I was blown away this week guys when I brought up my hormonal acne struggle that stems from my struggle with PCOS. I was blown away for many reasons.. one because you guys cared & two because you wrote in some of the best questions I have ever got about a subject. I was going to answer them all on Instagram, but decided that putting all the questions into a blog post might be way more helpful. So I compiled all the most frequently asked questions about my PCOS & I’m going to answer them here for you guys. I hope this post helps, informs, and gives you a little more insight into not only my struggle with PCOS, but others as well. PCOS has been a huge disrupter in my life and my fertility journey.
How did you find out you had PCOS?
When I was 23 Jose and I made the decision to grow our family. As many do, we thought that when we made the decision that it would happen right away. Well, it didn’t. It took over a year to become pregnant. We found out we were pregnant right before we were going to be seen by a doctor for infertility. We were thrilled! Sadly our pregnancy ended in miscarriage a few weeks after. After that happened we thought we should see a doctor to see if anything was going on with our long time to get pregnant and then with the loss. I went in to an OB and they opted to do an ultrasound to make sure the miscarriage had completed & to check out everything else. While they did the ultrasound they saw that my ovaries were abnormal & showed signs of PCOS. You can see what polycistic ovaries [HERE]. I left that appointment feeling a little sad and a little mad because for my whole life I was told that I didn’t get normal periods because I was underweight and I ran a lot, nope. It’s because I had PCOS and if a doctor would have checked me sooner I could have got it all under control sooner. This is my reminder to parents: If your daughter is not having normal cycles [I got them once a year] that’s not normal and you should bring her in to see a doctor.
Why did you go GF for your PCOS?
My doctor recommended this to me after my third miscarriage to help my PCOS. This is an odd one to talk about for me because my doctor said that going gluten free could assist with the PCOS, but not heal it. Basically gluten is an inflammatory. Here are some words on the subject to help explain it better:
PCOS is a state of inflammation associated with insulin resistance. It has been suggested that daily consumption of wheat products and other related cereal grains may contribute to chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases.4 Women with PCOS have higher markers of inflammation than women without the syndrome. Reducing gluten consumption or avoiding it could potentially lessen inflammation in PCOS, but more research is needed before recommending gluten-free diets to all women with the disease. Read more from this article [HERE]
I have found that since going gluten free my PCOS is in no way healed, my periods are still irregular, but my skin is happier and I’m less bloated. In no way did my doctor say it would heal my PCOS, but help it. I hope this makes sense. I would talk to your doctor about gluten and going gluten free if it interests you or you want to try it.
Did you lose weight going GF?
I did not lose weight going gluten free! In fact I gained weight. I had the wrong mindset when going GF where I thought I could eat more dessert or more pizza since it was GF. WRONG! Often times you have to be really careful when something is GF because it can contain more sugar or other things like that in place of the gluten. Be very vigilant and check the ingredients when buying GF products.
What symptoms do you have from PCOS?
I have always had irregular periods since I hit puberty. I used to think it was neat because once a year in the 7th grade was great! I never was concerned because no one else showed concern.. Back then I didn’t hit 100 pounds until I was 20 so everyone just chalked it up to me being skinny and a runner. They were very wrong, but in their defense there needs to be more research on PCOS so that we are all more aware. I still have irregular periods and after all of our miscarriages my body does something different. This is one thing I’m working on now.
Weight gain has been a big thing for me in the past few years. I have rapidly gained weight with all 10 of our pregnancies & it’s really hard to get off. I have not eliminated anything but gluten from my diet & this is something I want to work on.
Facial hair is a symptom I often battle as many do. I also have very dark hair so this is common I believe.
I have suffered for many years with infertility as many of you know. With PCOS you often suffer from anovulation which is the lack of ovulation. Without ovulating it’s really hard to get pregnant.
How do you manage your PCOS?
Honestly I go through seasons where I nurture my PCOS and really assist my body at taking care of my PCOS symptoms. I have researched PCOS so much and the things that are known to ease PCOS are diet and exercise. Things that work for me in keeping symptoms at bay:
-cutting out sugar – I struggle with sugar intake, but I notice a massive difference in my health when I cut back on my sugar.
-work out – I have a peloton bike I love the ease of the bike and being able to do it at home.
