This is a subject that I have done a lot of research on because I myself have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). I've been reading up on symptoms and treatments, both conventional and unconventional, for over 11 years now. This topic is very important to me and I feel that all women should be aware of PCOS. It often goes undiagnosed or gets misdiagnosed.
PCOS is a condition that affects 1 out of every 15 women. It causes an imbalance in the woman's hormones. Sounds simple but it gets much more complicated. Due to this imbalance several symptoms can result and a woman may experience all or just a few of those symptoms. They basically include just about everything any woman dreads having to deal with. I have experienced many of them over the last 11 years. Each symptom with an asterisk is one that I currently experience or have experienced.
PCOS Symptoms May Include:
Infertility: PCOS is the leading cause of infertility among women.
Irregular or Non-existant Periods
Facial Hair Growth (hirsutism)
Decreased Breast Size
Deepening of Voice
Dark Spots on Skin: Mostly around the armpits or under breasts.*
Male Pattern Baldness: Because facial hair growth by itself just isn't mortifying enough.
I mean, really? Any one of these is bad enough on it's own but a combination of them sounds like some sort of bad joke. And what? Puberty and junior high wasn't enough for us to deal with???
I've visited enough discussion boards to know that some women with PCOS also claim to experience abdominal pain during or around the time of their periods. I've only ever experienced the usual cramps, nothing too severe.
Long Term Health Risks of PCOS
PCOS also puts women at a higher risk for several serious health conditions such as Breast Cancer, Endometrial Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Heart Disease, and Type II Diabetes.
PCOS and Exercise!
By incorporating exercise into your routine you can reduce some PCOS symptoms and risks caused by PCOS. Exercise can result in weight loss which can then help against infertility, heart disease and type II diabetes. In fact, as little as a 5% decrease of total body weight can help with the imbalance of hormones and also with infertility, according to WebMD.
Unfortunately, it has been told to me by my Dr., countless articles, and several books on PCOS that women with PCOS can't just “eat less and exercise more” to get the same results that women without PCOS will get. We have to work even harder. But that's okay, because we are all worth it.
Find an exercise routine that will work for you and stick with it. For me it is running, biking, and yoga on a weekly basis. I have to work out at least four days a week just to maintain my weight. Five or six days a week if I want the best possible results. It has to be a combination of all three for me. If I only do yoga I will not see the same results that I get from running and biking.
I don't work out for hours a day. I can get decent results working out for one hour a day. That might be running for an hour, biking for an hour or a combination of the two. Of course, more is always better. I try to do yoga at home twice a week in addition to the running and biking. I usually run anywhere between 6 and 15 miles per week. This will increase when I start my half marathon training. I bike between 15 and 20 miles per week on a stationary bike at my gym.
I know that low-carb is highly recommended for PCOS. However, I have not had great success with it. I never felt very good while doing low-carb diets. In my next article on PCOS I will talk more about diet and what is currently working for me.
Doctors have yet to provide a cause or cure for PCOS. However, I have found different sites with women claiming to have cured themselves of PCOS with a raw food diet, women claiming to have great success with iodine supplements (read one story here), and a video of a Dr. Jorge D. Flechas MD discussing the cause of PCOS being related to an iodine deficiency. I am currently researching iodine treatment further.
I am not a Dr. but I have been living with a PCOS diagnosis for 11+ years. I have dieted and exercised just to end up disappointed and feeling hopeless. I GET IT. It's taken a lot of trial and error to make a little headway. Do not just accept that there is nothing more you can do. I believe that PCOS can be treated naturally. I no longer believe that Metformin or any other drug is the best route for treatment. If you think or know you have PCOS, do your research. Find out how best to treat your symptoms. Figure out which exercise gives you the best results. Keep trying different ones, switch them up, combine them. Whatever it takes. Don't give up. Don't let PCOS win.
Leave me a comment to let me know what you think! I'd love to hear from you, especially if you have experience with PCOS!
Peace, love, happiness,