Got PCOS? Maybe It's Time To Get Off The Pill
During the early part of my life, my periods were all over the map. I experienced vicious cramps and intense cravings for sweets. Sometimes I felt like I’d run over a pack of bunnies to get my hands on a pice of candy. I also couldn’t lose the extra weight that piled on, the acne that I struggled with for years, or the stabbing pains in my ovaries.
So, out of pure desperation, I sought out the advice of my doctor, who diagnosed me with having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) after seeing my ultrasound. His solution: the pill.
I’d like to tell you that my skin cleared and the weight dropped. But it didn’t. I found myself going crazy: one moment I was crying, and the next, I was an angry bomb ready to explode. Six months and two brands later, I stopped.
Some people will think I’m crazy. I mean, PCOS is only controlled via the pill right?
You have options, and it’s completely your decision to look at both sides. But I understand that when you’re struggling with infertility, acne or are overweight and struggle to get it off, you’ll do just about anything. So here are some things to consider:
Problem: The pill helps to increase the levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), which controls testosterone from freely circulating at high levels in your blood.
It’s true, from a hormonal perspective, that the pill helps reduce build-up of testosterone in the blood that's common in PCOS sufferers. This testosterone is one of the causes of acne and excess hair growth that many PCOS sufferers find so distressing.
Your option: Support your liver! SHBG is produced predominantly in the liver, so adding liver-supporting supplements like milk thistle and dandelion are great options. Even adding a castor oil pack routine on the liver for 30 minutes a day, four times a week would be great for supporting liver function.
Problem: The pill disrupts normal gut ecology.
One of my biggest concerns with the birth control pill is that it creates an unhealthy digestive terrain, leading to yeast infections, acne and a weakened immune system. This is a big deal since the dampness that it accumulates in the gut makes the absorption of vitamins and minerals difficult. This leads to a host of issues, including difficulties in losing weight, acne, cravings, etc.
Your option: If you’re not on the pill, or are getting off of it, a probiotic is a great addition to fortify the digestive system. In my program coming up, I’ll be discussing “damp-reducing” foods based on Chinese medicinal theory that can also help you shed the weight and kiss those cysts goodbye.
Problem: The pill depletes nutrients like zinc and copper.
Zinc is crucial for the normal functioning of your reproductive system and the balance of your hormones. If you’re zinc deficient, having clear skin and being fertile can become an obstacle.
Your option: If you decide that getting off the pill is right for you, then adding a zinc-copper balance supplement is a great way to replenish. Please note: long-term use of zinc will deplete your copper, which is why I recommend a balance between the two.
From my personal and professional experience with PCOS and ovarian cysts, I understand that sometimes you may feel disempowered, like you have no options. But you do. Ladies, it’s time to get your power back, love your ovaries and kiss that PCOS goodbye.
Ready to learn more about what anxiety, brain health, and your diet all have in common? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Dr. Mark Hyman.