I never felt comfortable posting about personal and intimate details about my life for the simple reason that is, "Do people even care?" Having said that, the amount of women I know that go through the same condition I have been struggling with for close to 10 years, I feel, calls for attention.
At 20/21 I was diagnosed with PCOS ( Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) which comes down to hormone imbalance, our bodies produce more male-hormones than we should have. The result of this could be abnormal hair growth, acne, difficulty in falling pregnant and inconsistent periods.
I found out I had PCOS because my acne at around 20 was quite bad (to say the least) and this made me feel insecure and shy to not wear make up and still go out and act confident. I also had abnormal hair growth, which as you can imagine is incredibly frustrating! I would shave my legs and within two days it was as if I had not shaved at all (frustration grew from here on up).
Eventually, I went to see a dermatologist who prescribed YAZ to me to control my acne (a form of birth control) and little did I know that it would be treating my PCOS at the same time. About a year later, I mentioned to my mom that maybe I should see a Gynaecologist because something didn't feel right, and I was correct in doing so. A lot of women would say that you only need to see a gynae from 25 upwards, but I felt the need to go sooner as my hair growth concerned me and so did my period/lack thereof.
So I went to see a female gynae (who is still my gynaecologist today) and she diagnosed with me PCOS on the spot. She showed me the collection of fluid (follicles) around my uterus, and further told me that I had a very thin uterus lining (which causes a very very light period). Having been on YAZ for almost a year at this point (dermatologist prescribed), she was pleased and told me to continue with it until I decide I want to have children (I totally freaked out!). I did not want to be chained down by this pill for so long but doctor's orders. Following on from that, I asked her what I could do to slow down the process to the point that it almost doesn't exist and below is how I came to deal with it, but first...
The most common symptoms:
Excessive hair growth- facial, all over the body and as a polar opposite slight balding on the head.
Irregular period is a big one- whether it is a very long period (heavy) or too light is cause for concern.
Severe acne- especially on the cheeks and chin.
Significant weight gain
Note: The excessive male hormones circulating your body is the main cause for the above symptoms and that is why the pill is very effective as it releases a lot of progesterone into your body
A few ways to slow down the excessive hair growth is to take birth control pills (suggested by a physician), electrolysis and Vaniqa which is a cream that slow down the hair growth.
What I did to slow down my PCOS Progress:
Because I did not have an obesity or over-weight problem, my issue was that I was under-weight so going on the pill helped me gain about 1-2 healthy kilograms of weight which did help to stabilise me.
I 180'd my diet- so I stopped the fizzy drinks, the cheap take-out and started to exercise as often as I could (usually 4 times a week minimum). My diet became smoothies in the morning (no protein), yoghurt, granola, fresh fruit and throughtout the day I would have good proteins with a healthy carb and obviously veggies.
*These changes to my lifestyle helped me but all was done with the aid of my GP and Gynae, so definitely consult a professional before going ahead with trying to cure your PCOS.
When I first was diagnosed I was told that I may need to have my first child by 30, and after my most recent check up, my gynae told me 35 is the very latest. So being strict with my pill and healthy lifestyle, did make a significant difference to me, and I really hope this helps you all too!