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Let's talk about irregular periods for PCOS Awareness Month!

By G’Nel Guerrero (she/her), Interviewed by Ruby Moon (she/her) from Team August | 9.13.2022

Introduce yourself! Who are you & what do you do?

"Howdy! My name is G’Nel Guerrero, pronouns: she/her.

I’m 21 and I’m currently in my final year at the University of Ottawa studying International Development and Globalization!"

How does menstruation exist in your life?

“Haha…throughout my life menstruation has been a very distant friend that pops up in my life to tell me lil bloody jokes sporadically – which means that my periods have never been regular ever.

Other than how menstruation is present in my personal life, I’m surrounded by wonderful menstruators and always support my hormonal homies.”

Can you share your first period story?

“There honestly isn't too much to my first period story. I just remember that I was 11 and my mom was always open with what a period was, I would run and get pads for her when we ran out in the bathroom, etc.

So I just went to the bathroom one time and noticed some blood so I told my mom and she squealed and exclaimed that I was, “now a woman”.

As a too-cool 11 year old, I was annoyed and told her that it was no big deal, then proceeded to tell me to jump so I wouldn't be short (which was a Filipino superstition).”

When and how did you know that you had PCOS?

“I was only recently diagnosed with PCOS, despite never having had a regular period.

Ever since I first started menstruating at a young age, I’ve been speaking with my doctor about how irregular periods are usual for new menstruators.

Irregular periods were not an issue for me when I was a young adult – because I thought I was lucky I didn't need to bleed once a month.

It wasn't until I read up about PCOS on a random Instagram post that I instantly knew that I had it. I brought this up to my doctor and he suggested I get an ultrasound to confirm.”

Before we continue with G’Nel’s story, here’s a brief explanation of PCOS:

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder.

Folks with PCOS have irregular or prolonged periods due to high androgen levels (aka the hormones typically produced by those who are assigned male at birth).

Since the full cause of PCOS is not fully known, some other factors that may be relevant to a PCOS diagnosis are excess insulin, low-grade inflammation, or if your parent has PCOS.

How is PCOS diagnosed?

PCOS is a tricky disorder and quite hard to definitively diagnose, so there isn't a one size fit all path to diagnosis.

Usually, your doctor will start with a conversation about your symptoms, then run a blood test or pelvic exam. In some cases your doctor may also run an ultrasound to check out the appearance of your ovaries and the surrounding tissue to be 100% sure.

If you think you may have PCOS, get ready to have a conversation with your doctor about your symptoms, your menstrual cycle, and any other concerns or questions that you may have.

Team August is cheering you on and ready to get you the period products you need, even with an irregular period!

  • We’d recommend ordering your August period care subscription box every 3 months (instead of every month) to create a mini stash so that you’re ready for those surprise periods!

Okay! Back to G’Nel’s Story now <3

What does your PCOS treatment/mitigation plan look like?

“Most, if not all, my knowledge of PCOS comes from personal research whether it's from more credible articles or even PCOS-focused Tiktok accounts.

In my personal experience, my doctor told me that the only way to mitigate PCOS was to take birth control and or weight loss, which I then learned was not true for everyone!

Through further research, and stories from actual menstruators with PCOS, I learned about how different foods could affect me differently, vitamins that could help and different methods of being active.

My struggle with PCOS symptoms (weight fluctuation, irregular periods, hair growth, etc.) were all validated by others who experienced the same thing.”

What advice would you give to younger menstruators out there who are discovering that they have PCOS?

"Don't be afraid to do your own research and seek out stories from people who have PCOS!

People with PCOS have different bodies and react to food and exercise in different ways and that is normal!"

What does period power mean to you?

"To me, period power is normalizing the conversation.

It’s 2022 and I think we should be way past slipping pads to friends through sleeves of our sweaters.

I want to talk about my period cravings and cramps and the fact that me and my roommates are all synced and be proud about it!"

Why does August period care as a brand/community/product etc. resonate with you?

“As a brand/community/product, August period care resonates with my identity as a young Asian menstruator!

Seeing a company run by younger menstruators who are cool and funny and appreciate aesthetics all while educating about menstruation is pretty rad!”

Feel free to add anything else here as a wrap up <3

“Thank you Ruby for having a chat with me! And thank you August for bringing awareness to PCOS!

I can’t wait to see all the cool stuff that August puts out in the future.”

We want to hear YOUR period story.

Join the #InnerCycle so that you can feel empowered to share your Period Powerhouse story.

Periods are POWERFUL – Afterall, they literally make human life possible.

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