Hello everyone, Today I’m going to share my experience with PCOS, and how my resilience, will power and lifestyle helped me handle PCOS, weight gain, fertility and pregnancies. I was detected with PCOS when I was prepping for my medical exams. I was around 17, and I weighed 77-80 kg. With 12-14 hours of studying, I led a sedentary lifestyle. Add to that, my sweet tooth and my mom’s extraordinary baking skills, it was quite an unhealthy combination! I remember shopping for my college wardrobe, and I recall trying 36-inch jeans and thinking to myself…THIS IS NOT RIGHT for my age!
It was only when I started having discerning facial hair that my elder sister said I needed to be evaluated for PCOS. I consulted an endocrinologist who put me on heavy medication, including steroids. I wasn’t informed about the side effects of the medication and living in a small city back then, and I had no access to a dietician or nutritionist.
But my mom put me on a fitness routine. Without realising that my knees can’t bear an intense cardio workout, I took it up quite enthusiastically. Soon, I sprained my back and ankle. Then, I met a yoga instructor with whom I started slowly learning a few asanas, and till date, I practise yoga.
I was very confident as a kid, but my facial hair started bothering me as they were very unnatural and covered my lower face. Slowly, I started noticing stretch marks on my body too. I must emphasise, PCOS was very new and there weren’t any professionals to guide me. On a trip to Delhi, I came across a book on nutrition… and that was my introduction to diet and its impact on hormonal balances like PCOS. I understood the basics like “eating fruit is better than juice. Initially, I used to drink 2 glasses of orange juice, thinking it’s a good source of vitamin C.
I entered medical school and got encouraged further to study more on the subject. It was in medical school that I realised my first doctor had put on hormonal medications along with steroids without sharing complete information. I didn’t know it was imperative not to skip meds and slowly discontinue to avoid addiction or Cushing’s syndrome, a common side effect of using steroids. I was devastated and that when I got diagnosed hypothyroid at the age of 18! That was a huge wakeup call for me.
I started consulting a renowned endocrinologist in Delhi who studied my case correctly and put me on appropriate medication. I was also more informed this time and made simple, but effective changes in my diet. I worked out (despite my weak back) , took care of my diet, and my body started to recover.
Simple changes in diet that can lead to big changes:-
A low carb intake Eating leafy greens, vegetables, seasonal fruits, green juices and smoothie bowls
Reducing wheat, sugar, dairy products
Supplements as well as nuts, seeds
I was on medication like Metformin and OCP for a long time but it did benefit me.
Fertility and PCOD
During my college years, some doctors did bring up infertility which worried my parents. My relatives even suggested I get married earlier in case I need assistance like IUI or IVF. But it was my commitment towards my diet and my workout routine that kept me going. I was blessed with two babies without any fertility treatments, and even the weight I gained in every pregnancy (25 kilos), was lost naturally. To this day, I take medicine for hypothyroidism, but PCOD is under control.
I hope this post inspires you to manage your diet and lifestyle. Stay tuned to more expert discussions that’ll help you become a PCOD warrior.