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 Post subject: PCOS!
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:38 am 
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I'd like to re-start this thread, since it's what first brought me to the PPK boards. I was happy to find a community of vegans with PCOS- I think our experiences, treatment options, and treatment preferences tend to be different than those of non-vegans. Also, no one will talk about Atkins here, which is awesome.

I'm trying to go the natural route and stay off birth control and other medication. Right now, my goal is to eat a low GI, low sugar diet and exercise regularly- I'm hoping that both will be easier after I finish school in December. I've also been eating the buckwheat farinetta muffins for a little over 3 weeks. What are y'all doing, how's it going, what's worked for you and what hasn't, etc.?


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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:50 am 
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Hi! Thanks for starting the thread here!

PCOS is linked to being pre-diabetic. Dr. Fuhrman said that his wife has it and she had managed it using ETL principles - no meat/dairy/eggs, limited processed foods and lots and lots of fruits and veggies.

We're trying to get pregnant, so I am on glucophage to regulate my PCOS and manage my cycle (no more veering from 90 day cycles to 14 day day cycles for me!). It seems to be working - I have a steady cycle.

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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:06 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
Hi! Thanks for starting the thread here!

PCOS is linked to being pre-diabetic. Dr. Fuhrman said that his wife has it and she had managed it using ETL principles - no meat/dairy/eggs, limited processed foods and lots and lots of fruits and veggies.


I had to google "ETL" to find out what it means- I've heard a lot about Eat to Live, but don't know much about it. Have you tried it?

Congrats on having a regular cycle! I went off BCPs in June so my body is still adjusting, and this is the first month that I'm late (day 38). I'm hoping that the low sugar diet will help. Last time I tried to go off BCPs, I made it six months before freaking out about symptoms and going back on, but I was eating a pretty junk-food-laden diet then...


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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:10 pm 
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I am very interested in this thread!

I have PCOS and I have never had a regular cycle, even when I am on bc sometimes I don't get my period.

I eat very little processed food, a ton of fruits and veggies and no meat/dairy/eggs.


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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:09 pm 
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I take birth control and just switched to a different one because my previous one was discontinued. I am on Ortho Tri cyclen lo now.

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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:39 pm 
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I need to take bc in order to get a period. My endo seems to think I need to take it until menopause in order to cycle. My primary doctor apparently didn't agree with him but doesn't want to override his decision.

I do wonder if I should ween myself off of the pill and see if a healthy vegan diet would help.

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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:45 pm 
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Daria wrote:
I need to take bc in order to get a period. My endo seems to think I need to take it until menopause in order to cycle. My primary doctor apparently didn't agree with him but doesn't want to override his decision.

I do wonder if I should ween myself off of the pill and see if a healthy vegan diet would help.


The glucophage is working really well for me, if you're looking for another solution. I'd love to do a full ETL and see what that brings, but life has been so hectic recently.

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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:50 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
The glucophage is working really well for me, if you're looking for another solution. I'd love to do a full ETL and see what that brings, but life has been so hectic recently.


I wonder if that's an option I should ask about. My blood sugar levels were pretty good at the last bloodwork this spring. I also have Hashimoto's thyroiditis, so I guess I'd have to see if the thyroid meds would interact negatively.

I don't plan on having kids and I'm currently not in a relationship so I often wish I could just ignore the PCOS.

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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:01 am 
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Daria wrote:
I need to take bc in order to get a period. My endo seems to think I need to take it until menopause in order to cycle. My primary doctor apparently didn't agree with him but doesn't want to override his decision.

I do wonder if I should ween myself off of the pill and see if a healthy vegan diet would help.


Do you know why your primary doctor didn't agree with the endo's decision? I was on BCPs for about 10 years straight, and I wish I had explored other options during that time. From what I've read, I understand that BCPs mask symptoms, but don't treat the underlying issues like insulin resistance. I'll try to find a research article to support that.


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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:35 am 
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I have PCOS! I take birth control so I can actually have periods. Anyone have any recommendations for books that are about treating it with a healthy diet?

