Health & Support
Moderators: autopilotfrank193, bierorama, ksylvan, nycgirl, peaches0405


PCOS withouth Birth Control


Quote  |  Reply

I was diagnosed with PCOS over 3 years ago. I was told that I would have to be on birth control. Anyhow, since then I finally got over the thought of, "I'll always be fat, I just have to learn how to live with it." And I've lost almost 25 lbs in the last 6.5 months. So now I want to stop taking birth control. What I want is to hear from people who have PCOS and aren't on birth control, and I want to know if exercise and eating better has helped them to control their PCOS. I think that as long as I continue to exercise and watch what I eat, I don't have to take birth control.

Edited Apr 19 2012 19:02 by bierorama
Reason: Set as Sticky 12/2/2010; Removed Sticky 4/19/12
70 Replies (last)

When I wasn't on birth control for PCOS, I was on Metformin and Spironolactone.

Original Post by cptbunny:

When I wasn't on birth control for PCOS, I was on Metformin and Spironolactone.

 Yeah, I've read where some people take the Metformin to help. My eventual goal is to not have to take anything at all for PCOS. I just know that putting hormones into your body is really hard on it. I just want to be healthy enough to where I don't have to deal with it anymore, but that's probably a pipe dream.

Hi. After I went off birth control, I stopped getting my period and went to see my doctor. She diagnosed me with PCOS as well. She told me that with a little weight loss and regular exercise, I would most likely be able to have a regular cycle again. After I started exercising, my cycle began regularly. I am not currently on any type of medication or birth control.

Additionally, I did a lot of research and came across research that supports a low GI (glycemic Index) Diet.  Don't get scared by the word "diet" because it really just refers to a lifestyle change in what you eat, nothing drastic, or unrealistic. I would HIGHLY recommend you read up on the Glycemic Index.  The research is headed by Jennie Brand-Miller in Australia.  She has written multiple books -- the one I read is called "How to Control your PCOS with a Low GI Diet."  Research shows that by eating foods that are low in GI, you can reduce the risk for heart disease, diabetes, control your PCOS symptoms, and lose weight.

Here is the website: http://www.glycemicindex.com/

If you click on the left navigation bar under GI Books, you will find "Living Well with PCOS" but you can also probably find it for cheaper on Amazon.  There are a few different books out there -- so just make sure it's one written by Jennie Brand-Miller.

Even though this has worked for me, I would still meet with your doctor to talk about what is best for you. I don't have any health problems nor have I ever had really irregular, painful or debilitating menstrual cycles. So, there are probably multiple factors that contribute to whether or not you need medication and/or birth control. If I remember correctly, the book did mention that sometimes Metaformin is needed to control certain issues, but for the most part, you can control your PCOS symptoms the NATURAL WAY!! Hope this is helpful.

Yes, it was very helpful. That's pretty much what I was thinking, but wanted to know if it had worked for anyone else. I'm about to research that GI. I've heard about it a little but never really looked into it. Thank you so much for your post.

I have PCOS and have only been on BC once, for a very short amount of time (20 years ago and not for the PCOS). I don't take any meds, I don't like putting crap in my body.

I agree with the low GI diet. When I eat my best, I feel my best. I basically try to eat low carb, high protein and low/no sugar.

It is a life style change but it does keep my weight in check as well.

Glad to hear :) Keep us updated if you feel like sharing. It's great to have a community where we can help each other and encourage each other.

Congrats on trying to get away from the birth control!  My friends think I'm nuts, but I am pretty adamantly opposed to the use of birth control pills for various reasons (both health-wise and environmental)--not in all cases, mind you, but in the vast majority.  

Anyway, I was diagnosed with PCOS a few years ago, but I've been symptomatic since junior high.   Too many times, doctors prescribe birth control as some sort of wonder drug to fix anything wrong with the female reproductive cycle without even bothering to determine the exact problem in the first place.  In fact, some birth control pills can make symptoms of PCOS worse (most notably the insulin/weight symptoms), but physicians often think that the fake period they create means that everything is just fine.

I'm lucky in that I've always maintained a fairly healthy diet.  I've been moderately low-carb since my teen years when I discovered that I was soooo much less run down feeling when I limited my grains.  Since my PCOS diagnosis, I've come to find out that one of the absolute best ways to treat PCOS is to treat the insulin resistance through low-glycemic eating.  Thank goodness I stumbled upon this years before, as I truly believed it helped keep my weight manageable (my highest weight was just barely into the "overweight" bmi status) despite my PCOS & low thyroid.

