‘September tries its best to have us forget summer.’ – Bernard Williams
In this strangest of years, it is now, suddenly it seems, September. This has been a challenging year for many of us – dealing with death, illness, financial uncertainty…
September always brings (for me) a feeling of renewal, of starting again (and of new notebooks and pens!! Yes, I was that nerd who loved going back to school….)
But also, if you work in Women’s Health, it brings a lot of important topics up as Awareness Months/Days/Weeks – for example:
Gynae Cancer Awareness
Interstitial Cystitis/ Bladder Pain Syndrome Awareness
Pelvic Pain Awareness
(am I missing any?)
All this month, here on the blog, on social media and on my YouTube channel, I’ll be sharing information about these topics, to raise awareness, for sure, but also to discuss solutions and strategies
Let’s start with PCOS – AKA Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
(I’m going to share some of the slides from the PCOS module from the SOON to be released Female Pelvic Pain Rehab course…thank you for your patience for this…it WILL be worth the wait!!)
What are the signs & Symptoms of PCOS?
Periods that are irregular and/or painful or absent altogether
Difficulty getting pregnant
Dark facial hair
Weight gain, especially around the middle, that’s hard to shift
Mood swings – depression, anxiety, anger
Diagnosis of PCOS is based on having 2 of the 3 Rotterdam Criteria:
- Irregular or absent periods
- Evidence of excess androgens (testosterone) either on a blood test or clinically with signs such as excess facial hair and/or acne
- When examined by ultrasound, there are multiple follicles/ ‘cysts’ on the ovaries (often called a ‘string of pearls’ appearance).
Why does it matter?
Apart from the physical changes and the fertility issues that PCOS causes, it is a major precursor of Type2 Diabetes, which increases the risk of cardiovascular mortality, endometrial cancer and mental health issues like depression, amongst other issues, along with pelvic health issues like fertility, dysmennorhea and digestive dysfunction.
Although medical strategies like OCP’s and Metformin are commonly used, they come with a raft of side effects but lifestyle medicine – food, exercise, sleep hygiene and stress management have been shown to be very effective (and with low to no risks!)
But what food? What type of exercise?
In the ‘Female Pelvic Pain Rehab’ online course, I talk about the evidence for both HIIT and also Yoga, (and yes, there are exercise videos and worksheets!) as well as some evidence based nutrition strategies like avoiding alcohol and maintaining a steady blood sugar by focusing on healthy whole food plant based strategies that crowd out the processed carbs and refined sugars (yes, there will be recipes and videos!)
So, the bottom line is that there is much that women with PCOS can do to take charge of their own health, without depending on pharmaceuticals – meds may be needed for a jump start, but they can be a boat to get you to the other side, then self-management can be the main focus on taking back control.
(and of course, sleep hygiene is ESSENTIAL for blood sugar management and dealing with insulin resistance!! – and yes, there’s handouts on #SuccessfulSleepStrategies in the course!)
In other news:
As you may have seen on my YouTube Channel, Jenny Burrell and I have decided to take Woman On Fire 2021 to a virtual summit!!!
Here’s all the deets about how, where and why, if you’re working in women’s health, you can’t afford to miss this!! (you’ll have access to ALL the recordings and handouts, to our private FB group, and much more…)
Until next time
Onwards and Upwards!