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,
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,
I see this a lot. Today it really triggered me when I saw another Cyster practically crying in her post today.
A patient asking for help, struggling with a painful symptom and she was being made to feel horrible about it. In what world did all of those letters after a name give someone the power to belittle and mistreat someone!
The gold standard for all issues cycle related is the birth control pill or some form of cycle control through shots and inserted items. If that is your jam, by all means do the thing you feel comfortable with. What I struggle with is when someone would like other options.
Also at what point does it become okay to not only tell the patient that the doctor that diagnosed her was an idiot and has them on the wrong course of action. All without reviewing the testing that was done and truly listening to the patient about her concern. To top it all off, no testing was done on this patient!!!
As someone with letters after her name, I know for a fact that there is more than one approach to all things medical. However, many of us are limited by how we are trained, taught, and have experienced.
Our limited scope does not incline us to make someone feel bad because we do not understand it. That also does not mean that we get to be nasty about it.
Wishing you health with grace and ease,
When did working in the medical field cease to be a service and become an absolute approach? Did everyone’s bodies suddenly become the same?
I had a similar experience once when I saw my new Endocrinologist...I loved my old one, but he left the office I was going to. She told me I either needed to take the Metformin or she could not help me. At least she was honest, but was nasty about it. So needless to say I have not been back.
Now we are all human and maybe sometimes our physicians are overworked, stressed, and working in a way that they are personally struggling. I believe that is an option too.
I know I have had those days too. I have made mistakes in my years of practicing sports medicine. Which is why I am thankful for coworkers that are able to put fresh eyes on a situation.
What I am not okay with is making people feel like they are crazy or stupid.
I write this so that if any of my other Cysters out there (or anyone as a matter of fact) are struggling to be heard by their physician, please know that you are allowed to feel comfortable with the care offered to you. You deserve options. You deserve to understand the risks. You deserve to be heard.
If you go through this, know that I feel for you and this is not okay. If you have a friend or family member go through this, listen to them. Let them air it all out. Then let them know that it is okay for them to seek out other options. Even if you do not agree with them on how they feel.
We are all entitled to medical treatment that fits our comfort level. Nothing should be forced on us...period!