Friday, September 17, 2010

Helpful advice to a friend with PCOS

I was reading comments yesterday on a PCOS facebook fan page. I was in shock to discover that all of these women posting thought that the only thing they could do to deal with their PCOS symptoms was to take Metformin. Although Metformin does work well, it comes with some nasty side affects, like painful stomach problems and the inability to stay out of the bathroom for more than 5 minutes at a time. So I commented on the status, reassuring these women that Metformin wasn't the only option. In less than 20 minutes, I received a long message from a girl roughly my age that was heartbroken because Metformin was making her sick and the doctor told her the only way she would ever be able to have children would be through fertility drugs after she lost almost 60 pounds. Now while I do agree that losing weight makes it a little easier to have a baby, it's definitely not absolutely necessary. I know several women that are larger than me that have been able to get pregnant and have beautiful, healthy babies.

I wanted to post my reply to her here so others could benefit as well.

Hi Liz,

There are a lot of different alternative remedies, and I will be honest, sometimes it takes some trial and error to find what works best for you.

I want to talk about Insulin Resistance (IR) first, since no one has told you about it before. This, by far, is the most difficult of all PCOS symptoms to handle. The fertility issues can be dealt with using fertility treatments, but IR is a whole different story. Unlike diabetics who cannot produce insulin, we produce entirely too much. When we eat carbs and sugars, our pancreas releases insulin into the blood stream. That insulin travels through our system to reach our liver and muscles. In a normally functioning human being, the liver and muscles start sucking the sugar out of the blood when it receives insulin. As the amount of sugar in our blood goes down, the insulin levels go down. In women with PCOS and IR, our muscles and liver don't react properly to the insulin, and do not suck the sugar out of the blood. Because of this, insulin is continuously released by the pancreas and we get fat. It sucks.

Obviously, the best way to combat this is with a low-carb, low-sugar diet and exercise. This is where so many people have issues. I, for one, love pasta and chocolate, both of which are very bad for me. Instead of trying to cut them out completely in the beginning, switch to healthier versions, such as whole-wheat pasta, and dark chocolate. These have less sugars. Also try to switch to sugar-free desserts. Most of the time you can't even tell the difference in the taste. Eating several smaller meals a day instead of 3 large meals can also help, because you are not introducing so much sugar into your blood at once. As for exercise, try taking a walk around the park, or go swimming. It doesn't have to be some crazy workout schedule like body builders. There are also some alternative remedies that assist with getting rid of this weight.

Ok, as for the rest of the PCOS issues, this is where the alternative remedies come in. I have tried several, but not all of these. Like I said earlier, it takes a little trial and error to find out what's best or you.

D-Chiro-Inositol (found at chiralbalance.com for about $50-$60 a bottle) - If you weight more than 130lbs, you would take at least 1200mg a day, or two pills. Under 130lbs should take 600mg a day. This has lessened my facial hair, eliminated my painful cystic acne, and I don't crave sugars as much anymore. This is currently the only thing I am taking. I've lost 10 pounds just from the reduction of sugar cravings. Many, many women on DCI often find that their period comes back within the first or second month. I'm on month 2 of DCI, and I haven't had a period yet, but I have been having cramps, which I haven't had since the last time I had a period, April of 2009. Many women also get pregnant after being on it for a few months, after their cycles return to normal.

Insulite System - (pcos.insulitelabs.com) This is an intense regimen of pills, but it works. I did it for a while and saw some great results, but it is a little expensive, and it can be hard to follow. It costs $97 a month for 4 bottles of pills, as well as a suggested diet and fitness plan. If you do this system, you will take 18 pills a day. That became too difficult for me.

Natural Progesterone Cream - This is to help bring on your period. Apply 1 tsp of NPC several times a day for 14 days. At the end of 14 days, you should get a period. Then, you start counting your cycle days, starting with the first day of your period as cycle day 1. on Day 14, begin another 14 days of the NPC. Again, you should have another period. This is a natural hormone supplement designed to get you on a 28-day cycle.

FertilAid for Women (fertilaid.com - or Fertility Blend: fertilityblend.com)- This is a supplement designed specifically for women trying to get pregnant. It has a mix of herbs that are known to increase fertility, such as red clover blossom and chasteberry. However, if agnus castus gave you a rash, I would not recommend that you take this supplement, as chasteberry is the same thing as agnus castus.

FertiliTea (fertilitea.com)- If you like drinking tea, you might like this. I absolutely love it! It is essentially the same ingredients in the FertilAid pills, but in liquid form! It tastes great. However, again, because of the rash you got from agnus castus, I would not recommend FertiliTea, but rather Preconception Tea (http://thefertilityshop.com/fertility/preconception-tea-p-75.html). It does not have agnus castus in it.

There are still a lot more options than just the ones I listed. I highly recommend signing up on SoulCysters.net. All the girls on there are so helpful, and really supportive of our situation, because they are going through it too. Another website you can use for research is pcosfaq.com. Mary created that site as a compilation of all the research she had done about alternative treatments.

Feel free to send me a message anytime you have questions, and I'll do my best to answer them!

-Lynne


I'm beginning to think that I might have a future in promoting awareness. Anyone know how to make money doing this? I'd love to know that my job is helping people like me, ones who used to think that life was hopeless, and felt that we had to succumb to this disease instead of fight it.

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