Lifestyle

Getting Fit: Dealing With PCOS

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PCOS, one of the commonest hormonal disorder among women right now, something I personally have been dealing with since the age of 16, is definitely not a fun thing to have. So while I have finally been able to deal with it better phew, I know a lot of you have questions around it.

With this post, I’ll be summing up all the questions I received over comments, instagram DMs and emails about my PCOS journey. I will try to cover as much as I possibly can. Further, to simplify things, I will be dividing it under sub-topics and sharing details accordingly.

Menstruation:

Over the last few years I do not have any irregular periods but I do get the most painful periods. I am pretty much dead, lying on the bed at the mercy of the painkillers my gynaec. prescribed. Of course! Hot bottle too. I guess I’ll just have to live with it, so there’s nothing to do about that. I get mood swings of course and breakouts around the period – gaaah PMS.

Skin:

Needless to say I obviously hate my skin as it is always on the verge of breaking out and is super sensitive. I mean, touch my towel and I’ll wake up with five pimples the next morning, yup not exaggerating. Honestly, the only way I have been able to deal with it is by investing (a lot) in good quality skin care. You can check the skincare post here that I did for details.

Hair:

PCOS is often related to hair thinning and hair fall. I definitely had more volume as a kid but on most days, it’s not that bad plus I do put in a lot of effort to make sure my hair don’t bear the brunt of my hormones. You can check my hair care post here. Coming to facial hair..ugh.. I have been threading, bleaching and waxing so far. I am actually considering laser, I’ll obviously keep you guys posted when I do it! For body hair, I mostly shave.

Weight:

All these years my weight has been fluctuating a lot. The worse has been late 2016-early 2017. I did gain a lot of weight till early last year. I am 5.2′ something and I touched 62.5 kgs which is a lot for my frame and that aggravated my PCOS further. Plus my insulin pathway got messed up, my cholesterol and fat levels were high, I had painful ovaries and what not. I couldn’t deal of course and had to get fit!

Since last year mid, I have been actively working out and have modulated my lifestyle as well (read my post on lifestyle changes here). It’s after losing almost 10kgs my ultrasound gave me the good news of my PCOS of been down to negligible. Rest everything else got better too with it.

There’s no way out. I have said this a million times before and will keep saying it – switch to a healthy lifestyle, work out and watch what you eat! (Read my post here on what I eat). It’s not easy trust me, took me 14 years to get it right, not saying will take you the same time, I hope not! But definitely takes time, patience and effort. Even when you feel you are at your perfect weight (BMI wise etc), you still have to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Whatever your schedule is like, you’ll have to start making healthy choices.

Mental Health:

I don’t know why people don’t really talk much about it but PCOS actually affects mental health adversely. I have been at the receiving end myself. Just last year when I was carrying all that extra weight with aggravated PCOS, I was dealing with anxiety, mood swings and insomnia. My physician in Jax actually prescribed me anti-depressants.

Ok, here’s what happened then. I didn’t take those. This was around the same time I was really getting into my work outs and I decided that I don’t want to depend on a drug this soon and will give myself one last chance to get myself out of it. It worked for me, and this is actually one of the main reason that motivates me to workout, keeps me sane. I know if you go through my instagram, you’ll find no trace of any of my struggle, but last year was pretty hard for me in a lot of ways. It’s just that I am one of those people who keeps it all in close circle and tries to stay sane outside to the world.

Now, I am not saying, not taking anti depressants and trying to get over it yourself would work. No please, it just worked for me but may not for you. If you’re feeling unhappy, anxious, overtly stressed or anything even remotely not normal, please consult your doctor, do the needful and keep your near ones close for support. Always communicate!!

Treatment:

I finally found the gynaecologist of my dreams ..haha.. Dr. Frank Andreas back in Jax (I miss him now!), who really helped me get over my PCOS. With his guidance and care I could finally get here. I have been on pills for around a year now. The ones he prescribed me initially, weren’t working for me (spotting, bloating, acne etc). I tried those for 3 months and decided to tell him. Dr.Andreas on learning the same, switched me to the ones that I take now and these are perfect for me. I can’t and won’t share my treatment & meds details of course because there’s no point. I mean each of these things vary as per the case. Consult a gynaecologist, figure out a plan, try other pills if needed, there’s always a way but only through personal guidance from a gynaecologist! As for weight gain with pills, I work out extensively, simultaneously, so it kind of counters that for me.

Motivation:

I workout to stay physically and mentally fit. What also no one knows is, I have IBS too (Irritable Bowel Syndrome, I have type IBS-M) for a few years. That further messes up my life. There are days when I can’t retain a thing in my stomach while there are days I am bloated and constipated. Main aggravating factor is stress for me and I live on stress, so you can imagine my life here. So all the people calling me ‘lucky with great metabolism’, it’s not my metabolism (I mean I have PCOS and I am 30, how can I have great metabolism c’mon!), it’s my IBS on days when I can’t retain a thing for days and am always hungry. But then I am anyway always hungry, haha, I love food and so I burn it all in the gym and try to keep my metabolism high (check my lifestyle changes post to know how). Also, that’s another reason why I don’t consume regular milk, it’s not good if you have IBS. My IBS is obviously better on days when I am not stressed, eating healthy and working out. So for me, if I have to be able to function mentally and physically, I have to workout. Plus of course I feel more confident wearing whatever I want to when I feel fit.

I hope this covers pretty much all the queries I receive. In case I missed something, drop a comment here and I’ll get back 🙂

There are other more things that I have already covered in this ‘Getting Fit’ series and I’ll be back with more posts soon!

Much Love,

P

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