-heavy water intake – When I drink water regularly I notice my cycles are more normal.
-cutting out gluten – This has helped with my breakouts.
What helps your cystic acne from PCOS?
I’m researching this a lot right now, but I contribute my cystic hormonal acne clearing up to two things:
skincare: So my skincare changes, but a few years ago I realized I needed to switch up my skincare to more of a natural routine & this is what started my skin from clearing. Here is the natural skincare that I attribute a lot to [Click HERE]. I share a lot more skincare on my IG randomly, but let me know in my comments if you want to see more here on the blog.
Being gluten free: This is the part that I’m researching right now. I’m currently in the process of getting tested for celiac, gluten sensitivies, & more. BUT I will say that every time I eat gluten I have very bad breakouts so I do attribute my skin to being gluten free.
Are your cycles normal?
Not one bit. They never have been since I got it in the 7th grade. They change after each miscarriage typically.
Is there lab testing that can be done?
Yes! This is of course something to speak to a doctor about, BUT I can tell you what I did. So, I found out I had PCOS through an internal ultrasound when I was 25, but since then I have had many blood tests done. I highly recommend asking your doctor for a hormone panel to see where all of your hormones are at. I also have had a full panel done where vitamins, hormone levels, & more are tested which is a great thing in general to have done to learn more about you and your body.
I also have had many other tests taken for my infertility and miscarriage like genetics testing, dye tests, MTHFR tests, thyroid tests, and more. I would bring all of these up with your doctor if you are struggling with PCOS, Infertility, or miscarriages.
How do you keep your weight under control?
I don’t do this perfectly & I’m no expert. I’m actually quite ashamed at how much weight I have gained the past 5 years. I will get into routines where I bike daily and heat healthy, but then I get out of the habit. Lately to be kind to myself and start better habits I have just promised myself to move more daily. I have made tiny adjustments at a time and it’s felt really good! I have found that making tiny changes are less overwhelming. Diet and exercise are the BEST way to get your PCOS under control so start here if you are looking to become healthier!
How do you deal with unwanted facial hair?
I shave my face! Yes, weird I know.. but it works for me! I will sure more about my shaving face routine on IG soon! Follow me there for more on that [HERE].
Have you tried Metformin?
I have! It was many years ago, but I did get pregnant shortly after starting it & did experience regular periods. Here is an article about Metformin and PCOS [HERE]. I highly recommend talking to your doctor about this as an option to treat your PCOS.
Did your PCOS effect your Infertility?
Yes! I don’t ovulate regularly so it was very very very hard for Jose & I to get pregnant naturally. We did get pregnant many times naturally which we are very thankful for & we did get pregnant a few times with the assistance of hormone shots which we are also very thankful for.
I also believe [so do my doctors] that my PCOS was a huge contributor to my miscarriages. PCOS causes abnormal hormones which balance and allow for a healthy pregnancy. Again, this is something to get tested and bring up with your doctor!
Do you experience cyst ruptures?
I have experienced cyst ruptures & it’s awful. I’m very thankful that I have only had this happen a few times.
Are Jose and Cope Gluten Free with you?
Currently, Cope is not. We are navigating this big boy eating plan moving away from formula, so overall he is not. Now in our home a majority of food is gluten-free so indirectly he is. When I started down the GF journey, Jose joined with me, knowing how hard dieting is by itself, but when you are doing it and others close to you are not, it just adds to the uphill battle.
How Does Jose deal with your PCOS?
When we first found out about PCOS, Jose dove into research about it, to get a good understanding for what it was, and how to cope with it and fighting against it. As we became more familiar with my PCOS, it rarely impacts our day to day. He does keep an eye out for any new-news regarding the medicine around PCOS but generally we all have adapted to life with PCOS.
We love you guys!! Thank you for all your good questions! If you have tips for things that have helped you with PCOS. Leave them below!
I hope that by answering these FAQ’s about my PCOS that it helps you guys either understand PCOS a little bit more or helps you with your PCOS. If you have suggestions of things that worked for your PCOS, please leave a comment below to help others instead of DM’ing or emailing me. Thank you so much for visiting the blog today & for sharing this with someone you know that has PCOS. xx Liz Marie