In honour of PCOS awareness month I thought I would share my story and what I did to help my PCOS. First off, what is PCOS?
PCOS is a very common metabolic, hormone and reproductive disorder that affects anywhere from 10% to 21% of women in some parts of the world. The disorder is characterized as a constellation of symptoms that can impact multiple aspects of a woman’s life and health, including metabolic, reproductive and mental and psychosocial health.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which the ovaries produce an abnormal amount of androgens, male sex hormones that are usually present in women in small amounts. The name polycystic ovary syndrome describes the numerous small cysts (fluid-filled sacs) that form in the ovaries.
PCOS is most commonly diagnosed if there are two or three of the following:
Irregular periods or ovulation
Blood work showing symptoms of high androgens such as acne or excessive facial or body hair
An ultrasound showing polycystic ovaries (multiple immature follicles in the ovary)
There is also a long list of symptoms and disorders that are linked to PCOS such as insulin resistance, weight gain, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, body image issues, pregnancy-related complications, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, endometrial cancer, infertility, and many more. In fact, due to irregular ovulation, PCOS is the most common cause of infertility in women.
For those of you who don't know me my name is Jessica Linardi, owner of Natural Lash & Defined Beauty. I am a woman with PCOS, the most common hormone disorders in women. At the age of 19 years old I was noticing some changes with my body, health and appearance. I did some blood work and was told I have PCOS. Throughout my twenties I was always up and down 20-25 lbs with my weight. I would gain it then lose it in ways I am not proud of nor were healthy. At the age of 27 I said to myself I want to lose weight in a healthy way and keep it off this time. I made a promise to myself I was going to do it the right way. I am very big on reading and feeding the mind with positivity so we should do the same to our body. Right? Fuel it with good food and vitamins. So that is what I did! Since then I been able to keep the weight off. I saw many naturopathic doctors to help control my PCOS and have done the metabolic balance program. I have been doing everything I can to help regulate my hormones , taking all the right vitamins, (I encourage you to do some researches on PCOS supplements. Different supplements target different PCOS symptoms. Everyone might need something different. Eating healthy food to help keep my weight stable and not fluctuating. I have added Inositol to my vitamin collection. In this blog I go over all the benefits and my journey!
When I found out I had PCOS the Doctor wanted to put me on birth control. I am not against it, but it wasn't something I wanted to take. I did so much research and bought books about PCOS. I was very interested in this and wanted to do what my body needed to help with it. I followed other bloggers, was on email lists and followed anyone I saw on instagram who had something to say about PCOS. Next I went to naturopathic doctors with my blood work to help regulate my period.
One word I hate "dieting". If you have PCOS, then chances are you crave sugar like an addict. I love sugar! I have no interest in anything salty. Candy and ice cream for me! PCOS does not like sugar! Your body has no idea what to do with insulin. I tried to eliminate sugar and add more healthy foods. Fish (which I never liked until 3 years ago) more fruit, nuts and such.
I always enjoyed working out since I was in high school. It's my happy place. Listening to music which I love while moving the body. My all time favourite thing is my peloton bike! I love riding, in fact I got the bike during the third lockdown March 2021, and thankfully I did. It helped me so much to stay sane and release some stress.
After a lengthly dedication of self-care I have got a regular period, down 20lbs, barely have sugar cravings and feel so much happier. Keep in mind this did not happen over night!
Here are some benefits of a product that I take daily and recommend. (Please do your own research and talk to a doctor to see what is the right strategy for you)
The Benefits Of Inositol
Inositol is also used by mouth for treating conditions associated with polycystic ovary syndrome, including failure to ovulate; high blood pressure; high triglycerides; and high levels of testosterone.
How does it work?
Inositol might balance certain chemicals in the body to possibly help with conditions such as panic disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition in which a woman has hormonal imbalances, leading to ovarian cysts and irregular menstrual cycles. There are many symptoms of PCOS, as it is a syndrome and many women suffer from different symptoms. Some include weight gain, high blood sugar, insulin resistance, facial hair, cystic acne and ovarian cysts. Inositol has been studied on women with PCOS and has shown that it may improve symptoms of PCOS, particularly insulin function.
One study showed improvement in insulin function, which has a cascade effect on the body’s hormonal function. Research has shown that inositol has improved ovulation in women with fertility issues by up to 62%.
Inositol has also shown to decrease the chances for chronic disease such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Metabolic syndrome is comprised of many precursors to chronic diseases. Some conditions of metabolic syndrome include excess fat around the stomach, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol and high blood sugar and blood pressure.
In one study, depressive symptoms in patients were associated with reduced levels of inositol, which is a finding that is consistent with other studies on patients with depression. The study shows that low levels of inositol may be a biomarker for depression. Supplementing with inositol significantly improves symptoms of depression. The inositol dosage varies widely depending on the needs of the individual. It is best to start with doses of 14-18 grams daily.
Inositol has had promising studies on its benefits with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD is a type of anxiety disorder that manifests as unwanted and recurrent thoughts and behaviors. One study found that inositol was able to reduce symptoms of OCD significantly as well as the usually prescribed medication. Inositol had no side effects on patients with this condition.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a condition in which women experience severe symptoms of depression, irritability, tension and pain during their menstrual cycles. Some women who suffer from PMDD experience symptoms that can disrupt their social and occupational life. It is a more severe case of PMS.
One study compared the effects of inositol to fluvoxamine, a common antidepressant used to treat panic disorders. There were twenty patients in the study and each of them had panic attacks consistently. They took 18 g of inositol every day for one month, and then took 150 mg of fluvoxamine for another month.
Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating disorder is a condition in which a person may restrict themselves from eating for a period of time, followed by a binge eating episode to compensate for the restrictive behavior. There has been research that shows that inositol supplementation can help with treating binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa, which is the result of purging after the binge.
Pregnant women with high blood sugar during pregnancy have gestational diabetes. Some factors that make women at increased risk include PCOS, type 2 diabetes, obesity, excessive weight gain during pregnancy, and already having given birth to a baby over 9 pounds. Women are typically advised to change their diet or they may need to take blood sugar medication.
Inositol reduces the risk of gestational diabetes. One study showed women who were overweight and pregnant took inositol powder throughout their pregnancy and had 67% lower risk of gestational diabetes than those who did not. Other studies showed how inositol reduced the risk of gestational diabetes in women with PCOS and in women who had a family history of type 2 diabetes.