I recently did a survey asking women what is stopping them from taking the next step in managing their PCOS. The responses we had were eye opening and I wanted to share them with you and make some suggestions as to how we can each take the next step in managing our PCOS.
The survey asked women the following question:
What is stopping you from taking the next step in managing your PCOS?
Check All That Apply:
- Not sure what the next step is
- I just don't have the motivation
- I'm really motivated but feel that I don't have the emotional support to stick it through
- I feel like I've exhausted all options, both natural and medical, and feel like PCOS has me beat
- Nothing. I'm on track and taking PCOS head on
And here are the results, from 114 women who responded:
Only 13% of the women who responded feel that they are able to manage their PCOS. I would love to see that number grow! Also, a huge majority of us are not sure what the next step actually is. I’d really like to focus on looking at what the next step is so that we can each take that step to managing our PCOS.
Whether you have been recently diagnosed or have known about your PCOS for years, I think it’s important to know what your starting point is. So, I would recommend a doctor check up (unless you have been seen fairly recently). Things to have checked include:
- Blood pressure
- Thyroid function
- Blood sugars (if you are concerned about Diabetes and insulin resistance)
This should give you a rough idea of where you stand. You could also ask for checks of Androgens, SHBG, LH and FSH. These may not be particularly useful if you have PCOS as your levels are likely to be off kilter anyway as a result of your PCOS.
If you are trying to conceive or have any other health concerns then you may want further investigations but you can discuss this with your doctor if necessary.
Once you know where you stand medically, you can look at getting your diet and exercise on track.
Your PCOS Diet
You know by now that I am a firm believer in the importance of diet in managing your PCOS, and thankfully my beliefs are not unfounded. Research has shown that diet and lifestyle changes are more effective than medications in managing PCOS.
So, if you need some help with diet changes, here is are some previous articles I have written on what a PCOS diet should look like:
The main points are:
- Cut out dairy
- Go gluten free
- Manage your carb intake and make sure you have low GI carbs
- Make sure you have some protein with every meal or snack
- No processed or refined foods
I’m not going to rehash my previous articles on exercise (you can find them here) but research has shown that exercise helps to manage PCOS. So, at this point, I don’t care what you do or how you do it, just get moving! Make a decision today to get fit and do what you need to do to make it happen!
Supplements are also an integral aspect of managing your PCOS. Here is a brief overview of what supplements I take and why they are important:
How long will it take?
It will take a while to see the effects of all of these things combined. Some women report weight loss, increased energy and more stable mood within a week or two of making the diet changes and taking the supplements. It can take much longer, however to see improvements in all of your symptoms. One of the symptoms that takes the longest to deal with is hirsutism (it can take from 6 months to 1 year to see an improvement).
So, if you don’t see instant results, be patient and stick to your exercise, diet and supplement regime. Your body will thank you!
I’ve done all of that… What’s next?
If you have done all of the above and are still not seeing any results or are still struggling with your PCOS, I’d say it’s time for another visit to the doctor or reproductive endocrinologist. There may be something underlying that you’re not aware of that is causing your symptoms (thyroid problems / something with the pituitary gland).
PCOS can be an extremely frustrating and lonely condition and there are no easy answers. But, there are things that you can do to get your PCOS under control. I’d love to hear from you. What is YOUR next step to managing your PCOS? Leave me a comment below!