Treating PCOS naturally
by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist
Client name and identifying information changed
Gail was a head-strong business woman with an ideal of how she wanted her life to play out, but things weren’t going to plan. Gail had worked hard to build her empire and assets so that she could step back from work and financial stress and have her first child by the age of 28.
However, Gail was 32 when she saw me and felt life’s clock was ticking by without being able to fall pregnant. Gail hardly had any periods, which at first seemed to be a good thing for her, but not when she was trying to conceive.
Distracted by her heavy work load Gail didn’t get medically checked for some time, but just prior to seeing me the first time she saw a doctor who diagnosed PCOS. Gail wasn’t a typical PCOS sufferer; she was not overweight, had no facial hair or other outward signs of PCOS, but she was often very tired and ran herself on adrenaline with help from lots of coffee with sugar, and ‘energy drinks’.
Gail was one of those PCOS women who drive themselves with masculine energy and push their stress hormones to the edge. She was ‘the boss’ – at work, the gym and home. While there’s nothing wrong with being in control of your life, pushing yourself too hard can have its consequences. For Gail, it definitely affected her hormones.
Reviewing Gail’s diet, I could see there was room for improvement, even though it was relatively healthy. Being a gym junkie, Gail drank protein shakes made with whey and mixed with milk. Because this was a potential testosterone driver, I suggested replacing the protein shakes with a protein rich breakfast after her workout and to be mindful not to push herself too hard at the gym.
Gluten and other grain products were dropped, in exchange for more vegetables, salads and quality proteins. For snacks Gail had coconut oil and berries (her choice from the list I provided).
The coffee, sugar and soft drinks (sodas) had to go as these drained her adrenal glands (stress hormones) and most likely created an insulin problem. Instead she had herbal teas, mineral water or plain water with lime juice.
My big challenge was to convince Gail that she needed to look at how she lived her life in such a driven way…and to do something about it. Fortunately, she was determined to do what was needed so she would be healthy enough to have a baby.
Gail progressed well with her diet, and I saw her weekly initially to check how she was progressing with being more gentle and kind to herself and less rushed and racy. It took a while, but eventually something clicked and she realised what she needed to do.
Gail let go of some tasks and delegated more, rather than attempt to do everything herself. I also encouraged her to speak up for herself in a loving way, rather than react to situations.
One day Gail came in and was proud of herself for how she handled a situation and wondered why she hadn’t been doing this forever. In her words, “Life is so much easier now”.
The other thing we discussed was for her to observe (feel) her body in response to certain foods. Up to that point she was unaware that she had any digestive complaints because she was too busy to notice.
Gail then became more aware of, and in touch with her body, and felt when a food didn’t agree with her. That way Gail refined her diet a little more to one that suited her exactly. Within three months she was having a normal period and two months later she was pregnant.
Gail had two healthy children and now works part-time and loves her life. She was pleased she was diagnosed with PCOS because it helped her to realise that was her body’s way of talking to her so that she could make the changes necessary to have a healthy body, healthy babies and of course a better and more harmonious way of life.