Now that I have thrown the PCOS acronym around a bunch, I thought it would be good to finally describe what it is (in a general sense as I don’t have a license to really describe it) and talk about how it has effected me over the years.
PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and it is a hormonal disorder that can create a variety of issues in woman, such as infertility, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and endometrial cancer. It sounds scary and, to be honest, it can be because for a long time doctors didn’t really know much about it, especially how to treat it. The good thing is, when you know you have it, it can be controlled largely by diet, exercise, supplements and medications as simple as birth control.
The syndrome can be very hard to diagnose since many of the symptoms can be normal, everyday conditions. Some of the conditions include weight gain or a struggle to lose weight, acne, facial hair growth (on women), irregular periods, insulin resistance, and many more. The conditions can be a bit individualized and, as such, the treatment needs to be controlled based on the person.
So how does one realize they have PCOS since these conditions can happen at many different stages in ones life? For me, it came about when I learned I had a football sized cyst growing on one of my ovaries. I struggled with a lot of the symptoms but they went undiagnosed. I had irregular periods and weight my whole life but have always remained active and not terribly unhealthy eater so I managed.
However, when I did have my monthly visitor it I would be plagued with mind numbing pain, which I didn’t know wasn’t normal at the time either. I was always told just take some alive and it will go away – I would take 4 and have to pass out for an hour…and then maybe it would go away. It was the cyst growing and flipping on itself. The doctor who removed the cyst finally at 26 years old (at least 10 years of pain), acknowledge that she now knew what mind numbing pain must be like after seeing the size of the cyst.
So great! I found out I had PCOS at 26 years old. That must mean I was immediately able to change and control it. Unfortunately, no. At the time, the web knowledge was still really not readily available. Things like Pinterest weren’t even really around 6 years ago – or at least not to the extent it is now I should say. Also, some of the diet changes that were recommended were not ones that were easy ones for me to consider or conceptualize without having proof that it was working for others.
Over time, I read books when I would have flair ups or visit PCOS specific blogs and websites for insights and updates. I would read things like “dairy must be avoided because it causes breakouts” or “all carbs are bad” or told “that you must run 4 miles a day at a minimum” (yes a doctor really told me that at one point). While some of it works for people with PCOS, it didn’t all work nor feel right for me.
Over the last year I finally took control and stopped the guessing games and decided it was important for me to finally invest in going to a doctor that knew about the treatment of PCOS. I also got with a nutritionist who knew how to build a diet that would get me results weight wise but also work to balance out my hormones and insulin as well. They were able to run tests specific to me and help me become armed with tools to fight this in the real world while living a normal life.
This is one of the main reasons we are here now. – I wanted to create this blog to share my successes and failures. I am sweating it out in the gym everyday because I actually do love it but maybe not 4 miles a day. However, I also want to talk about why I eat the way I do now, supplements that help, new gadgets I’m trying, and anything and everything that helps me fight against gaining weight and helps fight against the conditions of PCOS. There is so much out there and I want to try it all and I will give my honest feed back – so you don’t need to struggle or push through something that you know just isn’t working for you.