My PCOS story started when I was 17. I had always had an issue with my weight but I had started losing it after my GCSEs because I wanted to be slimmer for when I started sixth form. I soon realised that I hadn’t had a period for about 3 or 4 months. I was not one of those girls who kept a really close eye on how regular my cycle was so I may have had irregularities before. I went to my mum and asked her “is it normal that I haven’t had a period for 3 or 4 months?” She said “no”. I said “oh”. We booked an appointment with my GP who initially put it down to my weight loss as losing quite a bit of weight can sometimes have an effect on menstruation and advised me to come back in a couple of months if they still haven’t returned. We also sought advice from my osteopath who also did homeopathy. He said that he often gets dancer clients who don’t get periods because of their training. I danced regularly and did Performing Arts at sixth form so we thought it could be a possibility. Overall, we weren’t overly worried. Nethertheless, we waited a couple of months and went back to the GP. The GP then referred me for an ultrasound (I may have had some blood tests too but I can’t remember – curse me for being a teenager who didn’t pay much attention). After my scan, the doctor told me I had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, prescribed me the Dianette brand of the contraceptive pill and sent me on my way. Right … ok … now what? I had a condition name but no explanation of exactly what it is and what I’m meant to do to look after myself. I had to do my own research.
I did research on the internet and got a book called “Managing PCOS for Dummies” (perfect for me). Through this research, I learnt all about the potential problems I could run into if I didn’t look after myself properly; type 2 diabetes, infertility, cancers, etc. These thoughts scared me so I continued to research and learnt how much diet exercise and lifestyle have an impact on ensuring that these things don’t happen. I began to realise how important it was to get control of my weight. I had managed to lose some already and was feeling much healthier but I wanted to try and lose a bit more and maintain a healthy weight. So, I put all my research into action. I tried various “diets” such as Atkins which worked for a while but were not necessarily the best thing for my long term health. I decided that making sure I had a balanced healthy diet was better than restricting myself. I made sure to eat wholegrains and low-GI carbohydrates, started trying more vegetables and cut down on my intake of sugary foods such as, chocolate. It was a gradual process but I managed to make big changes to my diet which helped me lose some more weight. I also increased my exercise by doing some workout dvds. This also helped with my weight and started to enjoy exercise more which made it feel less like a chore. I still danced and did trampolining as well. I ended up changing from Dianette to Microgynon after a while because I found that Dianette gave me really bad headaches which were affecting my college work. I managed much better on Microgynon. Altogether, I was on the pill for 5 years. I eventually made the decision to come off the pill altogether because I worried about the health risks (i.e. blood clots) and my weight would fluctuate by half a stone. I was referred to a gynaecologist and she said that I could try coming off it to see if my periods came back on their own. She explained that I at least need to have one period every three months. It took a couple of months but they came back and were regular for two years. That is until this year when my periods suddenly stopped in February. I had an ultrasound some months later and had two sonographers confirm that my ovaries are no longer polycystic. Wow! I couldn’t believe it! I truly believe that all my hard work has led to this day. While there is still the question of why my periods have done a vanishing act now, the condition that has affected my life for so long has finally gone.