GREAT HEALTH: Five Things You Need to Know About PCOS | Great Health Guide
GREAT HEALTH: Five Things You Need to Know About PCOS

GREAT HEALTH: Five Things You Need to Know About PCOS

‘Five Things You Need to Know About PCOS’ by Melissa Madgwick published in Great Health Guide (Aug 2015). PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) occurs more commonly than we expect but there shouldn’t be a reason to feel alone and isolated if you are diagnosed with it. Here are five facts that you need to know about PCOS if you suffer from it.
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GREAT HEALTH: Five Things You Need to Know About PCOS

written by Melissa Madgwick

After being diagnosed with Polycystic  Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) women often feel isolated and alone. We are left with little information and a lack of real support. The symptoms are embarrassing and it’s not something often spoken about, so it can be challenging to find other women with the same diagnosis. However, you are NOT alone! 

I asked the women who have read my book ‘Heal My PCOS’, “what are the common things women with PCOS need to know”? Here’s what the consensus said.

1.  You are not alone

At least 1 in 10 women are diagnosed with PCOS and everyday more and more women are added to these numbers. There are hundreds of thousands of women with PCOS and so many of us know what you are going through! After I was diagnosed with PCOS in September 2013 I felt alone. There are a number of places where you can get support, from groups, to message boards to internet chats and there are many sites on the web that provide resource or support such as my community ‘Heal My PCOS’. If you have just been diagnosed, take heart that you are NOT ALONE. I encourage you to check out the Heal My PCOS Facebook page to connect with women who know what you’re going through.

2. Diet, Exercise and Mindset are important factors in PCOS

You can recover from PCOS and restore hormonal balance if you change your diet, mindset and lifestyle. Other women have done it, and so can you!  Always seek the advice of your General Practitioner regarding your medical condition and before undertaking any diet, exercise, medication, or other health programs. 

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i)  The best diet is one that is nutrient dense, has a good balance of carbs, protein and good fats, has low glycaemic index (low GI) – this relates to fibre, and contains no dairy, no refined food and especially no sugar. You may see and feel a difference in yourself even after a week on this diet. While those soft drinks, cakes and cream biscuits in your pantry scream at you to eat them, don’t give in! 

ii) The best kind of exercise for restoring system balance and optimising your energy is resistance training.  It is important to check with your General Medical Practitioner (blood pressure, heart rate and other issues) before commencing resistance training as you may need to tailor a suitable exercise routine for your own body.  Be careful not to overdo the cardio and weight training as too much can increase the production of stress hormones and, consequently, androgens (which causes acne). Exercise produces endorphins which make you feel good, and while exercising you can free your mind of worry and anxiety – helping your mindset! The results from the appropriate exercise are fantastic so give it a go!

iii) Mindset is so important. We need to eliminate stress and be in the present moment. Prayer and meditation can help immensely. It can get you back into the present moment so you stop worrying about things. It can help you focus on yourself and your body while giving you a sense of calm.

3. You Can Fall Pregnant

Many woman do have troubles falling pregnant. Due to the hormonal imbalance and menstrual irregularity, you will not be ovulating and therefore it is more challenging to get pregnant (but this problem is possible to be reversed following the 3 points above). Thousands of women have fallen pregnant after being diagnosed with PCOS, it’s a matter of rebalancing your hormones and getting to the root cause of your PCOS – under active thyroid, auto-immune issues, insulin resistance etc. My book lists the different types of PCOS so you can start on the road to recovery today. 

4. PCOS Doesn’t Define You

PCOS can make us feel much less than we are with the abnormal hair growth, the acne, the weight gain… you can feel downright awful! But these things don’t define you. You are a beautiful strong woman who will journey through to better health. It can take up to three months for your hormones to get back into balance (as it did mine). Just be kind to yourself and know there is a way to manage this disease. 

5. Nutrients Will Help

Women with PCOS tend to be deficient in a number of key vitamins and minerals. This is not an exhaustive list but  make sure you are getting sufficient amounts of inositol, folic acid, Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D.

i) Inositol:

Inositol is in plant and animal products. It is found in lecithin, wheat germ, unprocessed grains, brewer’s yeast, fruits such as bananas, rock melon, raisins and grapefruit as well as in cabbage and lima beans. For those who like animal liver and brains, they are a good source of this vitamin. It is part of the B vitamin complex and helps to break down and emulsify fats. 

ii) Folic Acid: 

Folic acid is another of the B12 vitamin complex. It is water soluble so can be lost during cooking in water. You can eat folate-rich foods which are present in a variety of vegetables (asparagus, spinach and broccoli) and fruits (oranges, bananas and strawberries) as well as legumes (chickpeas, dried beans and lentils), cereals, nuts and yeast extracts such as Vegemite. Many of our foods have been fortified with folate, including some breakfast cereals and fruit juices, and most breads. Folic acid is available as a tablet, and is included in antenatal/pregnancy supplements if specified by your health practitioner. 

iii) Omega-3 fatty acids:

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are essential fatty acids. The best source is through food but if you need supplements, please check with your medical practitioner. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in cold water fish,  (halibut, salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout, herring, sardines), in plants (blueberries, strawberries, melon, red peppers) and nuts and nut oils (walnut and flaxseed oil). 

Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function, as well as normal growth and development. 

iv) Vitamin D:

Dietary sources of Vitamin D include fish (salmon, tuna & sardines). Also Vitamin D is produced naturally by the body from direct sunlight on uncovered arms and legs, ideally for 10 -20 minutes each day (depending on season and time of day). When you look sick and awful, you stay inside and so this decreases your Vitamin D. Don’t worry about skin cancer here and don’t use any sun protection during these 10 minutes. You can choose to cover your face.

These  four substances may not be a complete list but it is a place to start when looking at your diet. As single supplements, they will never replace your nutritional and lifestyle changes, but they can complement and accelerate the impact on your hormones. 

So, these are some of the things that every woman with PCOS should know. I have discovered that food and nutrition (the right kind), a good mindset, a supportive environment, and most of all knowledge, are the most powerful tools to heal you from PCOS. I’m feeling more alive and I know you will too.  There are more tips and tricks every week on my website.

Happy healing.

Author of this article:
Melissa Madgwick is a 29 year old woman who is on other side of healing from polycystic ovarian syndrome.  Her life now revolves around health. She is an avid health advocate who specialises in working with women who suffer from PCOS and eagerly helps others overcome the PCOS disease holistically.

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