Monday, May 17, 2010

PCOS & Blood Sugar Levels

Just over a year ago I was surprised to find out I was pre-diabetic. Even though I was well aware that diabetes is related to obesity, I always thought I was one of those healthy obese people. (Yes, I know how that sounds!)

I hadn't even heard of pre-diabetes but was surprised to know that I began showing some symptoms years before. My blood sugar wasn't actually that bad. The majority of symptoms I actually show are related to PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome. PCOS and pre-diabetes go hand in hand for many women.

I was initially very angry when I first was diagnosed. How many times had doctors drawn blood and nobody caught my blood sugar levels were rising? How many times had I told doctors that I had heavy irregular cycles?

It just goes to show that you know your body and need to stand up for yourself. Most doctors probably hear menstrual complaints from most female patients so it probably goes overlooked a lot of the time. I am probably going on a rant here, but my mom had endometriosis when she was younger and was essentially told to "walk it off" at the time. Before she was diagnosed with leukemia she laid on the couch for months withering away. You have to be proactive in your health care. Don't resign yourself to an average or less than average fate.

A side note, my mom's doctor had run most of the tests that she could have and my mom has a lot of other conditions that affect diagnosis so I don't blame her doctor. But, being proactive in your overall wellness will help you in the long run. Doctors see dozens of patients a day, but you live in your body 24-7.

What have I done differently in the past year?
  1. Metformin. There are other drugs, but metformin is used to treat PCOS and pre-diabetes for most people diagnosed
  2. Cut out as much sugar or "white" foods as possible. Obviously sugar is a culprit of high blood sugar levels, but what many people fail to see is that the body breaks down fats and starches into sugar. White foods tend to break down faster than alternatives. For instance, your body will burn through white rice much faster than brown rice.
  3. Cut out as much gluten as possible
  4. Eat fruits and veggies. Above and beyond the nutritional basics, they are natural to your body
  5. Cut out processed foods. A lot of processed foods contain soy and
  6. Green Tea. PCOS can cause elevated testosterone levels which can be combatted with green tea. I love Starbucks' Green Tea so I drink it when I can (you can actually buy gallon bags like they get in the store to save money). I also take green tea supplements

For more information regarding PCOS visit

If you want to start seeing a doctor who practices alternative therapies try searching on American College For Advancement in Medicine's (ACAM) online search engine. The database includes doctors and other types of practitioners such as nutritionists who believe in treating the patient, not the symptoms.

EDIT: June 14th. Okay, so I encourage anyone who hasn't already done so to Google pictures of PCOS. It isn't pretty and thoroughly grossed me out and enraged me at the same time. Some friends of mine get regular ultrasounds too which are a great idea and I'm going to talk to my doctor about. When I was diagnosed my primary care doc was pretty vague and I think there is a serious discussion we need to have now.

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