I remember having the “period talk” when I was younger. I was in the 5th grade when the school nurse rolled in a T.V. on a cart and played a short video about menstrual cycles.
I remember looking around the room after she turned the lights back on. Most of the girls were blushing and giggling at one another. Then there were others, like myself, who were kind of scratching their heads in confusion.
The nurse then passed around a small basket filled with pads and told us to take one.
I ran home and put that bad boy on as if it were going to make it appear. I was so excited, I sat patiently and waited for the magic to happen.
But the magic never happened.
In fact, I didn’t experience a period until I started taking birth control at the age of 18.
I started taking the pill after my first gynecologist appointment. I made an appointment because I knew something was off, I mean everyone else was having their period, so why wasn’t I? When I asked my doctor about it he made it seem like it was very common, no big deal. Of course, his reaction convinced me to think I was overreacting. He said the pill would give me a period. At the time I remember thinking, “what a simple solution, I just have to take a tiny pill.”
However, I was still very confused. I asked him how he knew that the pill was right for me. He responded by saying, “birth control is like cereal, there are so many to choose from, you just have to find the one you like.” I left the appointment more confused than ever.
I took the pill for nearly a year before I realized that it was in fact, not the right one. During this year, I experienced weight gain, severe mood swings, fatigue, binge eating, and at last, a period.
My cycle was brutal and although it was there, it was extremely inconsistent.
It wasn’t until I started watching health vloggers online and doing my own research that I realized this tiny pill wasn’t the magic cure after all.
I was suddenly aware that I was putting a band-aid on a much bigger issue.
I am not hating on birth control or trying to degrade anyone that may be on it.
I’m simply suggesting that you look at all options before taking synthetic hormones.
I decided to take a natural approach and for the next 2-3 years, I took almost no medication at all. I changed my diet and my lifestyle with still no sign of a menstrual cycle. During this time I also started to experience severe pain, nervous that it may be the result of taking birth control.
Many other major things were happening in my life and although I knew something was wrong, I put this part of me on the back burner. I pretended that nothing was wrong because it was easier that way.
I put things off until I couldn’t. In the summer of 2018, my pain became unbearable and I decided to make a doctor’s appointment. By this time, I had moved across the country to attend college, which means all new doctors.
Within the first twenty minutes of the appointment, my gynecologist confirmed my worst fear. He diagnosed me with endometriosis, something that I read about online that matched all of the symptoms I was experiencing. I was devastated.
I asked him if this was the reason that I wasn’t experiencing a period. He told me that he’d like to take some blood to run further tests.
Finally, a doctor that wanted answers just as much as I did.
A few weeks later, he called me with the results and explained that my DHEA hormone was double the amount it should be, which affects my adrenal glands. This is a typical sign found in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS. Again, this was something I had heard about but didn’t fully understand.
Symptoms of PCOS:
Stress + anxietyUnusual hair growth (jawline, facial hair)
Inconsistent period/ no period
Oily skin or acne
Difficulty getting pregnant
I was diagnosed with essentially two chronic illnesses within a months time and I was heartbroken. I took lots of crying time, and I do mean a lot.
Eventually, I started researching and educating myself and the more I read, the more I understood.
Once I began taking steps toward improving my health, the more empowered I felt.
You can take control of your health and it starts from within! You must look at all areas of your life, starting with your diet.
I will be making another post explaining the steps I’ve taken to heal my body and keep my symptoms at bay.
For now, please remember that you are not alone. Be open and honest about what you are experiencing and ask for help.
Remember, if we isolate ourselves it only feeds the problem.
I hope this post was helpful!