From ashamed menstruator to PCOS Period Powerhouse: an Interview.

From ashamed menstruator to PCOS Period Powerhouse: an Interview.

September is PCOS Awareness Month!

All month long we’re going to share PCOS stories from our community and showcase how they are a true Period Powerhouse!

Meet Madalyn (she/her): a menstruator managing both PCOS & PMDD

“My name is Madalyn and I am a 23 year old American studying at the University of Kent in England. I am pursuing my doctorate in philosophy and history and am currently researching the continuous detainment of non-white children in the United States throughout our history.

I am a part of our diversity and inclusion committee and I work to keep our campus safe, encourage women to apply to post graduate studies and more.”

How did you find your passion and purpose?

“My mother grew up in severe poverty in the South and broke the cycle of poverty by pursuing higher education.

Her ambition, and perseverance inspired me to be a feminist and pursue my dreams.”

How does menstruation exist in your life?

“I have been menstruating since I was 11 but haven’t always celebrated it.

I suffer from PCOS and PMDD, which have negatively impacted how I feel about menstruating.

I used to dread my period every month, and be disgusted by something so natural. I never received an adequate education on my body, and was taught to hide that I menstruated.

During health class, we were often taught to have a specific bag for our menstrual period products, to hide them from our peers, especially male peers. It felt like they were asking me to hide my tampons and pads because I should be ashamed of them.

I no longer felt comfortable asking questions in health class and it made me so unfamiliar with my body. This made me afraid to ask to use the bathroom in class in case someone would assume I was on my period, and even more ashamed of asking for a pad.

When jokes about menstruating were made, the male teachers laughed and it encouraged young non-menstruators to laugh as well. I quickly learned to treat this natural bodily function as something unnatural and gross, something I should be embarrassed about.

I now follow pages like @itsaugust, and celebrate my menstrual cycle and all that it entails.

Although my PMDD affects my anxiety during my period, I acknowledge, accept and move forward. PMDD will not stop me and my menstrual cycle only encourages and inspires me to embrace my natural bodily functions.”

Before we go on with Madalyn’s story, a quick overview of PCOS & PMDD:

PCOS: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder experienced by menstruators of reproductive age who have inconsistent and prolonged periods caused by extra androgen levels.

  • Androgens are the hormones produced by those assigned male at birth.

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown but some factors that may be related are:

  • Excess insulin which can increase androgen production and cause difficulty with ovulation.
  • Low-grade inflammation which can make polycystic ovaries produce androgens, which can lead to heart and blood vessel problems
  • Genetic: Research shows that family lines of genes cause PCOS
  • Excess androgen. The ovaries produce abnormally high levels of androgen, resulting in hirsutism and acne.

Read more about PCOS, as verified by the August Medical Board, HERE!

PMDD: Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of PMS. 5% of menstruators experience PMDD.

It’s different than standard PMS because PMDD’s symptoms are severe enough to interfere with work, social activities, and relationships.

Read more about PMDD, as verified by the August Medical Board, HERE!

Alright, we’re back with a funny first period story from Madalyn…

“The first time I got my period I was at my granny’s house who has a really thick Kentucky accent – and attitude haha.

I passed gas and thought I pooped myself, but really it pushed out my period blood which was quite brown the very first time.

I cried and was so confused, but she laughed and told me I was becoming a woman and handed me a pad.”

FYI: brown period blood is TOTALLY normal! Especially for your first period.

What advice would you give to younger menstruators out there?

“I encourage menstruators to ask questions [#AskAugust!] and to not be ashamed of their period.

Knowledge is a powerful tool, and this sort of knowledge allows you to appreciate your body.”

What’s your favorite August product?

“The day pads literally feel like clouds and I am obsessed with them.”

Thanks to Madalyn for sharing her Period Powerhouse story!

If you’re looking to hear the stories of other menstruators, or are interested in reimagining period care for ALL, join our virtual community HERE!

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