#pcos

The Supplements I Take For My PCOS | Natural Solutions To PCOS

When I started my fitness journey I had this idea in my head that drinking supplements is wrong. It means that you can improve your diet even more. It means that you’re not healthy enough. What a load of crap. I could slap my past self. How ridiculous is that notion?

*In theory, you should be able to get all the nutrients you need from your diet, but sadly, food today doesn’t always contain good amounts of the key nutrients you need. Over-farming and the use of pesticides mean that much of the soil our food is grown in has become depleted in vital nutrients. Many fruits and vegetables at the supermarket have travelled great distances over many days to get to the shelves, with already meagre nutrients dwindling further still. Our fruit and vegetables today contain an average of 20 per cent fewer minerals. Many people are significantly deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, such as Omega 3 fats. This happens if you eat more food than you need (causing weight gain). If the bulk of your diet is highly processed and refined, you may not be getting enough nutrients and you may end up overweight, and deficient in many key vitamins and minerals.  

This part is straight from the book by Marilyn Glenville called Natural Solutions to PCOS (Here is the link — https://www.marilynglenville.com/books/natural-solutions-to-pcos-book/ —). After I was diagnosed with PCOS, I went home and started searching for more information on the syndrome on Google. If stumbled onto the YouTube video of Marilyn Glenville giving a lecture on PCOS (Here is the link — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpF0UOI1Lf0&t=1917s —) and I just really love her approach to PCOS. I immediately bought her book and it was the first book on PCOS that I’ve ever read. Before that moment I was still in the mindset that drinking supplements means that you’re diet isn’t that great and you can get everything you need from a proper diet. That little snippet from before really opened my eyes, well her entire book did but anyway I became open to the suggestion of drinking supplements. The more I read and learned on how these supplements might improve my health and control my PCOS symptoms, the more I started to cheer for the supplement team. By the end of the book I ordered the supplements and currently I’ve been drinking them for six months. They truly do work and I’ve seen results. More on that in a minute.

It was overwhelming in the beginning. It’s a lot of pills and it was really difficult to 1) remember to drink them and 2) actually get them down. Now it’s all smooth sailing. Before I get into the list of supplements, let me quickly share my results.

My hormonal mood swings are less. Before I was on such a fine line of emotional outbursts. I would cry because someone spoke to me in a heavy voice or I would start to cry because I can’t find the TV remote. I also started to cry once because I had to repeat my sentence twice. It was incredibly frustrating and I just didn’t feel like myself.

My acne has improved tenfold. Although I do think that the no coffee in my diet has played a role in this, the supplements definitely has an effect as well. My skin cleared up. I still break out here and there but otherwise my skin is looking great. My back acne is completely gone which is amazing. I can’t tell you how good that one feels.

My uncontrollable and unstoppable (sure as hell felt like it) weight gain stopped. Even though I’ve made some changes in my diet, there hasn’t been a big enough change that I can contribute this to different eating habits. I mentioned before but I gained weight overnight even though I was working out almost every single day. Nearly 15kg in three months and a total of 20kg in five months. Ever since I started taking the supplements, I’m no longer gaining weight. I’m not losing any (well not yet. I just restarted my workout program) but that’s more than enough for me. I felt like I was gaining weight for just blinking so the fact that the number on the scale isn’t climbing anymore feels amazing. There was a stage I was gaining 2-3kg a week even though I practically lived on greens and my stationary bicycle.

My hair is also healthier and overall my cycles has improved. I went for an ovarian scan the other day and the doctor could see the results and well the fruit of my pill swallowing labour. I will surely continue to drink them in the future. I do want to add that in the time I’m writing this blog, I’ve been making more healthier food choices and we’ve picked up really good eating habits over these last few months. I’m even eating zucchini twice a week now. Those who might know me will probably fall of their chair with this news. It’s amazing that just three years ago I ate my first ‘greens’.

