Helping Women Like Me With PCOS
Updated: Mar 6, 2020
It took my doctor 7 months to diagnose me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (or PCOS). K told me in 3 minutes.
I had just turned 30, was dating my now-husband for about 7 years, and some of my friends were starting to think about having kids. I wasn’t quite there yet, but in these baby-related conversations, we realized we’ve all been on some form of birth control since we were freshmen in college. Whoa, 12 years of taking a pill every day, altering my hormone levels. I thought this could be a good time to switch up my birth control to something non-hormonal, like the non-hormonal IUD I recently heard about. So, in the winter of 2014, I took my last birth control pill. Conveniently, a few weeks later I had my annual exam with my gynecologist. I was excited to tell her the news and get started on my synthetic hormone-detox.
My gynecologist, a kind, reassuring and intelligent woman who went to Columbia for medical school, said she would be happy to get me started on a non-hormonal IUD. But before that happens, she recommended I wait until after my next period, just to get things back on track after my years on the pill. I set up an appointment for the following month, well after my period should have come and gone. My period never came.
I wasn’t paranoid, I knew I wasn’t pregnant (thanks to a stash of pregnancy tests under the bathroom sink I had to just be absolutely sure!) so I figured it was just the adjustment time I’ve heard about from another friend who was going through a similar “cleanse” process. I kept my appointment, and my doctor assured me, “You were on the pill for 12 years, it's most likely your body adjusting and balancing.” I really like and trust my doctor, plus, Google told me the same thing. She suggested I "give it another 3 months, then call me if you still haven't gotten it." I didn't, so I called.
Perplexed, my doctor suggested I take a pill that induced my period. It sort of worked, but then the month after, no period. Again, I went back, and repeat. Finally, on the fourth visit, I had bloodwork, as well as a referral for a pelvic ultrasound (which was done by a 20-something-year-old man and was as relaxing and non-awkward as you can imagine) at another medical office downtown.
Finally after 7 months, five appointments, 1 awkward ultrasound, $100+ in copays, hours away from work, and countless Google searches, I got my official diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). My doctor admitted she initially doubted I had the condition because I didn't have the telltale signs like increased facial hair, acne, obesity and diabetes.
I’m happy to say I was able to get the IUD, but due to the hormone-balancing issues related to PCOS, it has to be a hormonal-IUD. I’m relieved to know what’s going on with my body and what to do when and if I want to get pregnant (because yes, it’s still possible).
Fast forward 5 years, and I joined the marketing team at K Health. I decided to put K to the test in my first few days here and entered my symptoms from PCOS. Three minutes later...K told me "87% of people like you had PCOS."
Even though I didn’t have the classic symptoms, K found hundreds of cases like mine from women my age and showed me how their doctors were treating their PCOS. Of course we need to work with our doctors, sometimes we need ultrasounds or other tests to come to a conclusion, but I wish I would have been armed with this information so I could have pressed for a blood test sooner. That was when it really clicked for me that K is not really about AI or fancy technology. It’s ultimately about learning from the experiences of other women and linking arms with them to get the right care based on the expertise of all our doctors combined.
Got symptoms you’re ignoring or that you haven’t been able to figure out? Get the app and ask K.