Hey Hey Hey Ladies! It is Women’s Appreciation month (which really is every month) and I couldn’t think of a better time to focus on a few things related to women’s health that I haven’t consistently updated as I should. The last time I spoke on my PCOS was about 8 months ago, and it is really important to me to share my story since I grew the strength to even start publicly talking about it. But more so than just updating you on how I am living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is also very important for me to increase awareness surrounding this condition. With this platform I find it necessary to speak on things that not many women speak about freely and openly whether it be because of fear, shame, or other emotions tied to the situation.
In order to avoid repetition, you can catch up on my first post here, where I went into detail about how I was diagnosed and have been coping for the past few years. This post is to update you on my strides and struggles since then. After writ in that initial post I started doing some research on ways to battle… or attempt to battle PCOS naturally and holistically. I was getting sick and tired of birth control being the end all be all answer for handling PCOS. I stumbled onto a few things like Progesterone creams, and other herbs and supplements that were stated to help alleviate the symptoms that come along with PCOS. I decided to go the least extreme route because to be honest I was scared. I didn’t know what to expect, and I was afraid that even though many of these options worked for so many other women that it wouldn’t work for me. At that point back in July I was feeling really low and depressed, more so than I had felt in a long while and I didn’t want to be disappointed.
I started taking Chasteberry (Vitex Agnus-castus) which is used to help with menstruation irregularities which I suffer greatly from. The actual chaste berry that is used in the pill/powder format comes from the fruit of the chaste tree. They combine the fruit and the seeds to make the supplement that women take. Chasteberry is used for many things in regards to women’s health which is why it is usually called the “woman’s herb”. Most of the time it is used to alleviate symptoms of PMS or PMDD but it is also taken to help with infertility, or to help prevent miscarriage in women who have low levels of Progesterone (which I have) I started taking Chasteberry at the beginning of July and took it for a total of 5 months. In that time period I had two normal menstruating cycles at the end of August and at the end of September. After September no matter the dosage I took (recommended is 3 pills a day maximum) I didn’t menstruate from Oct-December. That was increasingly frustrating as each month passed, because I couldn’t understand why the pill just all of a sudden stopped working!
I didn’t want to go longer than three months without a period because I didn’t want to increase my risks of ovarian or uterine cancer. So I went back on the pill at the beginning of January unfortunately and had a 2 week period! For the past 6 years every time I’ve stopped taking the pill, and restart I’m always plagued with an intense 14 day menstruation cycle as my body readjusts to the hormones. It is extremely annoying and depressing, but not surprising. Even though I was menstruating I wasn’t overjoyed: 1. because I was bleeding for an extremely long period of time, and 2. I still hadn’t found a way to menstruate regularly without being on birth control.
Around Superbowl time while my family was enjoying the game I was on the computer searching for other ways to help treat/cope with PCOS and I landed on this page. I don’t even know what key words or what I googled that landed me there but I was intrigued. I snooped around for a bit and decided to sign up for regular emails for support and dietary tips. Maybe there was something I was missing that would be helpful. In doing so I found loads of other women in my shoes (I already knew there were many but it was nice finding them in one social gathering). Loads of women attempting to get pregnant with PCOS (that is NOT me just yet), or coping with weight, acne, hair growth…etc.
This site offered dietary rules and regulations (guides more so I should say) that gave me some interesting tips on what I should and shouldn’t be consuming too much of. While I’m already on a 40 day sugar free cleanse, it helped me think about quite possibly giving up or lowering my sugar intake dramatically once this cleanse is over in order to help alleviate some of the symptoms. I count my blessings every day that I do not have many outward/physical signs of PCOS that affect thousands of women all over the world. While I may have very minor/non existent acne/facial hair issues, or weight maintenance issues it is always important to stay on top of what is going on with the chemistry in your body so that everything acts right together.
Besides dietary changes and lifestyle changes that I am ready and willing to make I also found out about supplemental issues with the chemistry in my body that could be causing my biggest issue with PCOS: regular menstruation. I started taking Inositol about a week ago (speak to your doctor/physician first).
What is inositol and what are its benefits for women with PCOS?
Inositol is a substance that occurs naturally in the body as one of the B vitamins. Because our body can naturally produce it they no longer categorize it is a vitamin. The most common form of inositol is Myo- Inositol which is the form I bought from Amazon.
So what does it do?
Inositol helps insulin receptors do their job and signals the pathway in which the insulin must travel. It also effectively stops insulin within the cell when necessary. These are things that our bodies have difficulties doing when dealign with PCOS.
What are its benefits?
Through my extensive research and reading Inositol doesn’t claim to be a miracle drug but it does assist in the following:
- Induces weight loss (which women with PCOS often struggle with)
- Helps to control hirsutism
- Induces ovulation
- Increases progesterone/Lowers testosterone (these last two benefits are what sparked my interest the most as that is what I struggle with the most with PCOS)
- Improves Insulin sensitivity
I’ve been taking Inositol for only a week and the recommended amount is 4g a day. The powder version makes it easier as I take two tea spins and let it absorb into my class of water. If you choose to take the pill version it may be a little more difficult to get the 4g daily intake as you may be taking 6-8 pills a day. You can purchase inositol here on Amazon or at your local health food store. I’ll keep you updated as I continue to take Inositol (recommended to take with Folic acid, I take a multi vitamin that possesses my Folic Acid intake) and what happens with my ovulation. In conjunction with the Inositol I also started taking Omega 3 supplements (I don’t eat any type of sea food so I needed it supplemented) which also assists in lowering testosterone, insulin sensitivity & improving the quality of eggs.
As always before making any drastic changes or taking any supplements contact your doctor and have a discussion first. I hope my journey with struggles & triumphs. I don’t have many answers or solutions but please feel free to contact me and ask any questions you may have. If I don’t have the answer I will help you find it!
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