September is PCOS Awareness Month, as well as self-care and self-improvement month. In the last 2 weeks, I have already discussed topics that relate to those. I also know I just wrote a post, not too long ago about PCOS and what I learned from TikTok.
I am so confused about what I should be doing or not doing because everything about PCOS is confusing. I did not intend for this post to be all about me and my experiences, but it all just started to flow as I was writing. Hope this can help others not feel alone in their frustrations.
If you are new here or don’t know what PCOS is. It stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. PCOS is a common health problem that can affect women. It can cause irregular menstrual periods, heavier periods, or not even having a period every month. Which can make it hard for women who are trying to conceive. Plain and simple it causes infertility issues. There are also a lot of different side effects. Some women can get them all or just some. The most common side effects are excess hair and acne.
There is no cure for PCOS. It is something you have to learn to manage and learn to reduce the symptoms. I got diagnosed back in 2017 and I have had my fair share of ups and downs these past 3 years. I am nowhere near where I want or need to be.
Why am I not where I want to be?
I am not writing this to tell you what to do or how to do it, because ultimately it’s up to you and it’s your body. Since very little is known about PCOS you may end having to try multiple different things before you can figure what works best for you and your body. Those of us diagnosed with PCOS may have some of the symptoms, but not all. PCOS affects each person differently. So a lot of us don’t have the same symptoms.
I just want you to know that you are not alone in your frustration. You are not ovary reacting, because if you were to search on Pinterest for PCOS you are bombarded with a million different ways you can treat this. PCOS is confusing and that makes it VERY overwhelming. The same goes for Google.
Would have loved this explained
I would have loved to have all of this explained to me when I was visiting my doctor. The whole point of me finding out what was wrong was to hopefully one day have a baby. Her response was just to lose 15% of my body weight and then go from there.
A few months later I was recommended by HER to go for a consultation about gastric bypass because I was the perfect candidate and I met all the requirements. I told her that I would like to try it on my own and have gastric bypass as a last option.
So she referred me to their diet Doctor who only prescribed me an appetite suppressant even though Mike and I explained I don’t eat a lot, to begin with. I still took the pill anyway which made me tired and hungry ALL THE DAMN TIME. After the first month, I had to stop taking it. I lost no weight.
I was so frustrated ready to give up and I did for a while there. I was over being told so many contradicting things. It just made PCOS more confusing and me more pissed off.
Different types of PCOS
I did not know that there were different kinds of polycystic ovarian syndrome. I was never told that by my doctor when I received my diagnosis. The different types are:
Adrenal Fatigue – can be caused by an underactive thyroid, low vitamin B12 or vitamin D levels, and anemia (low blood count). Factors such as sleep problems and side effects of medications can also play a role.
Inflammation – Chronic low-grade inflammation has emerged as a key contributor to the pathogenesis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). A dietary trigger such as glucose is capable of inciting oxidative stress and inflammatory response from mononuclear cells (MNC) of women with PCOS, and this phenomenon is independent of obesity.
Insulin Resistance – Insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance are present in a large percentage (ranging from 44-70%) of women with PCOS (2). Insulin resistance is a key contributor to metabolic disturbance and is a driver in the pathogenesis of PCOS.
Hypothyroid – is associated with a high incidence of subclinical hypothyroidism, goiters, and autoimmune thyroiditis, as BioMed Research International, reports. Another study published in Endocrine Abstracts found that of 107 women with PCOS, half of the participants had a thyroid-related disease, such as positive thyroid antibodies, thyroid dysfunction, or nodules. Women with both PCOS and subclinical hypothyroidism have also been shown to have higher levels of LDL cholesterol, according to Fertility and Sterility.
PCOS is confusing for diets
Doing that initial search on Pinterest or Google you are bombarded with so many different ways that claim to be the BEST way to lose weight when it comes to PCOS. It’s really frustrating because not a lot is known about PCOS or how women get it.
So who really knows if these are the BEST ways. The ones I am ALWAYS recommended if I look up PCOS or tell someone I have PCOS are:
Healthline defines keto as a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low-carb diets. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
Health Harvard explains this as a Plant-based or plant-forward eating pattern focus on foods primarily from plants. This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. It doesn’t mean that you are vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy.
Gluten & Dairy Free
Well & Good tells us this is a very restrictive diet that gluten (duh), which is found in wheat, barley, and rye. Other sources of gluten include triticale, malt, and brewer yeast. This excludes wheat-based bread and pasta, most cereals, many packaged snack foods, soy sauce, beer, and other foods. As far as a dairy-free diet, that means avoiding all sources of dairy including cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, kefir, yogurt, and milk.
Confusion about these diets
They are all very different from each other. I thought that trying each of these diets for a month would help me decide what would be best for me, but speaking with a friend who is very much into fitness says a month may not be long enough to see the benefits if there are any.
I don’t want to spend my hard-earned money to buy products I won’t eat because that’s just throwing away my money. Been there and done that, I bought almond milk to replace coffee creamer because that has a lot of sugar. Neither Mike nor I liked it. It tasted like nothing to use even though we got a flavored one.
I don’t like the idea of a diet telling you to buy a bunch of products you don’t or won’t like, because it says to. Most of us I can assume don’t want to diet and feel restricted. It makes us unhappy and not want to do it. Diet culture is setting you up to fail. We need something that will stick with us for the long run.
