I never thought that one day I would be wishing for it to come or to just have a ‘normal’ cycle again.
Coming Off The Pill
After a decade of being on the pill and never feeling quite right on it, I decided it was time to start asking questions about whether it was really right for me.
I booked an appointment with my local GP who I had only seen a handful of times including for the occasional 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 challenging for me.
When I began to ask questions about why I might be feeling sick and if being on the pill for so long would affect my chances of falling pregnant, I was met with a quick response: the pill is well researched and safe. Although my GP said that I shouldn’t have any concerns, she suggested I could try coming off the pill to see if the nausea stopped.
As much as the idea of stopping birth control scared me, especially after being on it for so long, I knew I needed to try. My doctor explained that it could take a few months for my period to return and not to worry if that was the case. Fast forward 6 months off the pill and I still had no sign of a period.
The good thing was that my nausea had indeed gone away. I went back to the doctor to explain that I hadn’t gotten a period yet and I was sent off for a blood test, reassured that I had nothing to worry about.
A New Set of Symptoms
The following 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 (TMI warning) diarrhea, 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 even 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 asked if there was anything that could be going on.
Some Concerning Follicles
My GP sent me for an ultrasound on my pelvis to check that everything was ok with my reproductive organs. Here I began to get nervous. I had gone so many years trying to avoid pregnancy, what if I had hindered my chances of having a baby at all?
To check on my ovaries and uterus, I had to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound. This is a normal procedure, however, I wasn't 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.
The first search returned an article on Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I had a flashback to a comment my GP had made about why some women have irregular periods, but I was sure she said it was unlikely to be the case for me.
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 have my hormones (like LH, FHS, Testosterone) tested.
Finally, A Diagnosis
The past year had been a roller-coaster of mood swings, fatigue, anxiety, bloating, and uncontrollable cravings, along with irregular periods. I’ll never forget the day I received my PCOS diagnosis; it was the moment I no longer felt like I was going crazy and that I no longer had control over my own body.
I was filled with a mixture of relief, 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 natural healing 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 I did it and to help other women do the same.