In August, Veracity is celebrating our inaugural Hormone Health Awareness Month. Join the conversation at one of our virtual panel discussions throughout the month and post on social using the hashtag #ItsYourHormones.
When Alisa Vitti was diagnosed with PCOS, her doctor painted a grim picture of her future. Looking for a natural alternative to the birth control offered as the only treatment, Alisa went on a quest to find solutions that could heal her. As a result of her experience, Vitti has published 2 best-selling books on women’s hormones — WomanCode and In the FLO — created a viral #cyclesyncing wellness movement on social, and built the next-gen hormone care platform for women through her company Flo Living via its programs, supplements, and top-ranked app.
I struggled with symptoms of PCOS even before I got my first period, which didn’t happen until I was a couple months shy of 16. Once it finally did come, I only got it five times, and three of those were chemically induced with synthetic progesterone. When I told my doctor about my concerns, I was told that my experience was normal and that my other symptoms, like weight gain and acne, were to be expected. I was prescribed the pill, but I was reticent to take any medication without understanding what was actually wrong. It seemed illogical to follow a treatment when there wasn't an explanation or plan behind it.
Fast forward a few years and my symptoms really hit a peak when I was a student at Johns Hopkins University planning to become an ob-gyn. I was tipping the scales at 210 pounds. I was covered in painful cystic body acne. Every morning, I would do this half-hour process of using Prescriptives brand under eye concealer to cover my breakouts because regular concealer was not covering the redness. So, I would spackle over all the red blotches and end up looking oddly colored, then I would try to go out and face the day.
On top of the acne, the weight gain, and the lack of a cycle, I was also having trouble concentrating, and I was suffering with a lot of insomnia. This was all taking a toll on my mental health – anxiety, depression, and overwhelm were affecting every part of my life.
None of the gynecologists I saw had any explanation about what was going on with me, so I took it upon myself to try to figure it out. During my research, I found a little article in an obstetrics journal about Stein-Leventhal disease (which we now call PCOS). I checked all the boxes of symptoms. I went to my gynecologist the next day and said, “I'd like to do all the testing that's required to see if I do have this disorder.” We did it and I was right.
I was shocked by what she said next. When I asked what the plan was now that I had a diagnosis, she told me, “Unfortunately, we don't have a cure. We don't even have a good treatment except to put you on the pill.” She told me my weight problems would probably increase and result in diabetes, and that I probably wouldn’t be able to have children on my own. Also, I would be at an increased risk for heart disease and cancer.
I believed there could be a different future. I decided I was going to take my very expensively trained mind and figure out a better solution. At the time, I made a commitment that if I could figure this out, I would build a platform and a brand that would help the millions of women suffering from PCOS and other menstrual disturbances to address these issues naturally.