This one is quite embarrassing but my hair growth is a lot better. When my body spiralled out of control just before I was diagnosed with PCOS, I was growing dark hair and damn quickly too in all of the unsightly places. My chin and moustache was a nightmare. This has improved greatly since I started the supplements. The growth at my arms pits, lady bits and legs has also slowed. They’re growing at a normal speed again. For the awhile there…it just wasn’t pretty. Heck even the hairs on my toes are different.

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Here is the list of supplements I drink and why I take them. Before I get into it, I really want to stress that I’m not a doctor. What I know about these supplements is purely from reading her book. I ran the tests and decided to give her approach to PCOS a fair chance. Overall for all of those ladies out there struggling with PCOS and the ugly things that comes with it, I really recommend you read her book. The natural route can be the answer you’ve been searching for. For those ladies trying to conceive, she also talks of ways you can boost your fertility naturally.

 Chromium

*I believe chromium is the key nutrient for PCOS as it helps to balance your blood sugar, improves insulin resistance, counteracts food cravings and is also useful for losing weight. Chromium assists in the body’s efficient use of insulin, which then controls your blood sugar.

In the book she proceed to talk about the benefit of chromium when you are more sensitive to insulin and etc. She also advises the amount you should take but she does this with all of her recommendations.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-chroom-picolinaat-200mcg-60006393

B vitamins

*The B vitamins in general are important in the reversal of PCOS symptoms. Vitamin B2 helps to turn fat, sugar and protein into energy, which makes it useful for both blood-sugar balance and weight control.

She continues to explain what the each of the B vitamins would do for your PCOS symptoms. It’s really informative. Like mentioned above, my weight has been under control since I started the supplements. I have yet to lose weight but that’s really only because I haven’t worked out while taking the supplements.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-vitamine-b-complex-60001250

Vitamin D

*Vitamin D, the ‘sunshine’ vitamin, is now recognized as being very active in controlling blood sugar and improving insulin sensitivity, and research suggests that having good levels of Vitamin D can help prevent Type 2 diabetes.

She goes into the detail of the critical role that Vitamin D plays in our bodies. For the ladies trying to conceive, vitamin D is essential to your mix of supplements. The doctor could actually see a difference in my ovaries and I’m thanking the little sunshine tablet for that one.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-vitamine-d3-25mcg-60099316?skuid=015605

Magnesium

*Magnesium is an important mineral for dealing with PCOS because it is involved in glucose metabolism.

She goes again into the detail about the role magnesium plays in your body and the benefit you will reap from adding it into your diet.

Zinc

*Zinc helps enormously with PCOS as it is instrumental in the production of  your reproductive hormones; it also regulates your blood sugar by assisting insulin in its job and moving glucose (blood sugar) from your blood to your sells.

She continued by sharing how the mineral is important for appetite control and why. Zinc also plays a role with coping with stress. It’s a supplement you should definitely have in your collection. I’ve seen a massive difference in my appetite control. I do want to mention that my depression could’ve played a role but who knows. I used to have binge eating episodes all the time. I would just be hungry and just eat none stop. I haven’t really had that in a really long time. Not since I started taking the supplements but again around this time my depression spiked and I tend to have a bad appetite when it does.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-calcium-magnesium-zink-60004290?skuid=004290

Manganese

*Manganese helps to balance your blood sugar and with healthy thyroid function and improves your body’s ability to burn your food as energy.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://store.vitamins.nl/products/708863

Co-enzyme Q10

*Co-enzyme Q10 is a substance that your body produces in nearly every cell. It breaks down carbohydrates and turns them into energy instead of being stored as fat.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-co-enzym-q10-30mg-60007270

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

*This powerful antioxidant contributes to regulating your blood-sugar levels because it releases energy by burning glucose, and it also helps to make you more insulin sensitive.

She continues listing the benefits of the supplement towards weight loss and liver function.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://store.vitamins.nl/products/840516

Omega 3 fats

*These important fatty acids are absolutely crucial in the treatment of PCOS. They will help your body become more sensitive to insulin and play a strong role in controlling the destructive inflammatory process.

