What is PCOS?
PCOS is Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome.
Its one of the most common hormonal endocrine disorders in women. PCOS has been recognized and diagnosed for seventy-five years. There are many signs and symptoms that a woman may experience. Since PCOS cannot be diagnosed with one test alone and symptoms vary from woman to woman. Most women with PCOS grow many small cysts on their ovaries. The body may have a problem using insulin, called insulin resistance. When the body doesn’t use insulin well, blood sugar levels go up. Over time, this increases your chance of getting diabetes
Here is a video: What is PCOS Video – the PCOS foundation
I’m a super responder.
I was told by the clinic I have “PCOS”, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. The only thing about this syndrome is that it’s a spectrum.
In early 2000’s, the medical community got together and put together three criteria and in order to be diagnosed with PCOS you needed two out of three criteria to qualify.
- My cycles are anywhere from 30-50 days and totally random. I can kind of predict but not really. So the idea of aim and fire doesn’t apply to me, as I don’t know when to “aim and fire”.
- Cystic Acne (but who doesn’t have acne?!)
- Difficulty getting pregnant (because of irregular ovulation or failure to ovulate) We actually have not been able to fully determine if a ovulate all the time on my own.
- When I’m given hormones for fertility I respond by making LOTS of eggs. I’m called a “super responder” to the medications because I produce a mass amount of follicles. This is typical in cystic ovaries.
I’ve been called PCOS, the skinny type. Often women are overweight and have weight around their belly. I don’t have this.
How is PCOS treated?
In reality, it’s not really “treated” by the medical community, it needs help from other forms of alternative holistic medicine. For me, the clinic has never treated the diagnosis. Meaning, the underlying factors have not looked into. The diagnosis has been taken into account for the fertility medical/medication protocol. It’s not that they clinic doesn’t or can’t treat it, but they have one job, that is to get you pregnant, that is what the health care system pays for. Our health-care is about treating the ‘disease’ and not about prevention. This is obvious for anyone dealing with the Ontario/Canada system. As my doctor put it, she is a complete believer of FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE but within the clinic right now the facilities are not there to treat PCOS and infertility from this angle. This is why it’s important to be your own patient advocate.
What is supposed to help is:
“Regular exercise, healthy foods (low sugar, gluten & dairy) and weight control are said to be the key treatments for PCOS. Treatment can reduce unpleasant symptoms and help prevent long-term health problems” along with alternative therapy treatments, such as naturopath and acupuncture.
My own self-diagnosis?
While its nice that I was officially given a diagnosis of PCOS, but my unofficial self-diagnosis is that my body just forgot how fertility works and is now having trouble remembering. I also believe there are more underlying issues that have never been looked into. According to the symptoms, I have PCOS, but my question has always been, what are the REASONS for these symptoms? This is something that the medical community has not been able to answer which is another reason why I don’t believe in the diagnosis. From what I have found, PCOS is an umbrella diagnosis. Often used as a blanket diagnosis for a lot of women and over diagnosed.
Since this a syndrome, the actual symptoms are wide-ranging, but typically fall into four different types.
- Insulin Resistant PCOS
- Pill-Induced PCOS or Post-Pill PCOS
- Inflammatory PCOS
- Hidden-Cause PCOS
For me, I fall into category number four. The most annoying one, because it’s not really evident as to why I have the syndrome. As Doctor Fiona outlines in her book, “8 steps to reverse your PCOS”, sometimes there may be a genetic cause that mimics PCOS symptoms that are the actual underlying issue of infertility.
It would require the professional to dig deeper and take more time at treating those actual symptoms. The medical clinic doesn’t have time to dig deeper. With the constant stream of new patients, their goal is to get you pregnant and move on. It’s neither right nor, wrong, it’s just the way their protocol is handled. The Clinic is really good at integrating other practitioners into their clinic. They actually refer and support a patient who wants to work with a naturopath or other practitioners.
Mind -body connection
The fertility journey has been a total mind-soul connection.
I was talking to the hypnotherapist and she was telling me about a couple where the husband was adopted. He never really dealt this hurt he felt as a child. Through hypnosis, he realized he has made a deal with himself that he would never father children because he didn’t want any child to go through what he went through. Before therapy he had a terrible sperm count, after the healing process his sperm count went up. I know this may sound over simplistic, but I truly believe that our minds are that powerful. We do make deals with ourselves like that.
We all have limiting beliefs that go back to childhood imprints, I have them, you have them, we all have them. We move through life matching our childhood beliefs with our self-worth. Such as, “I don’t deserve attention”, “It’s not safe to be here”, “I don’t deserve to be loved”. They all come from what I understood and translated as a child from the situations and experiences that I faced.
Some of the things I’m working through the past four years along this journey of fertility are working through my limiting beliefs.
“It may be important to do some inner investigation into the invisible answers you may be carrying to basic questions about how fertility, pregnancy, birth and children were perceived in your family of origin, so that you can journey ahead into those realms fully free, right down to your biochemistry, and make the healthiest choices. (As a bonus, engaging in the creative process of mastering your own inner life is the best preparation not just for conceiving a baby, but for parenting in general!)
