Living With PCOS as a Transgender Man
Hello there. I’m a trans man who came out a year ago (first as nonbinary, then as a transgender man). I have since acquired new health conditions as well as continued on with battling mental illness. I am not on testosterone—although I one day want to be once I can get my health in order, both physical and mental. My identity as as transgender man is no less valid whether or not I am on hormones. That said, this is my story of living with health conditions and the intersection this has on being a trans guy.
When I went to get my blood work to initially go on testosterone this past fall, I learned that I had a health condition I may have had for a few years, unknowingly. I was diagnosed with PCOS — polycystic ovarian syndrome. I was also re-diagnosed with hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol). Additionally, I have osteoporosis, mild hypertension (high blood pressure), and post-concussive syndrome, in addition to severe mental illnesses.
Being a trans man and having PCOS—and what that feels like:
One of the symptoms of PCOS is irregular menstrual cycles, and as a transgender man, I don’t mind that one bit. The less periods the better, especially as I struggle with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and it exacerbates my bipolar disorder and anxiety issues… and gender dysphoria most of all.
Another symptom of PCOS is high testosterone… another thing I don’t mind! I naturally have excess body hair and mild facial hair as well as a slightly deeper voice. My voice still sounds “female,” but is more androgynous than a lot of AFAB (assigned female/male at birth) people I know.
PCOS can also cause low fertility, something that doesn’t affect me as I want to adopt my children or have them another way depending on who my life partner turns out to be.
So, on many accounts, I don’t mind my PCOS… except for one symptom: weight gain. I’ve struggled with excessive weight gain over the years from a combination of PCOS, disordered eating, and the side effects of psychiatric drugs such as mood stabilizers (in my case; this side effect does not affect everyone).
It does feel odd however to have a very “female” labeled condition as a man; it can cause gender dysphoria, especially visits to the gynecologist and discussions revolving around my female body parts. That said, my body parts are not what make me a man or woman, but rather who I am in my mind.
I just wanted to put this article out there, as I’d like to hear from other trans men or nonbinary transmasculine folks who have PCOS and other chronic health conditions, both physical or psychiatric.
Getty image by studiostockart