Business Categories Reports Podcasts Events Awards Webinars
Contact My Account About

A Call To Action: The Amazon Prime Documentary Looking To Change PCOS Care

Published April 30, 2024
Published April 30, 2024

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition affecting women globally, with Black women disproportionately impacted. According to the World Health Organization, this condition affects an estimated 8%–13% of reproductive-aged women, with up to 70% of affected women remaining undiagnosed worldwide. PCOS can also take years to diagnose and treat, especially because there are still no FDA-approved drugs to treat this complex condition. This was one of the premises for Stephanie Coker’s recently debuted film Where the Heck is My Period, which hit Amazon Prime on the 15th of March as the first licensed documentary from Nigeria.

Coker is a Nigerian-British media personality who is currently using her experiences of womanhood to discuss the nuances and impacts of PCOS and motherhood with her almost one million Instagram followers. Where the Heck Is My Period is a 72-minute-long video that follows the original stories of African women who currently juggle the impact of PCOS on their daily lives, and outlines the misconceptions behind the condition. It delves into the intersection of PCOS and the experiences of Black women, offering profound insights into this pressing issue, exploring the personal journeys and societal implications of PCOS among African women.

Within the beauty and wellness sector, PCOS manifests in a myriad of symptoms including acne-prone skin, oily skin, irregular hair growth, irregular menstrual cycles, infertility, weight gain, and hormonal imbalances, all significantly impacting the physical and emotional well-being of those affected. The documentary offers not only insight but also inspiration, showcasing stories of resilience, advocacy, and community support. “My why is because I have PCOS and it affected me in ways I didn’t understand at first,” Coker tells BeautyMatter. “I also could not find a lot of visual materials of people that looked like me talking about it,” she adds.

According to the NHS, one in every 10 women suffers from PCOS. Besides being behind the motivation for Mrs. Coker's documentary, the condition has also prompted brands and founders to raise seed funding to address this issue. In 2023, Belgium-based menstrual health start-up Guudclosed a $1.7 million seed funding round led by global investors. In April last year, Eli Health, a Montreal-based health tech company seeking to make hormone health accessible, successfully raised $3.6 million (5 million CAD) in new capital from its diverse group of healthcare and technology investors, including Muse Capital and RH Capital. To date, they have raised a total of $6.6 million ($9 million CAD), proving to be the largest amount ever raised by a Canadian femtech firm.

Stephanie Coker’s Where the Heck Is My Period not only highlights the need for there to be more attention and need for investment in these issues, but also the healthcare disparities faced by Black women, underscoring the barriers to diagnosis and treatment that could perpetuate feelings of marginalization and neglect, which could potentially lead to death. According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention, Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women. “I wanted to use this film to tell the story of women that are living with PCOS from different walks of life especially in Nigeria; their unfiltered experiences, how it has affected them and the people in their lives,” she says.

Where the Heck Is My Period was created to offer validation for PCOS sufferers, highlighting stories of resilience, advocacy, and community support. Through education, advocacy, and access to resources, meaningful strides can be made towards addressing the unique needs of Black women grappling with PCOS. It serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of elevating marginalized narratives and driving meaningful change. Let us heed its call to action, ensuring that no struggle remains hidden within the corridors of our organizations or society at large.


2 Article(s) Remaining

Subscribe today for full access