If you’ve struggled with any of the symptoms that PCOS has to offer, then you understand just how frustrating it is to have so few resources to manage your condition. Amiright?
I don’t know about you, but when I was first diagnosed with PCOS, I was told with a shrug of the shoulders that it wouldn’t really affect my life and was kind of just shuffled out the door. They didn’t give me any advice, because, at the time, there was virtually no research and no way to treat or manage PCOS symptoms.
The Top 5 Ways To Help Control PCOS Symptoms
After more than 20 years on the rollercoaster ride that is PCOS, from weight gain to fertility struggles, I’ve narrowed down a few ways to make things a little bit more manageable and I wanted to share them with you today. Before we get into the top 5 ways to control PCOS symptoms, let’s do a quick rundown of the symptoms.
- weight gain
- brain fog
- painful periods
- unwanted hair growth
- irregular menses
- mood swings
Despite the growing number of women struggling with PCOS in the United States (over 6 million), there is still so much speculation about how it all works, what causes it, and how to manage the symptoms. So frustrating!
The good news is, there are so many drugs now that can be used to help regulate periods, control acne and reduce hair growth. But, many of these have side effects and may not even necessarily improve any symptoms.
For me, after trying birth control, spironolactone, and metformin, and suffering horrible side effects from each one, I abandoned the idea of pharmaceuticals completely and starting looking for alternative therapies. So those are what I am going to focus on sharing today!
I know how frustrating it can be to feel like you have no tools or resources when you’re struggling with these issues. In my opinion, pharmaceuticals are not the only option. And in fact, in some cases (like mine) they actually make things worse. Before you get discouraged, let me tell you, I have some great options to share with you if you are in a similar situation!
There still isn’t a lot of research surrounding the treatment of PCOS, and of course, I’m not a doctor. But, I still want to share what has personally worked for me, in case it might help you or someone else that you know.
If weight gain or unwanted hair growth is a concern for you, I have a super exciting supplement to share! You may not have heard of it yet, I know I hadn’t until a few years ago, and I’m so glad I found out about this one!
It’s an all-natural alternative that may work just as well as Metformin for controlling blood sugar for some women, called Berberine. I swear by this supplement!
Berberine is an ancient supplement that has been used for thousands of years in China for the treatment of diabetes and infertility. It helps to lower insulin levels and glucose levels and may also help with many other PCOS related symptoms.
Although I had never heard of this one prior to our struggle with infertility, this is one supplement that I now take every day and the ONLY thing to really make a huge difference in my unwanted hair growth. Here are a few more of the potential benefits of this ancient supplement:
- Lowers testosterone
- Improves non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Improves pregnancy and fertility
- Anti-cancer treatment
- Lowers high blood pressure
When it comes to unwanted hair growth, there is hardly anything more frustrating than feeling like there is no way to get rid of it! Right? One supplement that may surprise you that I swear actually WORKS is spearmint tea!
I was so surprised to learn that by drinking spearmint tea, you can reduce free testosterone levels by up to 30% in just one month. I was totally skeptical, but I have to say, it actually works, you guys. And spearmint tea isn’t just great for reversing unwanted hair growth, it has a myriad of other benefits as well! Crazy right?
Spearmint Tea is a great all-natural remedy for:
- Cystic acne
- Hormonal imbalances
Another supplement that I had never heard of until our infertility struggle began was Ovasitol. I did a lot of research about this and discovered that the ratios of myo-inositol to D-chiro inositol are super important. Our body naturally produces them in a 40:1 ratio. This was the only supplement I found with the correct ratios and is the single best supplement that I have found for improving fertility in people with PCOS.
My doctor even prescribed it for me during our fertility treatments after I had a horrible reaction to Metformin. Imagine his surprise when I told him that I had already been taking it before he had prescribed Metformin, and with zero side effects! Needless to say, I was so happy to go back to taking it, and even happier knowing that my doctor had recommended it as an equal substitute for a drug that I didn’t want to take anyway!
