They say one in 10 women have PCOD or PCOS (poly cystic ovarian disorder/ syndrome), which basically makes me a statistic. I discovered I had it when I was 16 thanks to irregular periods and uncontrollable acne. I had visited various dermats and tried multiple ointments to try and control my zits - to no avail.
A sonography and blood test confirmed that I was one of millions of women around the world to be affected by this condition. I had increased levels of androgens (male hormones), which was causing all my pimple woes, irregular periods and embarrassing chin and facial hair. Add all that to the life of a teenager and you can imagine how chaotic things were.
I was put on birth control pills for a good 9 months in spite of my mom being extremely sceptical. (Her teenage daughter was taking contraceptive pills! HAW!!) The doctor assured us that it was a very common way of treating the hormonal imbalance that came with PCOS and would help reduce my breakouts and regulate my menstrual cycle. She said it was perfectly normal to be on them for really long periods of time since they’re pretty mild and take a while to take affect. Well, she turned out to be right because my skin really did clear up and my periods would arrive dot on time.
Thankfully, I didn’t have major weight gain/ loss or hair fall, which can also happen as a result of PCOS. My biggest problem has and always will be with my skin. I’ve been dealing with acne well into my twenties. The breakouts did reduce, but now instead of getting a few zits around the same time I would get one HUGE one. I’m not talking about an angry, red zit but a great big lump of cystic acne that would take weeks to disappear and even leave behind permanent marks.
Again, I could thank high levels of testosterone for this and was put on another round of birth control pills to control the hormonal imbalance. My mother again wasn’t too happy about this, but what could she do? My boyfriend on the other hand was ecstatic that he would never have to worry about getting me pregnant!
It’s been a few years since I’ve been off the pill and even today my period is extremely regular. In fact, it’s so predictable that I can easily calculate the date I’ll get it on for the next few months and be accurate. That makes vacation planning pretty easy. My acne has calmed down, though I don’t touch coffee and limit how many chocolates I eat for fear of growing a cystic pimple. My skin is pretty clear if you don’t consider a few marks, but I’m always praying that I don’t suddenly have an unexpected breakout. I still do get them every now and then.
I also started yoga, which - believe it or not - has been known to keep PCOD in check. In fact, my instructor told me it’s the only thing that helped relieve her symptoms after years of trying just about anything. You’ll be surprised at just how common it is. In fact, most of my closest friends and colleagues also have it but with varying symptoms.
All in all, I would like to think that my PCOD is more or less under control, though I do think that being active and exercising plays an important role. Take it from the laziest girl around!
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Published on Dec 22, 2015