I can’t recollect how long it’s been since I’ve been contemplating writing this, but I thought I should wait until I have something worthy enough to share. Something that maybe will help you guys & direct you in the right way. Early last year, I started to experience some changes in my body. I had just turned 26 not long ago, so I swept them under the rug listing them as adulthood changes. I also got engaged, in February 2016 & the wedding preps, finding our new home & work had definitely become a heady mix of ups & downs. To give you a background check, I’d always had good skin & hair since I can remember. I had also always been a moderately active person. Be it gymming, karate classes, dance classes, tennis, swimming, you name it and I’d have done it at least once! And these habits have carried on with me to my now late 20’s too. So when my skin started going berserk and my hair falling, I won’t lie, I was worried. At first I thought it was the stress that was getting to me. Maybe my skin type changed! Maybe this is what adulthood is! I went on with these thoughts for about 6 months and of course my loved ones asking me to use lesser make up (as that may be breaking my skin out) which I knew wasn’t the issue because by this time, I was starting to experience the acne on my back too.
Not only did this happen during the year that I was supposed to get married, but the year that I’d have been the most social in my entire life! From shopping in different cities, to meeting friends & families I haven’t seen in a while, to meeting photographers for the wedding, to going to events for work, it all started to make me uncomfortable because my skin situation was definitely taking a toll on me. Now I don’t get let down that easily & I had suffered that occasional bout of acne every now & then, but being in this almost cystic acne situation for months and having tried chemical peels, medication both topical & antibiotics & see nothing change, I couldn’t take it anymore. There had to be a reason, I thought. And even at that point, I thought it could be external factors & hence I visited a dermatologist in late September 2016. As soon as I entered her examination room, she threw some questions at me- Is your skin oily? Is your scalp oilier than usual? Are you experiencing acne? Are you experiencing hair fall? Do you feel fatigued? Are you finding it harder to lose weight? I literally kept going, yes, yes, yes! In my head, I was kind of happy because I felt like she may know the cure for all this, but at the same time it seemed really odd that, she was just blurting this all out without me even saying a word! Her last question was what threw me off! “Have you checked for PCOS?” she asked. No, was my reply while being aghast. Now I had casually browsed through some information on the topic in the past but never looked into it that deeply, because Hey! you never expect these things to happen to you! But the dermatologist did calm me a little bit by adding in that, almost 90% of the women experience PCOD or PCOS at some level. My next question then was, then why doesn’t anyone ever talk about it?
So here I am, talking about it!
What is PCOD or PCOS?
It stands for Polycystic Ovary Disorder/ Syndrome, an ovaries related hormonal disorder affecting women aged 15 to 60 years and usually develops in their late 20’s. Just putting it in lay man’s terms! PCOS may be determined by blood tests & symptoms but PCOD can only be confirmed through a sonography. PCOD is of course a more serious form of the two and can lead to infertility amongst the many other symptoms!
What are the Symptoms?
Common symptoms include, Acne, Oily skin , Excessive hair growth on the body, Irregular Periods, Weight Gain, Pelvic pain, Infertility, etc. Having said that, not all women experience all the symptoms or the same symptoms! It varies from person to person given your genetic set up, lifestyle, etc. For me, acne, hair fall and weight gain or being unable to knock off the weight had become the major symptoms.
How do you diagnose it?
Visit a doctor! I visited a gynaecologist right after my visit to the dermatologist and took up the list of blood tests and a sonography to determine my situation. I was told that I am a border line patient for PCOS and although it’s not full blown yet, I am prone to it and that’s why the symptoms have started to show.
Can it be cured?
No. It cannot be cured. But it can definitely be kept under control. Even though my weight was perfect as per BMI, the doctors insisted, I lose weight. Get more active, change my diet. And of course the medication! I’ve tried different things from birth control pills to balance my hormones to Isopil for my resilient acne, to giving up certain food items like Dairy, to drinking Tracnil sachets on a daily basis, it’s been quite a journey! Let your doctor recommend what needs to be done but also start becoming more self-aware. Notice what foods don’t work for you. Try different workouts to see what is changing your body faster. Read up!
Now that I’ve answered the most commonly asked questions, lets get into my experience. For me, once I figured this all out, the first thing I did was get on to losing weight. I realised that a mix of cardio & functional training with light weights works best for me. 3 months into it, I had lost weight & was much more toned. But right after the wedding, my routine changed and I was trying really hard to manage it all. My workouts reduced and that did lead to some weight gain all over again! It was such a downer, you have no idea! I was eating healthy, still living a pretty active lifestyle and yet my body just wasn’t in sync! So? I started again! Decided that I needed to listen to my body and as important as it was to run a house & succeed at work, it was important for me to take care of myself, more so now than ever! Not so long ago I even stopped dairy! I’ve always been a vegetarian who occasionally would consume eggs so giving up diary was definitely hard. Milk, Paneer, Cheese, Butter, Yogurt, Ice creams, Desserts was all off the list! You feel like you don’t consume much dairy until you figure out that pretty much every thing you eat from bread to pastas to salads, may have some form of dairy in it! Why is cutting out dairy important? For me it was a simple logic. I was going through a hormonal disorder and I was continuing to add in milk & milk product that contains injected hormones of animals into my body. And frankly, I was surprised how much it has changed my life! So for those of you asking me incessantly whether or not I have turned vegan? Well I guess by default, I have. However, I don’t stop myself from consuming small amounts of dairy every now & then or having a boiled egg, but I have definitely reduced it all by about 90%! So far with the medications I’ve been recommended, with my dietary changes and laser treatments & peels, I’ve been able to change a few things. As & when I move on to the next chapter in my life, I will keep you guys posted on what happens next! I hope I’ve answered most of the queries, if not, feel free to comment below & I will make sure to answer them all! Most of all, don’t lose hope & love yourself & your body like you’ve never before! It’s the best healing process.