Living A Healthy Life - In Spite of PCOS
(Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome)
Is it possible to live a healthy life, in spite of PCOS? Yes! But it takes a lot of proactive research and accountability. Because this is an Endocrinol condition, there are more things affected in your health than just your fertility. Although, fertility is typically what brings up the conversation with your doctor, unless like me you were diagnosed in teenage years. In those cases, you typically are already experiencing symptoms like irregular cycles and painful cramping.
Being diagnosed early with PCOS, meaning teenage years, there are both pros & cons! I was lucky enough to have a great doctor, who specializes in this condition and was able to help educate me on the side effects of my diagnosis. The downfall of being diagnosed so young, was that I did not really take to heart the things that I should have! Educating yourself is so important in helping control your symptoms. As an early teenager you're typically not worried about your nutrition, taking supplements or worrying about being able to have kids one day. But it's something that you can start working on caring about today! I'd like to share some great resources and things I've learned about being healthy with PCOS.
Know Your Body
Nobody is going to know your body like YOU! This means it is important to be mindful of what's going on. Taking note or even tracking things like your mood, length & severity of cycle, how certain foods affect you, cravings, changes in your hair or new hair growth or anything else that feels variable like your skin. Here are some tools that have been really helpful for me and many others in managing PCOS.
OVIA App & MyFitnessPal
The Ovia app has been an important tool for me to keep track of cycles and symptoms or changes around my cycle. Whether you are actively trying to conceive or not, it is useful! Having this calendar to pull up at a doctors visit when they ask something like,"When was your last cycle, what was that like? How far apart are your cycles?" is crucial to your sanity! Honestly, being a busy human, like most of us are, it's a lot less stress just having all the data saved. You could even print out the information just to take and give to the doctor! Simplifies life in the womanhood department and helps keep your doctor &or nutritionist in the loop with what may or may not be working for you.
Symptoms may not mean a lot to us right away, but they can tell your doctor right away that you may be high or low in something like a nutrient or hormone. It could be a little tweak in your supplements that makes all the difference in the world! But if you are just telling your healthcare professional that you are 'doing just fine' then they won't know what changes have happened and how they can help. If you're feeling off, take some time to reflect on changes you've made. Maybe this week was super crazy and you ate out a lot, and didn't make it to the gym like you usually do. You're a little moodier than usual and not sleeping well. Write down what your diet is like and notice how it's affecting your happiness scale.
I really like using fitness trackers, especially when I'm working on getting back on track after the holidays. MyFitnessPal is a great one, but people also use LOSEit or there is even an app for most fitness trackers. I like the Fitbit app, but it doesn't have the macro pie chart. This pie chart helps keep you on track with balancing carbs-fats-protein. That kind of balance is important for controlling your insulin levels. Do you know how insulin and PCOS work together? If not I definitely recommend you keep reading!
Your PCOS Manual
You've been diagnosed with PCOS ... this is your PCOS Manual! The ultimate workbook that breaks down how your body works differently than others and what to do about it. It walks you through step-by-step how to manage your symptoms and keep your health on track. Everything from food lists of what to eat, what to avoid and how to combine foods to keep your insulin levels from spiking. It talks about all of the different supplement options available and which ones you should mention to your doctor. It has words of encouragement and the best resource out there for understanding how PCOS is affecting your body.
Insulin & Weight Management
Insulin & weight management are huge factors and challenges with PCOS. A specialist recommended this book 'The Obesity Code' to me recently and as I've been reading it have learned SO MUCH about how foods affect our body. The main message is that insulin is what causes us to gain weight. Also have a hard time getting weight off. But it also is just good education on what insulin is and how foods are processed in the body. I'm a big fan of audible, so I've found this book has given me some extra motivation while on a walk or at the gym with my headphones in. This doctor really helps break down the different parts of nutrition and studies that have been done to help prove what works and what doesn't.
You are not alone
Knowing that you are not alone can be a huge tool in thriving with PCOS. It can be a challenge to stay mindful in your activity, supplements, nutrition and doctors appointments. Especially when you are also dealing with the infertility struggles that come along with the condition. Connect with someone! There are PCOS groups on facebook and in communities to help connect like woman. We can share tips, ideas, support and knowledge with each other! It's only been really recently that doctors have been able to educate PCOS patients on insulin resistance. It can be a lot to deal with and you can feel extra emotional. When you need support, reach out to others! If there isn't a group in your area, create one. Guaranteed there are other ladies in your community who could use some new friends to talk health recipes or infertility treatments with.
I've loved sharing my experience with you, but this really is just the tip of the iceberg on PCOS. If you'd like to read more about my struggle with inferility, my journey with adopting my two sweet twiblings or mama hacks for things like PCOS friendly InstantPot Recipes come check out my blog.
Love yourself ... you deserve it! -Bobbie twiblingsthroughadoption.com | @bobbielars