Being Diagnosed with PCOS is Something I Will Always Be Grateful For

September has a special place in my heart for many reasons – back to school, the start of football season, and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Awareness month. Like most women, I was unaware of what PCOS was until I was diagnosed by my OBGYN. However, learning about the condition has not only made me appreciate my body a bit more, but has also taught me to love myself.

For those who are unaware of what Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is, it is a hormonal imbalance in women that produces more levels of testosterone (a male hormone) instead of estrogen (a female hormone). Often, it results in hair growth along the facial area, acne, irregular periods and trouble losing weight. It is also linked to fertility issues and depression. The only way to diagnose the condition is through blood tests, and birth control is currently the only form of treatment.

I was diagnosed going into my senior year of high school. I ended up having to go to a gynecologist to get on birth control. Growing up, I always had heavy periods, so it was just something I was accustomed to, but I was getting tired of having to change my pad or tampon every couple of hours, especially with being involved in swim team and classes. I at least wanted to find a birth control that worked for me before I went to college.

When I was at the appointment, we were talking about family history (like every time you see a new doctor). I mentioned that when I was a freshman in high school, my mother ended up having to have surgery for a cyst on her ovaries. That, and explaining what my periods were like, sent off red flags for my gynecologist as she first mentioned that there was a possibility that I had PCOS. She then suggested that I get blood work done in order to really know.

That was when I felt like my life changed. Like I mentioned, I finally got an answer to why my periods were so heavy. I also got more insight into why my body is the way it is, and I began to appreciate it more. I have always had self-esteem issues when it comes to my weight, just from the fact that I reached puberty before most of my friends. I have curves and have always carried a bit more weight since I was 13, and until then I just didn’t get why. I was healthy. I did multiple sports and never really faced any physical obstacles to any activities I did. It made me feel unpretty and uncomfortable.

Yes, it was hard to hear that I will have difficulties in the future when I have kids. Like most, I thought I also was less of a woman just because I would face complications when it comes to carrying a child. I mean, what 17 year old wants to hear that they might not be able to obtain something in life that is marketed as a norm? However, I know it isn’t impossible. There are so many technological advances that make it possible, such as IVF therapy or getting a surrogate. I definitely will be able to adopt.

Knowing that I have PCOS, I also know that my body works very hard. I haven’t shown it the love it truly deserves, even though I am best known to preach that everyone is beautiful. I just didn’t believe it myself. My diagnosis opened my eyes, though, because now I am proud of my body. It does a lot in order to make sure I am healthy, even if it must overcome tons of obstacles. I am beautiful and so is my body. I truly believe that now.

One in 10 women will be diagnosed with PCOS in their lifetime. If we talk about it more, we can normalize it instead of making women feel afraid and embarrassed, like myself when I first heard the scary acronym.

 

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