Like many PCOS Women, I was told…”Just lose the weight and we can take you off of your medicine.” “Here is this medication and that medication, we will take some labs, and see you in a year to follow up.”
NOT once did I hear, “Your lab work showed…”, “we need to work on a game plan for…”
I allowed for my symptoms to be masked. I allowed for my fire to be stoked as time went on.
I know my PCOS is not my fault (nor is yours), but ignoring my symptoms only allowed the fire to spread.
Here is a better understanding about what I mean by stoking the fire
What I wish I knew back then, was the lifestyle changes that needed to do hand in hand with my condition.
There is so much more than “lose the weight” to be “normal again”. Especially when I was not overweight when this issue began.
Medicine should not be a dictatorship, it should be a collaboration. Working with your physician hand in hand. Here are some medications for the short term...let’s come up with a plan for the long term. Let’s put out the fire!
Unfortunately, it is more common than not to mask or silence the symptoms.
It is like having a small electrical fire that you have no idea is burning until it is too late. Then you burn your house down.
No one wants that!
That was literally what I did for 17 years of being diagnosed with PCOS.
No habit changes, just keep taking these pills. No adjustments based on my labs, no review of my labs other than getting a normal report.
That normal report then assumes that the medicine is working right?! Wrong, at least for me.
My fire was building...my weight would continue to rise even with “healthy eating.” My body hair became more prominent...not interested in becoming the bearded lady for the circus. My hair started coming out more and more over the years...I could almost make a wig for someone with that amount of hair loss. Oh and do not even get me started on my mood and mental health.
This had to change! Period!
If guidance would not be given to me, I was going to find it on my own!
If you are tired of masking the fire like I was, this guide is what I figured out through my research and may give you a basis of where to begin your journey for you.
Again I am not telling you to stop working with your physician (because I did not), but adding to the game plan and having a plan to present to your physician is not a bad idea.
Time to put out the fire,
Working in modern day medicine, I have become disenchanted with the way chronic and complicated cases are handled. As a woman working on her healing journey with PCOS, I feel like there is a better way.
There are a lot of things I have seen, but even with my working knowledge, I have even been treated in a similar way.
Have you ever been told to take a medication just because of your diagnosis?
I know I have! I was told to get back onto birth control.
I had regular cycles. I was told that because I had PCOS, it would be a good idea to get back on them.
This was 1 year post pregnancy and we were planning to have more children at that time. I was not educated on why it would be important, and my lab results did not show a need for it.
Maybe you have had this one happen to you too...my physician wanted to up a medication strength.
It was based on my weight...again post pregnancy. I had labs taken, but at no point were the labs considered in the decision making process. Had the lab results reflected the need for this, I would have complied.
To me, this sounds like textbook protocols. Last time I checked...which I can attest to as something that happens with orthopedic injuries...we are all made different. There is not one cookie cutter approach that works on all people.
After receiving my lab results, I knew I had to start doing my own homework on my PCOS!
Here are some more thoughts on the Bandage Approach…
My PCOS was not just an inherited condition I would have to live with for the rest of my life. I did not have to allow it to progress and become worse over time.
I did not need to be on these masking agents just to keep my symptoms at bay.
It was something that I could work on. I could make improvements by better understanding my body, what supports it, what hinders it, and how to get it to and beyond the wellness line.
Thereby improving my quality of life and becoming less symptomatic or even asymptomatic (being asymptomatic does not mean I am healed...I can go right back into the condition by going back to my old lifestyle).
Health is something that I hold a great value in. Something that we all deserve. It is something that many of us do not realize we can have.
It is simple to achieve, but it is not necessarily easy. I promise you, the alternate path is well worth taking. Your quality of life is waiting for you!
Allow me the opportunity to support you along the way. Here is a way to grab my free guide on how I Thrive with PCOS.
You are in the driver’s seat and should always be allowed to rip the bandage off when your body truly thrives!
You are worthy,
There is so much advice out there am I right?
This person says give up dairy and gluten. The next says Keto. Another says eat Paleo. Go low carb. Or, kick all of those ideas to the curb and Intuitively Eat. Oh and do not forget to Intermittent Fast while doing all of this!
Which one do you do? Which one will work? Well the answer is they all work, but which one will work best for you. That is the key!
What worked for Sussie may not work for Samantha. We all have different types of PCOS, mental relationships with food, and dietary limitations.
This is why I am actually going to throw another idea into the ring of suggestions. Why am I doing this to you? Because it has been the most helpful tool in figuring out how to clean up the way my family eats and it helped me find foods that do not serve my body.
See if I were to do traditional Keto, my body would be in a world of hurt! I would conclude that the bloating and constipation I would experience would be enough reason for me to count that as a failure and quit.
If I went all Paleo, I would miss out on great fiber sources from legumes. I love green beans cooked in bacon you all, so that would be tough for me. Plus I make fantastic black bean brownies!
While I do believe there is something to the intuitive eating, just because I am craving that lasagna in front of me does not mean I should eat it because I am feeling it. I know my body does not do well with both gluten and dairy.
I do not believe followers of this style are saying eat things that do not serve you. They are just trying to rebuild a positive relationship with food. I am always down for that.
I just know for me, I have to have ground rules. For me, those Cheetos and Soda will never be on the menu! However, if I eat a couple of potato chips, I will not hate myself later.
Lastly, I am a fan of intermittent fasting. Though I know it is not for everyone.
I always suggest to people to take baby steps. Also if your body is telling you to eat that breakfast or dinner (depending on when you start and end your time off from eating), then you should probably eat at least something.
So why Whole 30? This video will break it down for you.
Does this sound like something you would be interested in? Would you like to test this out?
I am doing a trial run of Whole 30 which will be turned into a bigger challenge in August. Let’s test the waters together and see if this is doable for you.
Let's connect and I will send you a guide with reasons why Whole 30 is a critical tool to your PCOS journey.
Most importantly, I will also get you hooked up with a group to help support you through this process. Support is important when making potential lifestyle shifts.
Are you in?
Supplements are something that I struggle to trust. There is a good reason for that which I will share at another time. On the evolution of my thriving journey with PCOS, I have come to really appreciate them.
Today’s supplement tale is one of Magnesium.
Magnesium is really not that hard to come by. It is in many foods like almonds, avocados, cashews, and spinach. All things that I eat and love to eat. So I never gave adding it much thought until I came across something on chocolate cravings.
See I used to crave chocolate so much. Like going crazy cravings...as in if I would eat even the sources above, the craving still was not taken care of. This my friends is a sign of deficiency at its lowest of lows.
After finding that information and reading Lara Briden’s recommendation for 300 mg of magnesium daily, I started to look into my resources for just the right supplement. The source of any supplement is very important.
What I grabbed, I honestly thought I would never use. Then I thought...let’s give it a shot.
The reason why I grabbed what I did:
It is not a pill...I take enough of those thanks
It is infused with cinnamon as well as a few other things
The cinnamon was important because if you are the insulin resistance type of PCOS, cinnamon has been linked in many studies to help with this.
I figured I was getting a two for one special.
What I have noticed in the last two months is my cravings by far more under control than they have ever been.
I still have the urge to allow emotions to trigger a “need” to eat, but I am finding it easier to work through those times more so than before.
I was having some symptoms that are signs of insulin resistance in progression. While a change in the way I eat plays a big role in that regression, I began to feel like I took it to the next level.
I am excited to keep this in my daily protocol and see what benefits I continue to see over time. We are in a long term game here folks. Short term goals are great, but I am all about the bigger picture.
With that said, I really want to give credit to what I have done before adding any of my supplements. I find it so frustrating that we have become a culture of the quick fix and magic source.
Whether what you are getting is from a pharmacy or from your trusted supplement source, there are lifestyle items that are necessary as part of this journey.
I honestly feel that had I not worked on these things first, my body would not be in a place to receive the benefits from this new added supplement as well as the others I use.
I know no one wants to hear this. What I am talking about requires time, effort, and most of all changes. I have got to tell you...YOU are worth it! Redefining life on your terms that serve your health. You are the gatekeeper.
My guide talks about the 3 foundational pieces that I dove into to go from declining to thriving. Grab it, read it, and lock arms. You are one choice away from the path to thriving.
If you are like me, then this is news...types of PCOS! Shoot can be a struggle to diagnose and now we have types!
I remember being in a PCOS group and someone asking about what type people were and so many replied that there are not types of PCOS. Well, 24 hours later, I realized that those of us that thought that were wrong.
PCOS is tricky, so it is okay if you or even your diagnosing physician did not know this information. However, knowledge is power. Now is the time to dive deeper and have a discussion about it.
I researched the subject. I found 4 main types and then one group that is the catch all for those who do not fit into the others. What is interesting is you may have signs and symptoms from the other groups, but fit best in another.
Here is what I am commonly seeing out out there on the subject. Let’s dig in:
Insulin-Resistant type: there is a 70 percent chance that most of us fit this profile. Women with this type of PCOS are insulin resistant, meaning you are creating too much insulin. Leading you to be overweight, develop heart disease, osteoporosis, and you are set up to develop diabetes. Also with increased insulin, you will more than likely create more androgens (which we will talk more about here in a bit). Irregular periods, elevated androgens, and insulin resistance are your indicators here.
Post Pill PCOS type: This is usually temporary but may take up to a couple of years to work through. If you had normal cycles before the pill and then developed irregular periods and high androgen levels after being on the pill, then chances are you may have post pill PCOS. Give your body at least 3 months (or 100 days) before being concerned. It will take your body that long to see if it can get itself back to cycling on its own. If you had PCOS symptoms before the pill and continue to have them after the pill, then this is not you.
Inflammatory PCOS type: While this can be an issue with the other types of PCOS, for this type, it is the primary piece. Inflammation can be from foods as well as environmental toxins. Look for signs like IBS, unexplained fatigue, regular headaches, joint pain, and various skin conditions to go along with your irregular cycles and elevated androgens.
Adrenal PCOS type: This type gets a bit tricky and really falls back on your lab results. Again, you will have irregular cycles but not all of your androgens will be elevated. Only your adrenal androgens. Androgens are the hormones that are higher in males (testosterone, androstenedione, and DHEAS). With Adrenal PCOS, only your DHEAS are elevated. If this is you, make sure you have had other medical issues ruled out. NCAH (nonclassic congenital adrenal hyperplasia) or high prolactin levels may be the actual issue. If those have been ruled out, then please look into how you handle stress as this is the primary issue with this type of PCOS.
Hidden Driver of PCOS: If you did not find a type that fits you, then you may need to check into some of the other underlying issues that may play a role in your PCOS.
Thyroid Disease: hypothyroid may be the thing that is affecting your insulin resistance and impairing your ovulation
Vitamin D, Zinc, and/or Iodine deficiency: all are necessary for ovary function
Elevated Prolactin Levels: as we discussed above, this will increase DHEAS
The best thing about this category is that once you correct it, your PCOS symptoms should improve quickly.
Which type sounds more like you? Try not to get caught up so much in what category. PCOS is such an individual journey.
I am so thankful for the natural steps that I have taken to get my PCOS under control. Are you curious as to what those starting steps may be? Be sure to check out my guide on Real Healing Starts with Lifestyle Changes.
Wishing you health with grace and ease,