Great news and hope, ladies.
Today, March 16th, was the day I got my period back since around the same time this past November! Sheesh!
I have been writing on the forum comments about my personal experiences, experimentation, and results, and this is what I found to be very important over these past few years. These are my tips for ladies with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome/PCOS after years of experience and experimentation:
- High-Carbohydrate, low-fat diet
- Eating lots of bananas have personally helped me get my period, believe it or not, and bananas apparently help with period pain! Score!
- Too much of an insulin spike in banana smoothies? Try combining them with greens! Spinach, choy sum, romaine, arugula! Possibilities are endless, and I feel like greens are essential in us ladies getting a period.
- Eating over 2500 calories a day, or eating 10g CHO/kg of body weight. I have been averaging around 2700-2800cals weekly, and I am a very short girl!
- Eating fat, but eating minimal amounts of it! There are some days I go without eating fat, but for some reason, I feel better at the moment eating some overts (ex. 1/3 an avocado during dinner time 2x a week, than eating none.)
- I have fallen off the wagon at least 1x a week since mid-February, and I somehow still majestically got my period. The catch is that I have eaten high-carb starchy vegetables like cassava/yucca and sweet potatoes; grains like brown rice (these make me moody, and may make you moody, too so beware); and all sorts of beans and bean concoctions such as black beans, pidgeon peas, lentils, fava beans, and chickpeas and hummus made from chickpeas (I did so with olive oil; big boo boo and double no no... I felt so DEPRESSED after..).
- Thus..... if you restrict your calories, you may not get your period. The times I have gotten my period, I have eaten insanely and with no restriction on my carbs. I had no period when I restricted and during the winter, when you need more calories to keep warm--meaning....... if I didn't eat enough calories in the winter because I was eating what I normally ate in the summer, I was unintentionally restricting! Get it?
- Eat Your Leafy Greens and Veggies
- This is really important. It seems that green juices, vegetable juices, beet/carrot juice concoctions help in gaining a period. Why? I believe it is because we women with PCOS may be low in our minerals such as zinc, iron, selenium, chromium, copper, and magnesium. Chromium has been associated with blood sugar and insulin receptors. (I don't go crazy in managing this stuff, I just eat fruits and veggies until I am no longer hungry and satisfied. If I have a crazy for a particular vegetable I take it as a a sign and eat tons).
- Eat lots of leafy greens, make green smoothies!
- If necessary, drink veggie juices until you get the hand of eating more veggies. Note*: veggie juices are NOT promoted on 30BaD. But heck, they still follow LFRV guidelines, so I do them occasionally when I feel in the mood or think I need them.
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin D is virtually used by every cell in your body and essentially acts as a hormone in your body. What happens when a hormone is missing in the human body? Things get out of wack, female/menstrual hormones included.
- Vitamin D has been associated with insulin sensitivity and resistance, resistance being common in PCOS/MCOS. The more stable my vitamin D levels are/were, the more likely it was for me to get my period, I realized (and the happier I was)!
- My period was wonderful during the summer months and whenever I was in a sunny environment, and most recently, it was light and practically nonexistent during the winter. We get more vitamin D with the summer sun, so this made me think.
- As soon as I implemented my D3 regiment of a few thousand IU this past summer 2011, I got a period.
- Vitamin B12
- I have yet to figure out the connection involving this, but all I know is that:
- I lost weight as soon as I started supplementing with B12 and really doing LFRV the summer of 2011
- I feel so much happier and better able to concentrate; we women with hormonal issues tend to get depressed and tend to have that foggy brain and lack of concentration.
- ...is crucial! Hydrates, Cleanses, and Helps things flow!
- Drinking 3L+ a day is crucial (I drink 3-5L depending on thirst)
- I get super moody when I don't drink water. I found that I am not overly emotional, I just need tons of water. This may be the same for you!
- Make sure to drink tons of water before banana smoothies so you will be less affected by that insulin spike. I used to always need a nap after smoothies/sugar. Now I get loads of energy!
- I may be feeling my period coming, but if I don't get proper sleep, my period will take longer to come or may not come, until I finally get some sleep.
- Falling asleep earlier helps also with regulating hormones. This is my weakest link, but I have been in bed lately at 10:30-11:30ish, and apparently this has been helping!
I suggest falling asleep earlier, like at 8pm or 9pm, if you can.
- Helps with insulin resistance and makes us more insulin sensitive, so women with this issue, work a bit of a sweat, even if it is for 20 minutes a day. Something is something. Personally, I have just been doing some jogging and strides to the super market and back a few times a week, and that has been working wonders on my mood, body weight, and period!
