Not So Broken Vagina, Living With PCOS

From an early age I always knew that something was different about my body. At the tender age of 13 aunt flow came to visit and she’s never gone away. But oddly enough, she would take periodic vacations and I always wondered when she would come back— not that I missed her all that much. There was a general concern as to why I would miss my menstrual cycle every other month without notice. It became normal to me until I got older and when she finally came back it was always with a vengeance.

Whether it be sex, PMS, or literally just walking around the grocery story, my body would tell me “girl, something is off and you need to figure it out!” And me being the woman that I am, I did my research, came up with an answer, and waited forever and a day to get a professional opinion.

Not until my yearly pap smear exam did I get the wakeup call that my body was obviously right, and something was wrong. My results were abnormal, twice and I just knew Issa Rae was rapping about me with her Broken P*ssy hit. A few sonograms later and both myself and my trusted gynecologist learned that I have multiple cysts on my beloved ovaries. Or better, polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS.

If you are not familiar with the term, PCOS affects one in ten women— a pretty common health problem caused by an imbalance of hormones affecting one’s ovaries. This can cause cysts, or fluid filled sacs to develop in the ovaries. Although the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, it can be attributed to a few things. High levels of androgens or male hormones can be a factor. Now don’t get me wrong all women have some level of male hormones as men have a little estrogen. But women with PCOS have more than they should, which can be a reason for a little extra hair or acne as well. Another factor could be high levels of insulin. Insulin hormones control how the food you eat turns into energy. If you have insulin resistance it could contribute to PCOS, and this can come from having a family with a history of type 2 diabetes as mine does. 

The random sharp pain in my lower abdomen, painful intercourse, and terrible premenstrual symptoms were all indicating factors that something was wrong with me. And by the time I got checked out by my gynecologist, I developed multiple cysts on each of my ovaries varying in size. Coincidentally the largest cysts ruptured a few days later, a pain that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

My exam solidified all the questions and concerns I had for years that I tried to ignore. Of course even after putting a medical term to a lifelong concern was accomplished I still had questions. Is there a cure? Can this be a gateway to another medical concern such as cancer? Will I have to get surgery? Can I have children? I only have an answer to one of these questions— there is no cure for PCOS. Per my doctor’s advice the best way to control the cysts is estrogen, which can be found in certain birth control methods, particularly the pill.

If you pay any attention to the news, you may have saw a slew of women condemning President Trump for potentially making it difficult for women to obtain birth control or even abortions. The push for women to use an IUD (intrauterine device) was all the rave, but what about women that need to estrogen which isn’t as high in IUD’s. We need the pill form of birth control for more than just… you guessed it birth control! Women’s health, such as my own depends on it, but that’s a conversation I’m sure I can make in a different post!

I wanted to share my experience with both men and women to put a familiar face to a name. That random sharp pain isn’t random. The pain you feel during intercourse could be your body telling you something is wrong; or it could be your partner, who knows! Listen to your body, do your research and more importantly see your gynecologist to ask questions and get examined. They’re literally trained and certified in that area you know. Have a happy and healthy vagina, all are different but they don’t have to be broken.