This guest blog post was written by Kayla Jade of @thepcosbible, which is a fantastic resource she's created to document her journey with PCOS and help others understand and overcome their PCOS-related symptoms.
Disclaimer: the information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not designed to replace individualized recommendations from a practitioner. Always check with your doctor before adding supplements or making changes to your treatment plan.
Like many young girls, I went on the hormonal birth control pill as a teenager for contraception. I was young and naïve and ultimately, I wanted to be able to live my life without the ‘inconvenience’ of a period and I certainly didn’t want to have a baby. From the day I got my period at age 15, all I wanted was for it to go away; I simply didn’t want to have to deal with it.
I never thought that one day I would be wishing for it to come or to just have a ‘normal’ cycle again.
We always want what we can’t have, right?
With the support and guidance of my naturopath and extensive research into how we can balance our hormones, I realized I could HEAL my body and overcome my PCOS.
Coming Off The Pill
After a decade of being on the pill, never feeling quite right being on it, but just putting up with it purely out of convenience, I decided that I had had enough of the random bouts of nausea I was experiencing. It was time to start asking questions about whether or not the pill was really right for me.
I booked an appointment with my local GP who I had seen a handful of times and for the odd Pap Smear test. Not once had we discussed my periods, how they were or how I was feeling, so bringing it up was a little confronting for me.
When I began to ask questions about why I might be feeling sick and also if being on the pill for such a long time would affect my chances of falling pregnant, I was met with a quick response that the pill was well researched and safe. Although my GP said that I shouldn’t have any concerns, she said I could try coming off the pill to see if the nausea stopped.
As much as the idea of coming off the pill scared me, after being on it for so long, I knew I needed to try it. My doctor explained to me that it could take a few months to get my period back and not to worry if it took a while. One of my good friends came off the pill at the same time. She got her period back within a month or two. Fast forward 6 months off the pill and I still had no sign of a period.
The good thing was that my nausea had gone away. I went back to the doctor to explain that I hadn’t got a period yet. She sent me off for a blood test and reassured me I had nothing to worry about.
A New Set of Symptoms
The next month I finally got my period. While I was relieved that it had come, I was in excruciating pain!
I felt like I was going to vomit, I had diarrhea (sorry for the TMI), and my back was so sore I couldn’t get out of bed (other than to race to the toilet). It was a living hell.
I started to question why I had come off the pill.
I couldn’t bear the thought of putting up with this pain. I returned to the doctor to explain what had happened and I asked if there was anything that could be going on.
Some Concerning Follicles
She decided to send me for an ultrasound on my pelvis to check that everything was ok with my reproductive organs.
This was the first moment I started to get a little nervous. I had gone so many years trying not to have a baby and now there was the thought of “what if I can’t have a baby one day?”
So off I went to have the ultrasound.
If I thought talking about my periods with my GP was confronting, I had no idea what I was in for here. To check that my ovaries and uterus, I had to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound.
This is a normal procedure, however, I was so not expecting it on the day. Once I got over the shock of that, there really wasn’t anything to be worried about.
But a comment from the radiologist made me nervous again.
“I’m just going to stop here and take a few more images, as there are some concerning follicles on your ovaries”. I remember nodding and then wanting to get out of there as quickly as possible to Google what she meant by “concerning follicles”.
Going With My Gut
I got in the car and quickly did a search on my phone. I know, I know, not the best thing to do, but I couldn’t wait two weeks for my doctors appointment... I had to know.
The first search I did came up with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I had a flashback to a comment my GP had made to me about why some women have irregular periods, but I was sure she said it was unlikely to be the case for me.
Something just didn’t feel right...
I am a big believer in going with your gut feeling and, while I respected my doctors professional opinion, I needed more insight. I have always valued holistic approaches to health, so I decided to see a naturopathic doctor. This, honestly, turned out to be the best decision I could have ever made.
This is where I began to learn about what the pill really does to our hormones and how it suppresses our bodies' natural hormonal function to prevent ovulation, which leads to withdrawal bleeds and not actual periods.
How was I not informed of this when I was younger? My naturopath also advised me to ask to have my hormones (like LH, FHS, Testosterone) tested.
Finally, A Diagnosis
Fast forward a few months later and I’m back at the doctors; ready for my hormone tests and ultrasound results to be reviewed. The past year has been a roller-coaster of mood swings, fatigue, anxiety, bloating, and uncontrollable cravings, along with irregular periods.
I’ll never forget this day; it was the moment I no longer felt like I was going crazy thinking something wasn’t right and feeling completely out of control of my body.
It was the moment I was told “You have PCOS”.
I was filled with mixed emotions of relief, overwhelm, fear, and curiosity. But, most of all, I was shocked when the doctor told me that to treat my symptoms, I would need to go back on the pill. I knew I couldn’t keep living the way I was on the emotional and physical PCOS roller-coaster, but going back on the pill felt so counterintuitive, as all it would do is mask my symptoms.
This is where my journey to healing naturally began.
With the support and guidance of my naturopath, and extensive research into how we can balance our hormones, I realized I could heal my body and overcome my PCOS. That's why I started @thepcosbible to share how and help other women do the same.
Kayla Jade is 28 years old and was diagnosed with PCOS at the beginning of 2018 after spending 10 years on the Pill. She has always been passionate about health, healthy eating and lifestyle. Her diagnosis gave her the motivation to dive deeper into nutrition and research around naturally healing our bodies. Her background is in Psychology and teaching, but now she works as a mentor and advocate for women with PCOS who want to overcome their PCOS diagnosis. She is also working to create better awareness about women’s health and our cycles as there is so much misconception and misunderstanding around our periods and the contraceptive pill. Kayla created The PCOS Bible as a way to bring relevant, research-backed information and tips to women with PCOS and also to create support network for cysters. The Online Cyster Squad is a Facebook group that allows women to share their struggles and wins, to vent, and to ask questions to other women with PCOS who are also trying to heal their bodies naturally.
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