Diagnosed with PCOS at 11 years old.

by Nicole Pinckard
(Columbus, GA)

My name is Nicole. I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 11 years old. Now I am 17 and still struggle with it every day of my life.

When I was first diagnosed, my OBGYN didn't really want to do a whole lot about it because I was so young.

He tried to just change my diet and told me to exercise more.

You can't really make an 11 year old diet too much but they tried.

I've never really been 'over weight' but I've always been hunky-er than everyone else my age. We just thought I was big-boned. I guess we were wrong.

After a few years of losing a few pounds and gaining it back we finally went to a different doctor.

She put me on a couple different drugs like an anti-testosterone, a hormone, and glucose. They helped... when I was taking them.

No one 13 years old wants to have to worry about taking medicine everyday when you can't see a difference if you don't take it.

I now wish I would've taken them everyday.

Like I said I'm 17 now and still struggle with this disease everyday.

I have more facial hair than some of the guys in my class. I have a bad happy trail and hair on my chest too, still probably more hair than guys my age. I shave EVERY SINGLE DAY.

But I still get asked the question "are you a boy or a girl" and I bet some of you have been asked the same question.

I hate that question. There's no shot to heart that hurts worse than that.

My point in telling you all of this is to tell you don't make my mistake.

And most of you are old enough that you don't have the 'younger kid ignorance' like I did. I wish I would've gotten serious about this disease when I first got it so I might have been able to get rid of it by the time I wanted to have kids.

As I get older I think more and more about how much I would love to be a mother one day.

But then every day I get more and more a reality check telling me that I probably won't be able to have kids.

Please don't make my mistake. Work hard to get your disease to go away so you won't have to regret not trying.


Editor's comments: Hi Nicole, you did not make a mistake. You did what you or your parents thought was the best thing to do. You're way too young to have any regrets.

However, you should be aware that pharmaceuticals do not cure PCOS. They do reduce symptoms but when you stop them, the problems often return.

Your first obgyn was on the right track. There is no question that the typical diet teenagers consume today makes PCOS worse.

Most health researchers now think that polycystic ovary syndrome begins before birth. So you've have the genetic predisposition for this disorder for a long time. This predisposition is not going to magically disappear.

So you have to take steps to minimize its effects.

The best long-term way to minimized the effects of PCOS is to improve your diet and get much more exercise. Of course it's not easy. If it were easy, PCOS would not be the problem it is today.

What you need to do is learn which foods you can eat and which foods you cannot eat. You also need to exercise every day. This is how you start to naturally normalize your hormones.

It's heartbreaking for people to think you might be a boy. It's an emotionally painful experience to have to shave every day like as if you were a growing boy. And worst of all, there is the possibility you will never be able to start a family.

But there is good news! You can avoid or minimize all of these heartbreaks. You do not need to suffer anymore.

Simply eat better, exercise more, reduce chronic stress and get enough sleep. These four steps are enough to get your body to start to correct itself.

You will not be eating the same foods as your friends. But so what? You will be exercising more than your friends. So what? It's better to be ridiculed for the food you eat rather than ridiculed for the hair on your body.

So what foods should you eat? That's a big topic…too big to be covered here. Buy and read this ebook. It will tell you what you can eat. You won't be happy with the diet. It's pretty strict. You will not be eating most of the foods you are eating right now. You will want to stay on a diet like this for many years, possibly the rest of your life. This would be a drastic change in your diet, so you may need to make changes gradually.

I'm pretty sure the pain of being on a strict diet will be less than the pain of hirsutism and future infertility.

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Talk to your parents about this
by: PCOS Editor

You might have PCOS -- or you might not. A doctor can give an official diagnosis.

Perhaps the best indication whether or not you have this problem is your weight. Are you overweight and do you have a lot of belly fat? If so, that suggests you may have a problem with insulin control, which is a main cause of PCOS symptoms.

This disorder is thought to start before you were born, so if you have it now, you've probably had it for a while.

Standard treatment is birth control pills or a drug called metformin. I think you're a bit too young to be on birth control pills. And unfortunately, metformin can cause distress in your gastrointestinal tract -- some individuals cannot tolerate it.

Other than drugs, the best way to control this disease is to eat a healthy diet and have plenty of physical activity every day. You need to have a talk with your parents to figure out how to eat a healthier diet. For example, you would need to eat a lot more vegetables and a lot less processed foods.

