Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About PCOS

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is PCOS?

What is PCOS Diva?

What causes PCOS?

Is there a cure for PCOS?

I’ve just been diagnosed, and I am overwhelmed.  Where do I begin?

How does PCOS affect my fertility?

What supplements can I take to help my PCOS?

What is the PCOS diet?

Why should I go gluten-free and reduce dairy?

Why does PCOS keep me from losing weight?

What is the best thing to eat for PCOS?

Will taking the pill help PCOS?

What is the best way to exercise to lose weight with PCOS?

What can I do about my thinning hair?

What lab work should my doctor order?

How do I choose the right doctor, and what questions do I ask him?

 

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine disorders found in women, affecting approximately 10% of women worldwide, with less than 50% of them diagnosed.  The syndrome is present throughout a woman’s life from puberty through post-menopause and affects women of all races and ethnic groups.  Women with PCOS wrestle with an array of possible symptoms including obesity, irregular menstrual cycles, infertility, depression, acne, and hair loss.  Far reaching health implications such as increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes make these already stressful symptoms even more daunting.

If you are a woman struggling with PCOS, there is good news-  ! While you cannot cure PCOS, you can alleviate most symptoms by losing weight through healthful eating and moderate exercise.  Lifestyle change is the key for women with PCOS whether they are overweight or not. We need to be thoughtful about the foods we use to fuel our bodies, the exercise we choose, the toxins we are exposed to and, just as importantly, the emotional and mental care we take with ourselves.  Dr. Samuel Thatcher, an early pioneer in PCOS research and treatment of PCOS, is quoted as saying, “A more holistic approach to PCOS is certainly warranted and can have a significant effect in altering quality of life.” For more detailed information about PCOS, its causes and how to begin healing, download PCOS Diva’s  free PCOS 101 guide. 

 

What is PCOS Diva?

PCOS Diva.com is an online resource for women with PCOS which embraces a holistic approach to healing and thriving.  As the founder of PCOS Diva, Amy Medling, CHC has worked with thousands of women, teaching them how to make sustainable lifestyle changes, which in turn positively impacts their health and lessens PCOS symptoms. “PCOS Divas” are able to take back control of their bodies and regain their fertility, femininity, health and happiness.  For more about PCOS Diva, Amy’s philosophy and PCOS Diva’s programs, check out the About section of the website.

 

What causes PCOS?

Researchers are not sure. We know that PCOS is a syndrome affecting the endocrine system and results in a hormonal imbalance affecting all of your body’s glands, including the pituitary, pineal, thyroid, parathyroid, thymus, adrenal and pancreas.  You may not know that hormones control more than your reproductive organs.  They also control things like body temperature and insulin levels.  There are many theories about the cause of this particular hormonal disorder.  It is possible that there is more than one cause; this would account for the wide range of symptoms that PCOS women exhibit. In the end, genetic and environmental factors, together with obesity, hormonal issues, and ovarian and hormonal dysfunctions are at the root of PCOS.  For more detailed information about PCOS, its causes and how to begin healing, download PCOS Diva’s free PCOS 101 guide

 

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Is there a cure for PCOS?

There is not a “cure” for PCOS, but the symptoms can be successfully managed with the PCOS  .  Women with PCOS have very specific dietary and exercise needs.  Finding the right combination of these elements will lead to health and healing.  To learn how to manage your PCOS Symptoms through lifestyle change, consider the PCOS Diva 7 Day Jumpstart Program.

 

I’ve just been diagnosed, and I am overwhelmed.  Where do I begin?

First, educate yourself about PCOS.  Start by downloading PCOS Diva’s free 101 Guide.  It will help you understand the causes and latest treatments for PCOS.  With that knowledge under your belt, you are ready to start healing.  Women with PCOS have specific dietary needs.  PCOS Diva has gathered the latest research, practical advice and tons of free recipes for you in the diet section of PCOSDiva.com. Also, try our Seasonal Meal Plans.  They take all the guesswork out of eating to thrive with PCOS.  Each 6 week done-for you- menu with recipes is specially designed to heal your body and satisfy your hunger.

Living and healing with the PCOS lifestyle is about more than just what we eat.  We also need to exercise effectively and reduce stress and endocrine disruptors in our environment.    Jumpstart is a good place to begin.  This 7 day program will get you on the right track and introduce the PCOS lifestyle that will begin your healing journey.  Finally, consider adding supplements to your regimen.  PCOS can be well controlled with diet and exercise, but supplements can make it easier.  Check out the PCOS Diva store for a selection of the supplements that every woman with PCOS should consider.

