My PCOS Journey-An Update
I’ve talked about my diagnosis of PCOS on the blog before, but I realized that I never really got around to telling you what I’ve done, how it has worked out for me and where I am in the process.
So today I wanted to give you an update on where I am in my journey. I wanted to wait a while because I was honestly a little scared to share my journey. I wanted to wait till I was better and everything was exactly right, but I realized that to share my story doesn’t mean I have to be perfect, it just means I have to show up authentically.
In November of 2017, I was diagnosed with PCOS. I’d heard about it on Instagram from some lovely ladies who were brave enough to share their own stories, and it just happened to coincide with my doctor’s appointment.
So I got to know a bit about PCOS, as well as the fact that it doesn’t have to be a life sentence, from these lovely ladies and when I got the news, it wasn’t all that surprising.
I had actually hoped that I had PCOS, because I had been looking for answers for so long, and the diagnosis was somewhat of a redlined as I figured out what I could do to treat it naturally.
How I Started Treating My PCOS
If you aren’t familiar with PCOS, then here’s a rundown: It’s a lifetime condition that doesn’t have a cure, however you can put your symptoms in remission. Usually, you have cysts on your ovaries that may or may not cause you pain. You also have a hormonal imbalance, often of estrogen dominance, along with a myriad of symptoms ranging from depression to missing periods to severe cramps as a result of the cysts. One in ten women have PCOS, and it is a health condition that often comes with more questions than answers.
After I was diagnosed, I picked up WomanCode, a book that taught me all about the multiple facets of my hormonal imbalance, helped me understand my body and gave me an all natural treatment plan to get my hormones back in balance.
This book was a life saver, and I am so thankful to Alisa Vitti for writing it. A lot of my treatment plan came from this book, but I’ve tried other methods in addition to the ones provided in WomanCode, which I will share below. It’s really about a lifestyle change, that’s the thing that helps the most with PCOS, and it becomes something that is life-giving because it allows you to nurture yourself in the process.
Here’s what I did to treat my PCOS:
Nutrition is everything for any condition, as it is 90% of your life. What you out inside your body matters, and although we all know this, it can sometimes be hard to know how to use food as medicine.
For me, it was all about eating whole, real food. I also had a nutrition plan from WomanCode, which includes eating certain foods throughout the month at specific times in order to promote balance in your system.
This was the single thing that helped me the most, and got me back on track with my hormones.
This is something I’ve actually only tried on this cycle, so I can’t say that it definitely works as a remedy, although I feel like it did contribute to a healthy cycle overall.
Incorporating different seeds at different times during the month can be beneficial in boosting progesterone and estrogen at key points during the cycle and helping you maintain hormonal balance.
If you’ve done seed cycling, please let me know your experience as I’m not too sure how much it impacted my cycle, but overall my experience was good so I’d definitely recommend it as an option.
Balancing My Blood Sugar
This one is a biggie in WomanCode, and it’s one of the easiest ways to help your body get back on track.
To balance your blood sugar, which is often imbalanced in women with PCOS, you have to make sure you are eating regularly. Don’t wait six hours before eating lunch or dinner, have a snack in between. For me, on the days where I’ve eaten a mid-day snack, I’ve felt ten times better than if I didn’t.
This has actually, ironically, been one of the most challenging things for me to keep up. I’ll often wait hours before eating or even forget to eat when I’m working really hard. In the months going forward, I’m hoping to become somewhat of a snack lady, and always carry something in my purse for those occasions. It’s a seemingly small thing, but it can make all the difference.
The hallmark of Vitti’s method is cycle-syncing, basically where you sync your life around your period.
It may sound weird or even time-consuming, but it’s actually a lifestyle, and for women it helps you to feel more like you. Different weeks throughout the month are dedicated to different things and you know when you’ll need more self-care or you’ll actually be more direct, which will help you in asking for that raise.
Cycle-syncing starts with diet, but it also affects how you work, exercise and even your relationships. Your hormones, and your entire endocrine system, has a lot of power over your life. That’s why it’s so important to take care of it, and once you start to listen to what your body needs, you start to feel normal again and (this wasn’t meant to be a pun) in sync.
I got a basal thermometer for Christmas, and it’s one of my favorite gifts from 2017, because as I’ve started using it I can know exactly when my cycle will start, if my period will come and how my body is affected by that.
Perhaps you’ve heard about basal thermometers, and yes, while they are used for pregnancy, they can have other uses for those of us with hormone imbalances. It can be challenging to wake up everyday and immediately have to stick a thermometer in your mouth, as it won’t be able to be accurate if you get up, but it definitely pays off with the knowledge that it gives you.
