I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) at the age of 16 and was immediately put onto a contraceptive pill to help with symptoms.
PCOS is a hormonal condition that can affect your ability to reproduce and can be accompanied by irregular periods, ovarian cysts, weight gain, acne, infertility, and more. The contraception prescription helped ease my symptoms a bit, but I didn’t really think about it or take it too seriously until a few years ago when I wanted to start trying for a family.
That’s when I realized that the pill had only been masking my symptoms and not actually helping with the root of the problem.
I was now as motivated as ever to help my body get to a place of balance and try to heal as much as I could. Today, I’m sharing the steps and journey I took to transform my PCOS body into one that helps me feel my best on my conception journey.
Here are 7 Tips That Helped Me Take Control of My PCOS Diagnosis.
1. Find the right combination of healthcare providers
Each person’s PCOS care team looks different based on symptoms, but there are many different providers that can help us through this experience! My doctor performed blood work to determine which regimen of medication and supplements was best for me. From there, I was able to enlist nutritionists, fitness experts or other professionals to educate me on how best to care for your body through this process. A few helpful instagram accounts:
2. Prioritize healthy sleep habits
Establishing a solid sleep routine, going to bed at the same time every night, and getting a consistent amount of hours of sleep each night helped me achieve optimal REM sleep cycles. Turning off all lights, including my cell phone, at least 1hr (ideally 2hrs) before bed helps me stick to this routine. Too much artificial light can impact glucose metabolism and suppress melatonin levels, making it harder to get quality sleep.
3. Eat a protein loaded breakfast every morning
I never skip breakfast! An easy way to include protein in the morning is to add a protein to a smoothie. This helps keep my blood sugar stable and reduces feelings of fatigue.
4. Reduce intake of inflammatory foods and meal plan where possible
Eating inflammatory foods like gluten and dairy can trigger daytime fatigue and affect cortisol production. Making sure my meals are a combination of protein, low Gl carbs, fiber, and healthy fats and drinking 2-3 liters of water can help. Also, having a cup of spearmint tea between meals can reduce testosterone levels!
5. Exercise daily
I move my body every day! Whether this is a weight focused workout, a walk or even a simple stretch session. These workouts not only improve my physical health but always help with my mood for the day. High intensity workouts can actually trigger an increase in cortisol, which may raise insulin and therefore exacerbate insulin-resistance and androgen-excess PCOS symptoms, an unexpected negative outcome. Keep it simple!
6. Take stress management seriously
Stress can be a major contributor to PCOS symptoms so allocating time to unwind, de-stress and practice self-care helps reduce some of the unwanted side effects of PCOS.
7. Be kind to yourself
Know that you are not alone! PCOS is one of the most common, but treatable, diagnoses affecting infertility in women.