She continues by sharing the benefits of Omega 3 with the reduction of testosterone levels in women with PCOS. I’ve definitely seen a difference here. Like mentioned before, I’ve seen a massive difference in my ‘manly’ facial hair.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-omega-3-visolie-1000mg-60019103

Vitamin C

*Women with PCOS have lower levels of Vitamin C than women without PCOS so this is particularly important supplement for you.

She continues to share the other benefits of the vitamin as in how it can help you burn more fat when you exercise, enabling you to lose weight faster. I’ve always taken Vitamin C to help fight the cold season mostly because my body is still adapting to the different weather here in the Netherlands I’m almost constantly sick with a cold/flu in the winter.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-vitamine-c-timed-release-1000mg-60004070?skuid=004072

Amino Acids

*Certain amino acid can be very beneficial for PCOS as they can improve your insulin sensitivity and can also have an effect on weight loss.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://store.vitamins.nl/products/100998

N-acetyl cysteine

*N-acetyl cysteine is a form of amino acid cysteine which helps with the metabolism of the Omega 3 fats found in oily fish and linseed (flaxseed.)

She continues to go into detail about the other benefits and for the ladies trying to conceive, she has a lot to say about this supplement.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://store.vitamins.nl/products/834561

Arginine

*Arginine can be useful in reversing insulin resistance.

She proceeds to go into more detail and describes of a study that showed the results that would benefit the trying to conceive ladies.

Carnitine

*Carnitine assists the body’s breakdown of fat to release energy and can improve insulin sensitivity.

Tyrosine

*Tyrosine is helpful for women with PCOS who are overweight as it is active in suppressing the appetite and burning off fat.

Glutamine

*This amino acid is useful for helping with sugar cravings as it can be converted to sugar for energy and so takes away the need to eat something sweet.

I personally haven’t noticed anything about less sugar cravings but I’m probably the wrong person to ask that. I’m all about my sugar treats. I do try my utmost best to not stuff my face with candy all day every day. I’m still struggling with the regards of candy control.

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I take two other supplements not listed by the dear doctor. Cranberry pills to help with my frequent bladder infections. I started taking them when I would basically get a bladder infection every two months and ever since then, I’ve had one bladder infection. So I’ve definitely seen the benefit of that one. I also take  a multivitamin to get the last bits of pieces of vitamins I need in. Oh and although I don’t take this daily, I take iron pills when I’m on my period. When I was younger I had anemia with a very low iron count. If I’m not careful or healthy, my iron levels drop below the normal count.

I hope you’ve found this blog to be informative and helpful. I wanted to wait a few months so I could share my response to the supplements. Good luck to all of my cysters out there and I hope you find the answers and support you’re looking for. There is so many of us out there and we understand the struggle.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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Disclaimer

All words in italic is snippets/quotes from the book by Marilyn Glenville called Natural Solutions to PCOS (Here is the link — https://www.marilynglenville.com/books/natural-solutions-to-pcos-book/ —).

You would’ve noticed that I don’t have a picture under every supplement she recommends. It’s merely because the quantity needed per day  is found in some of the other products.

The links to the products are not affiliated. I’m not getting anything out of it. I’m merely sharing the links for those ladies here in the Netherlands who wishes to follow the advice of the book mentioned above and purchase the supplements. Although saying that, it would be pretty great if the two companies would help a girl out. I’m going to be a lifetime client.

A quick tip: Holland & Barrett often has a two for one sale on their supplements so definitely keep an eye on that.

 

 

#pcos, Mental Health, Self Love

How Kicking Coffee Out Of My Diet Improved My Acne | PCOS

I struggled with acne a lot when I hit puberty. It was truly horrible. Wait let me see if I can find a picture. I had this particular picture in mind and finding it meant deep diving on my old external hard drive. It was bad. Really bad. I’ve seen things.

