I had just celebrated my 21st birthday, and I was so grateful for being in the pink of health all these years.
It didn’t once occur to me that the most basic function my body was capable of would fail me.
But I celebrated too soon. Two months later, I felt the usual menstrual symptoms at the time of my month; cramps and mood swings.
But I didn’t get my period.
At first, I was overjoyed. This meant that I won’t have to spend a day curled up in my bed, trying to swallow the pain with an Advil. But I didn’t get it the next month, and the month after that. I got a little antsy and googled irregular periods. I read online that it was quite normal for teenagers to experience it until their cycles were stabilized. But I’d just transitioned from teenagehood last summer.
I went on with life, ignoring the fact that I didn’t get it, and secretly enjoyed it. While my friends complained about their monthly nightmares, I was constantly reminded of my loyal lady friend that never came. I even missed her a little.
Slowly, I started to gain weight. I’d always maintained a constant weight for most of my teenage life. I didn’t realize it until my mother pointed it out. My diet hadn’t changed and I wasn’t much of a junk food enthusiast, so I had no idea how I had gained 10 lbs in less than two months.
My face started to erupt in fresh pimples everyday. This was surprising as I’d always had clear skin for most of my life. No amount of foundation would help cover them.
My friends looked at photos of me on Facebook and asked why I’d gotten fat. A particularly close friend of mine commented on a photo and asked me if all I did was eat all day. Although he meant it as a joke, it hit me hard.
It began to slowly affect my confidence and I started to back out of social outings.
My otherwise high self-esteem was at an all-time low and it had started to worry my parents.
One day, I decided to take a stand and visit a gynecologist. I’d never been to one before and was prepared to be thoroughly examined. To my surprise, all she did was take a few basic scans. She asked me about the symptoms I’d been facing. I told her that about my weight gain and acne, which were terrifyingly similar to pregnancy.
After a few days, I heard back from her. She told me that I have a disorder called PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). It is a hereditary disorder that my mother has and now is a part of me too. The doctor said that this may lead to fertility problems and depression in the future.
The only way I can keep it under control is through proper diet and exercise. Essentially, that means that I need to nurture it, so it takes care of me. That way, we can both live in harmony.
Since then, I’ve been doing what I can to eat healthily and exercise every day. Okay, I won’t lie, not every day.
It’s true. Life gets in the way. Your career takes the wheel. Chaos is inevitable. But all this will be for naught if your health goes for a six.
It was a good thing that I got it diagnosed early, and now I know what steps need to be taken. But I know a few friends who ignore it for too long until it’s too late.
If you’re like me and you’ve been experiencing similar symptoms, don’t let it pass quietly. Consult a doctor and put that beast to rest.