I am so excited to introduce my next contributor to my blog – international author, PCOS expert and experienced clinician Dr Rebecca Harwin who has been helping women improve their health for many years!

Read this if you’ve been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (also known as PCOS)…

You’ve been to your doctor (or for most women, quite a few doctors) and you’ve received the scary diagnosis, “You’ve got Polycystic Ovary Syndrome”.

Many questions may race through your mind… ‘What does that mean?’ ‘Is it fatal?’ ‘Can I ever have kids?’ ‘How do I lose weight?’ What the research shows is that these questions will often never receive an answer, and most women will not be given the best advice for this syndrome – lifestyle change – even though they innately know that lifestyle approaches are important.

What does it mean?

Let’s take a closer look.

There are two main ways to currently diagnose Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): the Rotterdam Criteria and the NIH/NICHD. These are both only used after other causes for the signs and symptoms you are experiencing have been ruled out.

The Rotterdam criteria define PCOS as being present with at least two of the following: infrequent menstruation, excessive ‘male’ hormones (hyperandrogenism) and/or Poly Cystic ovaries on ultrasound.

The NIH criteria define PCOS as the presence of hyperandrogenism and infrequent ovulation (oligo-ovulation).

This means that if you have too much testosterone (symptoms/signs like excessive hair growth, acne and/or infertility), and you have an irregular menstrual cycle, and/or you have polycystic ovaries on pelvic ultrasound, you will most likely be diagnosed with PCOS.

Is it fatal?

PCOS increases your risk of conditions like heart dis-ease, diabetes and some types of cancer. The good news is that a positive, healthy lifestyle significantly reduces – even eliminates – these risks.

Can I ever have kids?

Sadly, many women tell me that with their diagnosis came the devastating news, ‘You won’t ever be able to have kids’ or ‘Come back when you want babies because you’ll need medications and maybe IVF’. Argh!! This can be devastating! It is also not true for most women. I have helped previously ‘infertile’ women have happy, healthy babies, without a drug in sight. We know that a positive, healthy lifestyle is critical for conquering your PCOS. We know that the majority of women with PCOS are overweight. Weight loss of only 5-10% has been proven to boost ovulation, and so fertility. That being said, let’s take a look at the next question…

How do I lose weight?

I personally struggled with this for many years. I would lose a few kg’s, only to re-find them and often with vengeance. I tried so many different ‘diets’ and exercising until even my sweat glands suffered from extreme exhaustion! Then, after years of struggle, years of study and years of being my own research guinea pig, I found out how to lose weight with PCOS, and keep it off.

Here are my 6 top PCOS weight loss tips:

1) Maintain a low Glycaemic Load, healthy, natural food plan

2) Exercise regularly. Include interval training, flexibility training and fun

3) Have your thyroid correctly checked. Your TSH should be between 1 – 2mIU/L

4) Drink at least 8 glasses of pure water each day

5) Ensure 8 hours of quality sleep each night

6) Reduce your stress levels

There are many questions that may rear their heads after a diagnosis of PCOS. This is normal. Just remember that although the answers to most of them may seem complicated, a simple, healthy lifestyle is your best answer. Always.

by Dr Rebecca Harwin

Dr Rebecca understands how tough it can be, having suffered with polycystic ovary syndrome herself. After overcoming each of the signs and symptoms and gaining the upper hand, she is excited to show you how to lose weight and keep it off, regain your period, boost your fertility, have healthier, clearer skin and conquer your PCOS.

Dr Rebecca has completed eight years of intensive University study, and holds three undergraduate degrees; a Bachelor of Chiropractic Science, a Bachelor of Applied Science (Clinical Science), and a Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Biology). She has also completed thousands of hours of further health studies. That makes her extremely qualified to be helping you to learn more about your hormones.

She is passionate about combining her comprehensive education and research with her personal and clinical experiences to bring you a comprehensive way forward from PCOS to freedom.

Author of ‘Conquer Your Back Pain Naturally’ and ‘Conquer Your PCOS Naturally’ and ‘Conquer Your PCOS – The 12 Week Action Plan’ she has strong opinions and a great passion for health and wellness.