17 Day Menstrual Cycle

September is PCOS awareness month, and PCOS stands for Polycystic ovary syndrome and it is a common hormone imbalance that affects about 1 in 10 women. Yes you read that correctly 1 in 10 women. I found out I had PCOS because my menstrual cycle was on for 17 days, well what I thought was my period. I am currently twenty-three and I haven’t had a regular period since I was seventeen. I honestly thought it was normal because I remember the first gynecologist I went to telling me it was okay. And here’s a sidebar, black women are never taken seriously whenever they express a health abnormality or medical concern to their doctors. It is a shame how many black women suffer because of their doctor’s carelessness.

My menstrual cycle has never been normal, I would go four to five months without a period and wouldn’t care because come on as women we all hate out monthly visitor. Then earlier this year my period came on and it was more heavier than usual, on the seventh day I felt like something was wrong because my menstrual cycle is usually three days. It hit the fourteenth day and I knew something was absolutely wrong with me. I went to an Urgent Care center because I don’t have health insurance as a recent college grad. The urgent care doctor told me, “You need to go to the emergency room tonight, I do not want to misdiagnose, you need a specialist or a gynecologist.”

I’m not the type to listen to people, but I listened to him, that same night I visited my cousin who is a nurse at a hospital and had her take me to the facility she worked at. Eight hours and five intrusive and invasive tests later, the doctor informed me that I had multiple cysts in my ovaries and one of the cysts ruptured and that was why I was bleeding. She then implied that I may have PCOS, a syndrome that effects so many women. I was given estrogen and some other medicine to stop the bleeding and later put on birth control. The first contraceptive they had me on was horrible, I was depressed, dizzy, beginning to lose the ability to see out one eye. Birth control is the devil honestly, my gynecologist later put me on a progesterone only birth control and everything seems to be normal.

When I found out I had PCOS I was devastated, I researched all the effects and how much this would personally effect me. My gynecologist assured me that I would be fine but how could she know this wasn’t her body. My plan is to get my body healthy so I do not have to rely on birth control because the long term effects to birth control is much worse than a hormone imbalance. I go to the gym regularly and I’ve changed my diet, I have researched and am willing to try new things. I want to get my body accustomed to a more normal and natural option. My journey with PCOS is a temperamental one but finally understanding what’s wrong with me and my body is a liberating.

If you are a woman who suffers from PCOS I want you to know that you are not alone, that there is an entire community of women there for and with you. The miscarriages, the infertility, the acne, the fluctuating weight, we know and understand and we want you to know that you can always reach out to us.

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