'Polycystic Ovaries - How I healed my body without drugs'
"Now, I feel great, and, looking in the mirror I am no longer disgusted by my skin. Which feels pretty damn amazing."
Our bodies have an innate ability to heal. Learning to listen to this inner healing wisdom, I believe, is the key to a happy healthy life. This is something I learnt the hard way. For years my body was trying to tell me that I had a hormone imbalance, and instead of listening and doing something about it, I masked the problem - usually under a tonne of make-up.
Three years ago I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovaries (PCO), something that a lot of women experience. PCO is the product of a hormone imbalance that causes small growths on the ovaries and brings with it number of symptoms, which, in my case, was severe acne.
Sharing these photos of myself is not an easy thing to do. I never used to be comfortable letting those closest to me see me without make-up, let alone the entire Internet! I believe, in this case, it’s important to put vanity aside in the hope that someone who is in the same position that I was might see this. I hope that by sharing my story it will show anyone working with PCO (or other hormone imbalances) that hope and help is available, and that the most important thing any of us can do is listen to our bodies, so we can give them what they need.
Your skin is a direct reflection of what’s going on inside your body – bags under your eyes after a night of no sleep is the perfect example. As a teenager, I experienced mild acne and was put on the Pill at a young age to help. After five years of being on the Pill, I had developed an interest in natural health and yoga, and I decided that it was the right time for me to come off. I wanted to see if I could find another way of dealing with my acne, and tune in to what was going on inside.
During this time I also completely shifted my lifestyle as a result of a nasty run-in with some parasites that left me having to rebuild my insides from the ground up - but that’s a story for another day! Smoothies, yoga, meditation, and kale (so much kale) became my MO. Whilst my digestive health was kicking goals, my skin still looked like a toxic wasteland.
I can’t count the amount of times people asked, "I don’t get it, you are the healthiest person I know! How can your skin be so bad?" My frustrated reply was, firstly, "ouch" followed by, "I don’t know, either".
After trying all the lotions and potions I could get my hands on I was reminded of my original theory, that skin is a reflection of what’s going on inside, and decided I'd look at other alternatives to deal with my acne.
A wonderful naturopath Alice Crole (sceptics, bear with me) had me complete a salivary hormone test. (Now, I'm not suggesting this is the first port of call for you if you are suffering, but it felt like the right choice for me.)
The results of the test showed that my hormones were completely out of whack. I had become so dedicated to healing my digestive system that it took these test results to cause me to step back and look at my body holistically. My endocrine system was screaming out for help, and I wasn’t listening.
I then had an internal ultrasound which showed cysts on my ovaries and I was officially diagnosed with Polycystic Ovaries (the step before Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). My gynecologist told me that I would likely experience issues with fertility and should go back on the Pill to remedy the hormone imbalance, but, for a host of reasons, I really didn't feel like the Pill was the right option, even though the doctor told me it was the only option. I thought there has to be another, natural way.
I read and read and read, and, inspired by the book WomanCode I worked closely with my naturopath, took a variety of herbal mixes and adopted a strict diet, omitting sugar, coffee, alcohol and anything that would spike my insulin levels. Whilst diet played a huge role, it was through yoga and meditation that I learnt how to reduce stress in my life, and learning how to cope with stress (one of the biggest causes of hormone imbalances) was the key to my recovery. Clear skin was just one of the many pay-offs of my lifestyle overhaul.
Now, it’s been three years since my diagnosis and yes, my skin is in the best shape it's ever been, but more importantly, there are no cysts on my ovaries. My gynaecologist could hardly believe it when I was re-tested.
I feel great, and, looking in the mirror I am no longer disgusted by my skin. Which feels pretty damn amazing.