In January I was officially diagnosed with Poly-cystic Ovary Syndrome. For my story it was very clear something was wrong but I always put my health second and decided once I wasn’t dying it wasn’t important. (I don’t advise this way of thinking). Finally in 2018 I decided to put my health first after I started bleeding.. again and finally see what was wrong. Let me start at the beginning.
My periods from the beginning were painful demonic things. I bled so heavily in the beginning my school uniforms would always get dirty, awkward having to explain “what’s that?” in first form when half the girls didn’t start their menstrual cycles yet. But of course pain is normal and wasn’t something that alerted me to something being wrong. What did alert me is how irregular my periods were, when they did come consecutively the time between was over 40 days.
As I got older they became more scarce, by 5th form not having a period for over 3 months at a time was normal. I told my mother but she didn’t seem too concerned especially since at that time I knew I wasn’t pregnant. When they did come however it was some excruciating pain and river flowing bleeding. Some curl up in a ball and pray for the pain to go away pain, some I had to leave school early because of the pain pain. And the bleeding was ridiculously heavy, having to change super pads every hour and bleeding out regularly when the flow was too heavy for any sanitary product to stop. Also, having to wake up multiple times in the night to change was normal for me and so was having to get blood out of my clothes.
By the time I got to university this situation got even worse with the stress and although I wasn’t sexually active I began to get very concerned. My period had not come for 9 months and hearing other girls talk about their clockwork periods it made me concerned about my spontaneous and ever more absent one. My second year of university was the first time I used progesterone to “force” my period. As I later learnt, not bleeding for over 3 months is cause for concern. This “forced” period was clearly from hell, I didn’t sleep for 3 days because the bleeding was so heavy. It had to change a super plus tampon and a super pad every hour for two days. I lost so much blood I became anemic and when you include sleep deprivation I looked absolutely terrible and had zero energy. The Doctor in Trinidad advised that I get an ultrasound done but I was on a student budget and that seemed like an unnecessary expense. When I came back to Barbados after finishing my degree by August I hadn’t had a period in over 6 months.. again. This time I went to a gynecologist in Barbados who recommended I force my period.. again and then go on birth control. After the forced period my period still refused to come naturally for another two months so I decided to finally go on birth control.
The birth control that I choose was the injection – Depo Provera. I choose this because it was the lowest in maintenance. One injection every three months. For this type you are not supposed to get any periods and in most women even after they stop they don’t get periods for a number of months up to a year after. Well, this was not the case for me, within two weeks of taking the injection I started to bleed and it… did… not… stop. I started to lose so much blood, four to five super plus tampons a day that I become weak and very concerned. I told myself if this doesn’t stop I have to go to a doctor again for sure. Luckily about 3 weeks in I finally stopped bleeding and was able to save the money for the doctors appointment. Of course after losing that much blood I became anemic again.. and this time I experienced symptoms such as the normal fatigue but also shortness of breath and chest tightness. That was for basically most of November, by January 2018 I started to bleed… again. Luckily this time it was lighter and I finally decided I cannot continue along this path any longer. It time to pay the money for a better doctor. I ended up going to one who was recommended by a friend who was also diagnosed with PCOS
After doing a scan we discovered many, many cysts on my ovaries. It was unusual for someone as slim as I am, with no external signs such as excess hair or weight to have PCOS. I actually lost weight on the Depo Provera (normal people usually gain weight) and I was down to 150 pounds, smallest I can remember being since I began university three years ago. He simply recommended that I stay on the Depo Provera and let my body adjust to the injection. Hopefully if I stay consistently on the birth control my cysts will shrink and my ovaries should return to normal.
During this time I experienced depression which I personally believe was linked to the hormones because it was completely random and it came in cycles. It felt almost as if when my hormone levels reached a certain point how my brain operated changed. Now that I’ve been on birth control for a couple months I’ve experienced those symptoms less. What is also worthy noting is that I turned vegetarian in January 2017 but started to eat fish later that year. Not only was I tired from being iron deficient (anemia) but I also experienced muscle weakness and pain. Recently I started taking B12 supplements and I feel much stronger.
Everyone’s experience is different. Many of my friends suspected that I had PCOS from secondary school especially those who had been officially diagnosed. Waiting for years before doing anything about it is not advised. PCOS can cause infertility and trouble with pregnancy. Also to those suffering from the extreme bleeding and pain it could also be endometriosis which can be alleviated using birth control. I’ll advise everyone to put their health first especially when it begins to affect your work, travel or life in general.
If you have any questions on my experience feel free to message or comment.
Until Next Time