1 in 10 women have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Thats 5-10% of women of childbearing age. PCOS is an endocrine disorder that disrupts hormone balance, causes irregular menstrual cycles and is the leading cause of infertility in women. Little is known about what causes PCOS, and there is no cure, it is a lifelong struggle. Telltale symptoms are irregular menstrual cycles, acne, facial hair, weight gain, diabetes and infertility.
I was diagnosed with PCOS over 20 years ago, after virtually every possible acne treatment failed to work on my skin, my mom read a brief blurb about PCOS in a magazine and brought me to an endocrinologist to get me tested. Traditional doctors prescribed birth control and anti-androgens which worked to disguise the physical symptoms of the disease but did nothing to treat the disease. Other doctors told me to focus on diet and exercise– but I was already eating clean, low carb and staying fit.
It was then that I really began to research endocrine disorders and infertility and learned about Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) and I discovered that small amounts of exposure to these chemicals all day, everyday add up. It made me think, how can PCOS and Infertility be so common yet so little be known about the disease? Could this have been avoided altogether if we hadn't been exposed to EDCs? Could continuous exposure to EDCs through my skin be worsening my PCOS? And why aren't there laws protecting us from this stuff?
:Last night we microwaved some broccoli in a steamable bag, and questioned the safety of what we were eating. Someone at the table said "well I'm sure they wouldn't put dangerous stuff in bags containing the food we eat" and the conversation turned to, well who is stopping them? There aren't clear laws saying they CAN'T, and there certainly wasn't anything written on the bag regarding the safety. Do we really know what is in the food we eat? Or the products we are putting on our skin - our largest organ? If laws don’t protect us, and we still buy these questionable products then nothing will change.
Here are some of my current favorite non toxic personal care products:
Thoughts on pregnancy after loss
A little over a year ago we cautiously announced our pregnancy to everyone when I was 18 weeks pregnant and wouldn't you know, it upset some people that we waited so long to tell everyone.
You see this was our rainbow baby, our first pregnancy after experiencing two miscarriages and spending years battling infertility. While we were over the moon that we had made it to the second trimester for the first time, the fear and sadness was always in the back of our minds.
The two years leading up to my pregnancy were the craziest, most emotional years of our lives (and I say this having just been through the newborn stage with my son). They consisted of rounds of hormones, pills, and injections, timed IUIs and two subsequent pregnancy losses. I was traveling over an hour round trip, 3-4 days a week to see a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor and have acupuncture done. I was burning paid time off from work visiting the fertility clinic (three towns over) almost every day for bloodwork, ultrasounds, and exams. I was battling the insurance company over coverage. The medications were causing hair loss, weight gain, and extreme hormonal mood swings. I was exhausted, stressed, and sad all the time.
I know it difficult it is to support a loved one dealing with infertility and pregnancy loss. There never seems to be the right words and too often well meaning words can come out offensive. In fact my husband and I would have a good laugh at some of the outrageous things people would say to us without thinking. I'm here to tell you though, that is never, under any circumstance ok for you to get upset with someone for not sharing their pregnancy announcement with you sooner.
To those that were upset we chose to wait to tell you about our pregnancy: Yes I finally had a successful IUI. I had my BFP and lines that kept getting darker and darker each day. What you didn't know is I saved each test and obsessively examined the lines, terrified of them growing fainter again instead of stronger. Everyday of those first 4 months I wanted to shout a pregnancy announcement from the rooftops but was also terrified of somehow jinxing myself and so I held out. The thing about multiple pregnancy loss is those two pink lines instill fear and joy in you in equal amounts. And fear and joy battle it out throughout your entire pregnancy. I panicked at every strange new sensation I felt and cried happy tears at every kick I felt and I took absolutely nothing for granted.
My best suggestion for comforting someone who is battling infertility? A big hug and an open ear. Bring over some food and let them talk. Be silent and do not minimize their loss.
We are in the thick of it with our sweet 8 month old baby boy, but on the final day of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, I can't help but think about how many others are going through hard times right now. I worry too about what might be in store for us as we try for our second baby. Hugs to all my fellow TTC sisters, no matter what side of the journey you may be on.
Hi friends! I recently became a consultant with Beautycounter and wanted to share a little bit more information with you about why I love this company and the products we sell.
As many of you know, we struggled for years to get pregnant with our son, going through grueling fertility treatments and suffering multiple pregnancy losses and we were desperately looking into anything and everything that could help us get- and stay- pregnant. I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), an endocrine disorder that causes hormonal imbalances, infertility, acne, obesity and can often lead to diabetes and heart disease. Every doctor we went to told me that the best thing I could do was focus on wellness and so I began eating clean organic foods, staying active, taking high quality vitamins and supplements, and using acupuncture. One morning my husband watched me get ready for work and made a comment about all of the personal care products I was using, and how they couldn’t possibly all be safe and I realized I was neglecting to look at what I was putting ON my body.