- Helps with stress!!!
- Stress Relief
- When I have been awfully stressed (ex. this past winter), I did NOT get my period. Lately, after implementing a more happy and stress-free approach to life, I have felt much lighter... and voila! A period!
- When you are stressed, you burn more calories and you use up more vitamins such as vitamin C and B family vitamins, found abundantly in fruits and vegetables. Eat more to gain more. This is the same for when you are on your menstrual cycle.
- Stress also negatively interferes with your hormones, and from what I remember, causes more of those male hormones to take play in your body..... (someone correct me if I am mistaken) something we women with PCOS/MCOS tend to have.
- If you miss a cycle, do NOT--I repeat--do NOT stress! Just be happy! Your body is slowly regulating at its pace. Be patient with yourself and the wonder if your body!
- Eating too much leads to insulin resistance.
- Don't eat more than 10% a day. I personally average a good 5-7% a week.
- Gourmet meals will give you pimples, make you feel foggy-minded, and affect your concentration. Not to mention that it may give you body odor.
- When choosing between high-fat gourmet and low-fat cooked, choose the low-fat cooked... minimal salt. I do this now instead of gourmet... gosh, what a difference in my overall mood and personality..... not to mention I am less pimply.
- Water Retention & Salt
- Minimize and/or eliminate salt for less water retention, as we women with PCOS/MCOS tend to easily retain lots of water.
- This especially helps with edema, bloating, and water retention in the face, abdominal, and thigh areas.
- This really helps when you get your period, too. (This is the first period I have that I do not retain a good 3-5 pounds of excess water and look overweight. My face is barely puffed up! I highly believe this is due to my great reduction in salt, to the point of almost eliminating it completely from my diet.)
- Finally, if you want to lose weight and want a period, I suggest you carb up, but since we women with these conditions tend to be sensitive to insulin spikes, salt, etc. I suggest focusing on whole foods such as
- fruits such as bananas (if necessary, at the beginning, blended with greens for less of an insulin spike), mangoes, persimmons, grapes, and lots of berries!
- If you are transitioning or are low on fruit or just simply crave cooked food and cannot resist go for... high-carbohydrate foods, such as cassava/yucca, sweet potatoes, batata, plantains, sweet plantains, yam!
- Avoid the refined stuff such as:
- White rice (Go for brown for less of an insulin spike, less of a bad mood, and less of a crash)
- Bread and gluten, especially white bread--evil!...... these will stick to your insides and you will have a heck of an emotional roller coaster ride.... stay raw for a while and you will see what I mean. (I got my first cold in a year experimenting with gluten 2 weeks ago. Banana island cured it :D )
- Dates that have been processed to oblivion and have been heated and have added sugar in them.
- Dried fruit (for now at least, or have minimal amounts).
- Finally, in my honest opinion, also avoid:
- potatoes, if possible and as REASONABLE, as for some reason, and the experience of other women, this causes more crazy moods and crash, not to mention water weight retention (most probably because of the salt added). If you don't have food or have not eaten, eat them of course!
Other factors to consider: medications, most especially birth control, and the time frame you have been on/off them (it may take a few months to a year or so for this to sort out... don't worry, it will) thyroid issues/ iodine supplementation; past traumas; pesticides, additives, chemicals, air quality, water quality, and overall pollution; perfumes; negative people and situations in your life; etc.
I hope these tips are useful for you women out there experiencing PCOS and hormonal issues. Please remember that hormonal issues take time, and heck, even I am not 100% regular yet, but I am more regular and the healthiest I have ever been for sure. I even glow! The weight will come off, but be patient. We have done our bodies so much damage in the past; it takes time to recover.
It has taken me almost 4 years since I was 18 to get to where I am today, and that is just when I started experimenting with a better diet. It excludes the time I had been researching for a cure. Love yourself enough to give yourself the time you need to heal and progress. If need be, experiment with the above, and I am positive you will come up with similar if not identical results, especially if you are at your beginning stages. I experimented and gave my body a chance to heal, and I am so happy I did. Looking back, I have gotten my menstrual cycle around 8 to 9 times naturally without hormones or herbal meds last year in 2011 as opposed to 0 times from when I first had my period.
I am still on my journey, and continuously learning. I am more than happy to assist others in their journey as well, as helping others helps me to learn more about myself and about this "condition" so to say.
Spread the word to family, friends, and anyone else who may need some guidance with PCOS. Please direct them to this forum and to this discussion. The message needs to get out. There is a cure for PCOS! Have faith.
With love always,