Here is a picture of my mom and I when I was about twelve or thirteen. As you can see my entire face is covered with acne. I felt so self conscious about it, we went to the doctor and I was placed on the pill which I stayed on all the way till I turned nineteen. It helped with my acne a lot. I was in no way perfectly clean skin but outside an occasional acne pop up here and there my worries was behind me. Of course I scratched at my acne like crazy and now have scars on my chin that really comes out when I’m getting hot. They’re a nightmare in the summer. Is this even making sense? Anyway my point is I’ve had my fair share of acne problems that didn’t go away even when I was on the pill. Wait before I continue here is the picture.

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When I came abroad as au pair I had to go onto a new pill and  my body just didn’t respond well to the pill at all. My periods were all over the show and really bad. My acne was flaring up like crazy and after about three months I decided to stop taking the pill all together. At this point my logic was well like I’m single and my hormones should be all together now that I’m older so let’s see how it goes without the pill. The acne was a bit better without the new pill and my periods took two months to return to normal but otherwise it felt like the best choice. I was regularly washing my face and never slept with my make up on (I only started to wear make up around this time anyway). The acne wasn’t as bad. I could handle it. Anyway I met my now husband and went back onto the pill for two months before I just couldn’t take it anymore. My body responded horribly to this pill (why I didn’t go to the doctor and asked for a different kind is beyond me). There is a point to this. You need to know my back story with acne. Also I’m too far in to go back now. To get to the point though, I always had acne on my face but once I went off the pill I had a little more here and there. It was controllable and I didn’t mind it too much. Flash forward to a few months and suddenly my acne was just ten times worse. I was basically two pimples away from my thirteen year old self but throw in back acne in the mix. I was still in South Africa at the time without a medical aid so I figured I can wait till I’m in the Netherlands.

Once I got here and returned to my healthier lifestyle, some of the acne approved but not all of it. When I started to gain weight like crazy out of the blue, my acne flared up again. This time it was horrible. I felt so self conscious and dirty about it and I tried everything. I started using face masks once a week (which made a difference) and a face scrub and cleanser everyday but the back acne, boy that girl was here to stay. No amount of greens and products changed that.

After I was diagnosed with PCOS, I did a lot of research. Some of my research showed that coffee (or well caffeine in general) is horrible for our hormones and can make our acne worse. At this point I was desperate to feel more like myself and just feel attractive again in any shape or form I can, so I kicked all coffee out of my diet. I immediately saw a response. My back acne completely disappeared and my face cleared up. Now I do have to add that around a month after I stopped drinking coffee, I started drinking supplements for my PCOS which also cleared up the last bit of lingering pimples. I now only get pimples when I’m on my period or when I eat too much junk food.

For those who would be interested in why coffee is so bad for those with PCOS here is a section from the main PCOS book I follow, Natural Solutions to PCOS by Marilyn Glenville (—https://www.marilynglenville.com/books/natural-solutions-to-pcos-book/ — ).

*If you have, by now, made the switch to unrefined carbohydrates, you will already be working hard to keep your blood-sugar levels on an even keel. It is the energy dips and troughs and long gaps between meals that trigger the adrenal glands into action, encouraging them to pimp out the stress hormones that are so harmful to sufferers of PCOS. But if you are serious about getting to the bottom of your PCOS symptoms, you really need to try to keep those adrenal glands as happy as possible. The key to adrenal health is to cut right back on caffeine. Anything containing caffeine acts as a stimulant that will make your body release more of the stress hormones and cause blood-sugar-levels to fluctuate. We know that women with PCOS have increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, so it is vital to help reduce these in order to reduce insulin levels. Like alcohol, caffeine also acts as a diuretic, so if you drink a lot, you risk losing valuable nutrients like zinc (which is crucial for hormone balance) through your urine.*

