Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Made Me Feel Like I Wasn't A Woman

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Made Me Feel Like I Wasn't A Woman

This is way more than JUST a syndrome.
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November of 2016 I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, also known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or Disease. But it has always been much more than just that.

PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that affects a woman's overall look, and mental and physical health. This is due to problems concerning a woman's ovaries. For instance, many women with PCOS have problems with the abundance of cysts on their ovaries, which results in the imbalance of hormones. But also, those with PCOS don't always have to have cysts present for the disease to be present. Most common symptoms include cysts, hirtuism, irregular and painful cramps (and not the normal, painful cramps), hair loss, anxiety and/or depression, insulin resistance, diabetes 2, and skin tags. But PCOS should not be limited to these symptoms, it is known as a syndrome for a reason.

Before I was diagnosed, I was realizing that I was coming to terms with the idea that something must be seriously wrong with me. I was no longer feeling like I was a woman. I was losing all of my hair at once, I was growing darker-colored arm hair, and I was growing facial hair. All of which I, almost a year and a half later, am still struggling with.

My anxiety skyrocketed. The self-esteem that I was holding onto was slowly disappearing and I was questioning everything I knew about womanhood. I stopped looking at myself in the mirror and feeling any confidence. I was scared those around me were going to start seeing me for who I was starting to see myself as. Come Spring, I was still wearing long sleeves because I was so embarrassed about my arms. I would cover my chin up just in case someone saw any unwanted hairs. I would, and still do, wear my hair in ways that cover up the fact that my hair has thinned so much.

Although the feeling of insecurity because of how much my looks have changed still creep up on me, I am not who I was when I walked out of the doctor's office back in November of 2016. The doctor told me one thing, "Do not google anything related to PCOS." I did the exact the opposite. In fact, my grocery shopping trips turned into what was maybe 45 minutes to 4 hours. I made sure everything I was eating and using would not harm me or enhance my PCOS in any way.

The following January I had done so much research about PCOS that I realized nothing I was finding was helpful. I joined, and am currently still a part of, two Facebook groups that allow women with PCOS to come together to share each other's celebrations and/or downfalls. One of the best things I did for myself was find a way to stay in contact with other women who are going through the same thing. The hirtuism, the hair loss, the hair growth, the idea of never having children, the insulin resistance, and the pain that comes with periods.

Not only did I do that, but I started with my diet. PCOS takes away so much of your self-control to the point you no longer know who you are. I knew that I had to gain some of my self-control back and I knew the only way I could do that was through exercise and my diet. It has almost been a year and a half and I am now a vegan. This is not my lecture on why anyone with PCOS should go vegan but here are some things that I no longer worry about.

My insulin levels are now at a point of no concern and my testosterone levels are closer to a normal female than before my diet change. I no longer have to sit in a bathtub at 3 a.m or skip out on events because of the pain of a period. I no longer deal with cramps or pain at all when my period comes, to be honest. I did end up shaving my arms, but the unwanted hairs on my face are not what they used to be. And last, my hair falling out, is no longer a concern of mine.

I would never take back having PCOS, no matter how damaging it is and can be. Because of this awful disease, I am more me than I have ever been. I no longer question my womanhood, it might be different than other women but I will always be a woman. The same reason why I used to put myself down has become the same reason why I build myself up. I focused on the two things that I could control and now I feel more in control than ever before, and I am happy with that.

I see that women all around the world battle with PCOS differently, and that is okay, but I hope my story inspires someone in the same ways that I have been inspired.

Cover Image Credit: Asdrubal Luna

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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'The Perfect Date' Is The Perfect Example Of A Movie That Just Doesn't Get It

We don't need another romcom written by white old men who don't understand teenagers.

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Let me preface this by saying that "The Perfect Date" was not a bad movie, nor am I saying that it was written poorly in general or because men were at the helm of this film. But something about it left me feeling dissatisfied.

It had all the qualities to make a great teen romcom- a notable cast, teenage angst and awkwardness, and even techy affixation. It was all there. The social media context, the stardom that has become Noah Centineo and Camila Mendes, the highly relatable and quirky girl who just doesn't fit in. But it still felt like it didn't live up to its potential.

The film lacked depth and understanding of the reality of teenage-dom. It felt as though someone was trying desperately to grasp at the fun ease of a 1980s Hughes movie but without the perception or compassion of what a young adult is actually going through.

True, I'm a 22-year-old female in college, so I am a few years removed from actually being a teenager. But to me, the movie still seemed a little too forced and a little too presumptuous about being a 17-year-old kid in high school.

With Brooks (Noah Centineo) trying to raise enough money to go to the Ivy League college of, you guessed it, Yale, his incentives are lackluster and more importantly his relationship with his dad is offensive. He is continually putting his father down and acting as though he hasn't done enough for him but they both end up shrugging it off and joking about it. Like real men do, right? Brooks' storyline faulters on the 'good' guy with a heart of gold who falls in love with the girl from the other side of the tracks, complete with angst and combat boots.

Celia (Laura Marano) is a tough character to dissolve on her own. While I've heard many people talk about unlikable she is, I actually found myself relating to her blunt behavior and gracelessness. However, her character was driven to a point of exhaustion that never allowed her to actually show any genuine emotion or humanness. I know this is a crazy concept, but maybe give a female character something other than the love interest plot. Tell me about her family, show me what her interests are, give her depth instead of just telling us she's deep. We get it.

And of course, the complete disservice that was Murph (Odiseas Georgiadis). Another "sidekick" character that had all the fun, quirky minorities shoved into one. An app maker by day and coder by night, who just so happens to be in love with "Tuna Melt on Seven Grain" boy. We also never get to see anything personal about him or his sexuality. Sure, it's totally cool not to have an overdone coming out story mixed in, but why not throw in a talk between Brooks and Murph about their relationships and getting more of an insight to why Murph was so freaked out about sandwich boy.

The storyline was there, everything was set up for another wonderful Netflix teen movie of the ages. But it failed to convey understanding and emotion through the characters. I hope we can get more diverse stories as time goes on. I want teens and kids to be able to relate and learn from the people they see on their screens, to find a little piece of themselves in what they watch and make them feel something good.

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