Wednesday, September 5, 2012

PCOS, Gluten-Free, 90 Day Challenge!

I have PCOS and in case you don't know that stands for PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome.  It is a metabolic/hormonal disorder that basically means I (and 5-10% of all women) have trouble metabolizing insulin. 

My grandma called me a week or so ago and just left a message saying that I should check out Celiac disease.  I knew what Celiac was since I took care of an elderly woman who had it and because years ago we thought my husband might have it; instead, he has a form of Chron's. 

I did not think that I had Celiac and still do not, but for some reason I felt like I should look it up last night so I did.  I do now think, though, that I have a gluten allergy. There are many symptoms I have that seem to go along with it. I self-diagnosed myself with PCOS years before I could go to a dr to get "diagnosed and treated" due to insurance issues. I read alot and educate myself and I've gotten better at knowing my body.

Celiac is at the farthest end of the gluten allergy/intolerance spectrum.  It is not a good thing.  Having an allergy to gluten and not doing anything about it is also not a good thing as ingoring it can cause: inability to lose weight, chronic sinus problems, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, cancer, depression, skin disorders, osteoporosis, diabetes or hypothyroidism, autoimmune diseases, infertility, tingling numbness in the legs, sores inside the mouth, hives, joint/muscle pains and aches.  Those are the pretty serious things.  I didn't even bother with the little issues. 

"When you have gluten intolerance your body does not absorb fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A and E and K as efficiently as well as the essential fatty acids. EFA's are critical for women with PCOS because we use these to make all our reproductive hormones and adrenal hormones including estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, cortisol and DHEA. Other nutritional deficiencies include a calcium, folic acid, iron and vitamin B12 (which may already be low due to taking Metformin."

These are some of the symptoms caused by having a gluten allergy:
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Nutritional deficiencies due to malabsorbtion e.g. low iron levels
  • Gastro-intestinal problems (bloating, pain, gas, constipation, diarrhea)
  • Fat in the stools (due to poor digestion)
  • Aching joints
  • Depression
  • Eczema
  • Head aches
  • Exhaustion
  • Irritability and behavioural changes
  • Infertility, irregular menstrual cycle and miscarriage
  • Cramps, tingling and numbness
  • Slow infant and child growth
  • Decline in dental health
  • -

    Now, obviously, many issues can be the cause of those above problems, but I had never known that there was a correlation between PCOS and a gluten allergy.  But, "Dr. Jeffrey Aron who has been practicing gastroenterology for 35 years and is Head of Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine at California Pacific Medical Center, is quoted as saying that, 'PCOS and celiac are related.'   Melissa Diane Smith who’s a nutritionist, health educator and author of Going Against the Grain says that '…85% of her PCOS clients test positive for a sensitivity to gluten. When these women remove gluten from their diets they often see a marked improvement in their PCOS symptoms.'"

    So I have decided to be gluten free for the next 90 days (actually 88 days because I am late posting this!).  Completely, utterly, 100% gluten-free.  And boy, do I love my bread!  I read websites that said you should definitely see a difference in your energy levels and your overall health in just a little more than a week of being gluten free, but others suggested 4 weeks and some even 3-4 months before truly knowing if you have an intolerance. 

    What can it hurt?  Nothing.  I am also going to start walking/running and maybe some other working out, which should also improve things.  Although, I don't think it will really alter my "results" because I will workout at night and that's not going to really help my hating the morning energy level.  Hopefully, my new diet (not lose weight diet... just food diet) will! 

    I'm going to share the ups and downs each week and maybe you will get some ideas or encouragement from my posts, but I also really, really need the accountability! 

    I read many, many "testimonials" from women who said that within just a couple months their cycles were normal and they were feeling great with a huge reduction in almost all if not all PCOS symptoms! 

    My goals for this week are:
    1) to workout or be aerobically active for 2 hours
    2) to lose 3 pounds

    On Monday, when I recap the week I will post my before picture!  DUN, DUN, DUNNNN!!

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