Being diagnosed with PCOS is not easy and may come as a surprise to you. Many women suspect that something may be wrong when their cycle is irregular or they struggle to fall pregnant.
But actually getting a diagnosis of PCOS suddenly makes it all very real and final.
This first thing you need to know about PCOS is that you are NOT alone. 5-10% of women have PCOS and it is the most common endocrine disorder that affects women.
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What is PCOS?
The cause of PCOS is unknown but it is thought that there is a large genetic component.
The key features and symptoms of PCOS include anovulation and irregular menstrual cycle leading to ovulation-related infertility, polycystic ovaries and increased levels of male hormones. This increase in male hormone leads to acne, weight issues, hirsutism (hair growth) and insulin resistance.
The female hormone system and menstrual cycle is complicated at the best of times. Here is a really clear video explanation of what PCOS is:
Medical Treatment for PCOS?
Medical treatment of PCOS varies depending on your unique situation. If you are not trying to conceive, many doctors will prescribe birth control pills to manage your cycle. Whilst you’re on the pill, your cycle will be regular and many of the symptoms of PCOS will be managed. But, as soon as you stop taking birth control, your symptoms will return.
If you have insulin resistance and difficulty with weight, many doctors prescribe Metformin, a drug that is often prescribed for Type 2 Diabetics, to help increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin. Metformin must be taken with a healthy diet and can have some negative side-effects.
If you are trying to conceive and you do not ovulate, your Doctor may prescribe medications to assist with ovulation and there are other fertility options available.
What can YOU do about your PCOS?
Diet and supplements:
Your diet is crucial to managing your PCOS and is one of the few things you have control over when it comes to PCOS. A low GI diet is crucial to managing your insulin levels and thereby your levels of the male hormones in your body. Here are some ideas about what the Best PCOS Diet looks like.
Exercise is the only way your body can move sugar from the blood stream into the muscles without insulin. This helps to lower your insulin levels. Exercise has also been shown to improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin. This means that your pancreas doesn’t need to produce as much insulin to manage your blood sugar levels. With your insulin levels within more normal levels, you should have less of the male hormones in your body and less fat storage, leading to weight loss and return of a more regular cycle (hopefully).
Weight and weight loss is often the most frustrating element of PCOS. High insulin levels leads to more fat being stored leading to further weight gain and insulin resistance. It’s a difficult cycle to break.
The other problem is that insulin resistance makes it really difficult to lose weight, even though weight loss will help with insulin resistance.
Using a combined approach of diet and weight loss is important and the good news is that losing even 5-10% of your total body weight makes a significant impact on your PCOS symptoms.
Finding good support is vital to managing your PCOS. Sustaining a good diet and lifestyle is not easy and we need to encourage each other and share in each other’s victories, no matter how small they are.
PCOS Diet Support is one place where you can find a community of fellow Cysters, share your experiences and find the motivation you need to keep going. We also all understand what it is like to be diagnosed with PCOS and live with weight issues, acne, hair growth and infertility.
If you’d like to connect with other women with PCOS, why not introduce yourself on our Facebook page or leave a comment below? You might well be surprised by the response and support you get from other Cysters in the PCOS Diet Support Community.
You can also sign up to the PCOS Diet Support newsletter for PCOS research, recipes and a whole lot of motivation.
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I am 54 yrs old, and was just diagnosed with PCOS a few days ago. My doctor did a complete hysterectomy on me 10 years ago due to painful, heavy cycles, and cyst found on my ovaries. Big mistake, if I had only been diagnosed sooner. Yes, myself like many of you went through infertility issues for years. I am blessed to have two boys, that are now grown. I am also glad to have answers to why it has always been so difficult for me to lose weight. Every time I talked to my doctors about my weight, they all told me the same thing, count calories., and exercise . I was doing that, but couldn’t loss a pound. I’m researching now daily on how I can manage and change my lifestyle.. I have been put on metphorimine . Glad there are support out there for us all.
My daughter was diagnosed with Pcos along with ANA Factor. She’s 21 yrs old and she’s so devastated because she’s getting married next year. Has anyone with Pcos has ever got pregnant? And is Pcos and diagnosed with ana factor worse to have?
I’m sorry to hear about your daughter’s diagnosis! I have 2 children naturally with PCOS. It is possible!
My daughter was just told she has PCOS, she is devastated. the doctor put her on birth control, but is there anything else she should be taking? Should she go to a specialist, if so, could anyone recommend one in the NYC area? Thanks for your help
My daughter is 20 yrs old and just diagnosed with PCOS. The doctor put her on birth control, what else should she be doing? Should she go to specialist, if so, could you recommend one in the NYC area? thank you
hi there, I was diagnosed with pcos about 4 years ago, my doctor kept telling me I needed to go on the pill, I was terrified to go on it until about two months ago when I had the worst period of my life, I became very aneamic and very sick, so I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and was put on the pill, its been fantastic, my skin cleared right up. one thing though that I really struggle with pcos is that I crave sugar, I eat soooo much during the day its like I cant go with out it, is this normal and how to I fix this, thanks so much 🙂
Hey there, I am diagnosed with PCOS too and I also have an incredible sweet tooth but I’ve learned to control it. In some ways, one might say that I diverted the attention onto “good” sweets like fruit and vegetables. I’m not saying that it will work for you but it has helped me deal with it all. I hope this helps you or encourages you that you’re not alone. (:
I have sensitivity to all the high GI stuff so I am already on the right diet and when I made those changes before my PCOS diagnosis I lost 40 pounds that year. Now TTC I got diagnosed, will be referred to a specialist soon, hoping to try metformin as my mother is also on it for pre-diabetes. There is hope and you can lose the weight by avoiding what I call trigger foods. It’s hard to rule out the stuff causing issues because sensitivities are harder to pin point as they need longer exposure to harm you so I suggest cutting things out and seeing if you feel better, it took me a good year to get it right but I managed to lose the 40 pounds during that process. There is hope!
I was just diagnosed with PCOS a couple days ago. I am 16 years old. I have noticed that I have put on a lot of weight lately and I am finding it difficult to work it off. Is there other ways than dieting and exercising to support weight loss. Is there any foods I can’t eat aswell?
Hi, I was diagnosed about 6 months ago at the age of 21 after struggling with wight gain and hair loss for years. Both my sisters have since been diagnosed with my case being the most severe. I have been prescribed metaformin, bromocriptine, spironolactone and trinessa(BC) and after initially seeing some results like thining facial hair, 30lb weight loss ( now at 170) and some hair regrowth on the top of my head, my progress has stalled. Frustrated I finally came upon your website, and was wondering if this was normal? The hair on my neck and chin are now growing in draker like before, I have not lost weight in 2 months, and I still have visible hair loss and semi bald spots on the top of my head( is ther still hope for regrowth )I can also no longer eat before 11am as I tend to get nauseous and sometimes vomite which causes me to feel week and tired.at this point I am walking about 30 min 3 times a week, I’m a vegetarian and no longer drink milk, I have cut down on my carbs and on the refine sugars. I plan to cut out all dairy products at this point and I was wondering if eggs are ok, also do I need to cut out all sugar or just refine auger can I still eat fruits and is trivia a good sugar substitute? I also want to bump up my exercise but I am often very tired after standing all day at work, what can I do about my low energy levels? Is there a cook book that u would recommend to help on the change of lifestyle?i don’t like tea however I am willing to try the spearmint tea seeing that it can really help. I initially also tried to take vitamins and supplements however I could te handle the amount of pills that I needed to take, any advice ? Lastly is there any super foods that you would recomend?
B2 supplements (riboflavin) has helped a ton with my energy levels 🙂