23 1/2 Hours

I tend to go on exercise fads… like joining the gym and going for a couple of months as often as I can and then dropping it. Or trying the Couch to 5km programs to get me jogging and I get to week 3 and drop it. We all know how important exercise is for general health but there are specific benefits for PCOS.

I read a literature review on different studies that looked at the effects of exercise on PCOS. These are the benefits:

  • Lower insulin resistance
  • Weight loss – decrease waist to hip ratio
  • Improved ovulation and menstrual frequency (some indication that exercise helps more than diet control)
  • Better insulin sensitivity leads to decreased androgens (which should help acne and hair excess)

(This is the literature review: Exercise therapy in polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review by Cheryce L. Harrison , Catherine B. Lombard, Lisa J. Moran, and Helena J. Teede)

The minimum recommended exercise for anyone is 150 minutes/week (you can break this up to 30 minutes 5 times/week). I was at a professional development meeting based around exercise a couple of weeks ago and they showed us this clip.

It was interesting in the clip how that even if you don’t lose weight the exercise will benefit your health.  The Jean Hailes website on PCOS backs this up by saying that reduction in a insulin resistance will occur whether or not you lose weight (http://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-professionals/medical-observer/1308-exercise-for-pcos-7-november-2011).

So My Plan is to get my 30 minutes of exercise a day.

  • Riding my bike to work as much as possible – This takes me about 15-20 minutes one way (about 4km) so I will be getting 30-40 minutes moderate cardio each day I do it.
  • Do pilates —  I have tried pilates in the past and love the burn it gives you. I have an old “Aerobics Oz Style” pilates DVD and I’ve tried to do it in the past. But I got bored with doing the same thing all the time, plus the lady presenting looks like she has had work done on her face and can’t change her facial expressions (so annoying). I found this blog (http://www.blogilates.com) the other day and am going to try it out. If you subscribe you get a month’s beginner’s workout calendar and you can do all the workouts along with a YouTube video. Then each month you will get a monthly workout. I’m going to try do the first month maybe twice through.

I really hope I can keep it up this time.  All the studies showed that the longer an exercise program lasted the better the benefits. I often get sick about 3-4 weeks into my exercise fads. I think I just don’t have enough nutrients and wear myself out. Does anyone else have this problem?

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My best ever acne!

I thought I should take some photos (they are down the bottom of the post) now before I stop taking the pill.  As I said in my first post I’m waiting to stop the pill until after my friend’s wedding.  I think my acne is about as good as it has ever been since … probably since I started getting acne as a 13yr old.  So, it is pretty awesome (at least I think so) at the moment.

When I started the pill 5 years ago, I started on Levlen ED and stayed on that for 2 years then I asked to be put on a lower dose pill (Loette) which I was on for roughly 2 years then I changed back to Levlen ED.  I don’t remember my acne being as good as it is now in the first 2 years I was on Levlen ED.  It certainly got gradually worse on Loette.

I went off the pill for a couple of months at the start of this year, because I was having my hormone levels tested and it was soooooo bad.  I had it coming up on my chest, shoulders and back, and my face was just plain awful.  It  will probably be one of the most challenging things for me when I go off the pill again (at least with hairs you can pluck it and their gone).  My hubby is awesome, very encouraging and will accept my spotty pus filled face, which is great.  I will be the one that has more trouble accepting it.

Having said this, I hardly ever wear make-up to cover it all up.  Mainly because most make-ups I have tried tend to leave me with a break-out the next day.  If I were to try wearing make-up every day to work I would end up with more to cover than when I started.  I’m also lazy and don’t like the time it takes to get good coverage.  I have been using Natio make-up lately which doesn’t seem to set off my skin as much as others which is fantastic.

I have tried multiple products to clear up the acne but they just tend to burn my skin with all the acid and peroxide.  They are so expensive as well and on top of the burnt skin most of them don’t work.  I’ve pretty much given up on facial products other than moisturiser in winter.  The humidity in summer (like now) makes my skin so oily there isn’t much need for moisturiser.

Two of my sisters have had bad acne as well but my older sister’s cleared up when she was in her early 20’s.  The younger sister still has it but she is still a teenager. My other sister hardly had any pimples and was always the one to complain most if she did get one.  I get so annoyed with her and other girls that complain to you about their “one” pimple that they have had months apart from the last one.   Do they not see you are scarred for life from yours and you have multiple pimples at the time????  I always say, “let’s do a trade.  We can swap skin because your skin is clearly UNBEARABLE!”  (RANT OVER)

Anyways… that is my acne story.  Hopefully, eating cleaner, drinking more water and more exercise will help.

P_20131124_075928  Right side of face – tinted my eyelashes the other day 🙂

P_20131124_075942  Left side of my face – my fine facial hair is really bad in this photo 😦 at least it isn’t that noticeable in real life

P_20131124_075956 Forehead

My story

Hi!  My name is Anna Croft.  I am 26 years old, happily married to the man of my dreams, bit of a career girl, and proud owner of a 1yr old golden retriever.  I have always lived in Queensland, Australia but would love to see as much of the world as possible.  I have been working in the health industry for about 3 years now and really enjoy helping people.

2 years ago, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).  I had been having a lot of abdominal pain and an ultrasound showed multiple cysts on each ovary.  At the time, I had only heard of PCOS once or twice and really had no idea about it.  My doctor told me that I would be fine, just not to leave having kids til to late in life.  She also said that the pill was the best thing for controlling my symptoms (mainly acne) and didn’t really take much notice of the pain from the cysts.  So, I carried on with taking my oral contraceptive pill, Loette, and began to notice excessive facial hair and snail trail (technical name is hirsutism) and I continued to have painful ovaries.  So, my doctor changed my pill to Levlen ED which contains higher doses of hormones.  This seemed to fix the problems.

After getting over the initial shock of being diagnosed with PCOS, I started to read a lot about PCOS.  I really had to dig a bit deeper to find good, reliable information on managing PCOS and the risks associated with it.  I found this website particularly helpful for really good for reliable information : http://www.managingpcos.org.au/about-pcos.

I started reading the PCOS Evidence Based Guidlines (http://www.managingpcos.org.au/pcos-evidence-based-guidelines) and was shocked to find that the pill can actually lead to more insulin resistance.  This is more common in higher doses and the pill I was taking (Levlen ED) is middle of the range dose.  This scared me because, I already knew that I was at risk of diabetes with PCOS and if the pill can cause insulin resistance then the risk is increased.  I’m DO NOT want to have diabetes. I work with people that have diabetes and it is an awful disease.  However, I don’t want acne and facial hair either.

I started reading more into managing PCOS naturally which has lead me to writing this blog.  I am going to stop taking the pill and will not be taking any medication for my PCOS (I do take medication for my asthma as my lungs only function at 70% capacity without it).  This blog is a way of documenting the changes I will make and how it affects my symptoms.  It is also a way of challenging myself to keep going with the changes and not give up.

I’ve been waiting to stop the pill because my acne is the best it has been in a long time and I am maid of honour at my best friend’s wedding in a couple of weeks and don’t want to be covered in spots for that.  I’m going to start making a few changes, do more reading and try to put a post up each week.  I know that if I try to change everything at once I won’t keep it up so I’m just going to take it all one step at a time.