When the doctor said to me….”Oh yeah, looks like you do have PCOS.” (To learn more about What is PCOS, click here!) My first thought was, OMG! What is wrong with me!?! Will I be able to be a mother one day? To which the doctor responded, “Don’t worry there is medication for when you want to become pregnant one day.” To me, this was not the long term solution that I was comfortable with accepting.
It all started in my young adult life when acne was my biggest issue. It was something I struggled with ever since I could remember. I tried everything, antibotics, topical ointments, cleansers, moisturizers, etc. Nothing seemed to work. I had some vicious scars on my face that made me feel ugly and inadequate.
I also seemed to have irregular periods…but at the time it wasn’t my worry. As a young woman I wanted to look my best and skipping my period was the least of my worries.
My doctor recommended I try a birth control pill to help with my acne and irregular periods. I struggled with the choice but looking in the mirror it was my last choice, and, at that point I would try anything! The pill affected my mood and emotions…to the point where I had to stop the pill and was now experiencing hormonal mayhem.
At this point, I was serious about taking my health into my own hands. I went to see a Naturopathic Doctor who helped to balance my hormones and heal my gut (since that was one of culprits of my skin issues). As time went on, I continued to try and maintain my health and my skin got better but my periods were still irregular. I struggled with hirsitisum, blood sugar imbalances, fatigue, stress, etc.
I decided to go back to school to the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, and this is where I really started to understand what was going on with my own PCOS. I studied hormones, blood sugar dysregulation, digestive health, fatigue, skin health, weight challenges and more.
“I became a true connoisseur of everything PCOS and hormones because I wanted to heal myself before I could help others.”
The more and more I learnt, the more excited I became to share my personal experience with PCOS! I started learning about what I call the Pillars of PCOS. Check out my blog post on 4 PCOS Pillars Working through the Pillars of PCOS I determined my condition was predominantly Testosterone and Inflammatory related.”
HERE’S HOW I FOUND OUT:
The first thing we ever did was run a lab test with all hormones (estrogen, progesterone, LH, FSH, prolactin), thyroid panel, glucose markers and testosterone markers. Check out this blog post on my top PCOS lab tests.
Through this I found out that everything was normal except for having high DHEA.
I also did a food sensitivity test as I was experiencing lots of bloating….I found out through this test I had what is called Leaky Gut Syndrome – which was the cause of inflammation in my gut!
Knowing this information, I knew that I had to focus on 2 things:
- Healing my gut AND
- Work on my response to stress since typically high DHEA is related to the adrenal glands. Blog post coming soon – Testosterone and PCOS.
TREATING MY PCOS
MENTAL and EMOTIONAL: It wasn’t until I was able to really clear any mental or emotional events in my life that I became ready to start healing. I worked really hard to practice mindfulness. This helped me to practice acceptance in all aspects of my life.
DIET: I significantly changed my diet to a modified Paleo diet which greatly helped my skin and my blood sugar. I also did a Food Sensitivity test and removed the top foods that were aggravating my leaky gut – especially wheat products and dairy. Blog post coming soon – My PCOS Pantry
EXERCISE: I was really gentle with my body. I knew that I did not want to stress out my body even more so I opted to go for walks and do yoga that would help to boost my mood and deal with any anxiety and stress along the way.
SUPPLEMENTS: This is where I needed some serious help. There are so many different supplements to choose from it can become overwhelming. Especially when you know too much. With the help of my ND, we decided probiotics, vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids were important building blocks to set up the foundation for healing my body. From there we added some gut healing products and adrenal support.
BOTANICALS: Since my adrenals were where we wanted to target we chose herbs that specifically helped to manage my stress response such as Eleutherococcus and Rhodiola. I also benefitted from using a botanical tincture which was a combination of specific herbs geared towards balancing my hormones. Check out this blog post on My Top 5 Botanicals for getting pregnant with PCOS
ACUPUNCTURE: Weekly acupuncture has really helped me in the past. I find that it really calms my body and balances my hormones. It can take some time (generally we say 3 months, since it takes this long for an egg to mature) to really notice a difference. Once things get moving and everything starts to balance out it can be a very beneficial treatment option! Check out this blog post on Acupuncture and Fertility.
As you can see, I have tried multiple different therapies. Each one being successful in it’s own way. But what I have learned that for me what it comes down to is making sure I eat a healthy diet and managing my response to stress. I can say I have learned the ins and outs of hormonal dysregulation through my personal experience and I hope to inspire others out there that are frustrated and confused as to what is going on with their own PCOS and hormonal imbalances.
Feel free to drop me a message to share your story! I would love to connect 🙂