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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:58 am 
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morecuminthancumin wrote:
Do you know why your primary doctor didn't agree with the endo's decision? I was on BCPs for about 10 years straight, and I wish I had explored other options during that time. From what I've read, I understand that BCPs mask symptoms, but don't treat the underlying issues like insulin resistance. I'll try to find a research article to support that.

She thought having my thyroid under control might bring on periods. But I also have low estrogen so the endo basically said she's wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:27 am 
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Jigglypuff wrote:
I have PCOS! I take birth control so I can actually have periods. Anyone have any recommendations for books that are about treating it with a healthy diet?


My goal for the next 6-12 months is to compile a list of vegan-friendly PCOS resources. I started a few weeks ago- there's a lot of stuff out there but it's rarely labeled both "vegan" and "PCOS". I guess I can see why no one has jumped on the market- we're like 5-10% of 1% of the population?

This book is supposedly awesomesauce: Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes. I haven't read it- I reserved it from the library last week but they shelved it again before I had a chance to pick it up. There are also some books on the ETL principles, I think. And there's this one: The New Glucose Revolution Low GI Vegetarian Cookbook. I've read that- it's useful if you want to know more about low GI foods, and there's a nice list of them in the back of the book. The recipes are meh- you'd be better off subbing lower-GI foods in already-awesome vegan recipes.

Neither of those are specifically for people with PCOS, see...also, although I have no doubt that a low GI diet can benefit almost everyone, it's not confirmed that all PCOSers have insulin resistance, so these diets could do wonders for some people and not as much for others. I don't know if I have insulin resistance, but I figure it's better to eat like I do, just in case...


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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:54 am 
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In terms of birth control vs not or other options.

At my highest weight, I was 200 lbs overweight. I struggled for years and had very irregular periods and other symptoms of PCOS but was never diagnosed with PCOS. I had struggled with exercising/eating right and not losing weight. A counselor at Jenny Craig basically told me I was a liar.

Few years later, talk to a gynecologist who says I have PCOS and that BC pills will help. I was on BC for a year with no weight loss efforts (why try? I had given up), I lost a few lbs but nothing beyond that. I start exercising/eating right and I ended up losing 75 lbs in a short time period, my eating, exercise stabilized and I had to tweak diet and exercise. All said and done, I have lost 150 lbs. I do think BC pills helped me somewhat. Because I had tried losing many times with little success at losing/keeping it off.

Of course I've been stuck for the last couple years at my current weight but I keep trying to find the right combo that will help get me there. I still have eating issues so I am still working on those but yeah I think BC pills helped me.

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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 12:16 pm 
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linanil wrote:
All said and done, I have lost 150 lbs. I do think BC pills helped me somewhat. Because I had tried losing many times with little success at losing/keeping it off.


Congrats, that's awesome!!

BCPs did me a lot of good- my periods were regular, and some of the other less pleasant "aesthetic" symptoms were controlled. My negatives- I had a harder time losing weight and gained easily, I was tired all the time and felt sad more often, and I had serious cravings. Now that I'm off, those side effects have improved greatly, but the other symptoms I mentioned are creeping back up. I guess right now, I'm more emotionally ready to deal with the irregular period/aesthetic symptoms than my side effects from BCPs.

The other issue I had with BCPs was that they cost me $45-60/month, even using my student health plan. I was taking Ocella (generic Yasmin)- it's the one that's worked best for me out of all I've tried. So forked up.


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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 12:18 pm 
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I found it interesting that this site Insulite has a program for reversing PCOS. It has a test to self-diagnose, some good information and basically calls for a diet high in fruit and veggies along with exercise and nutraceuticals.

I don't feel like my doctor is very helpful in managing this other than using drugs (glucophage and if we're not pregnant by December to add Clomid into the mix). And its interesting, but PCOS seems to be a diagnosis of exclusion - ie after running a shittonne of tests, and ruling out other things, they came up with PCOS, which I think seems right - esp given my family history of diabetes, and my ovarian cysts, along with the really unfortunate weight gain patterns I have.

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Last edited by Tofulish on Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:19 pm 
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my sister has PCOS and I have all the symptoms (NHS is being a forker right now, so I am waiting for a DR apt). I am trying to lose weight using ETL really strictly. I am not working so I have a lot of time to make meals and shop.

