Artist and Mother

November 13, 2011

I was the only girl in the fifth grade that had large amounts of thick, dark and course pubic hair. And it was starting to grow in other places too.

These are stories of PCOS written by women who have first-hand experience. We hope you find encouragement and support from reading them. If you would like to submit your own story please send it via email to PCOS My Story

I was the only girl in the fifth grade that had large amounts of thick, dark and course pubic hair.  And it was starting to grow in other places too.  The reason I knew I was the only one  was because we were forced to take 'public' showers in my P.E. class.  I was poked fun at all the time.  This was my introduction to PCOS.  

In seventh grade, I got a chemical burn on my upper lip in the form of a mustache from using Nair. I was desperate and I was NOT going to shave like my dad did!!  Going to school that week was sheer torture.  

I shaved my stomach once to wear a bikini when I was 17.  I swore I would never do that again, it burned and itched so bad when it grew back in!   I was on the swim team and trying to shave my legs on the bikini line every day so I wouldn't be a freak, was very painful, it turned red and I still had stubble!  

I have four hairs growing out of one follicle all over my legs.   When I got married at age 20  I had more hair on my chest than my new husband! (thankfully,  I have a keeper).  This is not my only symptom, but it is one that has left many emotional scars on my landscape.

I have been to countless doctors over the years and was always handed a diet and told to stop it with the hair already, some women just have more hair!  And I listened to them for years,  blaming my weight gain on my inability to control what I put in my mouth and blaming my parents for my hair!  

I gained 40 pounds the first year I was married.  I kept waiting for my 'teenage' acne to clear up.   I knew that something was wrong with my body,  but when I tried to tell my family or a doctor I got the 'hypochondriac' look from them and was ignored.  Pretty soon, I started to believe them and began to accept that I just wasn't made to be feminine.   I would always be a bit of an oddity-- an overweight, hairy, pimple-faced person,  who could no longer bring herself  to even refer to herself as a woman. 

Good grief!  I have to shave my face like my husband and my chest if I want to wear a bathing suit.  I was so ashamed and embarrassed.   I went into a deep depression that lasted for years.  If I had only known!!   At one point I was even told about PCOS and went armed with the info to a new doctor.  This doctor did one test on me and said nope, sorry it's all in your head, lose weight and don't worry about the hair,  in Europe you would be a goddess.  (He literally said this!)

I thank the Lord (literally) that a nurse practitioner couldn't find the reason for a reoccurring vaginal infection that I had and sent me to a new OB.  She took one look at my hair and said  'well that's not normal, I think you have PCOS!'   

She did a transvaginal ultrasound right then and there and found the cysts.   I cried like a baby right there on the table,  sobbing uncontrollably.  I couldn't believe it!  At age 30, I finally had a name for the silent stalker of my womanhood  It had taken 10 long years!   

Sometimes I feel the temptation to be really bitter.  Sometimes I feel as if PCOS has robbed me of 10 years  (or more) of my life.   At a time when I was supposed to be enjoying my new marriage, living life, feeling young and beautiful, I was feeling nothing but depressed, fat and hairy.  My body was betraying me and nobody was listening.   

But I have to remind myself that now that I know what I am up against I can start doing something about it.  I have and am happy with the results,  I feel as if  I am seeing the sunshine for the first time,  as if I am emerging from some damp, dark prison.  I remind myself that I could still be one of the countless women out there who know something is wrong, but don't know what to do.  I hope all of us get the help we deserve and need.

Cheryl Doss in Virginia