That being said, for me, low-glycemic eating was not enough to normalize my cycle.  Without medicine, I had 3-4 periods a year, and I suspect those were not "true" periods in regard to ovulation.  For the past year, now, I've been treating my PCOS with progesterone in addition to diet & strength training.  I take the progesterone on days 14-28 to balance out the estrogen & induce a period.  After about 2 months, it started working to induce the period, but it didn't seem to stimulate ovulation most months.  For me, the only thing that has seemed to work to get my body ovulating is resistance training (for some reason, cardio doesn't seem to do much, but I'm not really sure why).  I don't know what your goals are in regard to the PCOS (just controlling symptoms or actually restoring fertility), but, even though I'm not trying to get pregnant, I feel better knowing that my body is working the way it is supposed to.  I won't pretend to have everything figured out--not by a long shot!  I just wanted to share my experiences and let you know that PCOS is manageable without birth control (even w/o progesterone or metformin)

ladyady85 -- Even though I didn't start this topic, I want to thank you for your input! I'm like you -- trying to do things the natural way. My doctor had me on progesterone pills every other month but I stopped taking them once I started getting my period monthly again. I'm not sure if I'm ovulating or not though. I purchased an ovulation test that I plan on using during my upcoming cycle because my husband and I would like to have children sometime soonish. If I find I'm not ovulating, I can take steps from there. I've been off birth control for over a year now and had a regular monthly cycle for most of this year without getting pregnant. I do a little bit of resistance training, but I would consider doing more if I knew this would help! Thanks again.

I am so glad that I found this topic. I too, have PCOS and my doctor keeps trying to push birth control pills, which I am not happy about for various reasons. I wish the doctor would discuss more issues with weight and diet with me, but that barely happens! Even when I tried to discuss how weight loss could help me, my concerns get dismissed with "you need to be on birth control pills."

I'm also glad to see that losing weight and doing these things naturally has helped other women.

Original Post by rabbitlvr_:

I am so glad that I found this topic. I too, have PCOS and my doctor keeps trying to push birth control pills, which I am not happy about for various reasons. I wish the doctor would discuss more issues with weight and diet with me, but that barely happens! Even when I tried to discuss how weight loss could help me, my concerns get dismissed with "you need to be on birth control pills."

I'm also glad to see that losing weight and doing these things naturally has helped other women.

You really should see a specialist about the PCOS rather than just a regular GP (or even your average gyno)--either a fertility specialist or an endocrinologist will be able to treat you much more effectively.  Birth control pills are one of the least effective PCOS treatments out there (especially if eventual fertility is the goal rather than treatment of symptoms).  The endocrine system, especially in females, is possibly the most complex aspect of human physiology.  It impacts so many seemingly unrelated parts of the body that it is incredibly important to treat properly.

 

FYI:  losing just 5-10% of your body weight is enough for most women to see improvement in their PCOS symptoms.

I just want to say thanks to all the latest posters. I have been pretty anti-birth control since 2007. In early 2007, I got on the patch, thinking it would be a great alternative to birth control. Well, that's until my weight suddenly began to skyrocket. I couldn't figure it out. Finally, I looked at that patch and thought, "I didn't have this problem till I put that on my body." Then I took it off. My weight continued climbing, but I didn't get on another Birth Control. Then, my periods became irregular. I thought I was pregnant. After all, I wasn't on Birth Control, and I was a newly wed. After going to multiple doctors, one of which told me I had cancer and would never have kids, I found my current OB, who told me that the patch didn't cause my pcos, and I had to be on Birth Control or else I would end up with ovarian cancer. So, I've been on a low dose BC ever since. But, after getting over the thought that I would always be fat because of PCOS, I've also gotten over the thought that I will also have to be on birth control for my entire life. So, I've taken off about 25 pounds, and now I just don't want to be on Birth Control. I know how bad it can be, obviously, and I don't want to be on it. PCOS will not rule my life. I just wanted to know if exercise and eating healthy had helped other women without them having to be on a birth control. I've read so many stories where people have gotten off of all sorts of meds by losing weight, and I don't see why PCOS has to be any different.

I'm grateful for all the posts too -- it's great to hear from other people. Let us know how things progress.

