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.
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:
- Dr Nat Kringoudis is running many live sessions on “Debunking Ovulation” in the major cities of Australia. I went to one of these live sessions earlier this year and learnt so much about my body and PCOS. However, if you have missed out, she now has a session available for download.
- Nat also wrote an extremely informative blog post explaining why the pill is causing long term damage, and how to come off it safely without falling pregnant.
- Elle Griffin, a natural fertility expert from the US also has a wonderful FREE resource for signing up to her newsletter, Ditch Your Birth Control!
Heal your gut
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.
Replace what has been stolen from you!
The contraceptive pill will have depleted your stores of essential vitamins and minerals. Magnesium is an important one, so get yourself some magnesium and zinc supplements, along with a good quality fish oil and multivitamin.
Be wary of synthetic ingredients which are probably doing you more harm than good. I actually believed that all supplements were created equal and would trot along to my closest discount pharmacy and stock up whenever there was a sale. However, my chiropractor, Dr Kate Anderson, opened my eyes and made me look at the source of these supplements. For example, some fish oils are made with farmed fish or fish full of mercury. I don’t see how you can expect to get health from a sick animal.
I would recommend taking mineral supplements to anyone and everyone, particularly Australians, even if eating an organic diet. Australian soil is very depleted of minerals due to the age of our continent. This is worsened through conventional farming which, through the use of pesticides etc, have further stripped our soils. So much sure you read the label of your vitamins and ensure they are coming from a food source rather than a salt form, which it’s synthetic (words that end in “ide”, “ate” or start with “dl” are all synthetic).
I also make a point of getting 15 minutes of direct sunlight (no sunglasses or sunscreen) every day (although the Melbourne weather sometimes makes this difficult). Natural sunlight is much more beneficial and powerful than a synthetic Vitamin D supplement.
Cut out the sugar!
More often than not, women with PCOS are also insulin resistant, which is a precursor to diabetes. Some say that the insulin resistance leads to PCOS, and some say it’s vice versa. Either way, the two are closely correlated.
I wholeheartedly believe that sugar and stress were the direct 2 causes of my PCOS. My blood sugar was up and down all day everyday. I have always been partial to sweet food every since I can remember. I was always too full to eat my veges as a kid, but seemed to have a second stomach for dessert.
Cutting out the sugar for good can be tough, but I highly recommend using Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar ebook to give you a step-by-step 8 week guide on how to do this. And always read the ingredient labels on everything you eat. Or better yet, don’t eat food with labels! Eat fresh, real food…..
Nutrition is key
This is where I wholehearted believe that following a paleo protocol for food is essential. We need to eat real food as close to nature as possible. Our hormones are made up of fats and proteins, and it is absolutely imperative that we adequately fuel our body to heal. Eating foods that are as close to nature as possible is a good start. Ditch the processed foods and start eating natural fats again!
I’ve also fallen in love with YourTea. Their ambassador is the beautiful Dr Nat Kringoudis, and they are made from organic Chinese Herbs. I’m a particular fan of the Fertility Tea, as it claims to assist with PCOS symptoms.
Hormone mimicking monsters
Avoid hormone disrupting materials and environment – they will wreak havoc on any balance you are trying to achieve. Plastics play a massive role in the oestrogen-mimicking world, along with soy products and personal care products. I highly recommend going through your bathroom and rethinking some of your make-up and beauty products. Switch it up for something natural, like the Jacqueline Evans Naturopathic Skincare range.
In particular, an easy step towards hormonal balance is to start filtering your water. Not only does our water contain chlorine (to kill bacteria – both good and bad!) and fluoride, it also contains a hell of a lot of oestrogen. This from runoff and waste from pesticides, animal products and other people’s pee! Not to mention all the medication and antibiotics that are peed out by your average Australian. YUK! I have spoken about my water filtration system numerous times, it tastes so incredibly different, it is remineralised and it filters out fluoride, chlorine and all sorts of yukkies.
Vote with your dollar – go Organic. Or even Biodynamic.
Pesticides are designed to kill live creatures. Why should we think humans are immune? I know organic is expensive compared to conventional produce, however it is so much better for the environment. Organic farming allows for natural methods of composting, fertilisation and pest control. Pesticides and herbicides are not only dangerous to the health of humans, but think of the wildlife and livestock in near by areas which are exposed to runoff and sprays. Choosing organic will mean that you are choosing the environment, plus your own health. Win win right?
If everyone voted with their dollar and purchased organic goods, this would grow the organic farming industry (pun intended!) and bring prices down. If you want to think a little more short-term, by investing in your health by purchasing good quality organic produce, you can save yourself thousands in healthcare (healthcrisis as the case may be…) costs.
If you are ready to take the next step, purchasing biodynamic produce means that your food will have grown from soil that has been remineralised.
Liver and kidney cleanse
Your liver and kidneys will have to process the excess hormones that your body is trying to balance. To give them the best shot at this, reduce your toxic load by eating pesticide-free foods and minimising your exposure to chemicals, as discussed above.
However, if you feel that your lifestyle up to this point has been quite toxic, do some research into a good quality, gentle and natural cleanse.
Also incorporate organic foods that assist the liver and kidneys. Think beetroot, lemon, garlic and cruciferous veges.
Mind cleanse – destress!
I honestly believe that my PCOS diagnosis was a product of a toxic lifestyle and too much stress.
Easier said than done hey? I’ve started to be more mindful, meditate every other day and try to be less controlling of situations that are really out of my control!