Have you heard of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)? Have you been recently diagnosed with it? Managing PCOS is hard work! I will try to explain PCOS in the easiest way to understand it. I hope to increase more awareness of this health problem and give support to other ladies out there who have the same issue.
What is PCOS? — PCOS also known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), is a hormonal disorder that can be very common in women.
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 a teenager, I have always had an irregular cycle with my periods. I tried to seek medical help back in the Philippines, but even in 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 them 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 with some quick-fix solution.
What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?
PCOS is a hormonal disorder.
The person with PCOS has a hard time processing insulin (insulin-resistant), too much insulin causes the 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.
PCOS causes the following:
- The rise and fall of our energy levels,
- sweet cravings,
- 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,
- sometimes even depression.
Fertility issue is one of the PCOS effects, difficulty in conceiving 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 the problem, I’ve come across loads of information and even support groups for people with PCOS. Understanding the disorder can be mind-blowing with all the scientific words and explanations.
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 the 5:2 diet.
I had the biggest weight loss with the Fast 800 and 5:2 Diet. The 5:2 diet is a calorie-restrictive diet for two days within 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 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 in most of the items in groceries nowadays, especially here in Europe.
Slowly, I’m altering my diet and seeing 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.
Buy Gluten Free Recipe books
I initially avoided milk as it’s high in calories (since I’m doing my 5:2 diet). I have to find ways how I can cut down my 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.
Buy Dairy Free Milk – Almond Milk
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 impact on our bodies. So more sugar would mean a more significant 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!
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), is an excellent way to burn off calories, build muscles and increase 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.
HIIT Workout Guide books
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 taking this supplement, can help to balance their 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.
Buy 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.
Managing PCOS is a challenge and needs an awful lot of perseverance. It has its good and bad days, but with careful management, you can see and feel a massive difference. I know it’s easier said than done, but you are not alone.
Do you have PCOS too? Share your tips on how you manage your PCOS.