PCOS are deep-rooted, complex, and multifactorial, with a strong genetic component. It’s still not understood what causes PCOS. I take a very holistic approach, I don’t just look at genetic components but I am more focused on my clients individual; Relationship with themselves, their body and their cycle, nutrition (either over or under-eating), nutritional deficiencies, stress including home and work environments, nervous system, genetics and ancestral trauma, endocrine disruptors exposure, previous contraception methods and overall lifestyle.
Relationship with Self, Body and Menstrual Cycle
From a spiritual point of view, we all have Masculine and feminine energy which has nothing do with gender, we all have both energies within us which is based on tantric philosophy: Tantra philosophy believes the universe is created by and made up of masculine (Shiva) and feminine (Shakti) energies that infuse all things. Based on our personal experiences with nature and nurture, one of these energies is usually our more dominant energy. To survive in our modern world, many women (and men) have had to completely let go of their feminine (receptive, intuitive, creative, strong, wise) energy to survive which basically means they are constantly in ‘action mode’ are in a constant state of fight, flight or freeze and find it hard to sit still and relax which causes extreme stress and inflammation in our bodies.
They also are forced to ‘act’ masculine or like ‘one of the boys’ to survive in masculine dominated workplaces to ensure they are treated ‘equally.’ This rejection of own innate nature can cause an imbalance between masculine and feminine energies which might from a very spiritual outlook, manifest physically and look like things like; excess male hormones, inability to conceive, masculine physical traits (facial hair). If my client experienced a lot of shame around being a woman growing up, disconnection or dislike of her period through shame of her family or culture, grew up in an environment where it was considered ‘weak’ to feel her emotions, had negative body image, trauma or grew up in a constant state of survival and disassociation, experienced sexual trauma or shame regarding her sexuality. She may reside mostly in her masculine energy to survive and feel safe.
Coming Off the Pill
Many woman take the pill every day without having any idea as to how it actually works. Oral contraceptives impose a very specific type of hormonal control over the body. There are many different types of pill’s and other contraceptives that you can read about here. While they can seem to ‘regulate’ our cycles, and control many hormonal symptoms, they do so by suppressing our natural cycles of ovulation, menstruation, and hormonal fluctuations. The bleed you have when you’re taking the sugar pills in your 28-day pill sheet, is not a ‘period’ as such – it’s a withdrawal bleed, from the ending of the 21 days of hormonal pills you’ve just had. There is no egg being flushed from the body (which is what happens with a natural cycle). You also don’t ovulate while you’re on the pill. The pill can be used as a Band-Aid for symptoms of chronic reproductive conditions such as endometriosis or PCOS, but at no point is it ever ‘healing’ such conditions.
Once you come off the pill, your body essentially has to re-learn how to ovulate again. Stopping the pill has been linked with increased androgens and increased insulin resistance. As the ‘system’ has been shut down it can take a little while for our messaging system to come back online. 1 in 3 women go on the pill purely to ‘balance’ or ‘regulate’ their hormones. If you went on the pill to address acne or an irregular cycle, the pill may have simply buried your symptoms. When you come off the pill, there’s a good chance that you’re still dealing with those same imbalances, which may have gotten more pronounced over time because the Root Causes were suppressed. The pill can also remain in your system after you stop taking it, particularly the combination pill which sometimes results in a process called ‘oestrogen recycling’, where the synthetic oestrogen in the pill can continue to exert an effect on your cells even when you’re no longer taking the pill.
This is not an anti-pill statement it’s merely explaining how it works to help you understand. A decision to come off the contraceptive pill should is not be taken likely if you are not trying to fall pregnant.
I tend to avoid any diet or program recommendations that are a ‘one-size-fits-all’ as I firmly believe that everybody has a unique and complex chemical and biological design that best benefits from personalised plans that fit YOU. In saying that, Food and hormones have a very strong connection. Food is our fuel. What we digest every day effects every cell in our body and how well it functions. Like a car if you for example; if you put unleaded into a diesel it it’s going to run very well. Our bodies are the same if we constantly feed them take away, processed foods and food sources with energy and no nutrients our bodies can suffer.
On the opposite side of this coin is we now have the ever-growing problem in our society that sometimes we can
be so conscious of the food we eat and how many calories we have consumed that it can cause just as much, if not more damage. Lack of food will cause more problems to your menstrual cycle then say overeating. Unfortunately eating often have strong associations. One of the first things in the female body to be affected by Anorexia, over-exercise, or other.
Finding a balance within this is my key with food and PCOS. I focus on medicinal and intuitive eating methods. Wholefoods, low GI, high good fat, gut healthy, liver detoxifying foods and gut healthy foods like fibre are all encouraged. There is no calorie counting in my meal plans. I also, where applicable (especially in inflammatory PCOS) might look at food intolerances like gluten, dairy, salicylates, high histamine foods and high FODMAP foods if I believe they may be triggering inflammation and further tress within the body. I may also look at foods that contain natural or synthetic hormones like dairy, meat and different types of soy.