PCOS has woven itself into my life for many years now. It started out as an irritant, then turned a full
blown villain and now it is more a docile being. It has not gone away for good, but it lurks in the corner, I
merely acknowledge its presence and offer it some space. One thing I do not let it do is, dominate my
narrative, change my story! That is the gist of defeating any adversity in life, I feel! Accept the presence
of the problem, look it in the eye and let it be. Things will get even more complicated if we keep reacting
to the problem. All through my PCOS journey I have extensively experimented with all healing options.
Some of them have not worked out well for me, some have worked out brilliantly. This again is totally
dependent on many factors within each one’s body and metabolic structure. A trusting doctor should
be able to guide each individual better about the choice of supplements and daily regimen. Here I
present my building blocks, my arsenal when it came to the final showdown between PCOS and me!
- No late nights: I am a self-confessed moon person! I love nights, no matter what the reason for
staying awake is, I will stay awake. I always felt sleeping at 4 in the morning is way normal than
waking up at 4 in the morning. I love everything about staying up at night and have lived most of
my life staying up late. Cut to the present, I realize what all that staying up did to me! It messed
my circadian rhythm so badly that the recovery is still in progress! Once the circadian rhythm is
whack out of place, the body begins to stay in a constant state of inflammation. This leads to
chronic stress at the cellular level of the body. The pineal gland, the endocrinal glands, their
secretions are disrupted. This disruption means the delicate balances of all bodily systems is
lost! The menstrual cycle is named so for a reason, it is a cycle, it requires a balance, a rhythm!
Late nights for years destroy this balance and as with any cycle, imbalance leads to harm!
For the past 5 years or so, as much motherhood permits, I try and sleep on time and wake up on
time. I try and be consistent with a good 7 hours or more of sleep, which allows my body to rest,
assimilate nutrients and heal itself better. Now my wake-up time is my former bed time, yes, it’s
4:30am! It is still a challenge, I still pine for an all -nighter but now I am wiser, I know better!
- Work-outs and work: Consistent exercise is quite a task for many, especially when you have
PCOS or any endocrinal imbalance, you are not in a mood for many changes. A thyroid
imbalance coupled with PCOS meant I kept gaining all the weight I could ever imagine. My ah-ha
moment was when I looked in the mirror and accepted I wanted to change the reflection in that
mirror! The ‘I’ in the narrative was vital, had someone else insisted, I would have put up a strong
resistance to it all, but because I was keen to bring about the change, it worked wonders. Two
years ago, I promised to gift my spouse something unique – a fitter version of myself. In the
process I went on to lose nearly 50lbs and gained much needed muscle mass. It is still not easy, I
have managed to put back a few of those lost pounds but it is a life-long journey towards
healing and growing. Once this realization dawns, all workout ceases to look like work more like
a playtime from childhood!
- Balanced meals: I have had this inverted equation with food, I did not like to eat food nor cook
it! I was happy with sipping water instead of actually preparing food. Food for me was ready
available junk food coming out of packets or street-side chaat! I loved fruits but rarely ate
vegetables in correct quantities. I now wonder how my mom and body put up with this
nonsense for years! Today I know better. I try and eat sensible meals at least 85% of the time. I
still have crazy chaat cravings but staying out of India reduces the ease with which one can find
a good chaat dish. Regular meals with 3 to 4 servings of fresh organic vegetables and fruits,
coupled with full fat yogurt, ghee, nuts and dry fruits, I find myself fitter and calmer. The root
cause of inflammation, irritation is reduced greatly once we begin paying close attention to
what we are putting in our mouths and bodies.
- Supplements: This is a tricky zone, I can write odes to all my supplements because they have
literally pulled me back from the health disaster precipice I was at, but will all those
supplements work for all others with PCOS? I cannot really claim either way. A doctor might be a
good place to start, coupled with individual history and research should be the way to go! I
found the following supplements a great way to kick-start my healing process. Over the years I
have added, removed many more supplements from my routine, as per their suitability and use.
I started with something simple, that my grandmother used to do all her life, began drinking a
cup of warm water with half a lemon squeezed in it, first thing in the morning. Now and then I
switch it up with apple cider vinegar. It reduces inflammation, nourishes and cleanses the
insides on a routine basis. Next up, I added, ‘Evening primrose oil’ capsules to my routine. These
capsules help balance the hormones and reduce PMS symptoms greatly. I also added Maca root
capsules to my daily routine. These capsules increase fertility, vitality and stamina in the body.
Maca root is an excellent adaptogen, it means it does not alter mood but helps the body
function well during stress and fatigue. This helps the body heal well. Apart from these
supplements I keep consuming Omega 3 foods and supplements in a staggered pattern, I
consume the supplements during winter months and stop during summer and focus on getting
Omega3 from food sources and resume supplements in the following cold months. The same
follows for Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D capsules. They are not a regular supplement for me. I try
and observe the positive and negative changes in my body for about 4 months before stabilizing
or removing any supplement from my routine. Over the years I have realized that it almost like a
child learning to walk, you support the body for a while, let it take a few steps and then again
support for a while till it can walk on its own! Same with supplementation for our fragile
hormonal systems and bodily cycles.
- Menstrual products: One of biggest change I embraced nearly 6 years ago was that of ditching
sanitary napkins/ tampons etc . It felt weird, odd yet I was ready to try out the alternatives. I
tried the menstrual cup, which sits inside of your body and my life transformed. From years of
leaking pads, staining clothes I was almost ready to forget I had periods going on! All the fear of
extra heavy flow was addressed once and for all. The measurements on the cup tell you exactly
how much flow you have and it is quite a reality check! The flow has gotten better, I feel more
informed and best of all, I can literally do anything I wish to do even while my periods are on, be
it a workout or go swimming. I switch between bamboo charcoal pads and the cup depending
on my flow. I feel more connected with my bodily fluids, feel less afraid or icky about them and
more a respect for my body for its supreme capacity to be fertile! I feel more and more grateful
about that! My whole perspective towards my body has undergone a massive change post
- Mood watch: I find the co-relation between my mood and bodily functions quite startling. I love
to chat up, talk a lot with friends and generally have a good time. I also love to shun people and
sit curled up with a book or write feverishly for days on end. Both these stages are extremes of
my mental pendulum. I now actively seek to find small pebbles of joy throughout my day and
week! I love to doodle, I resumed it after years. I love to dance, now my kitchen is my
dancefloor! I love to jump, just generally jump, I do just that! I discovered the joy of gardening, I
discovered the therapeutic joy of cooking and baking! I do just that! Anything that will make me
innately happy, make me smile will do! Discovering our own joys, keys to happiness is very
empowering, it releases you from the chains of expectation, that people are responsible for
your joy or happiness! No one is! You yourself can generate your own joy and find your own
center! This is not just empowering but also very healing! It takes you back to the place of
balance and healing.
These few things have taken time to happen, they are still not regular, pat down to clock-work,
but I have put in hard work to get to this healed place too! From being a patient, I am now a
work in progress! That has brought me out of the PCOS zone by about 95% which I consider to
be a positive sign! More changes shall come, but I choose to be prepared for them all!