Did you know that your skin is your body’s largest and fastest-growing organ? The personal care products and cosmetics you put onto your skin are absorbed into your bloodstream. What you put onto your body doesn’t just stay on your body, it goes into it, too. I started looking at the labels on the products I was using and found chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, hormone disruptions, infertility and even damaged sperm!
I discovered Beautycounter products when they made a limited time appearance at Target a couple of years ago. Beautycounter is a line of safe, effective and luxurious skincare and cosmetics for the entire family that bans over 1,500 of these dangerous chemicals in their products and has the strictest screening process of ingredients out there. You can read more about Beautycounter's story here.
I care so deeply about my family and friends being able to control some of our environment, and I’m so grateful that Beautycounter is here, and providing these gorgeous, safe products. In our busy, hectic lives we don’t have the time to think about these things, and switching the products my family and I use over has brought me peace of mind and the ability to focus on other important things. I would love for you to feel the same way.
Interested in learning more about Beautycounter? Click here to join the conversation! Please feel free to email me at email@example.com if you'd like some recommendations or have any questions. You can shop using the link below:
I started this blog with the best of intentions. I thought it could be cathartic to write about my experiences, and connect with so many others who are going through the same thing. I thought it could be nice to look back on our documented journey someday with baby in arms and be so grateful for what we have.
And then I lost myself.
All the photos and sad stories from other women online just suddenly became too much. It became my life, an obsession with getting pregnant and I didn’t understand this world I was suddenly in. I couldn’t entirely relate with others at the beginning of my journey. Was I sad and lost? Yes. But I hadn’t yet been through so many of the procedures and medications as others had, and it both depressed me and made me feel bad for trying to relate to others who were years into their journey.
I saw so many of my friends still going out, drinking socially, working long hours at their job and still getting pregnant easily. I thought I could do the same. I thought I could still maintain the high carb vegetarian lifestyle that kept me thin for years, despite the warnings that carbs + PCOS = bad. I thought a couple rounds of Letrozole and I had this pregnancy thing in the bag. I thought I’d never have to hear the doctor suggest trigger shots, and IUIs and ovarian drilling.
All we have is hope, and I’ve learned to never feel foolish for being hopeful.
In other words, I thought I wouldn’t have much to document, that my journey wouldn’t be as long and emotional as so many others. I feel foolish now for being so full of hope, but none of us begin this journey thinking it will be as long as it is, do we? Never in a million years do we think that first visit at the fertility clinic will lead to cycle after cycle of trials and failures, hope and disappointment. All we have is hope to get us through some of the most trying of times, and I’ve learned to never feel foolish for being hopeful.
After an exceptionally rough cycle of failed medications, insurance coverage complications, hours of phone calls and upset friends and family who can’t understand why I haven’t been myself, I’m back to writing. My loved ones may not know what to make of this chubby hormonal emotional wreck I’ve become, but I know there are women out there who get it. So here’s the latest from my world:
My cycles are irregular and different each and every time and completely unpredictable. I had a pregnancy on my third round of Letrozole that resulted in a chemical miscarriage at 7 weeks. The sadness hit me hard and long. I didn’t expect that. I had one cycle without medication after the pregnancy ended and then two more rounds of Letrozole this cycle (the first didn’t work so they upped my dosage and had me start again mid cycle).
I am now finished with round 5 of Letrozole, which has not resulted in ovulation, and tomorrow I go in for an ultrasound and more information on how to time my trigger shot appropriately for an IUI. I’m hyperstimulated, and my stomach is so swollen right now I look pregnant, but if it results in a pregnancy.
So here I am, humbled and full of hope.
I made it my 2015 resolution to live as natural and healthy of a lifestyle as possible, and soon fell in love with all the health benefits that a simple cup of tea can offer, especially for a woman battling PCOS. I regularly sip on herbal teas throughout the day to keep me hydrated and warm in the office during the cold fall and winter months. Here are some of my favorites and why I love them!
Today is the last day of September, PCOS Awareness month, so I thought I would share my story with you. Aside from my family, I've kept my story mostly to myself, largely because it's not exactly something that comes up in conversation. As I begin the next phase of my life and face the hand I have been dealt, I am opening up in hopes of connecting with other women going through a similar struggle with PCOS. You are not alone.
"Where there is no struggle, there is no strength" - Oprah Winfrey
I'm Jayne, a 30 something Executive Assistant living in New England with my husband, Mike, our sweet miracle baby and our Labrador Retriever. I have a passion for nontoxic living. I love coffee, recorded TV, baking, red wine, vegetarian cooking, online shopping, fashion & beauty.