My PCOS journey
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common female hormone condition and manifests differently in each individual. It can be incredibly devastating to a woman’s self-esteem and quality of life. In support of World PCOS awareness month with registered charity Verity, I thought it would be useful to talk about my journey with PCOS.
Read more about PCOS and what it is, every woman's journey differs.
My early 20's where a difficult time for me, having tried every type of contraception available, but my body just did not react well to the hormones nor the non-hormonal ones. I finally gave up trying and decided to stop taking them altogether. This had, however, brought all the symptoms of PCOS to the surface which had been suppressed by contraceptives for so many years. It took a while for the doctor to diagnose me, I used to complain about the inability to lose weight, bloating, tiredness, irregular mental cycles and excess hair in unwanted places and I'd be met with excuses (and a large sigh of boredom). Let's test your thyroid. What about a blood test? Do you eat well enough? Do you exercise? It's your hormones. It's this/that, try this/that. Nothing worked.
Finally, after changing location and doctor, on the first appointment, I was finally listened to and was referred for a scan which confirmed I had cysts on my ovaries and the symptoms of PCOS. This was back in 2012.
Help & support
I was immediately referred to a PCOS specialist in London, who basically just told me everything I already knew through the Verity charity and online blogs (having researched excessively as soon as I found out). The level of support beyond what it is and what COULD help was very very minimal.
Doctors suggested I go on the pill even though I'd been through years of pain and hormonal difficulties. I was prescribed a cream for my chin hair which irritated my skin, and so I stopped using that immediately. Beyond that, there was no other support, only pricey online courses and dietitians, forums which proved that no one seemed to have a clue. Countless doctors, specialists and trainers all came to the same conclusion that "it's just not that simple" and "you just have to live with it".
Self love & care
After years of intense exercise/ training, bad eating habits, Keto diets, eating barely anything at all, the one thing I have come to realise that restricting food and doing too much exercise did not make me happy.
I've never been a skinny thing, but equally, I have always been blessed with an upbringing of a Mediterranean diet - so I love eating a nutritional varied diet. However, like most, I also love chocolate, cake and cocktails.
Going gluten-free and cutting down on lactose and sugar changed the way I felt and naturally gives me more energy. I still eat what I want, when I want, but I am mindful about the effects it'll have on me now and in the long run. Don't get me wrong, I have the occasional cocktail and cake binge!
I spent too long worrying about calorie and/or macro counting, weighing out my food and inputting the info in My Fitness Pal. The keto diet being the most successful of the lot but let's face it, not sustainable and boring after a while!
I try my best to fit in any exercise I can but I do not put pressure on myself. Some weeks I'll do a mixture of Zumba and Yoga, other time I'll go for a swim or a really long hike. I do it for me, and because I want to be the best possible version of myself with lots of energy and health.
I do my best to have as many moments of pause and meditation as I can, at my desk, in the bath, or in a comfy armchair. Sometimes I need assisted meditation through Headspace or Calm apps.
Bath & Beauty
After copious research into the effects of parfums and such chemicals on hormones, especially those with hormone inbalances - I choose to do my best to reduce purchasing anything with harmful ingredients.
You may have noticed I talk about Neal's Yard Remedies a lot, ever since I made the switch a few years back my skin has been the best it has ever been, reducing harmful and irritant chemicals from my regime have certainly helped me cope more with my symptoms and aura.
Medication & Supplements
I am still mixing up my supplements and have been for several years now. I have refused medication prescribed by the doctors as I choose not to go down that path, I try to maintain being as healthy as possible.
Multivitamin – 1 capsule
MYO-INOSITOL – 2g
Fish oil – 2 capsules
MYO-INOSITOL – 2g
Magnesium – 1 capsule
1 drop of CBD oil
Disclaimer - everyone with PCOS is different, there isn't one size fits all when it comes to supplements, diet, products. It takes time to find what is right for you. Be kind to yourself x
READ HERE for Beauty Addict's Journey.
Read more about PCOS and what it is.