I was 17, when I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and it was one of those things I couldn’t really process at the time because I was younger and I wasn’t entirely symptomatic.

Now, I am, and I often seek comfort.

I read a few articles about women who were diagnosed with Ovarian Cyst or PCOS and I was really shocked by the experiences these people had with medical professionals. For those who have had ovarian cysts before, you know that they aren’t anything to be taken lightly. Despite that, an outrageous number of women have reported that their concerns weren’t taken seriously, especially in an emergency room setting.

It’s hard to believe until it happens to you.

Last year, I had an ovarian cyst, and I was really sick. I was barely hungry, and when I did try to eat, I couldn’t keep anything down. Sometimes I would be in so much pain that I couldn’t keep up with my lifestyle, and I was entirely exhausted. Seeing as I’d never had that many problems other than massive weight gain and irregular periods, I didn’t really put two and two together until my friends finally talked me into going to the emergency room.

From there, I was treated like a complete idiot.

There I was in severe pain, finally breaking down to see a doctor only to be treated like I was a hypochondriac, wasting a doctor’s time. Not only did the doctor treat me horribly, he also treated my best friend like she was stupid as well.

Why?

Maybe because we were young women. Maybe because we were obviously college students. Maybe because he assumed I just had “cramps” instead of pain from a cyst. Either way, his behavior was unacceptable.

But it’s something a lot of women have to deal with.

Having a disorder that deals with your reproductive system is complicated, to say the least. There are a lot of uncomfortable conversations with your doctor and a lot of hard facts to face. And having medical professionals make you feel like you’re dumb for being worried, or that the pain is in your head, is so destructive to your health.

PCOS isn’t a fun thing to have. Your hair falls out, and sometimes it doesn’t grow back. You have dark patches of skin, you gain weight easily and it’s beyond hard to lose it. There’s a good chance you may be infertile, and if you do get pregnant, there’s a high percentage that you might miscarry. It is not something that should be disregarded.

After I spent hours in the emergency room dealing with a doctor who acted like he hated his job, I went home to South Carolina. I ended up having to take time off from school because I had a cyst and other problems the doctor in the emergency room chose to ignore, even after running a blood test.

I am never going to forget that experience, and I shouldn’t be expected to put it behind me, either. Not every woman is going to have a similar experience, but enough women have that it’s a real issue that has to be reevaluated in the medical field.