I do need to add that in the same breath that I’ve seen other websites on PCOS disagreeing with the no coffee statement of Dr. Marilyn but if you have PCOS and your struggling with acne, I recommended just trying it for a month. I tried it, saw I benefited from not drinking coffee and now I only drink coffee every now and again. There is a lot of options out there for those addicted to coffee so not all is lost. I hope this helps. I will share the face products I use another time.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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#pcos, Body & Soul, Body Love, Story Time

I Have PCOS

This is probably one of the hardest blog posts I’m ever going to write. It’s something so very close to my heart and talking about it makes me feel vulnerable. This entire experience rocked my entire world and I’ve been an emotional wreck. The timing wasn’t the best either as I just found out my grandmother’s cancer is back and this time around there is just nothing they can do for her. It broke my heart especially when it dawned on me that I won’t ever see her again. I can’t go down to South Africa to say my goodbyes.

So how do I start? I’m trying my utmost best not to cry here but the tears are definitely going to roll pretty soon. This is an emotional subject to write. Somewhere, wait let me get the date and post, 8th of February, I publicly mentioned that I was diagnosed a hormone syndrome that was the culprit behind my weight gain, mood swings and acne. By that point I was sitting on the news for quite awhile. Wrapping my head around it wasn’t completely easy. When I started to learn more about it, well let’s just say I cried a lot. It’s been difficult.

I guess I should just say it. I have PCOS. Yeah. I said it. Some of you might be wondering what the hell is PCOS and why are you making such a big deal out of it? Fret not I have four books (I haven’t finished reading them all) that I cried while reading and they taught me quite a bit about the syndrome.

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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance that affects an estimated 5 to 10 per cent of women of reproductive age across the world, and results in irregular or absent periods, acne, excess body hair and weight gain. It can also cause problems with fertility.*

PCOS can cause depression and anxiety. There is drugs to help with the symptoms and to improve fertility but there is natural solutions. Drugs comes with side effects and will stop working once I stop taking it. I don’t want to take drugs for the rest of my life so I’m very eager to solve or ‘cure’ my PCOS with my diet. The book I’m following is by Marilyn Glenville. Here is the link to her website and book. (I really wanted to follow my doctors recommendations first before I go off and do my own thing. He decided to put me on drugs but I’m still going to change my diet as Marilyn Glenville recommended in the book, Natural Solutions To PCOS, for the best possible result.)

https://www.marilynglenville.com/

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https://www.marilynglenville.com/books/natural-solutions-to-pcos-book/

I bought the book and three others on Amazon. I really enjoy Marilyn’s book. I watched her lecture and just really fell in love with her approach and overall success rate.

But let’s get back to my feelings. I’m surprised how detached I’m writing this but I can already feel the tears coming as I think of what I want to say next. PCOS scares me because I want children one day. What scared me the most is the infertility that comes with it. I read and seen so many women in support groups that has been struggling for years. YEARS. This one women has been trying for ten years. Not only do you struggle to get pregnant you have a very high risk for miscarriages. That terrifies me so much. I’m scared. I really am. I’ve wanted to be a mom ever since I could remember. I’m entering a stage in my life where becoming a mother is in the future. The diagnoses shook my entire world. So many thoughts raced through my mind and to be honest when I think about it too much I can’t stop crying. It’s just..what if? No let’s stop right there. I can’t put it in words. I just can’t.

PCOS has affected me emotionally, heck that is an understatement, but physically it has wrecked havoc on my body. My hormones are completely out of whack. I gained 15kg almost overnight. My acne is horrid. My mood swings borderline on she’s crazy and my self esteem is shot. I have excess body hair and the sudden weight gain has given me quite a bit of stretch marks. I don’t feel attractive. I’m scared that I’m failing as a women. Not only do I no longer feel attractive there is a possibility that we will really struggle to have our family. It’s heart wrenching. Okay I’m crying again. Can barely see my screen. I’m going to take a break.