I personally love it, and never go a day without taking it. It gives me great energy and definitely helps me to avoid those crazy up and down hunger swings throughout the day. Knowing it helps my fertility is just a bonus.
The benefits of Inositol are:
- promotes healthy ovarian function
- supports normal hormone levels
- promotes menstrual regularity
- promotes insulin sensitivity
One of the best things in my journey has been to eliminate inflammatory foods. For me, those foods are gluten, dairy, sugar, and soy. You may have heard this before and kind of ignored the advice (I know I did) but eliminating these foods has literally changed my life so much.
I also try to limit my caffeine intake, which as much as I hate to admit it, honestly helps so much to reduce my anxiety. But, just by eliminating gluten and dairy, to begin with, the horrible cystic acne that I had struggled with for years was virtually eliminated.
This is the single biggest recommendation I have for people struggling with unexplained chronic illness of any kind. Do an elimination diet. I know you probably don’t want to, but seriously, just do it. You will never realize how amazing you can feel until you’ve eliminated the foods that are causing you problems.
Starting with a Whole30 challenge is an amazing place to begin because there are so many resources and tips to support you in figuring out how to eat on an elimination diet. And, most importantly, how to determine how to add certain foods back into your diet and which of them you can tolerate.
It wasn’t until my husband and I started trying to have a baby that I realized that just decreasing my inflammation levels and balancing my hormones wasn’t going to be enough. That’s when I discovered keto.
Are you a fellow child of the 80’s or 90’s? As a child in the 90’s, I grew up eating a low-fat diet, maybe you did too? I ate tons of whole grain foods, including lots of whole wheat (which now we know, is also a severe allergen for many people.)
Besides wreaking havoc on my gut, this caused a whole host of other blood sugar issues that I struggled with every day for about two decades. That is until I watched The Magic Pill. That’s when I first started to wonder if a keto diet could work for me!
The Magic Pill
I was initially terrified to start adding more healthy fats into my diet because I’ve always struggled so much with my weight. But, by decreasing my carbohydrate intake and increasing healthy fats (which used to terrify me so much) I’ve been able to finally kick the brain fog and fatigue (and most importantly, the crazy mood swings) that have plagued me for decades.
The best part of keto though, for me, is that the carb cravings that used to rule my life are under control for the first time ever. I used to be completely unable to leave the house without almonds in my purse, for fear of a “hangry” meltdown, and nowadays that word isn’t even in my vocabulary.
Low Carb Diets
It’s worth pointing out that many people on keto diets keep their carbs somewhere around 20 grams per, depending on their weight, which can seem totally unattainable, especially for those just starting out. So, I do want to mention that I’ve seen significant improvements just by keeping my carbs around 50 grams per day, and even up to 100 grams on days that I do high-intensity exercise.
Just a heads up, it can be a bad idea to do a super low carb diet if you have any thyroid or adrenal issues, as it can be too taxing on your system. So of course, you always want to check with a doctor before starting any diet, just to make sure it’s a good fit for your own personal bio-individuality.
High-intensity training is another non-negotiable in my routine. I probably don’t need to even explain the research, but a high-intensity workout is one of the best things that you can do to help combat insulin resistance and weight gain.
For women with PCOS, it can also help to lower testosterone levels, which in turn, helps to decrease fat, acne, and unwanted hair growth. And of course, we can’t forget the mood benefits! My personal favorite HIIT workout is Orange Theory Fitness, but I definitely believe that you have to find something that you look forward to doing, or you won’t stick to it!
Share Your Tips
Well, I really hope that these tips will help you if you are struggling with PCOS, hormonal imbalances, or any of these symptoms. Did I leave something out? Did you love one of the tips that I shared?
One Last Period Cramp Update
If there is anything that has been a huge help to you, or if you have helpful tips of your own to share with me, please reach out and let me know! I would love to share your experience and any tips you have within our community!
If you liked this article, you might also like to read about one of the newest things I’ve been using to knock out period cramps! Read about 6 more benefits of CBD oil here!