Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ball State chapter.

When I was just 14 years old, I went to my first ever gynecologist appointment in my small town. I was suffering from painful periods, a heavy flow, and every other negative symptom you can think of. It was an unbearable level of pain. My mom was the one who suggested we go to the gynecologist in order to make sure everything was alright.

My gynecologist decided to put me on the birth control pill to fix all of the debilitating issues. She made this decision without any medical tests, just off my word. 14-year-old me was so excited to start this new journey of self-love, a pain-free life, and uplifting emotions. I ended up with the exact opposite: massive weight gain, depression, higher anxiety levels, and a lot of self-doubt. I went on to struggle with this for the next four years. I went to every single checkup begging to be seen and heard regarding my struggles only to be brushed off with, “Well that’s just a part of being a woman.”

The only struggle my gynecologist listened to was my weight gain. I had gained over 40 pounds in one year since starting the pill. She referred me to my main practitioner for blood tests to check thyroid levels and other possible causes. I did the blood work, went back a week later, and listened to my doctor tell me, “I think you’re just built that way.” I was in complete shock. How could a doctor tell a 16-year-old girl this knowing I was struggling?

Once I went to college, my gynecologist moved to a location inaccessible to me, so I had to find a new doctor. After months of searching and trying to get an appointment, I found a gynecologist in my area. She was so helpful on my journey. On my first visit to her office I explained everything I had been through. She listened fully, asked questions, and supported everything I said. She sent me in for a transvaginal ultrasound, as there was a possibility I had ovarian cysts – a possible cause of the pain and suffering I was experiencing all these years. After my ultrasound, we discovered I actually have what is called a unicornuate uterus. In my case, an entire half of my uterus is missing. Leftover, I only have one ovary, one fallopian tube, and half of my uterus. 

To some, this diagnosis might seem shocking and overwhelming. I always knew something was wrong and felt seen for the first time in my life. Instead of being told, “That’s a part of womanhood,” I could finally say that there was a reason for my pain. My gynecologist applauded me for pushing so hard to advocate for my own health. From that moment on, I understood the importance of advocating for yourself. I felt true power in myself, my womanhood, and my health.

Once I got my diagnosis, my gynecologist suggested I go on to Nexplanon, the birth control implant that typically goes into the underside of the arm. This suggestion scared me. After years of fighting with the pill, I was unsure if I wanted to start my fight all over again. During all of this, my mom was right by my side. I cannot stress enough how important a good support system is when you’re going through any kind of change. During the insertion of the implant, there were two nurses in the room along with my mom and the gynecologist. The whole time they were all so encouraging during the process. They let me pick the color of my bandage and talked with me about how strong I was.

Now that I am on Nexplanon, I am the happiest I have ever been. I have not had my period in over a year, removing all of the pain I had been enduring for four years. I felt the courage to advocate for my mental health and begin taking anxiety medication. Most importantly, I feel like a real person again. Birth control is so much more than a contraceptive. It is a life-changing experience for so many women who rely on the positive effects to help them navigate their lives. 

My point is that learning how to advocate for yourself can be one of the most rewarding things you can do. Adulthood is upon us, and as we’re scheduling our own doctors’ appointments and filing taxes, remember to push forward and advocate for what you know is right. Everyone has a different journey, but it is important to make sure you’re following yours. Trust your gut and be the headstrong woman I know you can be.

Layla Durocher

Ball State '25

Hi! My name is Layla and I'm a media promotion and management major! I love photography and social media, and have a special place in my heart for vanilla coke.