PCOS, or Polycistic Ovary Syndrome, is a hormonal disorder causing enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges. It affects approximately 1 out of 10 women, so it’s common — I myself was diagnosed over a decade ago. If you’ve just been diagnosed or feel like you are exhibiting symptoms, the first thing to know is that you are not alone. Plus, as long as you’re diligent about taking care of yourself, PCOS can be totally manageable.
Common symptoms of PCOS include:
The only way to know conclusively whether or not you have PCOS is to get an ultrasound of your ovaries. If your ovaries don’t have cysts, then you most likely don’t have PCOS (yay) — but if they do, read on for a breakdown of how I’ve successfully managed my symptoms using holistic methods.
The number one, absolute must, no getting around it method for managing PCOS is (drumroll)... your diet! PCOS is partially an insulin resistance problem, so it goes without saying that sugar is a MAJOR no no. When I say no sugar, I mean not even a drop of sugar. Why? If you have PCOS, even the tiniest taste of the sweet stuff can make you go on a binge and crave more sugar.
So, what does a no sugar, PCOS-friendly diet actually look like?
NO FRUIT. No sugar means no fruit. I know, you thought fruit was healthy — and to an extent, it is, but it’s also loaded with sugar. While it’s not added sugar, your body honestly can’t tell the difference, especially if you’re dealing with insulin resistance — natural sugar is still sugar. If you want to have a handful of berries in the morning, fine. Otherwise, especially if you’re suffering, put fruit on your “no fly” list.
GRAINS & CARBS. Grains are really irritating for PCOS. Most carbohydrates — even complex carbs! — will cause you to crave more food and want to binge. Simple carbs, complex carbs, simple sugar, coconut sugar — while there may be subtle differences, when it comes to PCOS, there’s no good or bad grain, carb, or sugar since they all metabolize in the same way. You can argue with me if you want, but at the end of the day, I’m thriving while living with PCOS — the proof is in the pudding (or lack thereof)!
FLOURS. Everything containing flour — even nut flours and gluten-free substitutes hiding in those replacement crackers you love — are off-limits. Flour acts like a binder in food, sticking ingredients together. Guess what? That’s exactly what flour’s doing inside your gut. While it’s great for baking, it’s not so great for your bod, and this gluey texture can really back someone up quickly. If you are not pooping and eliminating enough, it’s going to cause you to want a lot more food, think you’re hungrier than you actually are, and crave mainly sugar and carbohydrates.
High intensity exercise is a great addition to your routine for keeping PCOS in check. Getting your heart rate up and breaking a big sweat are integral when it comes to controlling cravings and the urge to binge. Intense exercise isn’t my favorite thing in the world, but I commit to it because it’s such a necessary step for regulating your body and avoiding PCOS symptoms.
Inositol works on testosterone, so if you’re having facial hair growth or acne, it’s worth a shot.
Green Coffee Bean
I really like green coffee bean. It helps manage weight and regulate your blood sugar levels so it’s somewhat similar to Metformin but obviously not as heavy duty. Look for one that contains svetol and doesn’t have any extra ingredients other than the green coffee.
If you do want to treat PCOS the traditional way, the only drug I would say is worth a shot is Metformin. Do NOT — I repeat, DO NOT — go on birth control. Also, Spironolactone has a direct link to birth defects, so if you ever want to get pregnant, I suggest avoiding that drug at all costs.
When it comes to PCOS management, I honestly don’t mess with a lot of supplements or take any prescription medications — it’s all about the diet, baby. I promise, promise, promise, if you are diligent about your diet, you will be able to live a rich and fulfilling life despite your diagnosis. Also, please don’t listen to doctors if they tell you you can’t get pregnant (assuming we’re just speaking about PCOS and you don’t have any other preexisting health conditions).
And, by the way, just in case you think my story is any different than yours, know that I dealt with all the symptoms you’re probably facing: hardcore binges (I still have very intense cravings when I fall off the wagon), bad acne, and bloating ALL THE TIME. I’ve been on Metformin and I’ve been on Spironolactone. Today, I’m on no prescription medications and I get my period monthly. If they ever become irregular, I start incorporating supplements into my routine.
While I’d like to give you a magic supplement fix, the truth is, everyone’s body is different. If you want personalized recommendations, I’d be happy to work with you one-on-one through coaching. Together, we’ll dive deep into your health history and eating habits so I can help you navigate your PCOS symptoms. Email me at info@veeshoney. Let’s do this together!