Being diagnosed with any health disorder is hard to tolerate, but being diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, a disorder that affects mind, body, and spirit, can be debilitating on a woman’s health and outlook on life. When I heard that I was diagnosed with a disorder that could cause me a slew of problems including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and infertility (to name a few), I felt broken. I felt like the one thing that was supposed to be natural, to have my period and be fertile, was taken from me and I was succumbed to this destiny. And instead of my doctor having an uplifting, encouraging conversation with me on ways to cure it, I was simply thrown into a statistic, a statistic that could not be changed because there is no known cure for it. After all, the gynecologists I saw gave me one option and one option only: take birth control to help lower the symptoms.
Being that I had been on birth control prior to my diagnosis and realizing it did me more harm than good, my only other option was to not take birth control. As a woman who loves children and hopes to have many healthy children one day, I was not okay putting synthetic hormones into my body, especially one that was stopping fertility at a given time, in a body already at an increased risk for infertility. Not thinking anything more of it, I lived my life exactly as I left the doctor’s office the day of my diagnosis: consumed with the feelings of being powerless, hopeless, and lifeless. With two periods a year, weight gain (and inability to lose weight), and various health problems, this became my new norm.
That was until one day I woke up and was no longer okay with settling in my life, especially not in the area of my health. I was no longer willing to leave my life choices in the hands of any one other than myself. So I reevaluated and presented myself with two new choices: continue on the same path that I am on, with the same exact results, or do something about it! I chose to do something about it. With this, I started to learn about Holistic health, and the more I learned how nutrition and environmental factors play into all areas of our health, the more I was eager to develop a plan to cure my PCOS and be the happiest and healthiest self yet. With evaluating my self, my environment, and putting curing PCOS at the top of my priorities, I have now had my period for 4 months in a row and I feel as alive as ever.
So What’s Really Going On In Your Body?
Currently, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is the number one diagnosed reproductive disorder in all women, with nearly 5 million women being diagnosed. It is a disorder that doctors don’t know much of a cure for because various factors play a role including genetics, environment, toxic diet, vitamin deficiencies, metabolic issues, hormone imbalance, and emotional/mental stress. It is affected by various factors from what you eat, to how you consume goods, to the products you use, to even the thoughts you may have. This might sound overwhelming because with so many factors going into it, how can we know where to start? This is actually great news! In knowing this we can each, in our own way, evaluate various areas our lives, and make suitable changes. The following are topics I have researched and changed in my own PCOS challenge, or topics I have researched and found that helped others in curing their own PCOS. Remember, you are not alone and there is a community of women supporting you on your journey and wishing you healing.
What to Remove From Your Diet:
Anything High in Sugar/Artificial Sweeteners/Trans Fatty Acids:
Sugars increase insulin resistance (which is what women with PCOS already struggle with) so they need to be avoided at all costs! Some foods containing high amounts of sugar and trans fatty acids include cakes, cookies, biscuits, candies, muffins, sugary drinks (juices, soda), salad dressings, canned soup, and granola bars, french fries, chips, frozen dinners, vegetable oils, and shortening.
Processed and Refined Foods:
Another must to avoid. These all are toxic and stop hormone production as they are filled with preservatives and chemicals— everything from the ingredients, to the packaging. Avoid fast foods, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, beef jerky, non-organic lunch meats, salami, chicken nuggets, and the like.
Excess Caffeine, Alcohol:
Caffeine increases your body’s normal estrogen levels, which is already high in women with PCOS. Alcohol inhibits your liver from metabolizing molecules the way it should. Your liver is already working to rid itself of excess Insulin and Androgen production, and when you drink alcohol, your liver spends its time concentrating on filtering that out first, not to mention all of the toxins alcohol brings in.
Soy contains nutrients known as Phytoestrogens and substances known as Goitrogens. Phytoestrogens mimics the hormone Estrogen, which causes Endocrine disruption in women with PCOS. Goitrogens block your Thyroid from taking in Iodine, which causes Thyroid disruption and affects various aspects of PCOS.
What to Add to Your Diet:
Water, lots of water!
This may seem simple, but actually even mild dehydration can cause your body to feel and act less than it should. Women’s bodies are 55% made up of water, so if we aren’t putting in the water, our organs can’t work the way they need to. To get myself to drink more water, I add fresh lemon juice with a splash of 100% organic Cranberry juice. These additions aid in digestion, as well as cleansing of the kidney and liver… and it tastes like a sweet treat!
Foods High in Vitamin D, Calcium, B12, Magnesium, Zinc, Chromium, Iodine:
Women with PCOS often lack these important vitamins/minerals which impacts hormone production, so it is important to pay special attention to foods that incorporate these.
– Vitamin D: In addition to obtaining Vitamin D from sunlight, eat foods such as Salmon, Tuna, Portobello/Shiitake Mushrooms, Egg Yolk
– Calcium: Kale, Broccoli, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Collard Greens, and herbs such as Thyme,
Oregano and Basil.
– B12: Salmon, Swiss/Cheddar/Cottage Cheese, Red Meat, Lamb.
– Magnesium: Dark leafy greens (spinach, romaine), Nuts/seeds (walnuts, almonds, pumpkin, peanuts), Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats), Wheat germ, Barley, Beans/lentils (White beans, kidney, chickpeas), Avocados, Bananas, Dark Chocolate.
– Zinc: Cooked Napa Cabbage, Palm Hearts, Lemon Grass, Green peas, Dried Peaches/Plums, Apricots, Avocado, Blackberries, Raspberries, Dates.
– Chromium: Broccoli, Green Beans, Mushrooms, Asparagus, Potatoes, Bananas, Apples.
– Iodine: Sea vegetables, Cod, Scallops, Shrimp, Strawberries, Eggs, Sardines, Salmon.
