I get asked quite often about my experience with keto and PCOS, but I’ve never sat down and discussed it openly. Well now is the time! I have touched on certain things before in past posts and such, but I wanted to give you all some opportunity to ask any questions you may have! Here are my stats and a little background info about me: I am 31 years old, 5’2” tall. I started keto at 180 lbs and currently weigh 152. I have done keto off and on for 2.5 years but have been back completely keto (minus a few slip ups and treat meals) since February 2015. I was diagnosed with PCOS at 14 years old. I started my period when I was 11 years old and it has always been torture for me. I would miss entire weeks of school when I was on my period. As I got older, it just got worse. When I was 17 I had abnormal results come back after a pap and they wanted to give me a hysterectomy. Of course that was out of the question. How do you expect a 17 year old to make that kind of life altering decision. They insisted on the surgery due to my mother having ovarian cancer, and since my results were abnormal they feared I would end up with it as well. So far thankfully that has not been an issue. At age 15 my doctor put me on birth control to try and level out my periods. It did not work. I went a year and a half without a period while being on birth control. I honestly feel that birth control played a huge part in my periods being so screwed up for the rest of my life. I haven’t taken it since then and I never will. After I started having periods again I would only have 2-3 periods a year and they were excruciating. I would pass blood clots the size of an apple and sometimes larger. Some of them would even cause me to have contractions. Not fun. bursting cysts have become a normal part of my life, and even though keto has corrected many of these issues, I still deal with them bursting. Just last weekend I popped 3 just by sneezing. Seriously. Some of these questions are going to be hard for me to answer, and we’re going to be diving deep into certain issues, but I am going to be as open as possible. You’re all gonna know me pretty well after this haha! here we go!
Q- “How has your doctor decided to treat you and have you seen changes with keto that you haven’t with other options.” — Birth control was used when I was younger but it didn’t work for me. It actually made things worse. In my adult life my OB/GYN has treated me with Metformin, and about 3 other medications (I apologize, I cannot think of their names right off the top of my head at the moment.) The Metformin was AWFUL. It gave me horrendous headaches and even more horrendous stomach pains. I honestly did not see or feel any difference whatsoever. I opted to stop taking it. Keto has been the ONLY thing that has ever worked of me. I’ll elaborate on that in other questions….
Q- “How did you start your keto diet? Im finding so much info all at once. Also, did you find that this helped with PCOS symptoms at all? I know “lose weight and you’ll get over it” seems to be the answer most doctors stick to, but what has your experience been?” — I started keto after seeing a few of my friends do it. They had amazing results and I decided to try it as well! At the time I had no idea of all the things that keto would treat, especially PCOS. My experience has been LIFE CHANGING. Three months into strict keto my periods starting coming every month like clockwork. I had 5 months worth of perfect periods. The 6th was a month and a half late but I believe that was due to an insane amount of stress that I was under.
Q- “Have you mentioned going keto to you OB/GYN? Have they been encouraging or against it?” — The same month that I started keto (Feb. 2015) my fiance and I decided we wanted to try to have a baby. I knew that it was going to be a difficult process just by everything I already knew about my body. I consulted with my doctor about wanting to conceive and also that I had just started keto and found out that it would treat my pcos symptoms. I was prepared for some back lash, but honestly he was very open and receptive about it. He said that it was a good choice but that I was going to have to take fertility medications as well to be successful. I did clomid, along with other medication that I had to take in a series each month. It was terrible. I hated every second of it. I felt sick every single day. My emotions were all over the place. I would cry multiple times a day for no reason at all. I didn’t want to get out of bed each morning. It was like it tripled my depression. And then of course, with no results. I did everything exactly how they wanted me to for 5 months. I know a lot of people will say that I didn’t give it long enough, but already dealing with depression, worsening depression because of the meds, stress, feeling like shit, disappointment from not being able to conceive, enlarged ovaries and MANY bursting (and very painful) cysts due to the meds as well, it was not worth it to me. It took a toll on me like nothing else. So we have decided to try naturally, but still have had no success. I have honestly finally accepted that I may never be a mother.