I’ve been able to track my cycle and know that what I’ve been doing is actually working, as my temperature changes if my period is coming, and know what isn’t working if it doesn’t. If you’re interested, this is my basal thermometer. I like this brand because they have an app to go with it, and it’ll just sync, but it isn’t as expensive as something like the Daysy.
Tracking My Cycle
I know, I know, you were probably expecting this. But don’t worry, this isn’t your conventional calendar tracker that people talk about or an app that just tracks when you have your period.
Although those apps are great, I’ve been tracking my cycle using Flo Living’s app. Flo Living is a company founded by Alisa Vitti that is committed to helping women achieve hormonal imbalance and leave those imbalances behind for good. This app is completely free and it tracks far more than just your period.
If you have your period regularly, it will tell you how to treat those nasty cramps that crop up mid-cycle. If your period is missing in action, it’ll tell you what lifestyle changes you can make to get yourself back on track. This app is kind of like a period free-for-all, because every woman, regardless of diagnosis, can use it to help her body stay balanced throughout the month.
Tracking my cycle has helped me to predict when I’ll get my period, which weeks out of the month I should plan different activities, and how I can easily treat my symptoms and help my body to maintain its delicate balance. If you’re interested in the Flo Period App, click here to check it out.
Nurturing My Adrenals
I’ve talked about this a tiny bit on the blog, but about a year ago I was not in a good place energy wise. I was doing an AP course in school, and while the course itself was wonderful, the workload was absolutely exhausting. It was a labor of love, but it still burned me out.
I figured out in March 2017 that I had been suffering from adrenal fatigue, as I could barely even get out of bed in the morning and was constantly fatigued. I started taking a supplement, but I wasn’t actually paying attention to my body. My period had been missing in action for a long time before that, and I wasn’t listening to my body’s cries for help, so eventually I ran myself into the ground.
Anyway, months and months later when I was diagnosed with PCOS, it was no surprise to learn that my adrenals were likely out of whack. Part of Vitti’s protocol is to nurture your adrenals, and so now I try to be more conscious of my stress and my workload. It’s still a struggle sometimes to avoid stress, but when I remember that in the long run I will survive and I can cope with it, I start to let it go and it doesn’t affect me as much as it once did.
I have to say, I probably have a lot of room to grow in the self-care department. It’s something that I tend to let slide, but it’s important so in this next quarter of 2018 I hope to focus more on letting go and finding new ways to take care of myself in the process.
Patience is a virtue, but nobody said it would be easy.
When you’re trying to heal your body from a condition that can’t be cured and is wildly unpredictable in nature, it can be frustrating. The first few months that I was trying the treatment, it seemed like nothing was changing and that I wasn’t actually getting anywhere. I missed my period, I missed feeling like I was on track and I just wanted to feel normal in my body again.
But the truth is, we can’t rush our bodies. Thy have to heal on their own, and sometimes that means it will take time.
I’m happy to report that after three months I finally feel back on track. My period has come twice in a row and can’t help but feel good about all the work that I’ve done. My body is responding well to treatment, but I know that it will still take time to get to a place of stability. I’m expecting it to level out completely in about a year, which I know sounds like a huge amount of time, but that’s usually about how long it takes. Vitti’s method starts getting to work at about the three month mark, but your body still is a fragile ecosystem, and it can take time for it to heal when that fragile ecosystem is disrupted.
So yes, patience is a virtue, and it’s one that I’m willing to take on for my body to get back to balance. Only time will tell if it is in balance, but I’m confident that with the lifestyle changes I’ve made and the nutrition plan I follow, it will continue to get better and better until one day (maybe even soon!), my symptoms will be in remission.
A Little Note
This is what has worked for me, but I am not a doctor. Although I wholeheartedly believe in Vitti’s method, I know that as a woman, you choose what you want to do with your body and what is right for you.
I believe that every woman should get on this protocol because it is great for maintaining hormonal balance and healing various conditions affecting women worldwide. But I know that I don’t have all the answers, and that what’s right for me may not be what’s right for you.
So please be sure to listen to your intuition. If you feel called to treat your hormonal imbalance naturally, then I am with you girl and I’m excited for you! But I’m also right beside you if you coose a different path and I want you take this article with a grain of your own intuition, because you know what’s best for you, and you know your body.
If you found any of this helpful, then I am so happy that this article served you, and I’d love to hear your story (if you feel comfortable) in the comments.
Alright, I know this was definitely a long post! I hope that you all got something out of it and I hope that this post served you!
Love to all those affected by hormonal imbalances, I know it can be hard to go it alone, but I am right here beside you and I know that you will get through this.
I hope that you have a great Friday and I can’t wait to see you next Tuesday with another post!
PS-Sign up for my April masterclass on how to soulfully grow your career here. I love providing value to you and I’d so love it if you’d join me!