The only thing is that I felt that birth control helped with controlling my hormones as far as acne and facial hair, and def. helped with painful periods.

I want to say that I think it is great you want to do this without birth control. I have been on BC since I was 17. That is 15 years of it! And I finally decided I am done putting chemicals in my body. Then I find out last week that I have PCOS. Didn't stop me from having two beautiful boys, but it does explain many of my other problems. I wish a doctor had told me about PCOS a long time ago because I feel like I might have had this for most of my life undiagnosed.

Thanks to everyone here who has posted information. I am going to do research thanks to all of you and I hope that we get the results we need to be healthy and beautiful.

I'm 22 and my hormones were out of whack (bad menopause like symptoms) so I got them checked out. After describing my symptoms, a friend with PCOS recommended I get some blood work and talk to a Dr.  One test showed that they were just out of normal range and one that showed them just within normal range. Since I still get my period my Doc doesn't seem to be concerned. To treat my symptoms she put me on YAZ that only has a 4 day sugar pill and told me it might help. I want to be on BC as a safety precaution right now. I've only been on for a few weeks so I have not seen any change but we'll see.

My question is: What else can I do, besides eat better and excersize to treat these symtpoms? Hair, sweats, weight, mood etc. 

any feedback is appreciated. 

Original Post by clairet88:

I'm 22 and my hormones were out of whack (bad menopause like symptoms) so I got them checked out. After describing my symptoms, a friend with PCOS recommended I get some blood work and talk to a Dr.  One test showed that they were just out of normal range and one that showed them just within normal range. Since I still get my period my Doc doesn't seem to be concerned. To treat my symptoms she put me on YAZ that only has a 4 day sugar pill and told me it might help. I want to be on BC as a safety precaution right now. I've only been on for a few weeks so I have not seen any change but we'll see.

My question is: What else can I do, besides eat better and excersize to treat these symtpoms? Hair, sweats, weight, mood etc. 

any feedback is appreciated. 

Can you describe your symptoms?  Also, what hormones were tested & which were out of the normal range?

I would also suggest with getting your hormones tested, having your iron levels tested as well. In fact, just get this entire list tested:

Thyroid-stimulating hormone-TSH

Follicle stimulating hormone-FSH

Progesterone

Estrogens

Testosterone (including free testosterone)

Iron levels

Hemoglobin levels (different from iron!)

 

I was once told that things were "normal" or that they were just "slightly" abnormal, but nothing to worry about. I would suggest also getting a blood draw, and then a few days later getting a fasting blood draw. They'll be able to test your sugar levels with that, and it'll mark any changes with your hormone levels (ask for the same list, in addition to your sugar levels).

I just found out i have PCOS and it is pretty bad at that. 8 cysts. I am honestly terrified because i am getting married in like 3 months. Even though i am eating really healthy and about 1500 cals a day, i am still putting on weight. I have decided not to let that get to me. I exercise everyday for 2 hours now. Brisk walking basically. I am so glad i found this forum. Looking forwrd to reading more about correcting PCOD through diet and exercise.

And thanks you guys. Have been really low all day. This forum is such a blessing!

Hey guys,  I just wanted to update all of you on my stats. I stopped taking my birth control back in November. Since then I have not lost weight, but that's because I haven't been watching myself on consumption. Although in the last week, with watching calories, I lost 2 pounds. But with that aside, the important thing is that I haven't missed a single period. All of my cycles have been dead on for the last 5 months. I haven't been dieting properly, but I have been exercising regularly. The other total upside is how I feel not being on it. Intimacy is no longer a biword in our home. Wink

I am 57 and am diabetic due to PCOS.  I am in the process of losing weight-lost 91 and have 20 to go.  Metformin works with the diabetic part.  Never heard of BC helping it.  The doctor gave me Byeeta that has definitely worked with the hormones in my weight loss journey.  I also am a faithful user of natural Progresterone cream.  Another Good book is "What your doctor does not tell you about Menopause>"  by Dr. Lee.  This is his first book and the best one. It finally explained all that had been going on in my body.  I was first diagnosed with with polycycstic ovaries when I was 24, but the syndrome wasn't diagnosed till 6 years ago.  I have four children.  Keep the low sugar eating and keep watching the white flour and keep exercising.   I am still trying to keep the diabetic part going while the body is undergoing changes. 

70 Replies (last)
Advertisement
Advertisement