Marcy Axness, PhD
Once we realize how we carry on a continual dialogue with our biology—consciously and unconsciously—we can aspire to cultivate an inner ecology that is truly fit for life.
This is why I still am comfortable to state, that while on the physical plane I have been diagnosed as having PCOS, on the spiritual and EGO side, there is another whole world there that I’m still working through.
I call bullshit on the diagnosis of PCOS.
According to the Journal of the International Society of Gynecological Endocrinology, “acupuncture therapy may have a role in PCOS by increasing blood flow to the ovaries, reducing of ovarian volume and the number of ovarian cysts, controlling hyperglycemia through increasing insulin sensitivity and decreasing blood glucose and insulin levels.”
I am going to acupuncture once to twice a week. Once to Irene and another time to Tanya at Alive Holistic Health. I decided to go to both because each has their own way of approaching acupuncture. Irene approaches acupuncture the true Chinese way, on the physical level. She sees your body but doesn’t touch the spirit part. Tanya on the other hand approaches acupuncture from of the spirit side. A beautiful and gentle soul. Each treatment is different. When I go to Alive Holistic clinic to Tanya, my body and soul just sinks into the table. Our soul needs the love and care just as much as our physical body does.
It interests me that both of them approach PCOS from a completely different angle. They don’t even focus on it, rather they focus on what is going on with your body that day. Irene can tell me exactly what is going on with my body by how my tongue looks. Tanya also looks at my tongue, and bases the treatment and how many needles she puts in by checking my pulse. There are 29 different pulses according to Chinese medicine.
I respond so well to the needles. They were both shocked at how fast my body changed.
I’m a super responder
While Dr. Dickson was the one that diagnosed me with PCOS when I first started seeing her, nothing more was done with the diagnosis.
- No one at the clinic asked about my nutrition patterns.
- No one at the clinic looked into inflammation or my insulin intake.
- It wasn’t looked into or asked why have my cycles become shorter since the time I was a teenager.
- I wasn’t asked or looked into if I have any allergies that I I am not aware of, such as gluten sensitive or dairy sensitive.
There was not functional medicine, just straight to the point – fix the physical.
This is neither right nor wrong, it’s just the way western medicine is structured: Fix the physical body, the rest doesn’t matter.
I’m calling the “diagnosis” of PCOS as bullshit.
Instead of just calling it PCOS, why don’t we peel away the layers of the onion and see what else is there. The diagnosis of PCOS is just a big blanket statement that so many women have been diagnosed with. Instead of throwing medication at it, lets dig deeper.
Unfortunately, as a society are not willing to do that because we just want the fertility clinic to “fix the problem” and don’t have time to dig deeper.
I also have the challenge, that my time on my medical leave is up in April. I hear the clock ticking all the time.
When I finally went to see this clinic, I realized how much I had ignored and not done my homework about my diagnosis. I realize now it’s because I didn’t want to be another one of “those”people. One of “those” women who search the internet for hours on end, reading all the forums possible and spinning in all the information about PCOS and infertility.
I didn’t want to be more stressed or have more anxiety about this situation. I just wanted to be calm, cool and collected. Most of all, I didn’t want to have someone to again tell me to change my diet: drop gluten, drop dairy and sugar. I didn’t want to be responsible for this, I just wanted the drugs.
What I learned from this two-hour initial appointment is how much I have just wanted to go with it and how much I didn’t want to get to the bottom of PCOS. I also realized how much I ignored my diagnosis because it wasn’t something that was even discussed with the clinic at any point during treatment.
I’m pretty aware of the mind-spiritual connection but I have ignored my physical body and just gave it drugs. It’s ironic, I didn’t want to deal with taking charge of my diet and digging deeper.
From the appointment at the clinic which happened on Feb. 1, 2017 – I learned that I potentially could have an insulin issue. When the Dr. Erica tested my insulin five hours after I had eaten a really good breakfast and was feeling hungry, it was unusually high.
After four years of starting this, I started to accept that I actually may have a diagnosis and there is something I can do about it.
Now it’s getting through the muck and deciding how much this I want to do right now and if this is now the long-term plan after Anova Clinic or if I want to implement the program now.
I came to Lotus clinic because there was a thyroid scare and Anova just wanted to give me medication. I don’t want to mess with my thyroid with medication. I don’t want to make it worse in the long-term. I don’t want to just give my body drugs, again.
I call bullshit on my diagnosis.
But I’m calling bullshit on myself.
I just didn’t want to take responsibility and do anything more about my diagnosis. I didn’t take my own health into my own hands. It was good enough that I just showed up and went to the clinic. I offered my body into the science experiment and went off on my own hippie ultra-spiritual meditative lotus leaf pretending that nothing else mattered. I didn’t connect with my body and honour it. If something was to go wrong, it would be so easy to blame the clinic. Blame someone else. Blame the drugs. Blame, blame, blame…..
Even in this journey, the Universe has shown me, that I need SPEAK UP and whether I like it or not, authentically take responsibility for E V E R Y T H I N G.
Kicking and screaming, another slap in the face about taking responsibility for my thoughts, actions and words.
Reference PDF: genetics of PCOS