This post is a follow-up to You Were Just Diagnosed With PCOS… Now What?. If you’re here for the first time, check out that post before reading this one! 🙂
There’s a lot of women I know who have PCOS and aren’t necessarily trying to conceive a baby yet. They just want to function normally, feel like a woman and not be in so much pain. Sometimes they just want to lose weight and get healthier. There are some things you can do.
For many women with PCOS, birth control pills are their best friend. The hormones often help keep cysts at bay and cycles regulated, although the cyst claim is up for debate. For some women it’s the complete opposite (remember how I said before that all women are different?). That said, there are specific birth controls that are most recommended for women with PCOS. I’ll tell you right now that there are so many differing opinions on what birth control is best, so you really need to talk to your doctor (remember what I said about having a good doctor?). My doctor recommended Mirena, which many women I know have great success on. For me personally, I was not okay with the idea of it. The thought of some foreign object setting up camp in my uterus completely freaked me out. Some other women I know say it was the absolute best decision they ever made because they didn’t have to worry about it and they did great on it. If it doesn’t freak you out, it might be a great option. Other women I know have loved YAZ and have had great success with it as well. My personal experience with artificial birth control was fine before having Zoey, I was on YAZ and it didn’t bother me. After Zoey, I couldn’t take birth control at all without having a period for 2 weeks at a time (not exaggerating). For me, birth control is off the table. For you, it might be a great resource. For most women with PCOS, it is really great. Talk to your doctor.
Women with PCOS are typically prone to high blood sugar and falling into a pre-diabetic range. I can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure your blood sugar is in check. With that, you will need to consider how you eat on a daily basis. The best thing you can do is start looking at a low-glycemic index lifestyle. This is going to help you keep blood sugar levels regulated, possibly help you lose weight, and for some women, it helps regulate their cycles and even helps them ovulate. I personally pay attention to the glycemic index of foods as much as I can, but wouldn’t you know it, I’m not typical… my blood sugar already runs low. I’m more hypoglycemic. I still have to really watch what I eat and keep my blood sugar stable, but I often find I have to bring it up instead of down. That said, it’s really important to eat throughout the day for sugar balance… as in every three hours. If you’re struggling big time with weight and PCOS, I would greatly recommend you find a nutritionist to talk to who can help you get on a specific meal plan for you. I’m not an advocate of fad diets because I feel like they set you up to fail. They’re in place to get you to “lose weight fast”, which isn’t practical in my opinion, and they don’t really teach you how to change your life with food. Counting calories and fat is not what you need. A balanced diet with whole foods that your body can process and break down in a healthy way is where it’s at. An awesome resource with information on how glycemic index impacts your PCOS: Your PCOS Diet. Also, I have a Pinterest board where I save things that inspire me to eat better: Eating for PCOS
I was on Metformin once upon a time (twice, actually) and we figured out that it’s a huge mistake for me. Back in 2009, I was on it to help conceive my daughter and I didn’t have much trouble with it, other than the usual stomach issues that come with Metformin. At the end of 2013 and early 2014, I was back on it and wouldn’t you know, I had an incident where my sugar levels plummeted in public and I fainted at a restaurant… not good. My doctor yanked me off of it immediately and I’ll never go back on it! That said, I’m obviously a freak (ha!) and I can’t tell you how many women I know swear it’s a miracle drug for them. Talk to your doctor on whether it’s a good option for you. However, keep in mind that Metformin really pairs best with a low-glycemic index lifestyle, so if you go on it, consider making a huge change in how you eat as well. All that pasta is not your best friend (I know, don’t hate me). For information on Metformin and PCOS, check out Metformin for PCOS.
This is where I personally stand right now. We tried to conceive #2 for 2 years and in February decided to take a break. In the meantime, I am taking natural supplements to hopefully help boost my fertility and regulate my cycles. I gave an update in this post: Quick Update: Maca & L-Arginine are Working (I Think). For more specifics on what I take and why, you can check out this post: More Natural Ways to Improve Your Uterine and Ovarian Health. The #1 resource I rely on for all my information regarding natural remedies for PCOS is this: Natural Fertility Info. I love that website. If you click on that link, it’ll lead you to everywhere the site mentions PCOS. Some people say natural remedies do nothing for them. For me, it’s worth a try. We’re not actively trying right now (obviously not preventing) so I’m just hoping they help get my body on track in some way. Ultimately, I’d love to be able to conceive without fertility medication. For now, I can’t just stand by and do nothing… this is my way of doing something… even if we’re not tracking anything or trying to time things perfectly.
That’s it for now. As always, send me a message if you need to talk or ask questions. I may not have all the answers, but I will sure try to help you find them! Also, consider following me on Twitter! I try to share additional resources there – there’s a lot of great info out there for PCOS and infertility, and I try to share as much as I can through Twitter.