I suppose that this one is more of a story than any real advice I would feel comfortable offering.
It is essentially how I had to change my life.
Back in 2013, I went to my doctors appointment with no idea that my lifestyle would change the second I left her office. I wish I could say it was because of her labelling me as an ‘obese’ 19-year-old. Because that’s something that can be fixed.
Instead she told me something that I couldn’t fix. She diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a very common yet completely misunderstood disorder among women of the Western world.
It is also the leading cause of infertility among women.
Now this isn’t a plea for sympathy. I accepted my diagnosis (and it’s accompanying bad luck) three years ago.
PCOS is a very ‘systematic’ disorder, but women rarely experience all the symptoms. Most of the time, those diagnosed are effected by a few of them.
One of my symptoms is my body’s ability to put on weight VERY quickly and it doesn’t like to let go of it.
If you have read my other blogs, you will know that, with food, my rule of thumb is balance (you can reread this post here). So, not only does this fit in perfectly with my lifestyle, but PCOS has profound impacts on my body’s insulin resistance, which makes balance not only important, but essential, if I want to prevent any unwanted weight gains. My body takes longer to process any ‘messages’ from insulin which results in my blood sugar elevations to be prolonged. In short, my body’s fat cells are extremely resistant to insulin.
To top all of this off, PCOS is renound for causing food sensitivities. (Yay!)
I underwent several blood tests to discover I had an intolerance to gluten and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). After 19 years or indulging in bread, pastries and pasta without a second thought.. it was a very sad goodbye.
The diagnosis of PCOS, gluten intolerance and IBS, although a shock, forced me to begin to lead a more proactive and healthy lifestyle. I had to change my diet, start to exercise more frequently to try and manage my weight (something that is still very difficult for me to do today).
This brings me to the point of this blog. My wonderful doctor gave me some advice that I won’t forget: hormones, food and inflammation cannot be ignored. You need to listen to your body. Whether it be stomach pains, frequent headaches, a pain in your lower back or even cramps. They aren’t normal bodily functions. Prolonging them isn’t going to fix anything.
Knowledge is power. If you want to know what your body is doing you need to get help from a professional. Knowing how to treat or manage any form of diagnosis is the biggest relief.
I know it was for me.
Sometimes discussing a diagnosis can be uncomfortable. For anyone who wants to, I am happy to chat. Especially for those of you who are silently suffering PCOS.
Your health is extremely important. Please look after yourselves!