PCOS - The Inside Scoop
Learn how to manage and better understand your PCOS with Wana User, Karen.
PCOS can honestly be one of the more challenging “diagnoses” to navigate and it can really be difficult to find the positives when dealing with so many physical changes. However, it’s allowed me to always honor my body, nourish it and to be patient with it. My body is resilient but sometimes needs extra support and that’s okay. It’s shown me I can overcome anything. - Karen JM.
1. What does a typical day with PCOS look like?
PCOS is one thing that in the past that took full control of my days. Now, I take full control of my day with helpful tools I’ve learned along the way and especially creating the right lifestyle and shifting my mindset. Truthfully, I can go months without having to think about it now whereas years ago it used to consume me all day long!
2. What are primary symptoms of PCOS?
PCOS can vary drastically from person to person. My particular issues were only related to hair thinning / loss / hirsutism.
3. What treatments (medical or alternative) help most?
For me, addressing the root cause (which can be quite misunderstood) along with driving factors such as liver toxicity, insulin resistance and hormone imbalances were by far the most impactful.
Being someone who has dealt with years of Chronic Lyme and Mold Toxicity Mold Toxicity (amongst other things), I definitely noticed a significant connection to environmental toxins exasperating my symptoms, which I really believe to be the culprit of my PCOS issues in the first place. Addressing these and supporting my liver to ensure I can detox properly has been major! Things like berberine and fenugreek really helped manage my insulin levels and doing a DUTCH test once a year has been essential to understand where my hormones stand and what I can do to balance them.
4. What dietary changes help most with PCOS?
One thing I will tell you that did NOT work for me was Keto (which I did for Lyme reasons a few years ago). This is something that I often hear helps to fix PCOS and it was something that actually made mine worse. Incorporating healthy carbohydrates like sweet potatoes really helped to address my insulin issues which then helped ease my symptoms. Omitting sugar (along with unhealthy sugar substitutes) and dairy from my diet completely has also been key.
5.What are the greatest misconceptions about PCOS?
There are so many misconceptions with PCOS! The vision you often have of someone with PCOS is overweight, unhealthy and potentially even lazy / doesn’t exercise enough. This is absolutely not the case and instead of being overweight, I was underweight for a very long time and ate a very balanced and nutritious diet. You frequently hear that going keto or losing weight can be the answer to PCOS and this makes me incredibly frustrated to hear, as I was keto and very thin when I was first diagnosed. I think there is a lot that is very misunderstood with PCOS and a lot that still needs to be properly researched.
6.How does mental health influence PCOS? How does PCOS influence mental health?
Having dealt with something like Lyme vs. PCOS is actually very different. PCOS symptoms can be more visible, whereas symptoms with Lyme are more invisible. I had a really tough time initially learning I may have PCOS as I was always told there was no cure and honestly didn’t know many people with it at the time. Navigating it was an enormous challenge due to the lack of resources and especially having to deal with physical symptoms on top of it. The physical symptoms were devastating to me and I always did everything I could to conceal them. Whereas, with Lyme, I felt like I could push through and hide behind my symptoms since they weren’t visible to others. It’s actually kept me more in check than anything as now I’m very aware of the deep impact something like PCOS can have on you, so I’m constantly focused on managing stress levels and supporting myself with tons of self love.
7. Top 3 tips to managing PCOS?
- Manage your stress levels. Stress is detrimental with PCOS and I learned that one the hard way!
- Everyone is different so you really need to learn what works for you.
- Lastly, test. Understand your body. Work with a practitioner who can monitor your hormones, insulin levels and other panels so that you always have an understanding of YOUR exact circumstances and needs. This way you also know what’s working and what’s not. And lastly, be patient and kind to support yourself. There is a root cause and a solution to everything. (I realize that’s four - but maybe the most important one!)
What is Wana?
Wana: We Are Not Alone is the community for chronic conditions – an app enabling people with chronic and invisible conditions to connect and share information. Our mission is to destigmatize chronic illness and provide you with the support you need on your healing journey. Download the app here.