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It’s Hard to be Nonbinary and Have PCOS When Medical Language is Still so Gendered

Trigger warning – This article includes mentions of transphobia, disordered eating, bleeding, menstruation and mental health problems.

I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) after coming off the pill, which I’d been prescribed five years earlier to manage very heavy, painful and irregular periods. I would often skip months and then have a prolonged two-week period the next month. The bleeding was so bad I would leave the classroom at school, go to the toilet to pass out from the pain and then return to class. 

PCOS is underresearched and incurable. The symptoms are not just ‘absent or heavy bleeding’ and affect all areas of life with symptoms of high-stress levels, muscle ache and depression. 

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How Having PCOS Shaped Me As a Young Person

TW: Periods including mentions of blood, dismissive doctors.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is defined by the NHS website as ‘a condition that affects how the ovaries work.’  Its most common symptom is periods being irregular or heavier compared to the “norm”, which is due to hormone imbalances within the body. 

However, as someone diagnosed with PCOS, I know that it involves more than just heavy periods. PCOS is a fundamental part of my identity. It has a wide range of implications, and it is something that heavily impacted how I grew into a young adult.