It’s been almost three months since my last period. Three months might sound like a long time but I’m the same girl that has gone years without having a period so at this point, I kinda can’t complain.
“Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a condition in which a woman’s levels of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone are out of balance. This leads to the growth of ovarian cysts (benign masses on the ovaries). PCOS can cause problems with a women’s menstrual cycle, fertility, cardiac function, and appearance.”
It was 2011. I was in my first year of uni and I went to see my doctor as it had been about 3 years since I had a period. She immediately freaked out – apparently my old doctor was very wrong when he said that it was just my body adjusting after a round of depo provera that I had when I was 15 (you’ve gotta love bad medical advice!). I was sent off for blood tests and an ultrasound of my ovaries. The blood test wasn’t so bad, but I am seriously scarred from having a strange man prod a giant dildo shaped ultrasound wand inside my vagina with a bladder so full that I almost pissed myself as he did his inspection. The experience was unpleasant to say the least.
My results came back and yep – she was right – I had PCOS. I was 19 at the time and absolutely mortified. I had so many thoughts running through my mind.. Would I ever get pregnant? Why the fuck didn’t that first doctor give a shit about my concerns years ago? Why me?!.. I was lucky to have a very supportive boyfriend at the time (thanks Johnny – I’ll never forget the way you always cared for me) and friends who were there to figure it all out alongside me. I was given Metformin to help control my insulin resistance and advised to go on the pill to regulate my period.
Now if anyone has ever had to take Metformin, you’ll know how much of a shit time it is. Literally. I followed doctors orders and took my 500mg pills once a day until I built up some tolerance, but then after I eventually got to 1500mg a day and shat myself in the car on my way home from work, I decided that I wasn’t yet ready for medication. Met does awful things to your stomach and I wouldn’t wish the experience on anyone.
Women with PCOS have ovaries that create an abundance of follicles each month without producing an egg. PCOS can contribute to irregular periods, depression, excessive weight gain (despite diet and exercise efforts), acne, and excess facial hair.
A few years have since passed and my biggest struggle has become my weight. I don’t have the hairiness issues, my acne has finally calmed down in the last year or so, but my waistline has increased. I’m not overly fat, but I’m far larger than the girl I used to be. I try really hard to cut down on unnecessary fats, sugars and additives, but as a busy twenty something it can be really difficult to be perfect 100% of the time. I’ve tried getting rid of gluten, and have slowly introduced a larger variety of veges into my diet, but I still have so far to go. I sit comfortably at about the same weight with little fluctuation, so at least I’m not getting bigger.
Fertility is something that I am going to have to take seriously someday soon. I know the stats – I have to reduce my BMI to increase my chances of pregnancy. I’m only 23, but I’m getting married in just over a year and kids are in my 5 year plan. I think it’s been about 4 or 5 years since I’ve properly taken a contraceptive (beyond condoms) and despite numerous amounts of unprotected sex, I haven’t fallen pregnant. It hasn’t really been a big deal to me in the past as I was in no position to have a kid anyway, but as my life is becoming a bit more stable the reality of children is much closer than it has ever been before.
At this point in time, I suffer with PCOS but I don’t have the motivation to fully kick it in the ovaries just yet. I’m comfortable with ignoring my problems for a little bit longer. If you thought this would be a positive and encouraging story about how I overcame my diagnosis, I’m dreadfully sorry that I haven’t been able to give you that today. This chapter of my life is still open and one day I hope to be added to the list of chicks that have an empowering message to share. I’d love to hear your experiences with PCOS, maybe you can motivate me!