“Fuck you PCOS,” are the words of many women around the globe once the transvaginal ultrasound reveals those small fluid-filled sacs inside the ovaries, a.k.a. little cysts (shits). Although many have it, half of these women are clueless about their condition. You can’t battle the invisible, so if you’ve experienced the things below, you should start second guessing.
However, it’s important to note that along with varying bodies come varying symptoms. Some lucky girls may not experience some. To my misfortune, PCOS hates me more than the former. Here’s what to expect (or not) if you have just been diagnosed with PCOS.
The tide is unpredictable…
When periods can get unbearable, imagine a tsunami of blood, but that of which you cannot predict. You might be doing your laundry, binging Netflix, or hitting the gym—then boom—you are slapped by a shitstorm in your pants. It does not matter if you had just been a sole target a week ago, your dying eggs have no mercy. They want air, even if this means clawing their way out in the middle of a really easy day. Sounds like another circle of hell in the Inferno, and yes, that’s how it feels like.
Bid desserts farewell
Got a sweet tooth for baked goods or you gotta get your frapuccino fix? Too bad if you fall under both because you have to bid white sugar farewell. Yup, sugar better be going down if you don’t want the weighing scale swinging. From now on, your body cannot process sugar and fails to convert it to energy. Therefore, it can raise blood sugar levels, insulin levels, and cortisol levels which can cause disruption in your hormones.
On top of this, cravings!
In the midst of sacrificing your love for food, you still get intense cravings which you know you cannot fulfil. It’s calling to you like a devil’s whisper but you have to cover your ears to take the rightful path. Imagine: the fridge hovering above the ground showing off your favorite delights like that scene from “Requiem for A Dream.”
You’re still gaining weight…
After all the discipline for health’s sake, you’re still gaining weight. What’s worse are the misconceptions thrown after: “Stop eating too much!” says your high school friend you haven’t seen in months, or “Ang taba taba mo na,” thrown by your lola as you pay simple respects. These criticisms disregard all your efforts of controlling what you eat, as if you are not trying—they are easy to assume you’re simply not taking care of your body. At the end of the day, it is not your fault your body chooses to malfunction.
You will grow hair in the least expected areas
While there is nothing wrong with having hair all over your body, PCOS can turn you into Cousin Itt from Addams Family, which to say the least, is not very practical. Now, you will tend to go to the waxing salon more, hence pay more.
Pimples, too, for that matter
Chest pimples, back pimples, chin pimples–you name it. While skin care is taking the world by storm, there are skin problems salicylic acid just can’t control. Well, because they’re hormonal. You might as well be back to puberty, except you don’t just grow out of it. Time does not just do its job. Seeing a dermatologist (on top of seeing a gynecologist) is your best burgeouise option–except not everyone can afford it.
You will lose your sex drive…
Sad reality is you will lose your sex drive, and you don’t seem to know yourself anymore. If you were once a freak in sheets, you will feel a sudden depersonalization because nothing seems to turn you on anymore. Not your favorite toy, not your go-to porn site. PCOS only knows one way, and it is the hormones’ way. This may take a toll on relationships, if partners do not understand what your diagnosis does.
Or sex might just drive you crazy
With the fluctuating hormones, you’re off for about a month, then you OBSESS over sex. Everything turns you on. Everything in your eyes is sex. Is that a fruit or an organ? You might as well pull an Elio and the peach because can’t even tell the difference!
“Do you have your period or are you just being a bitch?” probably floats on top of your friends and workmates’ minds. Unfortunately, you don’t have to have your period to experience tidal waves of mood swings. You do it unknowingly until the guilt and embarrassment succumb you, and you are a willing victim with the knife being held by the same old hormones.
While it’s problematic enough for women to be boxed by unrealistic standards, it’s easy for self-deprecation to seep into the hollow tubes of worthiness. Putting all these consequences from a tragedy you had no fault in, mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, and eating disorders have heightened risks.
As if it weren’t hard enough, people still get the misconception that PCOS is an imaginary diagnosis. “It’s common,” they say, forcing you to skip your appointments because it does not qualify as medical leave. “My friends have it too!” they scream enthusiastically as if you had a matching piece of apparel.
Getting diagnosed with PCOS is a lifetime’s worth of baggage. As negative as this article sounds, there’s no other way but to deal with it positively. There are support groups like Soul Cysters, PCOS Awareness Association, or even this local Facebook group. The first step, however, is to get tested.
Art by Gabriel Maño