My PCOS story....
All my life, my periods were irregular and very painful. I didn’t really give it too much thought in my teens. It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s when I wanted to start a family with my husband that I started to pay attention to what was happening with my body.
It was not until we starting trying to start a family that my irregular periods really became noticeable. Each month my period would be late, a couple of days, then a week or so and eventually I had not had a period in 3 months. I would do pregnancy test after pregnancy test and they would all be negative. I had also started to gain weight quickly and it seemed like the more weight I gained the further and further apart my periods became.
Eventually, after not having my period for 4 months I made an appointment with my doctor and she referred me to have an internal ultrasound. I was then officially diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). I did not know much about the condition at the time. I had no idea that 1 in 10 women have it and more than 50% of woman don’t even know they have it. My doctor said she could put me on the pill, this would help regulate my periods but was not a solution. My doctor also explained that women with PCOS tended to have irregular periods, trouble conceiving and facial hair. My doctor then told me “if you just lose weight your PCOS symptoms will improve, and when you have a baby that should clear up your PCOS”.
If only it was that simple…
I tried to lose the weight. I tried so hard, I tried to count calories and exercise. Everything I had previously done to lose weight, was no longer working. My body had changed. It was a much harder battle now and it felt like my body was fighting back.
I did not want to continue this war with my body and after lots of trials and errors, trying different products, diets and programs I feel like I am finally getting my symptoms under some kind of control. I now follow a vegan diet, for ethical reasons initially, however after cutting out diary I noticed a huge improvement in my symptoms. Straight away my period returned and my skin started to clear up. There is currently no cure for PCOS and the best we can do is to manage the symptoms.
In my personal experience cutting out dairy has been one of the biggest contributors to managing my PCOS symptoms. My periods have become more regular and nowhere near as irregular as they used to be. I also found personally that a natural estrogen detoxifier (for example Estrodetox) also helps me manage my symptoms, my hormones feel like they are more stable and when I do get my period they are not as painful. I have tried a few other supplements in my time but this one was by far the best so far in my experience.
I think it's important to remember, we are not alone in this and there are diets, supplements and exercises along with medications that can help, we just need to take the first step. Work out what works for you, try different things and find a support network who understands.
What is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?
PCOS or Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a complex hormonal condition. ‘Polycystic’ literally translates as ‘many cysts’. This really refers to there being many partially formed follicles on the ovaries, which each contain an egg. These rarely grow to maturity or produce eggs that can be fertilised. Women with PCOS commonly have high levels of insulin, or male hormones known as 'androgens', or both. The cause of this is unclear, but insulin resistance is thought to be the key problem driving this syndrome.
Symptoms of PCOS
Women who have PCOS may experience:
- irregular menstrual cycles – menstruation may be less or more frequent due to less frequent ovulation (release of an egg)
- amenorrhoea (no periods) – some women with PCOS do not menstruate, in some cases for many years
- excessive facial or body hair growth (or both)
- scalp hair loss
- reduced fertility (difficulty in becoming pregnant) – related to less frequent or absent ovulation
- mood changes – including anxiety and depression
- sleep apnoea.
You don’t have to have all of these symptoms to have PCOS.
There are certain products on the market that can help ease the symptoms and talking to your GP for further options is always a good idea.