Q- “Do you think PCOS messes with your emotions?” — Yes, yes, yes and more yes. I 100% believe that PCOS effects us mentally, not just physically. Growing up I was a freaking monster. I had ZERO control over my emotions. My poor parents had no idea how to handle me. After being diagnosed with pcos, it def made a lot of things much clearer. I cannot tell you how many times a week I had doctors appts just trying to figure out what all was wrong with me. I mean, obviously they thought I was crazy, but didn’t know how to treat me. And im guessing at that point, meds were not an option for my parents. At age 13 I became bulimic. (It lasted full fledged until 12th grade and then I still dealt with it into my mid twenties) I was so stressed and confused and had no idea how to even handle myself and what I was feeling. Throwing up seriously became my coping mechanism. To answer your question, PCOS robs you of my mind, your sanity and your ovaries.
Q- “Do you have facial hair? if so, how do you deal with it on a daily basis?” — Sure do! I used to have A LOT. Not to mention also having it in other weird places that none of us care to admit to haha Tweezers were my best friend. And I am SO happy to tell you, that becoming keto adapted, I have not had to pluck one single hair from my chin! and some other places have stopped growing as well.
Q- “Does PCOS affect your relationship? How do you explain things to your significant other so he knows something are beyond your control? (emotionally)” — It has, and it does. But luckily I have been blessed with an amazing man who understands and does his best to help me cope. BUT, in the past it has ruined so many relationships. Mostly because these were at times when I still wasn’t completely aware of what I was dealing with. So I of course would take it out on them, which never went well. In the beginning of my current relationship, he had no idea that I suffered from anything. Well, he did, but I didn’t talk about it with him. We lived right next door to each other in our apt complex (which was so freaking awesome) and days when I had a lot on me and just needed to cry it out, he would let me come over and he would hold me and let me cry and not ask me any questions. Which was majorly sweet and helpful. And bless him because we were not even dating at this point haha so kudos to him for dealing with me and sticking around. As we got more serious I opened up to him about things and then after we moved in together it was impossible to hide all my medications from him. So my advice to you is, whoever you choose to be in a relationship with, you need to tell them. You don’t have to do it in the beginning, but you need to be open and let them know that there are some days that you just cannot deal and that you just don’t feel yourself. That sometimes you may take things out on him, but that you are very sorry. Let him know when you’re having a day and just need to be left alone. If he loves you, he will respect that and give you the space (or help) that you need. Its not an easy conversation at first, but honesty is the best option. If I had a dollar for every time a man ever called me crazy, I’d be driving a lamborghini.
Q- “How long after being on keto did you see your symptoms improve/go away? would you say you have to be keto adapted to see those improvements in symptoms?” — It was three months into keto that I truly saw a difference. My periods are normal now, I don’t hardly pass any clots, my periods don’t last but a few days now. They are heavy, but no way sever as they used to be. Being on a low carb diet would definitely help, and im obviously not a doctor, but I do think to see complete results you need to be keto adapted/ in ketosis. I can just say that from my own experience.
Q- “Have you dealt with PCOS on top of hyperthyroid issues? Do you ever find yourself thrown into other things (fb/IG/shopping) to distract from your constant feelings of loneliness and depression?” — I have not dealt with hyperthyroid issues, thankfully. I do have mine checked regularly though. As far as the distractions, YES. I have a horrible issue with online shopping. It is seriously my version of crack. When I am stressed or going through something I buy so much stuff online. Its like a mini xmas when things arrive. The anticipation of receiving it lets me avoid what im dealing with emotionally and then for a short time the void is filled with a new gift. It’s a dangerous cycle. Depression causes my debit card to weep haha.
Thank you all for your excellent questions! I am so sorry that it turned into a life story post haha but there is a lot going on behind all my answers and I always try to be as open as possible. If it helps even one person, then its all worth it. Take care, ladies!