Thank you to my friends and family for the support ♡
This is my personal experience since diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). I’m not being paid to endorse any insurance company, hospital, doctor, or medicine. This article is simply about my PCOS journey in a three-part series: diagnosis, treatment, and side effects. I simply would like to share my story with fellow PCOS-diagnosed women and families or friends who care about anyone that has the same hormonal disorder as I do. You may take my suggestions in this whole series/journey, but you should heed advice more from experienced dermatologists, ob-gynecologists, and/or other experts you trust. I welcome any advice and support from fellow PCOS-diagnosed women. Read my full series: My PCOS journey – The Prelude and My PCOS Journey Part 1 – PCOS Diagnosis
Why should you get yourself checked?
There are many common misconceptions about PCOS everywhere. Online research implies that to have PCOS is to have many or all of the symptoms at once. Through some people’s assumptions, I heard that if you have irregular period, it automatically means you have PCOS and that you will never get pregnant. I know of ladies who have an inkling that they have PCOS, yet they don’t want to have themselves checked. They ask themselves “what if it’s real?“, “what if I actually have PCOS?“, “I’m scared to know that I actually have [PCOS].“, “I think I have PCOS but it won’t get worse anyway.“
Setting some things straight:
Firstly, I asked friends who have been diagnosed with PCOS about their symptoms. I found out that they don’t all gain weight, get cystic acne, have intense stomach cramps, get excess body hair, heavy flow, etc. at the same time. Most of them only had one symptom. This means that even just one symptom is already something to look into.
Secondly, irregular period cannot be impulsively linked to PCOS. It can be caused by existing health conditions such as thyroid disorder and poor lifestyle choices. And, you can still get pregnant despite having PCOS.
and thirdly, we cannot assume anything about PCOS. PCOS has been underdiagnosed and undertreated for far too long to be relying only on Dr. Google and hearsay. If you are worried about even just one symptom linked to PCOS such as but not limited to persisting acne, weight problems, irregular or no menstrual period, irregular hair growth or loss, I strongly recommend to consult an Ob-Gyne.
The last thing you need to do is wait for symptoms to get worse and lead to more serious health complications such as diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, cardiovascular disease, or endometrial cancer. Check my detailed step-by-step guide to checking for PCOS.
There is NO 1 PCOS treatment for symptoms
Ever since I made my PCOS diagnosis announcement in Facebook, friends and strangers have been opening up to me about their PCOS stories and asking me help on their skin care routines. Regarding their PCOS treatments, I found it interesting that most of them didn’t have the same treatment. Initially, I thought birth control pills were the only treatment for PCOS, but apparently not!
According to the PCOS awareness association, while there is no cure for PCOS, there are many ways you can minimize or eliminate its symptoms. Here are the different treatments mentioned to me by my friends:
- Birth control pills such as Yaz, Mercilon, Yasmin, and Diane
- Extensive diet like vegan and vegetarian
- Regular exercise
- Hot wax or laser for hair
With all these options, there is definitely no one way to manage the symptoms of PCOS. And just like skincare, what works on someone won’t necessarily work on you. I know someone who opted for alternative medicine because they weren’t comfortable with the side effects of birth control pills. Another person had no side effects at all while using the pill.
What made me stay away from BCPs
After my ultrasound, the doctor asked me if I wanted to go on the pill. Maybe the pill is the default thing Ob-Gynes suggest. She didn’t recommend other kinds of PCOS treatment so I said yes to the pill. I had no other options aside from the pill anyway. She made me choose between a pill that will make me gain weight or the other one that won’t. My only symptom is cystic acne but I still preferred the no-weight-gain pill, which was Yasmin. I was told that I’d be going through a roller-coaster of side effects while on the pill.
I bought Yasmin at the pharmacy in Makati Med. Because my dermatologist advised me to take the pills for one month first, my Ob-Gyne prescribed 2 packs of 21-tablets. After my one month, I will have come back to check my skin changes with the dermatologist.
What I got was the 21-tablets pack. If you get this instead of the 28-tablets pack, remember these notes:
- You take your first pill on the first day of your period.
- You take it on the same time you took the first pill everyday so set an alarm like this Day 1 – 6AM, Day 2 – 6AM, and so on.
- Don’t worry if you miss the exact time because you can still take the pill within 3 hours from your scheduled pill intake. Source: here. Ex. I woke up at 7AM so I missed my scheduled pill intake at 6AM. I can still take the pill since my window is 6AM-8AM.
- If you forget to take your pill, as soon as you remember take it, even if it means taking 2 pills in one day.
I diligently took the pill and as expected, I experienced unpleasant side effects. Right before I finished my 30 days with the pill, a friend reached out to me with advice about taking BCPs. Her mom, who’s a pharmacist, said that BCPs have been linked to cancer. Despite mixed findings on the link to increased chances of cancer, this info coupled with the pill’s side effects made me think twice about continuing with the pill.
Not only did my friend share the advice, she recommended an alternative that her mom made for me. Something I never thought to consider before – an essential oil blend. My friend claims that it has helped several ladies already. If you’re reading this Tinee, thank you so much!
I couldn’t get any info on what the oil blend exactly contains despite contacting an EO expert. Some EO experts said it might be progressence, progesterone plus, and endoflex. What I can tell you is that it smells minty, lemony, woodsy, and gingery.
So, what happened to my skin?
What happened to my skin and body while taking Yasmin? How about while using the oil blend? Which one works best?
Check my next article – My PCOS Journey Part 3 – PCOS Side Effects. This part is the most honest and personal bit of my PCOS journey that I have ever shared in public. Even though I may feel exposed, I’m writing this in hopes of helping women, like me, who have PCOS. Thank you for reading this far!
Continuation in My PCOS Journey Part 3 – PCOS Side Effects.