Transcending PCOS through Diet

by Frances
(Ontario, Canada)

I've had PCOS since puberty. When I reached the age of 17 and was still not menstruating regularly my doctor ordered tests and made a diagnosis. A year later I was on the pill, which was helpful in controlling symptoms.

Fast forward to 12 years later - I had gradually gained about 25 pounds (a pound here, a pound there), avoided excessively sugary foods because they caused an uncomfortable feeling, and was B12 deficient. Also, my husband and I were ready to start a family. I was done with the pill.

Around this time my doctor recommended a low-carb diet. This was a lot to ask at this time since I have quite the sweet tooth, but I started by cutting my sugar and carbs in half, either by indulging half as often or consuming half as much.

Later, I incorporated a sugar and carb free day once a week. Although I did not place limits on the rest of the week I found I craved sugar less and so ate more healthily. Next I discovered the glucose index and began eating only foods with an index less than 50.

During this time I was relatively symptom-free and I lost most of the weight I had gained during my 20s, no more than a pound per week, averaging 2 or 3 pounds a month. However I was not menstruating so chances of conceiving were low.

Six months after going off the pill the acne I had as a teenager returned - the hormonal kind that starts well beneath the skin's surface, with pimples so large its ridiculous to even try make-up, and takes weeks to clear. I'd get a new blemish every couple of days so it wasn't long before I was fairly disfigured.

I maintained the low-carb diet, but it didn't seem to be enough. By one year of no pill and no menstrual cycle, PCOS was wreaking hormonal havoc and I was just about to consider fertility treatment when an internet search led me to Nancy Dunne's book.

The information was clearly explained, and so much of what I had experienced with PCOS made a lot more sense. I followed the dietary recommendations and noticed an improvement within a few days. I was myself again, and mood swings were less frequent and less severe.

After a couple of months I still wasn't menstruating, and experienced occasional mood swings that I felt were caused by something I ate, but what? I then came across the blood type diet and incorporated the recommended foods with Nancy's PCOS diet.

Suddenly all mood swings disappeared, my skin really started to clear up, and within 3 weeks I got my period. I became a bit discouraged over the next few months when my period did not make a second appearance, but stayed with the diet simply because I felt better. I was quite surprised to wake up one day with morning sickness!

I'm still following this diet, and am happy to report that both myself and my four month old son are doing well! I believe that even if I had conceived without making these changes to my diet that there is a strong chance that I might have miscarried or that my son's health would be compromised in some other way. As it is, I find that when I do stray from the diet he develops milk rash.

I have already returned to my pre-pregnancy shape, no longer need to watch my sugars, and recent blood work to check my nutrient levels showed no deficiencies.

The simplified version of my diet is: no wheat, corn, oats, potato or soy. I do eat brown rice, spelt, millet and quinoa instead. Avoid corn starch/syrup, vinegar and msg, even in trace amounts.

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