Low Glycemic Index Fruits/Vegetables:
Low GI fruits/veggies are important in managing insulin levels. Some that are low in GI include:
Fruits: Cherries, Grapefruit, Apples, Pear, Plum, Peach, Mango, Berries, Limes, Lemons
Veggies: Onions, Red Peppers, Cabbage, Mushrooms, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Brussel Sprouts
Nuts, Spices, & Herbs:
In a study published in the March 2011 issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, walnuts improved insulin sensitivity as well as increased a hormone that reduces the effects of testosterone. Certain spices and herbs produce similar results.
–Organic Cinnamon: Especially helpful in reducing blood sugar and cholesterol
–Turmeric: Reduces Inflammation in essential organs associated with PCOS
–Bay leaf: Reduces blood sugar
–Chaste Tree: Stimulates pituitary gland
–Ginger: Improves cholesterol levels, reduces inflammation, rich in minerals that women with PCOS lack such as Zinc, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, and Vitamin D
–Peony and Licorice: Regulates estrogen and reduces elevated levels of androgens like
Probiotics are important for women with PCOS, but mostly overlooked. When I started taking probiotics, within days, I could feel my digestive track was less inflamed, I was less bloated, and my body felt lighter. According to Nava Health and Vitality Center, “…beneficial bacteria in your digestive system have the capability of affecting your body’s vitamin and mineral absorbency, hormone regulation, digestion, vitamin production, immune response, and ability to eliminate toxins, not to mention your overall mental health”. I personally used a probiotic supplement just because my gut was seriously out of balance, but I have found that Kefir, Kimchi, Kombucha, Sauerkraut, and Organic Yogurt have been used across the board and are seen to reap positive benefits.
Change These Environmental Factors:
Avoid BPA products:
BPA is as an endocrine disruptor which interferes with your natural hormonal system. Studies find that women with PCOS have a higher amount of BPA in their blood, which cannot be metabolized by the liver. Avoid drinking out of cans, absolutely do not heat up foods in plastic containers (limit/eliminate all plastic products altogether if possible by using glass products), avoid drinking out of water bottles, and limit/decrease using canned foods.
Avoid Fluoride (water & products containing it) at all costs:
Fluoride creates a build up of calcium in your pineal gland.Your pineal and pituitary glands are SO extremely important to women with PCOS because these glands make and store many different hormones that are associated with PCOS. When there is a build up, your hormones can’t support your body the way you need them to. High fluoride can lead to increase in testosterone and cortisol, out of balance Melatonin production, as well as a decrease in metabolism functioning, energy balance, and nervous system activity. To begin clearing your Pineal Gland, do not drink fluorinated water, stop using fluorinated mouth washes and toothpastes, use water filters/drink distilled water, and avoid cooking with nonstick pans.
Cut Toxic Every Day Products:
According to a study published in the Journal of Environmental and Public health, many every day products have endocrine-disrupting properties, including “cleaning products, air fresheners, hair dyes, cosmetics, and sunscreens”. Since PCOS is associated with endocrine functioning, it is best to choose products that are as natural as possible so you do not ingest any. Use natural cleaning products, eat organically as possible, limit deodorants/perfumes/toxic skincare products, and take your shoes off at the door before entering your home to avoid bringing in outdoor pollutants.
Doctors are now in consensus that losing only 5-10% of your body weight can greatly reduce PCOS. Don’t think you need to start running marathons, or be a pro athlete! 30 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week can do wonders! Not only does exercise aid in weight loss because it allows for better insulin sensitivity, it also gets your hormones working again, it is a stress reliever (reducing cortisol and reducing production of androgens/insulin resistance), leads to less anxiety/depression, and it helps you be aware of your body, further encouraging you on your journey.
Get On Cycle With The Moon:
The idea behind this is that we are balancing our melatonin production which regulates/brings on ovulation in our cycle. Balancing your melatonin also means balancing of important hormones including prolactin, estrogen, and progesterone. This is important for women with PCOS because by making a conscious decision to getting your entire body in sync, you are bringing your hormones back to life in a natural rhythm, nourishing all of your body’s systems, and coming in alignment with your whole being.
“Lunaception” as it is called, is something that I love for various reasons. Not only does it help me feel more grounded and connected to my place on Earth, but I have become more in tune to my body and it’s needs, just by looking up at the Moon and knowing where I am in my cycle. When there is a new moon, I feel a sense of “rebirth,” appreciating all that has happened in the previous month, ridding myself of any negativity, and bringing positivity and love from that month forward, nourishing and preparing for ovulation at the Full Moon. It is the ultimate liberation of the Divine Feminine energy.
How To Get On Your Cycle:
Sleep in complete darkness for the entire month. On the day before, the day of, and the day after the Full Moon, sleep with your shades open and let the Full Moon’s energy and light radiate through. If you live in an area where it is hard to see the moon or if it is expected to be cloudy, or if you just want the added light, supplement with a night light or lamp.
Above all else, believe you can cure yourself!
It is hard to be diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, it really is, but don’t feel powerless! It is a part of you, but not the whole you. It has made me who I am today— it has made me live a healthier, happier, greener life. For that, I can forever be thankful and look at the lesson it has taught me, rather than the burden. You ladies, are the creators of your reality. If you want something, put it at the top of your priority list. Dream of yourself being cured, dream of yourself living a life you wish, as the happiest and healthiest version of yourself. Keep this intention in mind, and you will be unstoppable in all areas of your life. That is the first and most important step to putting you on the path that you want. Have patience, practice self-love, and believe in yourself and your journey. All of the power you can ever dream of having is already inside of you. Good Luck!
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fluoridealert.gov, examiner.com, healwithfood.org, nourishnutrition.com, pubmed.gov, navacenter.com, whfoods.com,