To continue our theme on PCOS, former Eco Femme volunteer turned ambassador, Shipra, shares her story of living with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). We’re so grateful for her honest and open sharing of this health issue. To learn more about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, it’s symptoms and treatment, check out our 2017 guide to PCOS on our blog.
MY POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME (PCOS) STORY: THE DYSFUNCTIONAL TO SUPER FUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH MY PERIOD
I am 27 years old and in the last eight months I have for the first time experienced ‘regular periods’. It is for the first time I have known what it is like to have my cycles start in 28-30 days and to bleed for a week. This feeling of experiencing ‘regular’ periods, is pretty phenomenal. I love it!
I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS at the age of 16 and right from menarche my cycles were never ‘regular’ or ‘normal’. While that goes pretty much in sync with my personality, my relationship with my periods was dysfunctional. I say this because having my period felt like having a certain type of guests over, a type that never called before coming and decide to stay over as long as they’d wish.
After being diagnosed with the help of my homeopathic doctor, I thought the biggest change my condition would bring would be the difficulty in carrying a baby. Since that did not seem like a cause of major worry back then, I did not really take to the advice given by my doctor to exercise and keep fit. Symptoms such as excessive body and facial hair showed gradually, but because that was something I was already predisposed to it wasn’t a terribly huge issue in my head. I also did not end up putting on a lot of weight, so I quickly normalized my condition of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and learnt to live with it.
The alarm bells went off when for the second time in my life I bled for 45 days at a stretch. I turned to allopathy for preventing the discomfort of having to bleed for several weeks again. However the idea and experience of being on regular hormonal medication for extended amounts of time was also very uncomfortable.
During this time I was suggested a video by a family friend on another way of looking at PCOS and that changed the way I looked at this condition. I had always believed that PCOS is a disorder to which there wasn’t any sure shot fix. The information in the video changed my world view because it meant that Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is not causative but a symptomatic disorder. A gynaecologist confirmed this information and explained the link polycystic ovaries have to insulin resistance. She also categorically advised me to lose weight (at a time when I thought I was only ‘mildly’ overweight). It was soon clear that this was a situation that I had to fix.
So almost a year ago I began a lifestyle change with attempting to eat healthier and exercise more than I did before. It took four months for my weight to drop and to change my world view (again!) that eating healthier can do amazing things for your body and just exercising alone is not enough. I ended up losing ten kilograms and more importantly ended up losing the feeling of uncertainty that came with my periods. For the first time ever using a period tracker app on my smartphone made sense.
I now know the exact week my periods will arrive and the time they will stay for. I also know that if I want them to remain that way and not go back to being crazy, eating better and exercising is going to have to be a regular feature in my life (while having the occasional cheat days of course). Doesn’t sound like a bad deal at all.
Owing to a realization that dawned on me during a beautiful Eco Femme workshop, my next step is going to be having more awareness and understanding of my body during different phases of my cycle. I believe my dysfunctional relationship with my period is turning into a super functional one.