In my mid 20s I was diagnosed with a condition known as PCOS.
This is polycystic ovarian syndrome. It is by far the most common endocrine disorder affecting women, affecting as many as 10-20% (and up to 30% of South Asian) women. Even though that’s a big chunk of half the population, the sad truth is that doctors know very little about it or how to treat it.
To make things more difficult, the birth control pill masks this, and up to 75% of women who have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome don’t even know it!
In my case I was not diagnosed with this until nearly 25…and only by sheer luck..thanks to a Middle Eastern doctor who was more familiar with this condition. My earlier tests and lab work came out fine, which is quite common since doctors often test for extremes. Contrary to what is present in most medical information, there is no one classic case of symptoms.
Even after diagnosis, I was never counseled about the connection between hormones and blood sugar, or how critical these factors are for every area of health.
Doctors assumed that because I was not overweight, I was not insulin resistant – and “other than my period” I was fine.
Like many women with this condition I was given a “take the birth control for life and call me if you want to get pregnant” diagnosis
Prescriptions seemed like an unnecessary band aid solution and the side effects grew tiresome quickly. But I was getting frustrated trying to “figure this out” on my own. But around this time I read a comment on an unrelated fitness blog with the words “The PCOS Diet”.
Those 3 words changed my life. What did PCOS have to do with diet? I thought it was a reproductive disorder. After all the name has the word ovaries in it.
I became intrigued…and then obsessed. I read every article, book, and message board on Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I poured over peer reviewed medical journals. I took classes in western herbs. I literally deconstructed the Chinese herbal blend from my acupuncturist and researched every ingredient.
Through persistence and trial and error, I found ways to “fix” my issues through diet, supplements, and herbs.
After much trial and error I achieved success. My energy shot up. My skin cleared up. My cycle became like clockwork. My uncontrollable sugar cravings/carbohydrate binging became manageable.
I stopped having crippling PMS. I stopped being constantly exhausted. I found holistic ways to treat my minor depression.
I became a passionate student and expert of all things related to hormones, herbs, and functional foods. I stopped saying “well if I can even have kids”. I stopped thinking I could never start a business or go for a VP title because I was already so tired.
And most importantly I felt IN CONTROL of my life and my health. I knew what my month was going to look like and how to manage my mood and energy levels.
Looking back, it seems silly that as little as a few years ago I had no idea of the connection between hormones, sugar, food, and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or how simple interventions could change my life. At the time I assumed everyone knew this stuff and that I was just ignorant. I soon realized how important hormone health is and how little it is discussed.
If you can relate to any of the above I welcome you and want to help you.