Being diagnosed with PCOS can be overwhelming.
It takes a toll on your body, mind and sense of self-worth and leaves you reeling as a mess. But the good news is, help is at hand. PCOS can be daunting to deal with, but I was a victim myself and it is under control now. Read on to see my struggle with PCOS.
I still remember the day, six years ago. I was seated in the waiting room of the gynaecologist’s clinic with my mom as I waited for my test reports, a while later it was confirmed that I had PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) . I was distraught and unhappy. I had been missing periods, sometimes for months at a stretch, with bouts of severe depression, mood swings and an increased appetite. I had been a skinny child all through school, PCOS changed that. I was getting fat, lacking energy and avoided public events because I was embarrassed to meet people, I preferred staying alone.
My doctor prescribed me a dosage of oral contraceptives to regulate my cycle, along with some vitamins. Six months later, things only got worse. The contraceptives only induced a monthly cycle while not regulating the actual cause of the problem. I had become a stout 65 kgs from my earlier 54 kgs. All I wanted to do was wallow in self-pity and eat as many carbs as possible. The carb cravings kept getting worse and worse and the meds didn’t seem to help.
On my 19th birthday three years later, I realized I had to change things and took matters into my own hands. I met some friends who also had PCOS (yes, almost every seventh woman in her teens or twenties has it ) and spoke to them on how they dealt with the condition. I also read up a lot on the subject and did my research adequately on what works and what doesn’t when dealing with PCOS.
It took time, effort and dedication but today I am happier, more focussed on my body’s well-being and definitely, fitter than I started out. Here’s how I dealt with PCOS :
- Stop blaming yourself – Though a medical condition, PCOS causes extreme emotional changes like mood swings, depression and low self esteem. I went through a phase where I often wondered why I was the odd one out, having no period for almost a year while my friends discussed theirs animatedly. I felt incomplete.
PCOS can affect anyone. It may be triggered by certain factors like a sedentary lifestyle or obesity but there are a host of other reasons why it could occur too, (including, but not pertaining to diabetes and high blood sugar levels ) stop blaming yourself and set out to deal with the condition rather than suffer silently – this is the first step to deal with the condition.
- Plan to change your present lifestyle – A HUGE part to regulating your cycle is to change your lifestyle. i .e . a. Your diet b. Your exercise
Making changes to your diet and working out automatically regulates the cycle for most * women, it worked for me.
Diet – I cut out refined sugar completely from my diet. The only sugars I consumed were from natural sources like fruits and vegetables. I drank a lot of fresh juices, ate green vegetables and limited my consumption of simple carbs as much as I could.
Simple carbs are as bad as sugars; eating a slice of white bread is pretty much the same as a spoon of sugar as simple carbs break down into sugars.
Simple carbs are white bread, pasta, pizza, biscuits, cookies etc.
Complex carbs are whole wheat bread, oats and other unrefined products.
I cut down processed foods and fat-laden products like butter and replaced them with yogurt and low-fat cream cheese.
I made sure to detoxify my body at least one day a week and consumed only fruit and vegetable juices on that day to give my body time to eliminate buildup of toxins.
Exercise – Exercise was the difficult part for me to incorporate into my lifestyle. I had been skinny all through school despite what I ate and I was never into sports much so my metabolism was slow and clogged (put bluntly ).
I made it a point to work out for an hour 3-4 days a week and supplemented that with low – intensity household chores.
Did I mention that PCOS makes it difficult to lose weight ?
I had been working out for two months already and hadn’t lost any weight, I was however, feeling much more positive and my happiness levels had elevated. I was no longer victim to those terrible mood swings, so I kept going.
A year later, I lost about ten kgs in weight, my cycle had regulated itself and my skin was looking better than ever.
I cut soy and caffeine from my diet as both are terrible for someone suffering with either PCOS or thyroid problems.
Beauty products – Environmentally occurring factors like parabens are bad for PCOS as well. check the ingredient list in your cosmetics for this ingredient and limit its usage if possible, what you apply regularly on your skin ultimately makes its way to your blood stream as well.
Living and coping with PCOS is a struggle, but it isn’t one that can’t be overcome. With support, medical help and a steady eye on your diet and exercise it gets better with time for most women. My ultrasounds are much better now and I feel healthier about myself.
The most important part of dealing with PCOS is to focus on working on your health and body. It helps that you are not alone, talk to a close friend or relative about it and get the help you need.
This was a very personal experience to share and I’ve never really spoken about it before. As September was PCOS awareness month, I hope learning more about this condition and it’s symptoms and factors helps more women deal with the disease.
If you or someone you know has one or more of these symptoms, get checked as soon as possible.
Awareness is the first step to a cure.