A while ago I blogged about how the Channel4 program Embarassing Bodies tackled the embarrassing symptoms of PCOS by prescribing drugs rather than advising sufferers on how to manage their condition through lifestyle changes. They seem to have taken a cue by trying alternative methods, because in last weeks episode another woman with hirsutism (excess hair) came on the show and rather than been sent away for laser treatment, she was told to try and loose some weight. And it worked! She lost some weight and all her excess hair went away. No need for drugs, no need for expensive laser and she was all the better for it. Needless to say, I was really pleased for her and for the show, for prescribing a drug free approach.
I’m bemused when I read women complaining about their PCOS symptoms. I’m especially annoyed when I read women say things like, ‘I’ve tried everything, and nothing works.’ Have you really tried EVERYTHING? What exactly have you done and how long have you done it for? PCOS takes years to manifest, it’s not going to go away after a few weeks or even a few months; but you will notice improvements almost immediately if you are doing the right thing.
There’s a PCOS support group on Facebook that I participate in. I’m seriously thinking about unliking the page because it doesn’t seem as if any of the women there is serious about the condition. The advocates of natural methods are in the minority. Over 90% of women there are medicating their symptoms. Very few believe in the exercise/natural/lifestyle change route. In fact they even slated the owner of the page once for posting the long term effects unmanaged PCOS can have such as increased chances of heart disease, blood pressure, miscarriage and type II diabetes. A recent study showed that women with PCOS have arteries that are 10 years older than their actual age! That’s something to seriously consider if you think popping pills alone will make it all go away.
I may sound harsh; but this is my pet peeve. Women would rather bury their heads in the sand than face the reality of their condition! Then the same people moan about how nothing seems to be getting better and they wonder what they are doing wrong. Women who only listen to what their doctor says even though it’s obvious they are not getting better.
You have to believe that you have some control over your body. You cannot control your genes, but you can control what you put into your body that can cause a gene to express itself. Take insulin resistance, for example. You may have a natural predisposition to being insulin resistant. But if you don’t eat refined carbohydrates, sugar, and junk food, your body will never have cause to trigger insulin resistance.
It’s also important you educate yourself so you don’t get taken for a ride. Just because you can afford fertility treatments does not mean it should be your first line of action. I’ve read about women who’ve spent tens of thousands on IVF only to end up going down the natural route and falling pregnant. In reality, if you are overweight, no self-respecting doctor should prescribe fertility treatment (unless for very specific reasons) because losing as little as 7-10% of one’s weight is enough to jumpstart ovulation. Imagine the amount of money wasted and the emotional turmoil you put yourself thorough, only to find out at the end of the day that doing a low GI diet with regular exercise was all that was needed to get pregnant?
Do your research. Even conditions like hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism also linked to PCOS all have a genesis. These conditions didn’t just spring up on you overnight. There must be something you are doing too much of or not doing enough of that’s causing the condition to linger. Remove the cause, give your body the right fuel it needs to heal and you’re cured. Put your health first. Even if you don’t have the money, I’m proof that with very little money you can still afford to eat healthy and exercise. I walk everywhere, and I mostly shop in farmers markets where you get more bang for your money’s worth of fresh produce!
If you believe your PCOS is something you have to ‘suffer’ with, that’s exactly how it’s going to be for you. But if you believe it’s just a bump in your life that you can get rid off, and lead a healthy, symptom free life, then that’s exactly what you’re going to get. It all comes down to you, how proactive you are, how dedicated you are and how far you’re willing to go to take control of your life