When I was 20 years old, I noticed the pattern of irregularity in my menstrual cycle. However, I didn’t really think it was a major issue and ignored the ‘triggering senses’ thinking that it was normal to have delays in my menstrual cycle. Months passed by and finally, I was alarmed that the irregularity had been a constant part of my LIFE!! I was turning 21 years old and noticed that I was getting thicker. I was becoming overweight; always felt hungry & the clothes I wore doesn’t just fit me anymore. Too many emotional roller coaster ride on most times: I didn’t feel like anyone could understand what I was going through.
Dealing with an absent menstrual cycle, excessive weight gain in a short period of time, and sometimes I get severe headaches. This was just absurd. Trust me, girls, getting mood swings was against my happy-go-lucky personality. Worried – what was the cause of this ‘newer’ me I was determined to find the cause of the irregularity in my cycle first.
In the doctor’s room, I was hoping it’s a normal condition so I sat back and relaxed. But when my gynecologist sent me to an endocrinologist for more testing, my nightmare had started and I was diagnosed with PCOS!
I couldn’t believe I had PCOS—I consider myself fairly healthy. I was the athlete of the year during high school, always been an active person. So what could have gone wrong?
WHAT IS PCOS? : PCOS is the short abbreviation for Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. It’s one of the most complex female health issues of our time and the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age. PCOS is accompanied by a variety of different health issues, many of which directly impact fertility. Classic PCOS presents with obesity, polycystic ovaries (multiple ovarian cysts that look like a strand of pearls), elevated levels of androgens and absent or irregular menstrual cycles. Not all women who will go on to be diagnosed with PCOS will have these issues though.
- FLOW ISSUES: In most times I’d normally skip for 2 months, have a normal cycle one month, bleed heavily for days then again skip for months. The furthest of my cycle absence was 6 months.
- MEDICATIONS: When I saw the doctors, I was given DIANE 35 pills as a result of regulating the period flow. I’d take the pills for a while, but was hesitant to stay on them for periods longer than 6 months at a time. However, even after a week I never got it and the condition worsens – I only got obese. Later on, I realized that Diane 35 is a birth control pill and its side effect is weight gain. Honestly, I cried. I was just 21 years old and feels like the whole weight of the world came right at me. At one point, I gave up on all pills and medicines.
When the time came for my monthly check-ups, I was pale numb. Sadly, the result was just the same and this time around my doctor was dead serious: She told me if I don’t get treating PCOS the right way, chances of getting diabetes are high. There is also a higher risk of breast and endometrial cancer. Lastly, women with PCOS would face infertility! There are many more symptoms that I didn’t mention here because they vary from women to women. In my case, I struggle with everything I mentioned except hair loss and excessive hair in unwanted areas. I also don’t have any health problems that it leads to, except insulin resistance which is why I struggle with weight loss.
This time, the doctor’s visit was rather different. I had a deep sense that this was a wake-up call. I’m not ashamed to say this, I did cry. I cried a lot. I had no idea what this was and had never heard of this ‘syndrome.’ I started Googling every information that’s available and immediately became overwhelmed. Everything I was reading was so horrible! I started to cry even more and asked God “why?” Why did I have to be the 1 in 10 women who have this disease? I was also filled with fear. Fear that I wouldn’t have kids. Fear that someday when I get married, my partner would get tired of waiting to have his own children and leave me. I had a fear of having diabetes, infertility, and cancers. I was scared! Scared that I wouldn’t have the willpower to stand against PCOS
Yes I know it’s a lot of negative emotions! But let me tell you, these were the times where I was thankful I had the support I needed from my mother, family, and close friends. This path was rather a journey of self-recovery and patience. Moreover, having a strong relationship with God is a bonus point! I was able to cry about my diagnosis with Him. God was and still is my strength in this entire process. Thankfully, I wasn’t falling into depression – which is a major outbreak among women with PCOS.
OVERCAME BECAME A WARRIOR
There were random days that I felt extremely sad about my situation. I cried everything I could. I had to allow myself to feel this syndrome, then actively become pro-active and developed a mentality of “being a PCOS warrior.” Luckily enough I did. I was very determined to never let PCOS define me or take control of my life. Sometimes we don’t know how strong we are until being STRONG is the only choice left! I had to pull up my socks and embrace myself cause nobody is gonna help me unless I help myself and there’s no way I’m going to spend my time wallowing into self-pity.
Months later, I was introduced to trying traditional remedies. Coming from an Indian ethnicity, I opt in to Homeopathy and Ayurveda treatments – fortunate enough I did see certain changes in my period flow, but the problem was I had to be on constant medication. I thought the changes were for the better and got happy with the result. Still, it wasn’t enough. I had a major issue – Shedding the weight that I obtained! Emotionally though, I was still stressed out. I was happy to be trying so hard to be healthy again, yet I’m still faced with the irregularities cycle. I never gave up. I kept taking care of myself and emotionally I let myself depend on God to guide me through this journey.
Despite those random days I’ve had, I will say that I felt proud of myself for taking care of my body to the best of my ability. I started working out and slowly I saw more changes, not only through physical changes but through my internal self-healing as well. When you start to feel good about yourself, you attract positive vibes into your lives. Through continuous persistence, I lost 15.4 lbs! I always educate myself on how to do my part well because I want to overcome PCOS the best I can till today.
To my ladies who are diagnosed with PCOS
If you a woman diagnosed with PCOS, then you will understand that the struggles are REAL as much as the PAIN. This is a tough battle! I know! Know that YOU are not alone.
- Educate yourself as much as you can about PCOS.
- Accept & love yourself despite the chaos of PCOS
- Remind yourself that ‘You are a warrior’.
- Get checked and see what you can do to control this symptom.
- Speak to someone about it today! Don’t fall into depression.
- Take time to explain to someone how you really feel. Get in contact with other women who have PCOS. Encourage each other!
It will hurt, it will take your time and dedication. It will require willpower, and you will need to make healthy decisions. It requires sacrifice, you will need to push your body to its max! There will be TEMPTATIONS, but I promise you, when you reach your goals – ALL YOUR HARD WORK IS WORTH IT. ♥ Don’t be ashamed of your story, it will INSPIRE others.
NEXT ARTICLE – My PCOS Story Part 2