Hormonal Birth Control For PCOS
Start writing a post

This summer, I ended one of the most extended relationships of my life. I was lost, dejected, terrified, apprehensive — I was feeling every emotion in the book — but I eventually found the courage to throw my last round of hormonal birth control in the trash where it belonged and not pick up my prescription for the next month.

I first want to communicate that I'm sure there are tons of women out there who have had nothing but success with hormonal birth control (or HBC), and I am genuinely happy for them. But there are also a lot of women who haven't been so lucky, and I'm one of them. When it comes to women's health I think we're oftentimes encouraged to push the bad stuff to the side, to sugarcoat the negative in favor of the "everything's fine, I'm fine" narrative. Speaking up about reproductive health, even now, is awkward or discouraged for some reason, and a controversial topic like the pill is no exception.

It so happens that September is National Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Awareness month, a cause very near and dear to my heart. I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 17 and immediately prescribed the pill to treat its more substantial effects, like obesity, irregular periods, insulin resistance, and the countless dime-sized cysts sitting on my ovaries. However, the pill does not cure PCOS, there is no cure, and HBC is commonly prescribed for the 1 in 10 women affected by this hormonal and metabolic disorder.

I was aware of the side effects, and though my parents and even my gynecologist expressed hesitation over someone still in her teens being put on artificial hormones, I was actually relieved to have a "solution" to my problem. Even at 17, I was extremely aware of how this diagnosis could affect my future, namely, in my chances of conceiving and having the family I've always wanted. It was all of these factors combined that led me to take the prescription with little to no concern for its side effects and potential consequences in the long-run.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things Women With PCOS Need Everyone In Their Life To Know And Understand

What followed after that initial diagnosis was a five-year-long nightmare.

I adjusted in a relatively common way, or so I thought, to the initial physical changes. My skin cleared up (a definite perk), and I did gain weight, but I was able to combat that easily with an improved diet and exercise (fun fact: women with PCOS build muscle more easily than women without, due to the increased levels of testosterone in our bodies).

I didn't begin to truly feel the full effects until a year or so after I began HBC, and the negative aspects became more exacerbated when I came to college.

The physical effects were mainly dominated by my appetite and by lack of sleep or poor sleep quality, and my energy levels severely diminished. I was hungry all the time, tired all the time, and I began to let stress control my every waking moment.

The physical side effects were bad enough, but the mental ones were somehow much worse. The terrifying part was my emotions, which felt like an arbitrary roll of the dice in waking up each morning. I could be deliriously happy (though those days were few and far between), or miserably sad or angry — there was no in-between. I frequently went from one to the next like a pendulum swinging, which became exhausting. I would scream at my mom, but the most frightening part was that I didn't know why. I would fight or cry or scream and have no real reason for doing so. That was the first few years.

When I came to college, I began to feel like I was under a microscope, with every anxiety and insecurity magnified by 1,000. I wanted to isolate myself. I would agree to go out with friends and immediately want to leave when we got there.

I felt like everything around me was constantly speeding up; everyone was moving at a faster pace, and I was the only one lagging behind even though I was running as fast as I could. It reminded me of running the mile in high school and inevitably being left behind on the track as everyone else surged forward. Everyone else was against me, or so I thought.

I strived for perfection because I knew it was unattainable, and then I would have a good enough reason to wallow in self-loathing, which I thought I deserved. As a second-semester junior year a handful of months ago, I became so stressed and so terrified, so angry at myself and everyone else, that I had what I now know is passive suicidal ideation, meaning that I didn't want to take my own life, but I wanted to die.

And still, every night at 10 p.m., my alarm would go off and I'd take the pill.

It was then that I'd had enough of this relationship, which had started off okay, but later became so toxic that I let it control me and possess my mind and body. It was last semester which was the game-changer because, despite everything I was feeling, I knew it was possible to live a better life than the one I was living. All I had to do was make a change.

In my five-year journey with PCOS, of all the medical practices and hospitals I've been to and all the doctors I've seen, none of them mentioned the widely researched connection between HBC and depression, or the fertility awareness method. It was actually my sister, a registered nurse and mom of two, who first told me about it and for all intents and purposes, basically saved my life

Fertility Awareness Method, also known as FAM, is a completely safe and holistic (i.e., no drugs needed) approach to conceiving, but it also has major advantages for women who aren't trying to conceive, especially women with PCOS.

Using three simple indicators (a calendar, monitoring cervical fluid and taking basal body temperature each day), women are able to see when they've ovulated and get to know their bodies. There are tons of misconceptions and misguided ideas about what FAM actually is, but it definitely helps to do plenty of research (and to find healthcare professionals who are committed to what you want, regardless if that involves big pharma or not).

In doing that research, I found a community united across the globe and across social media platforms, a collective of compassionate, non-judgmental, understanding women who want nothing more than to educate and lift one another up. Discovering that there were natural ways to treat what has been the most complicated and discouraging diagnosis of my life has been incredible. I am committed to my diet and exercise regimen and taking back control of my body, and my mind has been the most empowering decision of my entire life. More than that, I am happy.

I broke up with HBC four months ago, and I haven't looked back since. It was less painful than I imagined, and though I'm unsure of what the future holds for me and PCOS, feeling this fantastic every day lets me know it's more than worth it.

Report this Content
Olivia White

"The American flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies from the last breath of each solider who died protecting it."

Keep Reading... Show less

Separation Anxiety in Pets

Separation anxiety in pets is a real thing and recognizing the warning signs is important.


Since March, Covid-19 required most of the world to quarantine in their homes. Majority of people ended up working from home for nearly five months. This meant pet owners were constantly with their pets giving them attention, playing with them, letting them out etc. Therefore, when the world slowly started to open up again and pet owners began returning to normal life work schedules away from the home, pet owners noticed a difference in the way their pet acted. Many pets develop separation anxiety especially during this crazy time when majority people were stuck inside barely leaving the house.

Keep Reading... Show less
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.


The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments