6th grade was a rough year for me. On top of many things, it was the first time I was called fat!
I had a friend talking about how she weighed 97 pounds. Just as luck would have it, so did I. Of course, I thought it was cool that we both weighed the same. I naturally chimed in saying “me too!”
I will never forget the gut punch that came over me when my “friend” told me that her 97 pounds is “all muscle, and your’s is all fat.” This was the beginning of my frustration with my body and resentment with why I could not look like everyone else.
By the way...I did not realize that I was “fat” back then, but this comment helped set the wheels in motion to my love/hate relationship with food and my body.
Naturally this was not the only change with my body at that time, I also joined the womanhood so to speak. Thus began the slowly evolving presence of my PCOS diagnosis.
I carried this frustration and resentment for my body with me for many years. (I still have moments of it to this day if we are being honest). However it was this frustration that led me to seeking help.
Being able to put a name to why I was heavier than most of my peers was helpful for a while. I did what I was told for many years. Take the pills, change to whole wheat, and try to lose some of that weight.
This game plan was still leading me down the frustration alley. I knew there was more to this PCOS than just take these pills and losing some weight. Though my old physician was on to something...making food changes, though I learned later that this specific change needed to be something more.
While you may believe we are going to dive into food and PCOS...I am here to talk more about resentment and frustration. They can be either a sword we continue to use on ourselves...trying to force ourselves into a box and make it work or we have an opportunity to listen to it and create a path towards feeling more satisfied in life.
You have got to sit with it...the frustration and resentment. I talk more about what that looks like here:
When we do those things in the video, you will begin to notice doors opening. The people, the resources, the opportunities, they begin to show up.
Does this sound crazy? Maybe...maybe not. What I do know is that it does work!
Instead of being mad that I cannot eat like my peers, I found a way to eat that both serves me and that I enjoy. Instead of wishing I could wear that outfit, I have found a style that makes me feel comfortable and is fun. Instead of being upset about my body figure, I have found ways to see it as an asset.
Now this is just the beginning. We have more to this journey...click on this next blog to keep see how this journey works out in our favor.
If you have decided to utilize your frustration and resentment with food to your greater good, the Thriving with PCOS community is a great resource for you, if you so choose. We are walking through the journey I took in discovering the specific changes that were necessary for me to begin to see my way past food and body frustration and resentment.
Wishing you peace in your frustration and resentment,
Spearmint, it is more than just a flavor of chewing gum!
If you have symptoms of hiruastum or other male hormone related issues, you may have looked into spearmint capsule, tea, or oil.
Not long ago, in quite a few PCOS communities on social media, the question of spearmint causing increased facial hair growth became a popular subject.
It was based off of a post in Reddit from a few years back. Here is that post. I was curious as to where the information was coming from, so I dug into the rabbit whole.
Here are the few points from the Reddit post that stuck out to me and what I was able to find through medical texts, pub med, and google scholar.
High Androgens can be caused by too much estrogen.
I did not find any information in any medical resource that leads me to believe this happens. In women, testosterone is converted into estradiol. When our bodies make too much testosterone, our bodies cannot keep up with it and symptoms arise. However, estradiol does not create more testosterone.
Dosing: There was reference to dosing at 1000mg and the amount in a tea bag.
In my research, what I am finding as a good dosing is 500 mg per day. Which works out great for when you are taking the capsule form. However you may notice that tea bags could have as much as 1500mg. Keep in mind that you are not ingesting that amount of spearmint when drinking tea. Plus you could steep a tea bag at least one more time if not more than that. When drinking tea, the suggested amount is a 250 ml cup 2 times a day.
Spearmint raises LH (Lutenizing Hormone) which raises androgens.
There are three studies on spearmint that are commonly referenced by Ataabadi, et., Grant, and Akdogan. The overall consistency in these studies show reduced testosterone (free levels more specifically), and increased levels in LH, FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), and estradiol. Here is the good and some thought that come to mind with that information:
If estradiol rises, our uterine lining thickens. You may want to look into counterbalancing this with bioidentical progesterone as many of us have low in this hormone.
Estradiol helps with insulin resistance.
Having LH and FSH is rise together in a balanced ratio and stay within normal range, this is a non issue
If your LH and FSH is not a balanced ratio (2:1 or more) then having a rise in both of these does not help fix one of your issues. It may in fact, exacerbate it. This ratio balance has the potential to play a role in androgen elevation.
Not all androgens (testosterone, androstenedione, DHEA, DHEAS, and DHT) are not shown to be reduced with spearmint
Truly more research needs to be completed with longer testing periods to see what spearmint is doing to the body on a longer term basis. Especially since hair grow cycles are longer than the testing in these studies.
Here are a few other items that many also play a factor in negative outcomes:
Quality or purity of the supplements or tea that was used. Whatever was sprayed or used to fertilize the plants used to create the supplement or tea may play a role in the outcomes people are seeing.
What other things are they doing and taking along with their spearmint. Many women with PCOS make lifestyle changes to help with management as well as take medications or other supplements. These other items or lack thereof could also play a role in their results.
At the end of the day, our PCOS is different from the girl next door. So before just grabbing for a supplement, make sure it is a good fit for you and your PCOS. What works well for one or a few, may not work for you.
Wishing you well on your PCOS journey,
We all make them...mistakes. We are human after all.
The key is learning from them and quite honestly, I am not always so good at that part.
So of course my PCOS journey has been no different. The good news is that we can make it right and still reach our goals.
I by no means have it all figured out, but I have come a long way to get myself headed in a better direction.
As someone who really had no idea what it meant to have PCOS, I made a lot of mistakes! Like a lot!
There are 3 key mistakes that ultimately sum up the mistakes I made over many years.
Maybe this is you, maybe it is not. However, my hope is that I can help at least one PCOS woman get on the right path before they get in too deep.
Mistake #1: Supplements before lifestyle changes.
While supplements are an important tool, adjusting my habits is a bit far more important piece to the journey. You cannot supplement away your bad habits.
Here is a bit more on this subject
Mistake # 2: Measuring My Worth By My Weight
This is a tough one for me, even now. I am a recovering control freak (it is a process I am still working on). So when I could not control what I was shoveling in my face, I was so frustrated.
For many years I struggled to understand why I could not lose weight like other women around me. I really did not understand my body’s relationship with food, movement, and stress responses with having PCOS.
I was not like everyone else. My body was lacking nutrients, meal balance, and proper stress management.
It took me a few years to get to a place where I began to better understand the role all of that played in the number on my scale.
Mistake # 3: Believing That Food Was Not Part of The Problem
For someone who holds having good health as an important value, I am embarrassed that eating better was not a priority. I mean, I even work in healthcare!
I was literally told that I was being put on Metformin because one day I may become diabetic since I have PCOS. I wish my first gut instinct would have been to work on getting better at the way I ate.
However for many years I would just “diet” like many others around me. Then I would go back to eating like a teenager, and then try the next “diet”
Over time, I did figure this part out, but it took me much longer than I would have thought.
So if you are a PCOS woman reading this, you are not alone in this. Make the mistake, assess, and pick yourself back up. Mistakes are part of the journey.
If you wish you knew more about PCOS, this community is a great place to help you get feet wet. Come join us!
You got this,
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,
A girlfriend once told me, “I am not worthy of good health. Look at what I did to myself!” I looked her square in the eye and said, “You did not know what you did not know. Now you do and you are working to do something about it. That is what makes you worthy!”
There were a lot of tears over this conversation...from both of us.
There is a study that discusses PCOS patients diagnosis journeys. It states that 16 percent of PCOS patients were happy with the information and education that they received regarding their PCOS!
That seems like an extremely low number to me! How about you?
For this reason, I feel like we need to give ourselves grace. If you do not know that what you are eating, drinking, and using on your body are factors that make your condition worse, then how can you know what you are doing to yourself?
While, yes, I agree that many of us realize that a soda and fast food on the daily do not serve our bodies. However, if you did not know that your condition involved insulin resistance, then how can you know that you probably should do more than just take an oral medication?
There are many more interesting stats that come from that study. In this video on advocating for yourself, I reference more about that study.
I personally fell into the other 84 percent that was not happy with the information I received and education I was given.
To be honest, I am not upset by it. I am driven by it. To make sure that other PCOS women do not fall into the same issue, I have created a community. Helping PCOS women thrive with this condition and understand it, is a passion of mind.
If you fall into the 84 percent like me, come join us!
Your PCOS is not your fault. You are worthy of good health. The choice is yours.
Cheers to you!