By Melissa Christie, Presented by Yasmin Noone
24 OCT 2018

I found out I had PCOS in 2012 when I was 25 years old. I had just come off the contraceptive pill and a few months later, I missed a period.

At the time, I had a boyfriend and wondered whether I was pregnant. So I went to the GP and got a blood test. The GP also evaluated me against ‘The Rotterdam Criteria’ – the world standard to diagnose Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I learned that I met two of the three criteria of a PCOS diagnosis: polycystic ovaries and irregular periods. I also had an LH (Luteinizing hormone) to FSH (Follicle-stimulating hormone) ratio that was out of balance. I was then diagnosed with PCOS.

PCOS is a complex endocrine (hormonal) disorder comprised of a set of symptoms that affect all women with it differently. There is no definitive cause, no definitive cure and PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder in the world. 

Most devastatingly, this condition is also the leading cause of reduced fertility in women.

But my diagnosis helped to explain all of the symptoms I’d been experiencing in the past. Ever since I was 18-ish, I’d struggled with belly weight, acne and mood swings (even though I always felt stable with my mental health). So when I found out I had PCOS, I was relieved and thought ‘now I can actually do something about it’.

My doctor wanted to put me back on the contraceptive pill to make my periods regular but I said no – I didn’t want to be on the pill. And that was all he suggested for me.

So I jumped straight online and researched alternative ways to manage my PCOS through diet, lifestyle and holistic treatments. That’s when my real health journey began.

A low GI diet

I read that a low glycemic index (GI) diet was a good way to manage insulin resistance so I followed a low GI diet. It felt good and I lost a few kilos. My symptoms improved a little bit but the results stopped there – I plateaued and after a while, nothing really changed.

A naturopathic pathway

At the end of 2012, while I was still on the low GI diet, I decided to see a naturopath.

She gave me herbs and I lost weight. My cycle also got down to a pretty healthy range. I continued to see her for at least 1.5 years. But again, eventually the success plateaued.

Eating for my dosha

A friend then suggested I try traditional Indian medicine, Ayurveda. It’s [one of] the oldest practicing medical systems in the world and has a completely different approach to healing than the Western medical system.

So I started seeing an Ayurvedic practitioner in early 2014. She said my dosha (body type) was kapha. She put me on a bunch of supplements and weird elixirs and told me that I needed to nurture my body. The practitioner also recommended that I eat more astringent and warm foods and warm rice with water and honey for breakfast, which was the opposite of a low GI diet.

During the treatment, my cycle improved drastically, becoming normal. I went to the doctor and found that my ovaries were no longer polycystic. My LH and FSH ratio was still unbalanced, although it had improved but I still had weight to lose.