Category Archives: pcos

the slow return of my cycle

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Admittedly, it has been a while since I’ve last written a blog post regarding women’s health issues. So today I thought I would share with you my on personal progress.

As you may already know, in 2012 I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). The diagnosis was given to me after amenorrhea for over 6 months. I had spent most of my adult years on the pill, after being prescribed it in my teens to “deal with” acne and period pain. In February 2012 , I decided the pill was giving me too much emotional grief and after 10+ years on the damn thing, I was coming off it. I have since learned that whilst on the pill, you do not have a true period, it is simply a bleed caused by a withdrawal from the synthetic hormones contained in the pill. Therefore, the onset of my PCOS could not really be determined. However, the ultrasound of my ovaries showed many many “cysts” (they are actually eggs), indicating that my body had attempted to ovulate unsuccessfully many many times.

Throughout 2012 and 2013, there were no signs of my period or any kind of hormonal cycle. Admittedly, this was very convenient when I embarked on a 20+ day trek, with no showers, through the Himalayas with my dear father!

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it’s not me, it’s my thyroid

Last year I was gaining weight at a phenomenal rate. My diet had not changed, if anything, it had improved, as I switched to an all organic diet, and learned more and more about paleo principles. Admittedly, exercise had reduced due to extreme exhaustion and energy issues.

Shortly after being diagnosed with PCOS, I saw a naturopath to seek guidance. She saw my blood work, and suggested that I have my thyroid checked out. Low and behold, my thyroid gland was extremely sluggish (hypothyroidism). I was tested for hashimoto’s, but fortunately no autoimmune disease for me! After taking thyroxine, with minimal impact on my symptoms, only to go to a stronger dose and still not feel any better, I decided to try to heal my thyroid naturally. The medication given to those with hypothyroidism is a synthetic thyroid hormone – T3. It doesn’t actually heal the thyroid, which was what I was aiming to do….

So the past year or so, I’ve been on a quest to learn more about the thyroid gland, and today wanted to share with you Sean Croxton’s The Thyroid Series, which commences in Australia tomorrow. It’s the world first free online Thyroid Health Event, in which you will hear from 12 thyroid experts over the course of a week.

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To learn more and register for free, please click here.

our modern era: why we need to find our roots to fix our hormones

As you may be aware, a common theme of mine is stressing (note the choice of word!) the importance reviving traditional approaches to heal our modern day ailments. Personally, I struggle with hormonal balance, and I’m still slowly, slowly, slowly recovering. I believed I was giving my body the best possible shot through really nourishing food, meditation and yoga. But perhaps there is still a missing puzzle piece?

Life is busy. Ridiculously busy! Watching this amazing video by Dr Libby Weaver will be the best thing you can do for your long-term health today. 18 minutes of pure bliss for your mind, body and spirit.

And thanks to the beautiful Jo for putting me on to Dr Libby!

Missing Minerals

To supplement or not to supplement????

I wholeheartedly agree that supplementation should not make up for a bad diet. Ideally, we should be getting the range and quantity of nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed to thrive,  however this is not the case for the majority of Australians. And sometimes, not even the super-healthy ones!

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There are  a total 7 macrominerals, that we need in relatively large quantities, including calcium, chloride, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, sulphur and magnesium. These can easily be found in a range of vegetables and fruits. We also require minute amounts of trace minerals, including boron, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese just to name a few.

Australian soils relatively “old” in the scheme of soils. The most nutrient-dense soil is the top soil, and  much of our topsoil has been lost to erosion. Combined with conventional farming, we have soil that is extremely low in zinc and selenium in particular. Our soils are also quite low in magnesium and iodine compared to other continents.

Unlike vitamins, plants cannot create minerals, hence local Australian produce may be full of vitamins, but unlikely to contain essential minerals that we need. The mineral must be in the soil or water in order for the plant to absorb it. Certainly organic, and even more so biodynamic, produce may contain more minerals than conventional produce, however I believe this is still not enough.

Dr. Carole Hungerford is a holistic doctor, an organic biodynamic farmer and author of the award winning book, “Good Health in the 21st Century”. I first heard Carole speak on The Wellness Coach with The Good Doctors podcast. She is an advocate for getting more minerals into our diet and is very knowledgeable on Australian soils and the lack of essential minerals.

I choose to supplement my diet with minerals for this reason. In addition, the birth control pill also robs the body of these essential minerals, as I have previously discussed here. Not all mineral supplements are created equal. Try to find natural/elemental versions rather than synthetic creations. I source these from my wonderful Chiropractor who has done most of the research for me!

Undoubtedly, mineral deficiencies play a key role in many health problems. Below I explain which minerals I choose to supplement.

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holistic steps to treating pcos

So whilst there has been little medical advancements in “curing” PCOS, apart from taking the contraceptive pill, there are a number of things that will put you back in the drivers seat when it comes to treatment.

Some believe that PCOS is a sign that something is wrong with their body, however many improvement factors can be lifestyle-related, so perhaps it a sign that something is wrong with your lifestyle? Although, I have not completely cured myself as yet, I believe I’m well on the way, and honestly hoping my Christmas present is a period! I’ve progressively worked my way through the following suggestions, and although it’s difficult to tell how effective it is until my period actually arrives, I am feel 1000 times better and healthier than ever before.

Step 1
Get off the pill!!!

Yes – stop taking that synthetic hormone that is secretly (or not so, as the case may be) wreaking havoc on your beautiful body! You cannot expect your body to rediscover an equilibrium, whilst you are throwing it off course by having a daily supplement. You may not even be thinking about babies now, but the longer you are on the pill, the longer it will take your body to heal. The pill is very commonly prescribed to “treat” PCOS, and often it will just mask the symptoms. For me, I still haven’t had a full menstrual cycle since coming off the pill, and it’s been a while of slowing following these steps. I’m certainly not thinking babies yet, but having a healthy menstrual cycle is an extension of your overall health, and your body is letting you know whether it’s well enough to carry a child to birth.

Now, I know that the thought of coming off the pill can be a little daunting, there are many natural alternatives for contraception.

I am not the expert in this field, so I happily direct you to some useful resources for more information:

Step 2
Heal your gut

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Now in order for your body to absorb these vitamins, minerals and nutrients, it is important to work on your gut function. The pill acts in much the same way as antibiotics, and will wipe out any of that good bacteria that your body so desperately needs. I started by introducing probiotic and fermented foods into my diet, along with a good quality probiotic supplement.

I now regularly drink kombucha tea, kefir and bone broth to improve and maintain my gut function. I have a few posts on kombucha and kefir, with some instructions and explanations. 

 

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