I was prescribed with Diane 35 for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) about 10 years ago.
PCOS is a relatively common condition for women, however, the root causes are not totally clear. It can cause tiny cysts to develop in the ovaries due to an imbalance of the following hormones – oestrogen, progestogen and androgen.
Potential long-term problems with PCOS include: increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, increased risk of stroke, heart disease and higher risk of developing cancer of the uterus.
At first I took Diane 35 without asking questions, trusting that it was the right medication for me. I didn’t have any noticeable side effects, however, as the years passed, I started wondering when I was actually going to be cured. The truth was that Diane 35 is not a cure for PCOs, it just deals with the symptoms.
Diane 35 is a medication that consists of a combination of two hormones: cyproterone acetate – a progestin that counters the conversion of androgen to its more active forms – and Ethinyl Estradiol, the estrogen component of most birth control pills.
By impeding ovulation, Diane 35 prevents the formation of cysts and the development of its symptoms. Diane 35 has been prescribed not only for women suffering of PCOS or related conditions, but as a contraceptive pill in many cases.
However, the side effects of Diane 35 are vast, including: nausea, unusual tiredness or weakness, weight gain or loss, headaches, depression, apnea, migraines, increased blood pressure, liver problems, changes to the shape of the eye, vision changes, blood clots, breast cancer, and stroke.
Last year Diane 35 was banned in France after reports of women dying as a consequence of taking it. The US has never approved it.
I have visited different gynecologists and specialists throughout the years in many countries, but when I ask about the timeframe for going off Diane, they always answer the same: some women’s bodies adjusts naturally and they can go off it without major problems, but others have to take it for the rest of their lives.
A few doctors suggested that I try to stop it for 3 months and see what happened. I tried and all the original symptoms returned, but stronger, and I felt forced to start taking it again.
During those years not one single doctor ever suggested that food and lifestyle could have an influence over my health issues. A few of the doctors I visited even advised me to eat whatever I wanted since I was thin.
The words exercise, nutrition, sleep, or stress were never part of the medical vocabulary during my appointments.
I insisted at the time that I was concerned about taking such strong chemicals over such a long period of time, but my doctor simply recommended that I switch to Jasmine and then to Evra Patch as I was told that the doses were lower. Yet, after only a few months on these medications, things got worse and I had to start taking Diane again.
Eventually, I started developing other medical problems and it took me a while to understand that they were side effects of Diane. I was constantly ill, tired, had frequent migraines and started to lose a lot of weight which was, for someone that is already thin, bad news.
By 2012, I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes, hypothyroidism and metabolic disorder. I started to spend my holidays not visiting capital cities or exotic locations, but medical specialists, taking all sorts of tests.
One night I was sitting at the side of my bed, my face covered in tears, thinking about quitting my job and altering the plans I had at the time. I was no longer able to work properly, partly because I was feeling incredibly tired, but also because I felt overwhelmed with all the diagnoses. I felt nobody could understand what I was experiencing as the symptoms with these kinds of health issues are not always visible to others.
That night I started doing research about my conditions, and I found blogs by people sharing their experience on how they reversed all sorts of medical problems by changing their lifestyles. The very next morning I decided I was going to take my health into my own hands.
It is important to note that I do not blame doctors nor do I think that medicine should not exist. But in my case, my doctors did not guide me in a fashion that would help heal my body.
It is now almost two years since I started to change my lifestyle. I have learned a lot about healing and helping my body to find its own balance. I have successfully gone off medication for insulin resistance and hypothyroidism, and I am currently going off Diane progressively by reducing the dose every 3 months.
Diane has been my companion for more than 10 years now and I wish my doctor would have first tried a natural way of healing.
Yet, if my experience serves to help other women taking this medication look for alternatives, then I feel my experience will have been worthwhile.