PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a chronic condition that women experience throughout their lives. And receiving the diagnosis for this condition can feel unbearable. Symptoms range from acne, facial hair (also known as hirsutism), weight gain, fertility troubles, intense sugar cravings, and even sleep or libido issues. Overwhelming is an understatement.
The internet and social media can lead you to believe your life is over, restricted to nothing but crazy unsustainable PCOS diets, infertility, and medication. Unfortunately, your doctor may only reaffirm these fears with doom-filled statements and a lack of in-depth knowledge on PCOS treatment options.
But, as a Registered Dietitian specifically targeted in Women’s Health and PCOS, Master of Science, and a fellow PCOS cyster, I’m here to bust down the PCOS myths. Let’s dispel the rumors babe, and get down to the science of it.
MYTH #1 YOU HAVE TO GO GLUTEN AND DAIRY-FREE
Have you been told this before? Perhaps by someone online swearing that their clear skin or PCOS was cured?
A common trope on social media platforms from various influencers is that you must cut out gluten and dairy, that’s how you’ll solve your hormone issues and ‘cure’ your PCOS. Well, babe, that’s just BS.
Let me start with this, you can allow ALL foods into your diet. The facts are that you actually don’t have to cut out dairy and gluten to treat your PCOS. It’s just a matter of how and how much you eat them.
More so, removing gluten and dairy isn’t rooted in real science. In fact, there are literally ZERO research studies demonstrating this method is actually effective at remedying your PCOS symptoms. Drop the influencers now who try to convince you this is the only way – I’m here to share from a place of science, it’s not!
MYTH #2 YOU CAN’T GET PREGNANT WITH PCOS
I’m happy to report that this myth is the furthest thing from the truth. You can get pregnant with PCOS.
PCOS is the leading cause of infertility – but pregnancy is 1000% possible.
In fact, I have helped hundreds upon hundreds of women successfully conceive despite their PCOS. I have a program specifically designed for this – guiding my cysters with science to support their bodies to ovulate and get pregnant on their own.
MYTH #3 BIRTH CONTROL AND METFORMIN ARE THE ONLY PCOS TREATMENT OPTIONS
While yes, it is true, that birth control and Metformin can help your PCOS symptoms, they are not a solution and won’t actually improve your PCOS. Working as only a band-aid-like effect, they can mask one symptom while causing a slew of other side effects. If you’ve had the Metform sh*ts, you know what I mean. Not fun.
More so, they’re not your only options for PCOS treatment. Instead, you can address the underlying issues BEHIND your PCOS. Cyster, I work with tons of women to do just this using powerful lifestyle changes like targeted PCOS supplements, nutrition, movement, stress reduction, and more. If you’re interested in learning more about how to boss up to your PCOS, I can show you how. Check out these testimonials from women just like you who’ve gone through my program, PCOS Boss Academy.
MYTH #4 YOUR WEIGHT CAUSED YOUR PCOS
Wrong! Weight gain is merely a symptom of PCOS. The weight did not cause your PCOS.
Let’s get down to the facts. TBH, the medical cause of PCOS is unknown. It is true though that some weight loss can restore your periods and ovulation – there’s too strong of research behind this for me to dismiss it. Multiple studies show improvements in ovulation with even a 5% weight loss in PCOS.
But with PCOS, it’s so much harder to lose weight, so keep in mind this is NOT your fault. If weight loss is something you want to work towards, I got your back through permanent, sustainable, non-restrictive methods in my PCOS Boss Academy. Regardless of what you decide, what really matters beyond weight loss is improving your health and loving the f*ck out of yourself. You are beautiful, queen.
MYTH #5 YOU CAN CURE YOUR PCOS
I’m sorry to say, there’s no “magic cure” for PCOS. If you hear anyone marketing something to you this way, RUN! Having PCOS means that it’s a lifelong condition. But that doesn’t mean it has to equal lifelong suffering.
The right protocol can be extremely supportive and alleviate many, if not all, of your symptoms. It does involve a little work on your part, but the benefits outweigh the changes you’ll make. The key is finding a protocol that doesn’t restrict – but empowers. For example, my program PCOS Boss Academy does just that. We un-demonize foods with facts not fiction, overcome stress and cravings, and support your PCOS symptoms wholly to put the power back into your hands. You learn how to enjoy the foods you like in a way that doesn’t exacerbate your PCOS symptoms.
MYTH #6 YOU CAN’T EAT SOY
Yet another restrictive diet?! Ugh, I’m sick of these, aren’t you?
Soy, while not great in excess, is absolutely beneficial for PCOS in moderation. In fact, moderate soy consumption can have a positive impacts on insulin – a major component in the PCOS puzzle and your symptoms like irregular periods. It can also help reduce inflammation, which we could all use less of in the body.
Overall, the introduction of moderate soy consumption in the diet can improve and support other important hormones that contribute to a healthy period and ovulation.
MYTH #7 YOU HAVE TO CUT OUT ALL CARBS
I saved the best one for last – and yes, you read that correctly. It’s not true, carbs are not your eternal enemy.
I’m not telling you to down an entire cake in one sitting and knock back as many beers as you want! I’m telling you restriction isn’t your only option. Let’s stop demonizing entire food groups.
In fact, carbs can be beneficial, supportive, and even healthy parts of a balanced diet. Eaten properly, carbs are fuel for your body by providing energy that keeps you going throughout the day. Plus, there’s a big variety of delicious fiber-rich carbs that can support your PCOS including bananas, sweet potatoes, quinoa, black beans, and even whole-grain bread.
Learning how to balance your carbs with good amounts of proteins and healthy fats can help you stabilize blood sugar – improving your weight challenges, energy levels, and even your libido.
Moderation is a beautiful thing boo.
WHAT HELPS PCOS THE MOST
When it comes to treating your PCOS, lifestyle change has the greatest impact. You avoid the bandaid symptoms and additional side effects of medication and treat the underlying problems instead.
If you’re a fellow PCOS cyster and you’re feeling lost or alone, I’ve got you. You’ve come to the right place. I’m a Registered Dietitian, PCOS specialist, and women’s health expert.