We don’t know what that is yet, but we are all working towards finding out.
Medication to help with PCOS
**This might be TMI, but it is important to understand what PCOS can do*
I hadn’t had my period in so long that when it finally happened it wouldn’t stop. For 3 weeks straight I was bleeding changing pads, underwear, and pants multiple times a day. I bring this up because when I was first diagnosed with PCOS my doctor gave me a Megestrol Acetate to stop my bleeding because my period would not give at all.
It was a medication they give to cancer patients because she wanted the bleeding to stop so she could do a biopsy to make sure I didn’t have endometriosis. When I filled my prescription I had a chat with the pharmacist and he said not to stay on this medication for long because it could have side effects. Especially since again, IT WAS MADE FOR CANCER PATIENTS.
Finally got my period to stop
Within a few days, my period stopped, and we did the biopsy. I didn’t have endometriosis. My doctor however did not tell me to stop taking the medication. I asked during my appointment and my question was not answered. After hours, I had to send her an email.
She forgot she put me on that medication and switched it right away to Medroxyprogesterone. I would take the pill the first 12 days of the month and by the end of the month I would have my period. It did exactly what she said it would every month for a year I had my period for 5 days like clockwork because of that medication.
After a year I developed a side effect. At the time I didn’t know it was a side effect, but when it started I would get a sharp pain in my left nipple. Just a subtle pain/discomfort. After a few hours, it went away. Then a few months later the same thing happened to my right nipple but way worse. It was bad I thought my nipple was going to fall off. I wanted to pull my nipple out and chop it off. That’s how bad it was.
After a visit to the emergency room and a breast ultrasound done. I was told by the on-call doctor to stop taking the medication it sounded like I had fibrocystic breasts. My next doctor’s appointment confirmed I had Breast Fibrocystic Disease. I haven’t taken the medroxyprogesterone since I haven’t had the nipple pain.
Not taking that medication meant not having my period. Which at that point I didn’t care I was again so frustrated I gave up on all medications and stopped going to the doctor.
Naturally helping PCOS
Again Healthline with the information says Cinnamon can help regulate insulin levels in your body, which may have an effect on other hormones and the menstrual cycle. In women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who often have high insulin levels and irregular periods, cinnamon can cause a more regular menstrual cycle.
Myo-inositol & D-chiro inositol – Inositols are carbohydrates that can influence the body’s insulin response, and when taken as a supplement may help improve metabolic and reproductive aspects of PCOS.
Evening primrose oil – Evening primrose oil has been used to help with period pain and irregular menstruation. It may also improve cholesterol levels and oxidative stress, both of which are linked to PCOS.
There are so many different supplements you can take. It all shows how confusing PCOS is. Just make you do your research. I am slowly leaning towards going the natural way.
PCOS is confusing about exercise
High-intensity interval Training could be bad for us women with PCOS because intense exercise can make the symptoms of PCOS worse, and constant physical stress can make the body cling to fat and stop muscles from growing because it can’t distinguish self-imposed stress from an external physical threat. According to Metro.co.uk.
However, Breakingmuscle.com says HIIT is not only an efficient and effective form of exercise but has also been shown to aid in reducing and even preventing many physiological symptoms associated with PCOS. Currently, there are not many studies on HIIT training and PCOS. However, the few studies that have been done in this area are encouraging.
At least they telling you there have been few studies done.
Low-Intensity Steady State
LISS, or low-intensity steady-state cardio, method of cardiovascular exercise in which you do aerobic activity at a low-to-moderate intensity for a continuous, and often extended, period.
Most often associated with running, cycling, swimming, brisk walking, and other cardio activities that require low-intensity exercise for longer periods, typically 45 to 60 minutes.
How do you know which one you should do? Everything I read online is contradicting each other. I would ask my doctor but the advice I got from her was to lose weight and eat less.
You are not ovary reacting
PCOS is confusing. It’s frustrating you have to spend astronomical amounts of money to find out what works for you. Your feelings of hopelessness are validated. As I said before everything you read online is condracting and confusing.
I am tired of all of us looking like dears in headlights because we don’t know what to do. On top of losing weight and battling the other symptoms, you are told it will be hard for you to have kids if you choose to. It’s not impossible, but you have to lose weight in order for it to happen, but with PCOS everything makes your symptoms worse and the weight is not coming off.
On top of trying to figure out this whole PCOS thing women also have a bunch of other things that can happen to our bodies. Have you heard of a Bartholin Cyst? I didn’t until a few months ago when I got one. Check out the blog post if you are interested. FYI… it is a bit TMI. Bartholin Cyst Survival Guide.
I am tired of people who fat shame people because they think all overweight people are lazy fucks who eat everything in sight. You don’t know what we are going through and for you to base your judgments on our weight is horrible.
I know that I am not an expert in PCOS or health and fitness, but I have PCOS and know how it feels to think you are less of a woman, that you are not worthy, or made to feel like a fat pig for something I can’t control. I don’t have a lot of money to try anything and everything, but I will be making regular posts about my PCOS what I have tried, and what I am doing. What is working and what isn’t?
For those women who have PCOS, I want you to know I see you, PCOS is confusing as fuck and you are not ovary reacting.
Until next time, have a great day!