Did ya’ll know September is PCOS Awareness Month? (Also, my birthday month ????)
Hi, I’m Katrina.
To be quite honest, I don’t know exactly when I received the diagnosis of PCOS.
What I know is this…
I have had issues with my hormones since I hit puberty (around age 13). I have never had a regular menstrual cycle and from very early on, my cycle was painful and disruptive. I often left school early or simply didn’t go because of excruciating cramps.
I remember being pulled aside by the school nurse on several occasions because I looked pale and he was concerned. He quickly became aware that my menstrual cycle was always the cause and would just hand me something to eat or drink, check on me throughout the day to make sure I was okay, and often let me take a nap in his office whenever he would see me in this state. I’m pretty sure there was a stash of Ibuprofen and Gatorade in his office with my name on it! Shout out to Tim…he was the real MVP!
By the age of 18, I had been on multiple birth control pills, prescribed several different medications for pain and missed who-knows-how-many days of school. Every pill came with its disadvantages and often made matters worse. Some regulated my period for a few months but that never lasted long and even when it was regular I still had pain and disruptive physical symptoms.
I was given a number of potential diagnoses over the years but PCOS was not mentioned until my mid-20s by which time missing periods, painful cramping, infections, depression, school or work absences, and anxiety had become a normal part of my life. My hormone levels were tested multiple times but always classified as normal. At one point I had gone a full 11 months off birth control without a period, which was only flagged as an issue because I went to urgent care for a potential yeast infection. Honestly, that was probably the happiest 11 months of my teenage/young adult years, minus the persistent infections of course. Although I was without a period I was experiencing chronic yeast infections, bacterial infections, UTIs and vaginal cysts (YUP! VAGINAL, like wearing clothes hurts, sitting hurts, everything hurts…just OUCH!) which were more than likely a side effect of the birth control.
My periods went like this: Days 1-3 cramps, Day 4 yeast infection or UTI begins (sometimes both), Day 5 start antibiotics, Day 6 period ends. A day or two later I’d have a bacterial infection caused by the antibiotics then maybe a cyst. Once that went away I might get a few days of relief before the physical PMS symptoms began, two weeks before my actual period came. Then, repeat…even when I didn’t have periods, the cycle didn’t stop. For a long while, that’s how I lived. Now imagine me trying to include a sex life, romantic relationships, friendships, college/grad school, sports, household chores, work, internships, and family into that schedule.
Eventually, my doctors decided the best bet was a birth control option that would cause me to only have 3-4 cycles a year to allow for some quality of life. Both times, the first few periods were good then came 2-month-long periods that became increasingly heavier and for the first time ever I had emotional PMS symptoms. Still to this day I’m not sure if it was actually hormones that caused the emotions. I mean seriously you try bleeding for 2 months straight and see if you don’t become angry at the world! The bleeding only stopped because I was instructed to take another birth control pill twice a day for 2 months. Let’s not even get into how much havoc that probably wrecked on my already out of balance endocrine system????.
In 2015 I ended my relationship with synthetic hormones and started on my journey to healing myself naturally. I’ve made adjustments to my diet, decreased my stress levels, found holistic techniques that help and started listening to my body. Fast forward to today…I’m having more regular cycles, way less pain, and have drastically decreased my symptoms of anxiety and depression. It is an ongoing battle but walking into my 30s this month feeling more in control of my health and empowered to share my experiences with others enduring hormone-disrupting disorders have made the struggle worth it.
After years of suffering, researching, studying, asking questions and trial and error I’ve discovered some key components to healing hormone-related disorders and this experience has given birth to a new passion project…Hormone Wellness Counseling! Now, I want to share this information with you! Hormonal M.E. Wellness Coaching will include a Los Angeles based support group, online membership program, 1 on 1 coaching, and a plethora of information on how to heal your hormones from a Mind, Body, Soul perspective. Over the next few months, I will be assembling my knowledge creating content to launch this new project for anyone experiencing PMS, PMDD, PCOS, hypo/hyperthyroidism, and other endocrine-related disorders.
My approach will draw upon my training in expressive art therapy, mental health, yoga, trauma, and energy healing to enhance integration and balance. We will focus on 3 major components: Body (diet, exercise, supplements, and creating a team of specialists), Mind (mental health, emotional intelligence, stress reduction, and mindfulness), and Soul (spirituality, creativity, embracing and healing feminity, and connecting to nature). If this sounds like something you could benefit from, stay tuned…
In the meantime, I’m excited to announce the first installment of this new service, The Hormone + Mood Tracker!
I want to thank all of the lovely people I have met and continue to meet on their own hormone wellness journeys. I am inspired every day by each of you to keep sharing my process. I hope my sharing my journey I help others to continue to heal as well.