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Give Me Back My Body! : One Girl Recovers Her Life After A PCOS Diagnosis
Julie was nine years old when she began extensive chemotherapy for myeloma, cancer of the bone marrow. The treatment continued until she was twelve, when the cancer was declared to be in remission. A few months after the end of chemotherapy, Julie had her first menstrual period. It was assumed that chemotherapy had so disrupted her body that normal menstruation and ovulation couldn’t take place under the circumstances.
Hair Where?
However, by the time she was thirteen, there was no denying that Julie looked different from the other girls. She was overgrown with hair. Hair on her arms, legs, back, belly, and behind. “I’m not saying I was Sasquatch, but in the locker room, you could see that I had more hair than any of the other girls,” says Julie. She started regular waxing, but it seemed she couldn’t go a few days without the hair quickly growing back.
Even so, Julie was popular at school. Her carefree, vivacious personality attracted both girls and boys, and she was elected Prom Princess in her Junior year. “I felt happy throughout school,” said Julie, “Even though I worried someone would find out my mom helped me bleach my mustache.”
Stop and Flow
She was also having issues with irregular periods. She got her first boyfriend at fifteen, and they quickly began a sexual relationship, however, the abnormality of her periods kept them both constantly worried, despite their use of protection. Julie could sometimes go almost two months without menstruating, and the worries took their toll on her relationship, with more and more frequent fights.
A Teenager at Twenty-Two
She struggled with acne, but so did every other teenager, so nothing was thought of it. However, as she grew into adulthood, the acne outbreaks continued on face and back, and the excess follicles created painful ingrown hairs that had a propensity to become infected. Her periods did not level out as she reached her twenties, and she began to give thought to what would happen when she wanted to become pregnant. She had also begun to gain weight excessively, and no amount of exercise or diet seemed to keep her from putting on pounds.
What’s up, Doc?
Julie eventually decided to get a doctor’s opinion. Upon hearing of Julie’s health history, and current complications, Dr. Yieu informed Julie that she was a likely candidate for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. She ordered blood tests to be performed, and when they came back with high levels of androgens, the diagnosis was confirmed.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a medical condition in which the ovaries become inflamed and develop numerous small cysts. There are numerous potential causes for this disease, such as heredity and abnormal prenatal development. The most likely cause in Julie’s case was the inflammation relating to her cancerous leg during her prime developmental stage. The white blood cells involved can secrete an insulin-resistant chemical, causing the production of more insulin, which triggers androgen production in the ovaries.
Androgen Attack
It’s androgens that were causing so much trouble for Julie. Hair growth, acne, and menstruation issues are related to the presence of excess male hormones in a female body. Her weight gain was a byproduct of the excess insulin overcoming her youthful metabolism. Many women with PCOS are at risk of Type II diabetes for this very reason. Says Julie, “I was so sad to find I’d been living with this condition for so long, I worried I’d done a lot of damage to my body.” But, she continues, “I was glad to finally know what the problem was, so that I could begin looking for solutions.”
Becoming Female Again
Her doctor recommended that she continue her active lifestyle, but suggested she try some form of birth control to increase female hormone levels. Julie was afraid to begin birth control, due to her history of cancer, and looked for other methods to increase estrogen and progesterone in her body. Her natural optimism and joy for life kept her spirits high, as she researched alternative ways to improve her condition.
One day, a friend asked if she’d considered phytoestrogens. These chemicals benefit hormone production in the body, and also adapt to take the place of currently missing hormones. “My friend recommended Flax Seed Oil and Maca, and said she was using it herself for what she considered to be a minor estrogen deficiency.” Julie says, “It sounded fake, but I was ready to try anything.” She began taking a Flax Seed and Maca Supplement regularly. (SEE: PCOS Irregular Symptoms Relief Formula)
“I didn’t notice any changes for the first month, but maybe I was looking too hard for quick results,” Julie laughs. About halfway through the second month, she met up with an old friend. “She asked what I’d been doing with myself to look so good!” Julie said, “I was surprised to hear her say that, and had to get up to look in the bathroom mirror.” The dingy mirror of the café showed a face rapidly losing all signs of acne, and her face looked thinner as well.
It seemed Julie was finally on the right track. Today, thirteen months later, she’s lost twenty pounds and is no longer struggling with acne. Julie says her periods have become more regular, occasionally coming late instead of not coming at all. Her body hair has seen the least change, but she had noticed a decrease in hair on her belly, back, and butt.
“I’m so relieved to be getting my body back to normal,” says Julie. “My health is so important to me, and I wish I’d known there was a major problem sooner, so that I wouldn’t be having these problems today.”
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