Also, there is more information on this “Just Diagnosed, now what?” page…

 

How does PCOS affect my fertility?

The answer to this question is different for everyone.  That said, many women with PCOS struggle with fertility.  The heart of the PCOS Diva lifestyle is understanding our bodies and modifying our diets and lifestyles to transcend our symptoms and transform our lives.  Fertility problems can often be overcome by balancing hormones.  Sometimes that requires diet changes; sometimes it means supplements or lifestyle changes like exercise or eliminating environmental toxins, but most often it requires all of these things.

Throughout Amy’s journey and extensive research, she has found many of the answers and possible solutions for which all women with PCOS are searching.  Amy recently had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Perloe, a well-known fertility specialist.  During the interview, he addressed the topic of fertility in a clear and concise way.  You will find Amy’s interview with him as well as a collection of articles and interviews on the Fertility tab of PCOS Diva.  These articles encompass topics ranging from causes and solutions to the latest in genetic research; it’s all there.

 

What supplements can I take to help my PCOS?

Supplements are necessary for all women, but women with PCOS have particular needs.  In the PCOS Diva Store, you will find the essential supplements designed specifically for women with PCOS.  PCOS Diva has carefully researched and sourced the best possible combination to alleviate PCOS symptoms. These are the supplements that Amy takes with great results.   Every woman is different, of course, so you may want to add other supplements (such as Ovasitol) to your regimen.  Read the latest research in the Nutrition section of PCOS Diva.

 

What is the PCOS diet?

A healthy diet based on gluten-free, processed soy-free, low dairy or dairy-free whole foods is the cornerstone of the PCOS Diva diet.  PCOS Divas understand that food is medicine.  Knowing what to eat and why can help you improve your PCOS symptoms so you will look and feel terrific.  I am frequently asked questions about what women with PCOS should eat.  What can I eat to lose weight? Can the PCOS diet

I encourage you to explore the PCOS Diet section of PCOS Diva to learn more.  You will find tons of information about how to take control and nurture your body while healing your symptoms.  Whether you are looking for advice about managing your blood sugar, what sweetener to use, or if you just want a delicious recipe for dinner tonight, you will find it there.

If you would like to try the PCOS Diva approach, I encourage you to start with the 7 Day Jumpstart Program or Seasonal Meal Plans.  These plans take all the guesswork, confusion and overwhelm out of Meal Planning, and you’ll be able to heal while eating delicious food your whole family will enjoy.

 

Why should I go gluten-free and reduce dairy?

In most women with PCOS, gluten causes inflammation that manifests itself in many of your PCOS systems such as bloating, acne, weight gain and much more.  Nutrition experts agree that the most important commonality for women with PCOS is that gluten, dairy and some other foods cause inflammation, especially for people with autoimmune type conditions. The PCOS Diva food philosophy is centered on reducing .  Inflammation occurs when your body tries to protect you from something that irritates it.  In the case of women with PCOS, gluten is often an irritant. Removing it from your diet will noticeably reduce your symptoms in the first week. At the core of the PCOS Diva approach is a whole food, plant-based, clean protein, gluten-free, dairy-free or low dairy and processed soy free diet.  This way of eating has now helped thousands of women with PCOS feel better, thrive and regain fertility (many have even become pregnant).  For more information about inflammation and inflammatory foods, read  “Go Gluten Free for PCOS.”

If you would like to try the PCOS Diva approach, I encourage you to start with PCOS Diva’s 7 Day Discover Your Diva Jumpstart or Seasonal Meal Plans.  These plans take all the guesswork, confusion and overwhelm out of Meal Planning, and you’ll be able to heal while eating delicious food your whole family will enjoy.  Also, search on Gluten and Dairy on PCOS Diva for all of the latest research.

 

Why does PCOS keep me from losing weight?

Typically, the answer is insulin resistance.  The average woman with PCOS does not process insulin properly, and, as a result, struggles to lose weight.  Living the PCOS lifestyle and taking the right supplements can help balance your insulin and help you lose weight.  PCOS Diva Essentials Multivitamin is designed to help lower insulin, leptin and glucose levels.

 

What is the best thing to eat for PCOS?