I have been ttc for 22 months...I think weight loss will help me, I am 20+lbs over weight.

My sister is on BCP and it helps her but not completely, she struggles with weight and, honestly all the other symptoms like hairiness, symptoms.

I am going to try some herbal suggestions from y homeopathic certified friend to get my hormones in balance.


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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:31 pm 
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Sorry Shovel (I can't get used to your new name!). We've been trying for around the same amount of time, and I really know how frustrating it can be - especially if you don't have all the medical support you need.

Sending you a ton of good thoughts, and I hope the ETL helps. <3

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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:49 pm 
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Tofulish,

Doctors in the US at least aren't trained to treat diseases with anything but drugs and their nutritional knowledge is lacking. One reason I've always said I enjoy having foreign trained doctors (or at least ones that seem they may be originally from another country). They seem to ask more about diet, exercise, etc. PCOS seems to be a largely ignored disease until recently so it is getting some light obviously.

I think we do have to do the best that we can do by trying to eat better and exercise. I'm in the process of tweaking my diet once again. I think I'm going to go back to more ETL style eating with a heavy concentration on raw fruits/veggies. I know I don't feel good when I eat a lot of refined carbs so I know I have to eat them rarely. Its sad because I love bread oh so much.

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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:58 pm 
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That is the part that frustrates me - I think my ob-gyn is awesome (she is the first ob-gyn I've ever liked). I do feel like I should be able to manage this without drugs, but in the 2 years we've been trying to conceive, nothing seemed to help to give me anything like a normal period/cycle.

And you're right, there is definitely not enough focus on this, and I'm glad we're starting to learn more about it. If we -weren't really old, I'd try the ETL approach but at 39 and 47, we'd like to move the process along :)

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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 8:10 am 
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i am on bc and i haven't had a period in six months. i have an appointment with my obgyn next month so i am going to talk to her.

i am also thinking to start etl and see if it helps to get things back on track and to help me lose some weight.
i have heard that women with pcos should watch their soy intake, is that true?


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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 8:32 am 
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Interesting, I've never heard to stay away from soy.

Six months is a long time not to have a period. I hope you're doing ok and am sending you a ton of good thoughts. I didn't have a period for 4 months at the start of the year. It was disconcerting, because I kept thinking I was pregnant - they did a pregnancy test and prescribed me this pill (basically a big dose of progesterone - its called Prometrium I think) that induces your period. Of course two days later, it started.

<3 sending you lots of good thoughts <3

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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:01 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
Interesting, I've never heard to stay away from soy.



I've never heard that, either. Does it having something to do with soy affecting your hormone levels? I have zero knowledge about that topic.


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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:09 am 
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I imagine it is because soy has phytoestrogens in it, but given that the issue with PCOS is that you have higher androgen levels (so you get increase hairiness on your body, and hairloss on your head, and weight distribution around your middle like men do). I'm not sure why those phytoestrogens would be a bad thing.

ETA: apparently excess estrogen converts to testosterone. I haven't been able to find a satisfactory source for this yet though - just lots of posts on message boards, referencing Weston A. Price Foundation or Dr. Mercola. The FDA seems to come down on the side of soy being fine. http://www.pcosnetwork.com/articles/die ... r-harmful/

Maybe idji or Chipmunk can explain this.

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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:26 am 
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Has everyone had their glucose and hormones tested? All of my bloodwork came back normal. But don't worry, my stache is cruising along at full speed.

Also, for the first time in my life my period has been regular. I attribute that to my low-fat, whole foods, low sugar diet. But my cramps have been worse and I'm not sure why, neither are the docs.

I had read to stay away from soy, too, but my docs said that wasn't necessary. I'd love to hear why people are avoiding soy and how it's been affecting their symptoms.

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 Post subject: Re: PCOS!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:59 am 
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I had mine tested about a year ago. I don't remember specifics other than that my LH/FSH ratio was high. I'm going to try to get them tested again before the end of the year, maybe sooner if I don't get my forking period soon.


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