done in a given 7 hour period. What you’re describing is not unusual but it is important to make sure you are in a job that is a match for your health condition. For too many years I took on more than my body could handle and I am suffering the consequences of the choices I made back then to this day. So try to be careful HOW MUCH you take on and WHAT you take on. Sometimes chronic illnesses do lead to career changes and that’s OK! It may be better to change to something that’s a healthier fit than to be constantly unhappy, tired, and crying.

    It may well be that the stress and sleeplessness are two of many factors going on for you. With chronic illnesses, answers are seldom straightforward.

    Try your best to “listen to your body”. If you are crying in the toilets at work, obviously something needs to give at some point. Rest as much as you can after surgery, to be sure. At the same time, it doesn’t sound like you’re necessarily going to go bounding back into work feeling “normal” after surgery. So give yourself time to heal but ALSO try your best to have realistic expectations of what you can and can’t do. If you are trying to tackle something that your body and/or mind just can’t handle, then try to figure out what modifications you can make. If you make the adjustments needed to take those baby steps toward wellness, maybe the days of crying in the toilets will end sooner rather than later. (I hope)!

    It’s fantastic that you have such a positive attitude. That is HUGE!! Good luck w/your lap.


    I have learned that lesson the hard way. Surgery is surgery. Some docs would have people think that if surgery is outpatient or incisions are small that it’s “no big deal”. Surgery is invasive and your body WILL need time to heal. So try to give your body the time it needs to do so.

    Take care! 🙂


  4. Dear Jeanne

    Thanks so much for your advice. I’m trying to be realistic in my life’s expectations now. Happiness is so important and I’ve tried hard over the past few years to eliminate the things that make me unhappy – including divorce, and one career change already. Clearly, I need another re-think about the career choices.

    You’re so right that answers are seldom straightforward. I’m looking forward to resting this week and sleeping as much as I can.

    Many thanks

  5. I have no idea when my surgery will be because I can’t get the office to call me back!! how frustrating. I can schedule some lab work but not a surgery?! ugh. Hopefully I’ll find out this week…I’ll just keep bugging them.

    I’ve been doing pretty good. I haven’t had any dr appts lately so its the whole “out of sight, out of mind” thing. But for some reason this past weekend was a little rough. Last night I went to bed in tears…thinking about the “unknown” can be overwhelming at times.

  6. Dear Kasdaniels

    I’m sorry you’re struggling.

    Oh I know all about the tears and fears and feeling rough. Don’t ever stop bugging the doctors though. It’s the only way we get satisfaction. You won’t get help until you get a diagnosis. If you can’t get the office to ring you back, perhaps you can try putting a little pressure on them and wait on hold until you get through to the right person. Or perhaps you can try ringing and ringing once an hour every hour to make a nuisance of yourself? I hate to say it but they say “the squeeky wheel gets the oil” and, as annoying as it is, if you make a nuisance of yourself, you’re more likely to get results. You deserve results.

    Keep me posted.

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