16 Nov What the PCOS?
You’re practically sitting in the basin in front of your bathroom mirror. Your iPhone torch is at the ready: “Operation-Chin-Hair-Plucking” is about to begin. It’s a process that requires body contortions (thanks Heist tights), and great light to make sure you get every, last, sneaky, little bugger.
Here you are: 30-something with your hair migrating from your head (male-patterned-baldness yo!) to the rest of your body: upper lip, chin and umm.. nipples?! (Awks but true). You feel like a malting version of Cousin It. A crazy one. Mood swings? Ha! Doesn’t even come close to describe the cuddly-kitten-come-fire-breathing-dragon that can be you in a matter of moments.
Following your tug of war with ‘the hair’, you then spend a decent twenty-seven minutes fumbling about with foundation. Because covering up attention-seeking acne takes TIME. As does squeezing yourself into your previously comfy skinny jeans – what gives weight gain?
You were also due on a few days ago. But your cycle has been more up the creek than Dawson ever was. Absolutely no chance you’re pregnant though: can anyone else spell low sex drive?
This never used to happen.
You’ve concluded that your body is falling to shit. And you’re carrying around a backpack of uncertainty coupled with confusion as it happens.
What is actually going on?!
Well, let’s recap these symptoms:
- Excess hair growth on the chin, chest and sometimes inner thighs (also known as hirsutism)
- Irregular or absent periods (oligoovulation or anovulation)
- Weight gain/obesity (especially around the belly)
- Mood swings
- Low sex drive
Combinations, severity and presentation of the above can vary greatly (for example, some women experience no weight gain), these are only some of the most typical symptoms and blood tests are really useful for confirmation, but it sounds as though we might be dealing with PCOS.
PCOS: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
A hormonal imbalance that affects about 10% of all women of childbearing age. It’s associated with:
- Excess androgen activity (the male hormones such as testosterone, which cause havoc on the hair, mood and acne front).
- Ovulatory dysfunction (ranging from no periods to irregular AF periods).
- “Cysts” on the ovaries (except there are no cysts at all – but rather a whole bunch of immature follicles that look like a string of pearls on ultrasound imaging).
To be diagnosed with PCOS, you have to meet any 2 of the above 3 criteria. (That’s right, you don’t even have to have the “cysts” – one of the reasons PCOS is such a silly name).
What can I do about it PCOS?
Before you’re made to believe that popping The Pill is your only answer, let’s look into diet and how that can make a difference.
Begin by balancing out that blood sugar.
Blood sugar control is to PCOS (and any nutrition programme for that matter) what Tina Turner is to Rock ’n Roll: The Queen. And how do we treat Queens? Like the royalty that they are. So to do that for your blood sugar:
- Include protein and fat sources whenever you eat.
- Replace refined carbs with unrefined options, eating plenty of whole, fresh veg.
- Aim for no alcohol – for at least 12 weeks. (Eeep – I hear you!).
- Cut the caffeine.
- Settle your stress.
- Fly with the fish – especially the oily types – which increase insulin sensitivity, the hormone involved in blood sugar control.
Ditch the Dairy (for 1 – 3 months).
Modern-day farming methods mean that milk today contains heaps of IGF-1, or insulin-like growth factor 1. This hormone not only interferes with blood sugar balance but it also stimulates the production of male hormones and oh, hello there hairy chin and adult acne.
Once the above foundational aspects have been addressed, you can boost their benefits by adding high quality supplements. The following supplements are most beneficial for PCOS:
- A good combination supplement (containing B vitamins, chromium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, co-enzyme Q10 and alpha-lipoic acid).
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Omega 3
- Amino Acid Combinations
Coping with PCOS alone is so unnecessary. If you’re feeling pretty crippled by and crappy about this condition, please, please know that there is actual, tangible hope. Implementing the above is a great start so that the days of spots and hairy chins and a heaviness of heart at wtf is going on, can be numbered. If you need help to do this? My door is open – let’s chat. Contact me to set up a discovery call; I’ll hear where you’re at and share how I can support you in using food & lifestyle factors to reverse your PCOS Symptoms.