March 7・★ 6 min read
Everyone remembers their first kiss.
I certainly do.
What should have been a 'magical' moment, quickly turned into a humiliating one, when my first boyfriend pulled away and told me he felt something scratchy. He asked if I had recently shaved my mustache. Naturally, I was mortified.
This definitely wasn't the dreamy outcome I was expecting.
That prompted me to spend thousands of dollars on hair removal treatments to make sure I would never suffer the same humiliation again.
If having an abundance of upper lip hair wasn't bad enough, my college years brought with them cystic acne and fluctuating weight.
I caked my face with makeup in an attempt to hide my acne. I began replacing meals with coffee. I was on a never-ending quest to be prettier and thinner. But no matter what I did, my attempts only made matters worse.
Doctors recommended various birth control options for hormonal acne, but nothing worked. It seemed like each pill I tried triggered even more nasty symptoms.
I began having massive mood swings, and it wasn’t just those ‘time of the month’ issues. I was a hormonal mess.
My periods were irregular and excruciating. The cramping would get so bad that sometimes I would throw up.
For years, I thought all these symptoms were part of growing up, of being a woman. I had resigned to putting up with them for the rest of my life.
At the age of 22, a doctor suggested that I had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. I'm ashamed to admit it now, but I brushed off his diagnosis. I had just finished college and was preparing to move across the world on an exciting new adventure, so I didn’t have the time, money, or inclination to examine what that meant.
This was a mistake.
Flash forward a few years. I was in my late 20’s when I unexpectedly became pregnant. Just as I was coming around to the excitement of having a baby, the pregnancy ended after 10 ½ weeks in an even more unexpected and extremely painful miscarriage.
I was left hurt, lonely, and confused on top of all the devastating feelings of incredible sadness and loss.
I hadn't confided in friends or family about my situation, thinking I’d wait until the second trimester. As a result, I was left to deal with the miscarriage on my own.
Being pregnant made me realize that although it hadn’t been with the right man or in the perfect circumstances, it was still a beautiful experience. I knew that one day I wanted to become pregnant again and start a family.
In the back of my mind, I began to suspect that my hormonal issues – which I had dismissed as ‘just part of being a woman’ – had a more significant role to play in the loss of my pregnancy.
I didn’t want this episode to define my life or jeopardize my future happiness, and so began my quest to learn more about my hormones and reproductive health.
I sought help from my gynecologist, hoping for answers. After some blood work and a transvaginal ultrasound, it was confirmed that I had PCOS.
All the symptoms were there, hiding in plain sight.
The embarrassing hair growth, unsightly acne, irregular periods, and hormonal mood swings, as well as many other symptoms including low moods, anxiety, and disordered eating.
Sufferers of PCOS will know that when it’s at its worst, it can be utterly debilitating. It can be hard to get out of bed, let alone get out of the house.
On top of that, I had experienced the one thing that many women with PCOS dread the most, a pregnancy loss.
It took me a couple of days to process the diagnosis and what it could mean for my future. But it wasn't long before my 'never give up' mentality kicked in, and I decided to do something about it.
I sought out specialists. I told them my story and explained that I wanted to do anything I could to naturally balance my hormones – no months of trial and error on contraceptive pills, no chemically-manufactured artificial hormones.
Even though I wasn't looking to get pregnant at the time, I wanted to make sure that I could get pregnant when the time was right, and that I could be at my optimal health for my next pregnancy.
The doctors listened but had little useful advice for me. Some didn’t even take me seriously. Given that doctors are trained to solve immediate medical issues, some didn't understand why I was coming to them at that point in time – they told me to come back when I was trying to conceive. One even told me to seek out a fertility specialist if and when I had a few more miscarriages!
As a proactive woman in my late twenties, this didn’t sit right at all. Why would I wait until I was trying to conceive to get my hormones on track?
Why couldn’t I benefit from this now?
Why would I have to risk more miscarriages, pain, and heartbreak before I found a solution?
I decided to take action and take my health into my own hands. I wasn’t looking for fad diets or miracle results. I wanted to learn about my body and whatever I could to naturally improve my health and well-being.
I spent hours upon hours, evenings and weekends researching and learning everything there was to know about PCOS and the various treatments.
Just when I thought I’d found an answer, I’d come across more research with conflicting information.
At times I felt like throwing in the towel.
But I kept at it and slowly began to understand my hormones, cycle, and PCOS itself. What I discovered helped me to begin making the right lifestyle changes.
At first, I didn't notice much difference in my body, moods, or monthly cycle. But gradually, during the weeks that followed, there was a noticeable shift. My energy levels began to change for the better and my mood lifted!
Within four months, my cycle became monthly. For me, this was a miracle. For the first time in my entire life, I finally had a regular period.
And not just a regular period, but a healthy period – no massive clots and no unmanageable cramping.
So, how did I make positive changes, stay committed, and get results?
I found the key was in not forcing myself to stay on track. I chose changes that were right for me and implemented them one by one. Making small incremental changes ensured there was no overwhelm and that I stuck with them.
There was no stress or anxiety. These were manageable lifestyle changes, meaning they were long-term. No quick fixes.
What’s more, I realized that it was possible to achieve my health goals and actually enjoy the process.
It wasn’t long before those close to me began noticing the improvements, in particular, my energy levels and overall happiness. Of course, they were naturally curious, so little by little I began sharing what I'd learned.
To my surprise, I discovered that the insights I had gained were far from common knowledge.
I felt inspired and empowered to share what I had learned with other women, so they too could take their health into their own hands and make informed decisions about their body, diet, and lifestyle (but without having to do endless hours of hard work and research).
I decided to film a video, sharing everything I did to reverse my PCOS naturally.
In the video I explain everything I learned and the lifestyle changes I made, in order to: