As a teenager, I felt like my body was betraying me. Sitting in the cold, sterile doctor’s office for what felt like the hundredth time, I’m told “just exercise more”, yet again. Time after time, a hint of disbelief or condescension is present in the doctor’s tone after I relay all my symptoms. At fifteen years old, I didn’t know how to advocate for myself, especially when it came to medical professionals. Fast forward four months filled with hours of searching for a doctor who believed me, and I finally found a doctor who listened. I won’t get into all the nitty gritty details and will just jump to the conclusion of the appointment: a diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
For years, I have had to manage the pain and discomfort brought on by PCOS. I had to navigate through an array of symptoms, including irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain, fatigue, excess hair growth, and depression. While I was grateful for the treatments available, birth control and metformin, I still felt isolated and confused. Not to mention the treatments had side effects of their own that were difficult to manage.
At times, I feel like PCOS has taken away my sense of control. From my irregular periods to unbalanced hormones that I can’t seem to straighten out, PCOS has a way of making me feel like I’m out of sync with my own body. I often feel frustrated and helpless, like I can’t do anything to make it better.
But over time, I’ve learned to take back control by taking charge of my health. I’ve started to make lifestyle changes, like eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and managing my stress levels. I’ve also been taking natural supplements to help regulate my hormones and mitigate some of the symptoms. Don’t get me wrong, PCOS is still a very real struggle for me. Sometimes it feels like no matter what I do, I will never be able to get ahead of this condition. But I am eternally grateful to have been diagnosed at a time when research on PCOS is on the upswing. It is reassuring for future generations of women to come to see this widespread condition being researched more seriously.
Though I’m still learning to cope with PCOS, I’ve begun to see it as an opportunity to be kinder to myself. I’m learning to recognize my own needs, set boundaries, and take care of my body in a way that works best for me.
It’s been a long journey that has just begun, but I’m taking the steps necessary to feel more in tune with my body. PCOS does not define me, and I’m determined to make the most of my life despite this condition. This is why I am thrilled to work with the team at Monarchs, talking about real issues that affect me and many other women, so we can form a community and know we aren’t going through this alone.