There is no “one thing you should be eating” to manage your PCOS.  The key is to eliminate gluten and processed soy, reduce dairy and  eat a diet rich in whole foods.  You want to choose foods that nourish your body and reduce inflammation.  Changing your relationship with food can be a challenge.  If you would like to try the PCOS Diva approach, I encourage you to start with the 7 Day Jumpstart program which walks you through how to start managing your PCOS symptoms or the PCOS Diva Seasonal Meal Plans.  These plans take all the guesswork, confusion and overwhelm out of Meal Planning, and you’ll be able to heal while eating delicious food your whole family will enjoy.

 

Will taking the pill help PCOS?

As a woman with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), your doctor has very likely suggested that you take a birth control pill to manage your symptoms.  This drug seems to be the first line of defense- a magic pill- for many doctors.  While the pill will mask many PCOS symptoms, it may be worsening the underlying causes.  Even worse, many women are not informed of the risks of taking the pill including blood clots, increased insulin resistance, increased risk of heart attack or stroke, loss of valuable nutrients and lower libido.  If you are considering the pill as a tool in controlling your PCOS, I encourage you to read the articles in the Pill tab of PCOS Diva and make an informed choice.

 

What is the best way to exercise to lose weight with PCOS?

Exercise (or “movement’) is one area of wellness that many women just don’t spend enough time on.   Exercise can help your moods, raise energy levels and even help balance hormones. As with so many issues that surround PCOS, there is no “best way” to exercise with PCOS.  You need to find a way to “move it” every day in a way that you enjoy.  Try taking a walk at lunch, a yoga class, or swimming. Consider using a rebounder, take a strength training class, or use Gaiam Tv when you need a great work out at home.  For more information about PCOS and exercise, check out the Exercise tab on PCOS Diva.

 

What can I do about my thinning hair?

Many women struggling with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) feel like they can live with most of the physical symptoms – the excess weight, acne and sprouting hairs.   It is the hair loss that can be devastating and almost unbearable.  Hair loss adds to anxiety and depression, and you may spend countless hours in the mirror trying to tease and hairspray sparse hair to cover a balding crown.  Through living a PCOS Diva lifestyle, your hormones will balance, hair loss will subside, and your hair will grow back.

Read through the collection of articles and interviews under the Hairloss tab on PCOS Diva.  You will find articles examining products that can help disguise or replace thinning hair as well as those that delve into the root causes and what you can do to stop the damage.  Read to find out about lifestyle changes and treatment options that can lead to the thick, healthy hair you desire.

 

What lab work should my doctor order?

PCOS is often underdiagnosed.  It is crucial that certain tests are performed so that you and your health care team can accurately diagnose your condition as well as monitor progress.  Download PCOS Diva’s free PCOS 101 Guide for a complete list of necessary tests as well as descriptions of each test and average ranges of results.  Keep in mind that lab results may differ slightly from lab to lab.  Try to use the same lab when comparing results over time.

Many of these tests are looking for indicators of insulin resistance.  Most women that have PCOS are also insulin resistant.  People with insulin resistance often also have high blood pressure, high levels of triglycerides, and low HDL levels.  Insulin resistance, aside from contributing to infertility, hair and skin problems, puts the PCOS woman at much higher risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. Thus, testing for insulin resistance can help you make changes that will prevent serious health issues.

Pay special attention to thyroid testing.  While many doctors do run thyroid labs, they run only the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test which is easy to misinterpret and often reveals little about thyroid function. As a result, millions of people suffering from thyroid dysfunction are left undiagnosed. If you do go to the doctor for thyroid testing, be sure to be tested for Free T3 (FT3), Reverse T3 (RT3), and the presence of two thyroid antibodies, TPOAb and TgAb.    Find more detail about tests you should request in the PCOS 101 guide.

 

How do I choose the right doctor, and what questions do I ask him?

Sadly, many physicians are not knowledgeable about PCOS.  Finding the right doctor is tricky, but very important.  It is critical that you find doctors that you are comfortable asking questions, who are up to date on PCOS and are willing to communicate with other professionals on your team.  Download PCOS Diva’s free PCOS 101 Guide for help choosing a health care team, asking the right questions and making the most of your office visits.

 Why does the PCOS Diva Essential Supplement turn my urine bright yellow?

The yellow tint shows an excess of the B vitamin riboflavin leaving your body. The structure of riboflavin causes it to be fluorescent yellow, and that turns your urine the same bright color. Riboflavin is crucial to the normal functioning of cells and to energy production. You pack it in when you eat lean meats, dairy products, green vegetables, and enriched cereals. Throw in a multivitamin like PCOS Diva Essential Supplement, and you have more riboflavin than you need. Your body excretes the rest.

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