I always get so nervous when I write about PCOS or my experience with PCOS because it is such a personal topic, and I never want to steer anyone down the wrong path or give people a false sense of hope. However my desire to spread hope and awareness keeps me pushing forward sharing my story, thoughts and anything I’m trying out that may be of service to others. This is what led me to put together this list of 10 things every woman with PCOS should know that I wish I knew when I was diagnosed 7 years ago (yeah… I’ve been at this for quite some time). And if you find this helpful don’t be afraid or too shy to share the info with friends, family, co workers…etc. The more we talk the better!
10 Things Every Woman With PCOS Should Know
1. You are Not Alone: I think the worst part of PCOS sometimes is the feeling of alienation and loneliness. I always feel like the outcast at the cool table of women who have their lives together. No matter how much I try to remind myself sometimes I feel as if I am the only one dealing with the issues that PCOS can cause. 1 in 10 women suffer from PCOS and most of the time suffer in silence. There are people out there who know what you are going through and you are not a strange outcast.
2. Do your research: For a long time when I was diagnosed with PCOS I didn’t care, because I didn’t know what it was exactly. My doctor was very non chalant about it because I was very young and wasn’t thinking about having children. Now seven years later I am still not on the path to having children, but I am more concerned and aware of what it is that I will have to possibly endure to start a family. I am now more aware of what I should be eating and what this condition does to my body. It was my own due diligence that helped me mentally cope with what PCOS was. So don’t just leave it up your doctor. Seek second and third opinions, look up information from multiple sources and never take anything at extreme face value
3. It is not impossible to get pregnant: The biggest “rumor” so to speak surrounding PCOS is that it is impossible to get pregnant. FALSE! Women with PCOS can conceive healthy children. Though it may be a bit difficult it is NOT impossible so please do not feel (though I must admit many times I do) that that you can not have children because you have been diagnosed with PCOS.
4. Diet plays a major part Ugh this is still a part of my daily PCOS battle because… lets face as most of us.. .i love to eat everything I shouldn’t. But… diet plays a major role in controlling the symptoms of PCOS. It can also help with losing weight which can also help with balancing the symptoms of PCOS. So overall … the moral of this sad sad tale… is less cookies and more leafy greens!
5. Supplement with vitamins & minerals: With PCOS we are unfortunately at high risk for diabetes, and most of the time are insulin resistant. Besides that we are balancing high levels of testosterone and low levels of Progesterone. PCOS calls for vitamins and supplements (after discussions with your doctor) that will help supplement what you are lacking to bring everything under control for the most part. I take Omega3 because I don’t eat seafood, a multi vitamin, Folic Acid, Maca and Chasteberry. There are other supplements, minerals and herbs that can help with the symptoms. I’ve listed the natural route here. As with everything regarding your health speak to your doctor first before self treating.
6. Somethings will work & some won’t: Unfortunately everyone is different and things that worked for one woman won’t necessarily work for another. Case in point I was so excited to try Inositol because so many women with PCOS swore by it and for me… it did nothing. I took it for a little over three months and saw no real changes in my symptoms. However that doesn’t mean that it cant be effective for someone else with similar symptoms (mostly I suffer from menstrual irregularities ). Therefore you shouldn’t get discouraged or give up because something didn’t work, instead you should continue to do your research and look to try something else that may be more effective for you.
7. Get Moving: PCOS really requires us to stay on top of it to make it “go away”. And exercise is a great way to do that. Regular aerobic activity 30 minutes a day is best to help keep your symptoms away, and lose weight in the process. Losing weight can be extremely difficult when suffering with PCOS because of the hormonal imbalances in the endocrine system. HIIT and interval strength training with a mix of cardio is best to help you successfully balance your metabolism (even if you don’t lose weight that is still a victory in itself). I personally need to add more HIIT and strength training to my intense cardio (I run quite frequently), because balance is power!
8. Communicate with those around you: The worst thing I could have ever done when diagnosed with PCOS was keep it to myself for so long. You have to find a core team of people around you that you can talk about these things to. A significant other, family member or friend (or all three) make great options in sharing your feelings, thoughts, struggles and more. Do not keep everything bottled inside because it will only be more detrimental in the end.
9. Celebrate yourself: Every time I get a period I jump for joy. Small steps are still steps and it is important to celebrate them. Even if you lose just one pound, or managed your diet appropriately for a week… take the time to celebrate that. We get so caught up in the fight that we skip out on giving our self a pat on the back for the progress that we make. Even if its not on a daily basis… make sure you don’t forget that you are in this fight and you deserve to be celebrated.
10. Do not give up: Just as I stated earlier it is a fight, and just because you lose a round doesn’t mean the fight is over. Do not give up on yourself or hope in one day beating this beast!
What else do you think women with PCOS should know? Share your thoughts and comments with us below!
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