Managing PCOS is hard work!
What is PCOS? — PCOS is also known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), is a hormonal disorder that can be very common in women. I will try to explain PCOS in the easiest way to understand it. I hope to increase more awareness of this incurable health problem and give support to other ladies out there who have the same issue.
NOTE: This article is based on my personal experience and must not be considered as medical advice. Please contact your doctor for further management and symptoms of PCOS.
Since I was in my teenager, I have always had an irregular cycle with my periods. I tried to seek medical help back in the Philippines, even in the private healthcare they can’t see any problem other than that I have a hormonal imbalance.
It was only in 2015, that I was finally clinically diagnosed with PCOS. After so many years of wondering how I can solve this health issue, I finally found the main cause of this hormonal problem. At first, I was trying to ignore it, as if everything was under control. My GP’s solution was to put me back on the contraceptive pills to help balance the symptoms of PCOS hormones and replace it with artificial ones to trick my body and PCOS.
However, I felt like I was not dealing with the cause of this problem and was just hiding under the carpet it with some quick fix solution.
What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?
PCOS is a hormonal disorder. The person with PCOS has a hard time to process insulin (insulin-resistant), too much insulin causes ovaries to release too much testosterone which causes haywire inside the body. Based on its name, PCOS also cause small ovarian cysts.
Effects of PCOS
Since the body can’t process insulin properly and balance the ratio of testosterone in our body, this causes the following:
The rise and fall of our energy levels, sweet cravings, tiredness, hirsutism (excessive hair growth in different parts of your body e.g legs, chest & facial hair), hair loss or thinning of hair (head), emotional rollercoaster, weight gain / obesity, acne, irritability, anxiety and sometimes even depression.
Fertility issue is one of the PCOS effects, difficulty to conceive is the biggest challenge among all the side effects of PCOS. It’s hard to determine when will you ovulate when you have an irregular period. Some couple who wants to try to conceive will end up going to the fertility clinic and have Metformin, Clomid or IVF.
After spending some time researching about the problem, I’ve come across loads of information and even support group for people with PCOS. Understanding the disorder can be mind blowing with all the scientific words and explanation.
According to my GP’s advice, I can manage PCOS if I lose weight and take my pills. Little did I know, that managing PCOS is a tricky business. Since I didn’t opt-in to my doctor’s suggestion to take my contraceptive pills again, I’ve decided to do it naturally thru diet, exercise, vitamin supplements and with the help of the support group.
My PCOS Diet
I think I have tried various types of lifestyle diets like Weight Watchers, Slimming World and 5:2 diet. I had the biggest weight loss with the 5:2 Diet. The 5:2 diet is a calorie restrictive diet for two days within the seven days. It’s up to you whichever works well based on your lifestyle and schedule.
You can get a copy of the 5:2 diet book written by Dr Moseley. If you’ve seen the documentary about the 5:2 diet, he is the man behind the research.
PCOS makes our body prone to chronic inflammation. Reducing or avoiding wheat products and other items with gluten can help to reduce the inflammation and lessen the effects of PCOS.
I’m trying my best to avoid gluten. However, it can be a struggle. Gluten can be found on most of the items in groceries nowadays, especially here in Europe. Slowly, I’m altering my diet and see what works well in managing my PCOS. So I have tried to eat gluten free bread, muffins, cakes and much more! Promise! I’m trying so hard.
I initially avoided milk as its high in calories (since I’m doing my 5:2 diet). I have to find ways on how I can cut down the calorie intake. I was delighted that I managed to avoid milk and replaced it with Almond milk, and later on found out that this is beneficial in managing my PCOS.
Low Glycemic Load
Since my body already can’t process insulin pretty well due to PCOS, I’m trying to avoid anything sweet, even artificial sweeteners (as much as possible). Artificial sweeteners also mimic the effects of sugar and have the same effects in our body. So more sugar would mean a greater imbalance in hormones and more PCOS side effects.
I’m not a sporty person. Hence exercise is a chore for me. As I try to find out more ways I can handle my PCOS through exercise (I have to!), I found HIIT is the answer! The High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), is an excellent way to burn off calories, build muscles and increase the insulin sensitivity. My favourite HIIT exercise is Spinning. Just a short 20 mins HIIT on my exercise bike in 3 days will do the trick.
I regularly take vitamins as part of my daily routine. After doing some research about PCOS, I’ve encountered two supplements that are helpful in managing PCOS. These are the Inositol by Jarrows Formula and the Ovasitol by the Functional Nutrition. Ladies with PCOS have a low level of inositol, so by taking this supplement, it can help to balance the hormonal levels. As a piece of advice, please consult your doctor before taking these supplements.
The Inositol (Myo-inositol) by Jarrow Formula comes in tablet and powder forms. I prefer to use the powder form as it is more budget friendly. The suggested dosage for PCOS is 4g (2g morning & 2g evening). Just dissolve it in water, and you are all set. Each tub cost can last for 3 to 4 months.
Get your Inositol supplement here!
The Ovasitol by Theralogix is a combination of Myo-inositol and d-chiro inositol. There are loads of good reviews about this supplement as this has the perfect ratio of the two types of inositol. It also comes in little packets so the portion size is perfect. Ovasitol comes in a big box with three months supply for $99 USD, as it’s imported from the US, and there is also one distributor here in the UK.
Both of the supplements are effective.
Here are the other supplements I’m using to manage my PCOS.
Managing PCOS is a challenge and needs an awful lot of perseverance. It has its good and bad days, but with the careful management, you can see and feel a massive difference. I know it’s easier said than done, but you are not alone.