My journey to a thriving reproductive health

Story of Barsha Changkakoti

As we begin to hit puberty, matters of our reproductive system shouldn't be neglected. Its impact on our health as a whole is so significant that ignorance is not an option. It is the system that carries the earliest form of life & there is no excuse to be negligible about it.

I am a 22-year-old woman & surprisingly I have visited the gynecologist only twice. I am not very proud of it. In 2017, I stopped getting my periods for three months and suffered from extreme mood swings. When I finally dared to tell my mother that we needed to see a doctor, she was very anxious. Her motherly instinct eventually kicked in & we visited a very kind female gynecologist. I was diagnosed with PCOS, a syndrome that affects millions of women worldwide. With her help, I took the right medications and exercised before there were any significant improvements. Finally, my menstrual cycle began regulating. 

Months later, I still felt as if my insides were broken. It was an eerie feeling- something just felt wrong. I had just moved to a new city, away from home and I was terrified. I caught a Urinary Tract Infection and the anxiety of visiting a doctor crept in, again. I was so apprehensive about having to explain the problems that I decided to suffer the pain. At that time, I knew nothing about such infections or ways to treat them so I chose pain over disgrace and moved on.

I kept pushing through the constant pain until it reached a stage where I just had to open up about it & I told my roommate. I thought she was allowed to form an opinion about it, but she did not. She laughed at me and told me it was pretty normal and that we could find a cure for it. She advised me to visit a doctor and accompanied me. She also got me in contact with her older sister, who was a doctor- they consoled me. For me, it was something to be ashamed about so I couldn’t help but feel foolish about everything I did out of ignorance.

Although I was a city girl and a student of science, I still lacked the knowledge of how important reproductive health is. As I spoke to more girls, I discovered how common diseases like PCOD/PCOS are. Honestly, it was a moment of epiphany. I woke up to the realization that I am not broken. My body may give up once in a while, but I have to make sure I get it back on track.

Looking back, I wish I learned this is at the onset of puberty. We as a society should talk openly about matters concerning reproductive health. It is an experience like this that provokes change on a global scale, and I believe there is room for improvement. I say, fight the shame & visit your OB-GYN and your GI from time to time. We are susceptible to different ailments, no matter where they are. Good health is highly essential and it outweighs any baseless fear of disclosure.

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