I assume you have a smart phone. Turn off your phone for one hour per day and spend that time outside doing some type of exercise or physical activity.

by: Anonymous

I'm 12 and I have missed my period for the past three months, and I'm suffering from the symptoms described in the article.

I've never had sex. Do you think I could have PCOS?

by: Anonymous

hello i competently understand how you feel.. i was diagnosed when i was 11 also, but they didn't do anything to help prevent it, i had large cysts on my ovaries that cased me pain, there solution was birth control, iv been taking trisprintac for.. 6 years now (im 17) and i still have no results with my pcos, its horrible, even though i diet n excise, i cant lose a pound. it simply wont come off :/ and the docs, make it seem like it will all be better if i lost weight and wasn't obese.. but i just don't know what to do its hard not understand the disuses you live with everyday because doctors, see it as something that's not important.

You're not alone
by: Anonymous

Hi Nicole,

Thank you so much for your story, you are so brave. I know exactly what you're going through. Last week a schoolboy said to his mate on the bus, quite loudly too, sh has more hair than a man. And h is right, i have more than some men/boys.

I first noticed I might have PCOS when i read an article about it and noticed I had similar symptoms- excessive hair and irregular periods but never realised it was something that could become worse.

I discovered the polycystic ovaries after a scan at 15 but was never properly diagnosed, i think my GPs didnt know because the doctor failed to send them the records.

It is only now, at 21, and after 4 years of going on and off the pill to regulate my periods and help boost weight gain- I'm actually underweight- and am now suffering the effects of not having used Dianette consistently- my doctors advised against it and refused to prescribe it for a prolonged period, now my moustache has gotten out of hand and no amount of hair removal can disguise the permanent shadow. Until a couple of weeks ago I wouldn't leave my house unless absolutely necessary.

Now I've a part-time job and I'm going for a consultation for electrolysis next week, even though this site says to wait at least six months after treatment before starting and I've only been back on for 3 months, I can't handle the attention I get and so I'm gonna try anyway.

I wish I'd known too, and I wouldn't have smoked, not slept- which I now find difficult to do..I don't go to bed til 5a.m most days and I can't stick to regular eating habits. But now I do, thanks to this website and another called Verity, and thanks to women like yourselves.

You're not alone, you're very much a woman, and there is hope. Good luck

Elle x

17 year old with pcos too
by: Anonymous

Hi Nicole,
I'm 17 too and want to thank you for your story. It has made me realise that i really need to get real with this and treat myself properly now.
I was diagnosed a year and half ago and have lost 14lbs since then, changed diet and started exercising but i know i can do better.
I totally understand with the hair problem. It's so hard. I also have very hairy tummy, upper lip and chin hair. Very hairy arms also.
I don't think you should give up hope on being able to have a family and have not have to shave everyday tho =)
Start now to make drastic changes and you will thank youself!
Thanks again for sharing your story and reminding me to take action.
Eva x
P.S. I haven't bought the natural diet solution book but am considering it, it does sound good. There is lots of great advice on this website tho.

It's not too late!
by: Anonymous

Hi Nicole,

You're a young woman, and it's not too late for you to make changes and start taking control of PCOS. I probably first saw the symptoms of PCOS around the same age as you did, but I didn't get diagnosed until I was about 22 yrs old. When my doctor first told me, I said Huh? what is PCOS? She put me on the patch to normalize my periods, but birth control is not the solution for pcos; it's a temporary band-aid on a huge problem. You should buy the E-book the editor suggested, it contains a lot of valuable information. PCOS is a metabolic disorder that causes numerous dysfunctions in your body.
Through my 20's I really didn't do much to keep PCOS under control, until now. I'm 29 yrs old, and finally trying to get pregnant. I barely started to make drastic changes in my diet, exercising 4x week, reduce stress, take supplements (women with PCOS need to do this), etc. After 3 months I've noticed the difference, my periods have started to normalize, not completely, but I've had 2 periods already, so I feel that I'm taking steps towards success.
Don't be too hard on yourself, try to seek support online. There's this great website http://www.pcosupport.org/ just go to their message board, sign up and check out the forums, all the women on there have PCOS, and you can post a thread and get feedback.
I wish you the best, and it's not too late to take control of your body. You're young, and I wish I could have started this early, but we all make choices in life and we need to move on and not look back, but look towards what we can do right now from here on out.
God Bless and keep us posted on your progress.


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