A Few Things that Worked for Me (Including Ayurveda, Sleep, Vaniqa)
(Perth, Western Australia)
I'm sure you all know the shit that goes with PCOS and the shit from going to doctor to doctor, and the shit of spending all your wages on just trying to deal with the associated problems (weight issues, trying to get rid of the facial and other unwanted hair, this that and the other).
For me it has been a long slow process of very, very slow improvements. I am jealous of those who seem to be having quick progress, but then again I've been lucky a couple of times when things move fast.
I had irregular periods since I began (at 14). Usually would have somewhere between 7 and 9 periods a year. Weight gain started when I started work, working in an office. Relationship issues around low libido. I'm not sure if this is PCOS as theoretically high testosterone shouldn't give you low libido (??) but very low energy in general.
And consequently, that feeds into other things - not great jobs, not much money, the money you do have going into hair removal or acupuncture or other treatments.
Four years ago (age 32) I went on an extended round the world trip. Something I had always wanted to do - yes it was on a mega budget and I worked along the way, but a brilliant and necessary thing to do. Anyway, a couple of good things happened which started to improve things for me.
Firstly, I lost quite a lot of weight living in Istanbul. Not because it is a stressful place - the opposite - the food is really healthy and (despite what the Turks think) there isn't all that much variety, so you don't just eat for the sake of novelty.
Fruit and vegies were unbelievably cheap and fresh (we had a farmers market in our street every Sunday, and fruit and vegie carts going around during the week). It was just so easy to be healthy, as even the snack foods tend to be healthy - nuts and seeds and things.
Plus, you walk everywhere as hardly anyone owns a car and the public transport is really good. So, without even trying whatsoever, the weight just came off - probably went down to a size 14 from a size 18 or so.
Second - on the way back, I went to Sri Lanka and went to an Ayurvedic farm, where they grow the herbs and make medicines from them.
We sampled a few products - smelled great - and in the shop on the way out were looking at the range of products. One was called "Lady Tonic". I asked what it did - I was told it makes your periods regular.
So I tried to buy a couple of bottles. "No madam, you only need one". "But I've had this problem my whole life." "No madam, you only need one bottle, this will fix the problem completely". So for $30 Australian, I bought a bottle (hey, nothing to lose), and you know what? It worked straightaway!
I don't know what was in it (definitely cinnamon as one thing, though), but it tasted great, and every morning when I took it, it was like a shot of energy. I started having regular periods that month - became a 5 week cycle, which has now come down to a perfect 28 day cycle.
So if anyone knows an Ayurvedic practitioner, this is definitely something I recommend.
Currently I am seeing a naturopath and we are working together.
Only problem is, progress is slow, and it is pretty pricey. But we are gradually getting results. I had a blood hormone test a month ago and now all my hormones are in "normal" range, although as she says, the doctors make the "normal " ranges quite a bit wider than they should be.... I still have the hair and weight issues. I do have a lot more energy, which is the biggest thing for me.
The biggest change has been making a real effort to get enough sleep and to go to bed by 10pm.
Your body organs are active at different times of day; you really need to get to bed by 10pm to give your body the best chance to eliminate toxins from your body.
At first, going to bed early was tricky as I would end up sleeping 10 hours rather than 8 - but I have to say I felt great, even if the house was a mess. - So coming from that, having more energy, I am able to exercise more and I go to the gym 3 x a week.
I'm drinking 4L of water a day, which at first sounded ridiculous, but now I actually crave it. It's supposed to help in eliminating the toxins i.e. unwanted hormones floating about.
I know what you mean about carbs cravings... I have my desk drawer at work stuffed with healthy options like (good quality) muesli bars, Indian snacks (spiced nuts and stuff), fruit.... but lets face it, all you want mid-afternoon is SUGAR and nothing else is going to cut it. So I've been going across the road for proper sugar fixes.
My naturopath has just given me a protein shake mix, you mix it with milk and fruit (fruit for taste), apparently this will satisfy those carbs cravings. We shall see.
On top of this, there are lots of homeopathic medications for various issues that have come up along the way.
But at least, from the hormone tests, I can see that all this work is finally having some effect.
Stick in there my women friends, this is a long journey.
And it is NOT all about getting pregnant (I got so pissed off with doctors to start with who would say, "Are you trying to get pregnant? No? Come back when you want to get pregnant then" as if that were the only issue. Far, far from it.
Best of luck to you all, especially those with HAIR issues. Arrgh. Hang in there, my sisters.
PS. There Is a good new cure for hair issues - isn't hormonal, it attacks the hair follicles. It's called Vaniqa and is a cream you put on twice a day.
It is pretty expensive (Australian ($86 per tube, online) so I'm not using it at present (also, I want to be able to gauge how successful the naturopathy is on its own), but I found it worked pretty well.
It's not a hair removal cream, it actually stops the hair growing in the first place...takes a few weeks to see results, but then the results are really good (didn't have to shave or pluck for quite a while there, while I was using it).