Let’s be honest. Being diagnosed with PCOS is not easy. Whether you’ve suspected you’ve had it for a while or if its a complete surprise to you, being told that you have a chronic condition can be a tough pill to swallow (excuse the pun).
So, if you have been diagnosed with PCOS, here are some things that you need to know and do to manage it.
Find out all you can about PCOS
It’s really important that you find out all that you can about PCOS. You will never know how to deal with it if you don’t know what it is you’re dealing with. You could well have this step covered and maybe that is what brought you here in the first place.
Let’s go over some of the basics for you now.
PCOS is an endocrine disorder (that is, a hormone disorder). Nobody really knows what causes it but there is thought to be a genetic component.
It is often diagnosed via ultrasound, blood tests and medical history.
According to the Rotterdam criteria (1), you need to have 2 out of these 3 symptoms:
- An irregular menstrual cycle
- Signs of hyperandrogenism (high testosterone levels)
- Ovarian cysts
So, if you have 2 out of those 3, you have PCOS (I have 3 out of 3).
Get some support
Having PCOS can be really isolating. Although at least 1 in 10 women have it, not many women talk about it. I think that’s down to a lot of the embarrassing symptoms. So, a lot of us feel isolated and alone.
Well, the truth is that you are really not alone and finding support from other women who have been there is really helpful and important.
So, where do you find that support?
Well here are a couple of ways:
- Check out PCOS Foodies. It’s my monthly membership site where I provide regular Live Q and A’s, monthly PCOS friendly meal plans and give you motivation and loads of information to help you manage your PCOS.
- There are loads of PCOS Facebook groups that can give you support and answer some of your questions.
- Find a local support group. Charities like Verity (UK) and PCOS Awareness Association often have support groups so why not get in contact and find out if there is one local to you?
Look at the way that you eat
Now, if you’ve just been diagnosed, you may not know this yet but research has shown that diet and lifestyle changes should be the first line of treatment in managing PCOS (2).
And that is exactly what this whole site is dedicated to.
One of the things that I feel really strongly about is eating to manage your PCOS, not just to lose weight. A regular calorie restricted diet may help a little to lose weight but it’s unlikely to address all of the underlying hormonal imbalances. That means that your symptoms may well stay the same or even get worse.
Here are some key articles on the way that you eat to get you started:
Make sure that you’re taking key supplements
Supplements play a crucial role in managing your PCOS and women with PCOS tend to be deficient in some key vitamins and nutrients. Here is some more information of the key supplements I recommend for PCOS:
Find a good doctor
It’s really important that you find a good doctor who will treat and monitor your PCOS, if necessary. It really depends on your current situation but an endocrinologist or reproductive endocrinologists are good options. In the UK, I have only been seen by my general practitioner so it also depends on where in the world you are based and what systems are in place.
PCOS does have long term health implications so it is important to have a regular medical review (my doctor recommended blood tests every 2 years to monitor my general health, including thyroid and cholesterol).
Take some time after being diagnosed with PCOS
As I said at the beginning of this post, being diagnosed with PCOS is not easy. There is a lot to come to terms with and wrap your head around. So, take the time you need to be mad and to grieve. And then, start picking up the pieces with a new sense of determination to go out and live your life to the fullest, in spite of PCOS!