Living with PCOS: More Q&A

Continuing on from Monday's post

3) Do you have the insulin problem (insulin resistance) and if so, how do you deal with it?

do have insulin issues, although mine are not as pronounced as some
women's. This may be because I have been able to maintain a healthy
weight, ever since I began to drop the junk foods I had been accustomed
to eating and turned my diet to focus on whole foods instead. I think
that keeping my weight maintained is crucial for improvement with
insulin resistance.

Other things that I have done, or would recommend for those who especially struggle with this area are:

  • Avoid all refined sugars and grains, as these are the worst offenders for insulin and blood sugar imbalances
  • When eating anything with sweeteners, even natural sweeteners,
    eat some protein and/or fat with it (such as a piece of cheese, a few
    spoonfuls of yogurt, a glass of milk, a handful of nuts or seeds) at
    the same time, as this helps to maintain more steady blood sugar
  • Try using supplements such as Chromium and Cinnamon (both readily
    available at any health food store), which support healthy blood sugar
    and insulin levels
  • Get active! I notice that I have more difficulty with my blood
    sugar balance during seasons when I am less active, such as in the
    winter. Any sort of exercise or activity is beneficial, whether it's
    going to the gym or for runs, or simply taking a walk or doing some
    gardening (or even vigorous housework!). Every little bit helps, and the more regular, the better.

4) What advise would you give me to treat PCOS naturally?

My biggest pieces of advice would be to:

  1. Avoid conventional/pharmaceutical treatments, such as birth control
    pills or Metformin or others. I do know some people who have used Metformin
    briefly to start getting their insulin under control and begin to lose
    some weight, and then get off of it once they have seen some progress.
    This is one way to use Metformin more sensibly, although I
    cannot think of any way that birth control pills will contribute to
    long term healing or balance. Generally, I would say to avoid these and
    instead begin to pour your efforts into lifestyle changes.
  2. Begin with your diet. Here are my Top 3 nutritional changes
    that I would recommend to anyone starting out and looking for a few
    things to begin to change. Some great reads to get your going are The Maker's Diet
    and Nourishing Traditions,
    which will help to explain a lot of the why's behind what they are
    suggesting. Don't expect to make all of the changes at once, but pick
    one or two things and get started!
  3. Try to find a reputable Naturopath. There are so many wonderful
    supplements, herbs, homeopathic remedies, etc. out there that can
    really make a difference, but unless you have a lot of time to spend
    really digging into the research yourself, it can be a bit overwhelming
    at first. By seeing someone who works with these issues regularly, you
    reap the benefits of their experience and recommendations and it gives
    you a great starting place.
  4. Bring it before the Lord. We don't deal with this on our own, but
    only with the help and grace of our good God, who knows us and our
    bodies intricately. I am grateful to God for the teaching and resources
    that He has brought my way, and also for the continual reminders to
    bring all of my efforts back into submission to Him. I am learning to
    trust Him as my Healer, and not myself or anything natural that I do.

Now that I'm getting back into this series a bit, are there any particular concerns or questions that you would like to have answered? I definitely do not have all the answers, but I'll try my best!

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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  1. jessica says:

    I also suffer from PCOS, I just discovered your blog and have read through several. I would like to go with a natural treatment route so I’m exploring all options for my symptoms. I was wondering if you had problems with excess facial hair? If so how have you dealt with it or do you have any suggestions on dealing with this embarrassing issue.

  2. It really is sad to have such problem with insulin medication. I have seen my aunts on this.
    I wonder how one could connect hereditary aspect of this diabetes problem. From what generation are the ones affected ?

  3. How do you keep your blood sugar in check? DO you check your blood numbers?

  4. Hi Stephanie!

    I have been diagnosed with PCOS. I have three children. My last pregnancy was truly a miraculous experience for I was told that fertility was not an option. I experienced gestational diabetes during my last pregnancy and have hypoglycemia. I do see the relationship to weight and PCOS symptoms and try to balance my diet and excercise.
    I suffer from very thin/loss of hair due to PCOS and also being a nursing mother. Do you or any other readers have any info on maybe reversing hair loss? Just wondering if you had any insight on the subject of PCOS and hair loss.
    Thank you for all your info! Your words have truly been a blessing and answer to prayer!

  5. Amy, congrats on your new pregnancy!Since my weight has been fairly easy to control through diet and exercise, I can’t really comment on the use of Metformin for that, though I’m glad that it worked for you (and you were obviously able to conceive, too). But as for the blood sugar and gestational diabetes, I don’t think it has to be a “when” situation.

    I also struggle with my blood sugar when I’m pregnant because of my own issues with insulin, but I have been able to manage it and not have to take anything for it. My best suggestion would be to stop eating sugar and any refined grains right now, before any problems come up. Still use whole grains and some natural sugars, but keep those more in moderation. Always eat some protein or fat when you have any grains or sweeteners (even juice, ketchup, etc.), to slow down the blood sugar rise. If you can do that, while staying active during your pregnancy, your chances of developing gest. diabetes are much, much less!

  6. Stephanie,
    Thank you so much for your PCOS posts. I am 10 weeks pregnant, and I was diagnosed with PCOS almost 2 years ago. I have a son who is almost 3 years old, but I did not have any of these issues when I was pregnant with him. After he was born, I started gaining an incredible amount of weight, and I was diagnosed with PCOS a year later. I was always at a healthy weight up until then. I am actually taking Metformin, because it has been the only thing that has helped me lose weight, despite eating as healthy as I knew how and exercising. I am only taking the Metformin for the remainder of my first trimester, and I must say that I’m really kind of nervous to stop taking it. I obviously am concerned about my baby’s wellbeing first, but I’m so afraid of starting to gain weight uncontrollably again. My endocrinologist told me that “when” (not if, but WHEN – isn’t that encouraging!)I get gestational diabetes I will need insulin shots. Thank you for your posts, because they have given me some new information about how to control my blood sugar once I’m off the Metformin. Thank you, also, for the reminder that I am to take this to the Lord. :) All of the info. that you put out there for everyone has been very encouraging.

  7. Stephanie,

    These two posts are great! I have studied so much info, including natural info, about PCOS but a lot of what I read on here was surprisingly new to me! I went out and bought the Vitex and a B-Complex. I am really looking forward to incorporating those into my regimen.

    I am pretty interested in the seed cycling and the course of homeopathics you were on. Question: What did you do to determine where you were at in your cycle? That has been a real challenge for me because I’m not menstruating or having any sort of normal cycle. I have read that for PCOS-ers sometimes the only real good way to do it is taking your basal temp for awhile.

    Also, what did you not like or come to disagree with about the progesterone cream? I havent tried that yet and there is so much conflicting info about it – some sources saying its extremely effective for PCOS and some saying its not good at all for PCOS. Did it help you?


  8. Jessica Lauder says:

    Hey Steph,

    I really appreciate this series!

    I’m curious about complications during pregnancy. I’ve seen a lot of conflicting information about whether larger cysts from PCOS can cause any issues/risks during pregnancy.

    Any info on this?

  9. Have you been able to have a more regular cycle because of the dietary changes you made? If so, approximately how long did it take?