Hi! My name is Vinsia and I am a very vocal advocate to speaking up about PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome). I have PCOS myself and I want to start a dialogue in the South Asian community. Being diagnosed with a reproductive condition is hard. You begin to think – what will my mom say? What will the women in my South Asian, super-cultural family feel? Do I even want kids? These questions race through your head and all you can do is try to process them.
I have PCOS myself and I want to start a dialogue in the South Asian community. Being diagnosed with a reproductive condition is hard.
I realized, as these questions were racing through my mind, that we don’t talk about sexual health when it comes to women of color and I think that that’s not healthy. We put importance on looking good and excelling in our careers, but we never put importance on our reproductive health, regardless of whether or not you are planning to have children. Since I have started my channel, where I talk about PCOS and the struggles that come with it, so many women have reached out and said they feel relieved that they are not going through these struggles alone. A lot of the time, PCOS is discussed by Caucasian women on social media, and while it’s great to see them have these conversations, it’s not always an inclusive space. Women of color don’t really feel like they can relate, when their lived experiences can be completely different. When they discuss these things on their channels, there is no cultural sensitivity. As a South Asian woman, there are so many things we have to think about with regards to our religions and cultures while talking about reproductive health.
What is PCOS? PCOS is a hormonal imbalance condition that can affect reproduction in women. Some symptoms of PCOS include, excessive facial hair (hirsutism,) hair thinning, gaining weight in the belly and face, periods that ghost you, periods that don’t stop (30+ days).
What is PCOS? PCOS is a hormonal imbalance condition that can affect reproduction in women. Some symptoms of PCOS include, excessive facial hair (hirsutism,) hair thinning, gaining weight in the belly and face, periods that ghost you, periods that don’t stop (30+ days). PCOS has no cure, but it can be managed with natural, holistic methods, or synthetic methods. Natural methods would mean lifestyle and dietary changes, such as a dairy-free diet. Synthetic methods would mean trying birth control to regulate periods, or Metformin (A diabetic medicine) to regulate insulin levels. I’ve tried both, and personally feel that lifestyle and dietary changes made me feel the best.
My PCOS journey began in 2016, which is when I was formally diagnosed with it. I had irregular periods when I was younger and people would often tell me that that’s normal. By the time I got to my early 20’s, my period had still not regulated. I had facial hair that people would point it out. I mentioned my symptoms to my friends and they were the ones who told me to go get it checked out since a lot of them had been diagnosed as well. It is once I realized that I, too, had PCOS did I realize just how common this condition is. If it was so common, why have we never talked about it?
I soon realized that two women with PCOS have the same symptoms or experience. For example, one of my friends has PCOS, and she is very slim and slender. I, however, have PCOS too and am a plus sized woman. People would constantly come up to me and told me that I should lose weight, and take care of myself. This would frustrate me because my PCOS may look different from another woman’s, but that didn’t mean mine was worse than hers. We all should be taking care of our health, supporting one another, and helping each other manage our symptoms, regardless of what we looked like on the outside.
This would frustrate me because my PCOS may look different from another woman’s, but that didn’t mean mine was worse than hers.
That’s why I began my channel, which now feels like a secretive community. I find it very important to talk about PCOS, the struggles women face, as well as how PCOS affects mental health. For me personally, I am known for my mood swings. I know now that no one else really has these kinds of mood swings which included waves of depression and anxiety. I often freeze and can’t get anything done. My family would call me lazy and I would get discouraged and think there was something wrong with me. Once I realized I had PCOS, I also realized that my mental health would be a constant uphill battle, one I intended to win. Because PCOS is related to stress, I knew that if I worked on my anxiety and depression, my stress would decrease, which in turn would help my PCOS. In order to make it through rough patches, I would vary from beneficial distractions like experimenting with creative mediums like photography and painting, to taking part in self-destructive activities like emotional eating, binge-watching shows, and excessive online shopping. Both sets of things gave me a temporary high, but I felt empty after it was over.
Overtime, I started to look at myself as a project, and I’d journal and make observations about what works and what doesn’t. Recently I started cooking more, and that honestly made me respect my body even more. I felt amazing on days I ate food that didn’t weigh me down. Yes, I’m a plus-sized woman but I am capable of conquering the day, with the right food and mindset in me. I’ll have good days and bad days, but that won’t stop me from being the best version of myself.
It is pretty hard to find South Asian, or women of colour talking about reproductive health, because the internet is flooding with mostly Caucasian women who talk about this. While that’s great, we don’t have much representation from the South Asian community.
I would say my role models would be other women on Youtube who would have PCOS and offer medical related guidelines. I always look for South Asian doctors because I feel like that hits home with my audience. I feel inspired when I find other women who aren’t trying to push supplements or medicine without any reason. It is pretty hard to find South Asian, or women of colour talking about reproductive health, because the internet is flooding with mostly Caucasian women who talk about this. While that’s great, we don’t have much representation from the South Asian community. Because of this, I get very excited when I do come across people who talk about this as I do, at whatever level.
One person I look up to on social media is @Rosiegetsfit_ who is an Instagram fitness blog. She is also South Asian, has PCOS, and is my height. I started following her because she has completely transformed her body, lifestyle, and health. She would always post transformation photos of her body before and after her lifestyle change and that always inspires me. I want to improve my health and work on myself in a healthy manner, which is why I think it is so important to have women like her to look up to. I think even starting my entertainment channel, it is very hard to balance body positivity and try to lose weight at the same time. People think that people who are overweight are being lazy and they don’t want to work hard. But that’s not what body positivity is. Body positivity is being happy about yourself no matter what others say, no matter what size you are and what you look like. Size always changes, hormones get imbalanced, and conditions arise. What should never change is how you feel about yourself- which is what I hope to inspire in young women today.
Body positivity is being happy about yourself no matter what others say, no matter what size you are and what you look like. Size always changes, hormones get imbalanced, and conditions arise. What should never change is how you feel about yourself- which is what I hope to inspire in young women today.
I hope my channel is relatable to young women out there who are trying to balance their PCOS. If you feel alone or like there is something wrong with you, I hope you realize that this condition is more common than we realize. The issues that come with PCOS are very fixable, and you are not alone. Together, we can tackle this “taboo” topic in the South Asian community- once and for all.
Link to PCOS & Wellness channel : www.youtube.com/vinsia
Instagram – @vinsia
Link to Comedy/Entertainment channel : www.youtube.com/kulapad