My entire body aches. My energy is low. My acne and stretch marks is a daily reminder. I’m tired all the damn time and I’m constantly nauseous. I’m struggling with depression and I’m scared. I have days where I have no appetite and eating makes me want to throw up and then I have days that I just can’t stop eating. PCOS is completely out of my control and it will never go away. When I was diagnosed with celiac disease I kind of took it with stride. It was difficult as it was something so out of control and something that will always be there but…I don’t know. It seemed like well cut out gluten and make some sacrifices but overall it’s still good. PCOS on the other hand…it affected me on every single level and I will have to make a massive lifestyle change. My diet is going to have to change and hopefully that won’t spark up my old eating disorder…I’m scared and this is really hard.

I’m writing this four days before my first big appointment for my PCOS. We made the appointment soon after I was diagnosed but the waiting period was eight weeks. In these last eight weeks I’ve made a few changes but not a lot as I want the test results to be more telling if that make sense. I will explain in a bit. I’ve tried to keep up with my training more but at the same time I read so much about how this and that might not be good for PCOS so really I want more guidance. I’ve cut out almost all caffeine. In these last eight weeks I’ve had four cup of coffee. I’ve been drinking a lot of green tea and I’ve cut down almost all refined carbohydrates in my diet. I’m on a very low sugar diet. I check every single label for the sugar content and find the best product for me. But emotionally. I’ve been barely keeping it together. I cry at least four times a week about PCOS. I can’t open the PCOS book without crying my eyes out. I sometimes don’t really feel like doing anything and it’s just been so hard.

On Thursday the 29 of March I’m hopefully going to walk out with some future plans and more information. I’m not sure of the entire process as I yet have to experience this, I will add on to this blog after I’ve been, but I’m hopeful. Or I’m trying to be. My best guess is that they’re going to run some tests, see how my insulin resistance is (diabetes is at risk here) and over all what I should do, eat and etc to control my symptoms and balance out my hormones. Hopefully this will make me lose weight because barely any of my clothes fit me at the moment and fitting in my old clothes will really help my self esteem right about now. (PS, the appointment was a massive success. I walked out feeling hopeful for the future and a little less scared. The doctor gave me a future treatment plan. He ran some tests and in a week I will find out the results and then change my diet and drink the correct supplements from there. For now I’m just going to read all of my PCOS books and learn even more.)

I’m not sure what exactly I want to accomplish with this post. I’m not okay and PCOS is going to be a struggle but I guess I just want to say to my fellow cysters…you’re not alone and together we can support each other through this. And I also want to explain why I’ve been so absent and less like myself…I will definitely talk about what’s happening with my PCOS and what changes I’m going to make and etc. What products or stuff works for me and all that jazz. But for now I’m going to end this blog because honestly my emotions are just too much for me right now. As I’m writing this part still four days before my doctor appointment I’m really scared and overwhelmed so I’m just going to take the week off Instagram and Facebook. I don’t need social media to add to everything right now. It’s also my mental health week for the month so it’s needed.

Edit from future Cassy that already saw the doctor. I’m still scared for the future and I know I’m going to go through a lot of changes because of the PCOS but I’m feeling slightly more positive. It did help that when the gynecologist scanned my ovaries he saw that I ovulated recently. It just made me feel better about becoming a mother in the future…I’m not a complete failure. My body ovulated naturally. While I’m here I should explain something to those who doesn’t know what PCOS is, so basically I don’t ovulate normally. Where a healthy woman ovulates every month a women with PCOS will ovulated maybe 6 times in a year. Some even less. Some don’t even ovulate at all. There is drugs to induce an ovulation if you want to get pregnant. Not all of them work for every woman out there with PCOS and that’s when some woman struggle for years. That’s what scared me so much but walking away with the news that hey you have an egg in the basket just made me feel more hopeful about everything. I know that without those news I would be feeling a lot different right about now.

Edit from future, future Cassy that just got her test results back. Everything is GOOD! I don’t have other problems related to my PCOS. Feeling very happy right now!

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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