Some great results with PCOS diet, still waiting for others
Thank you for your PCOS diet book - reading it felt like a blindfold of misinformation and ignorance on chronic illness and nutrition was suddenly lifted away!
I was diagnosed with PCOS about 7 months ago at the age of 29, though I had suspected it for years. I had irregular periods, acne way past my teenage years, and a serious problem with hirsutism.
I have never tried to conceive but I was worried about this for the future, especially as I approached my 30s. My doctors wanted to put me on birth control or metformin, but I decided to try to address the problem at the root and your book was a godsend.
Although I was never overweight because I always ate a lot of whole foods, I definitely craved those carbs, was always a little tubby around the middle and my weight fluctuated a lot.
I only needed to lose about 4-5kg to feel much happier with my figure, but within a month of doing the maintenance diet pretty strictly, my periods were like clockwork every 30 days for the first time in my life and have been for 6 months now!
An additional and unexpected benefit was that the IBS I have suffered from for 10 years now has diminished radically even if it is not yet completely under control.
And I think - though it's hard to tell exactly - that my excess hair has become a little finer. I am getting the results of my first post-diet blood test back this week so I will know if my high testosterone and LH levels have fallen.
The hirsutism and mild acne are still a problem and I've been disappointed that there hasn't been more of a difference in those. Do I just have to wait longer, or is there anything else I can do without taking the chemical route?
Thanks very much! Overall, it's been amazing and I've been inspired to maybe become a nutritionist myself.
Editor's comments: First of all, congratulations on your success! We hope your story will be an inspiration to others.
For many, PCOS is a very difficult disorder to deal with because it seems to have so many aspects to it. In addition, each woman can have a different set of symptoms. We have found that most women need to do more than one thing in order gain the upper hand over polycystic ovary syndrome.
So a much improved diet is a gigantic step in the right direction. But there's more you could do.
A vigorous exercise program has been shown to be quite helpful in reducing insulin resistance and regaining a better hormone balance.
Also, many of us experience chronic stress from many sources…our jobs, our relationships, our polluted environment, etc. Any steps you can take to reduce stress will definitely help to rebalance your hormones.
And finally, you can try various nutritional supplements. For example, the omega-3 oils found in fish oil are helpful for reducing acne. Cod liver oil is a favorite because it contains vitamin D in addition to the omega-3 oils.
For hirsutism, some women have had good luck with saw palmetto.
The above are just examples of additional things you could try. You can learn more about nutritional supplements for PCOS at:
One more thing…about vitamin D. I suggest you get a blood test to check your vitamin D level. Many women with PCOS are low in vitamin D, and since you live in the UK, I suspect you're not getting enough vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D, in my opinion, is a crucial but overlooked nutrient for gaining the upper hand over polycystic ovarian syndrome. You can learn more about vitamin D on our Vitamin D page and our newsletter archive on our site.
If you do all these things and still are not getting satisfactory results, you can always resort to pharmaceuticals, with all of their attendant problems and side effects. Bear in mind that drugs do virtually nothing to build your health. They do "manage" symptoms in a crude but powerful way.
By the way, it's not surprising that your irritable bowel syndrome has improved. Gluten, found in wheat and other gluten grains, has been implicated as the major cause of IBS. Our diet is gluten-free. IBS is a very serious disorder that can prevent absorption of vital nutrients. It may take some time for your GI tract to heal after receiving so much injury over the years. L-glutamine, a nutritional supplement, will help to heal your GI tract, since GI tract cells use it as their food. Acidophilus may also be helpful. As your gut heals and you're better able to nourish yourself, your organs and cells will be better nourished and will tend to normalize. The indirect result may be that your PCOS symptoms will further diminish.