The Pills

It was a plethora of pills.

A crazy concoction.

A toxic combination that left me dizzy and nauseas with a throbbing headache.

I wake up every morning with a heavy heart.

It feels as though my body is rejecting these pills and yet I power through. I NEED to know that I’ve given it a real shot…….so as my hands (and my heart) shake with aversion, my mind takes control and robotically I pop the pills.

Within 30 minutes the dizziness begins. My vision starts to blur and the accumulating, snowballing headache fogs my mind. It pounds merciless at the increasingly fragile base of my emotional stability . The nausea is unbearable….

I hold out as long as I can but inevitably I ALWAYS give in. I pull out my bottles of acetaminophen (paracetamol) and naproxen (like a stronger ibuprofen) and weakly try to push a monstrous load of guilt away as I…. pop….more….pills.

The anti-nausea drug (zofran) is my life saver. It starts working almost immediately. My nausea is gone and the other drugs succeed slightly at taking the edge off my headache.

Once again I enter an ENDLESS cycle of taking more pills to combat the side effects of the first set of pills. It is the only way I will survive work today.

The next time I see the naturopath I try to maintain a brave face, but within minutes I break. I lament about the side effects and she stares at me sternly.

“I don’t see how you can be reacting this way to ALL the medications” she says dubiously.

“Well, I don’t know exactly which ones I am reacting to” I reply weakly, “but something is making me feel very sick.”

She tightens her lips and thinks for a moment. “You must be in liver failure.” She says bluntly. “That is why you are not tolerating the medications.”

I disagree and briefly falter for the courage to dispute her diagnosis. “Um…well…. I’ve just had my liver function tests done and they were fine.” I say feebly.

She shakes her head dismissively and goes out to get me another bottle of pills. This one is a special cleansing concoction for my liver.

I reluctantly pay for the bottle and obediently continue her regime.

After 5 months I call it quits.

Things weren’t working. I didn’t know why.

The naturopath had 20+ years of experience and a moderately high success rate at her clinic. I truly believed in what she was doing, but my lack of response to her treatments clearly frustrated her…and me.

I admit, I gained some powerful life changing knowledge from her…..but….. when things weren’t working for me I moved on.

I listened to my gut instinct.

I knew there was something wrong with me, but I didn’t know what.

I’ve continued to use the supplements that I found useful; the ones that worked for me, that ACTUALLY made me feel better.

I scrapped the rest.

And I’ve never looked back.

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                                        THE PILLS

                                

DISCLAIMER – I am NOT a naturopath. I am sharing with you my own experience and my own research. Yes, I am a healthcare professional BUT most of these should be discussed with an appropriate health care professional.

 

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OsteoClear
OestroClear is an interesting combination of Broccoli sprout powder, Rosemary leaf extract, Giant Knotweed (?), Sesame seed extract, Turmeric, Choline, Zinc, Selenium, Potassium, Calcium and 4 different B vitamins.

Why am I taking this one? I think it’s supposed to help me produce oestrogen.

 

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Vitex

Vitex is widely used for the regulation of hormones – mainly progesterone and oestrogen. I can rattle on about the pituitary gland and “feedback loops” but the best way I can describe it is like this;

Vitex picks up phone and says “Hey, sorry to interrupt your current phone call Mr. Pituitary. I just need to ask you to make a little bit less prolactin if you can. It seems to be getting in the way of our ability to produce good levels of progesterone.”

Sometimes Mr.Pituitary says “Sure, no worries.”

Other times it can take a couple months of “nagging” to get him to respond (that is why they encourage you to take it for a few months before you give up).

Vitex is recommended both within the naturopathic and western medical circles. It is generally used for pre-menstrual symptoms, polycystic ovaries and endometriosis.

You need to speak to your naturopath and/or doctor before taking this drug. I know it is “natural” but it should be used with some precautions as it can have some nasty side effects.

I was SO hopeful that Vitex might work for me. Unfortunately, it didn’t. I was VERY sensitive to it. It made me extremely dizzy and nauseas. I powered through for several months but eventually stopped taking it.

 

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Oxyguard

Oxyguard was added to my regime to cleanse and detox my liver. This concoction included Polygonum (?), Lycopene, Green tea, Grapeseed, Ginko Biloba, St. Mary’s thistle, Curcuma (Tumeric), Bilberry, Betacarotene, Vit B6, Rutlin, Ascorbic Acid (Vit C), Zinc, Selenium, Glycine, Cysteine, Glutamine and Vitamin E.

 

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MagOpti was added to the mix to give me extra Magnesium as well as supplement my vitamin intake. Magnesium is used to help with migraines, period pain, anxiety, poor sleep, muscular discomfort and leg cramps. This blend had Magnesium (310mg), Potassium, Calcium, B Vitamins (Thiamine, Pyridoxal, Nicotinamide, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Cyanocobalamin), Selenium, Taurine, Glutamine, Ascorbic Acid, Carnitine, Creatine, Zinc, Manganese and Chromium.

 

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MaxCoQ Lipoic

MaxCoQ Lipoid has Co Enzyme Q 10 and Vitamin E.

Co Q10 is believed to help with cellular function (at the level of those little energy factories inside your cells) . Along with Vitamin E, they both help protect against damage (oxidative stress) to your cells. 

The only time I have given CoQ10 within a hospital setting is for kids who have cardiomyopathy (an enlarged or inflamed heart). We give other, more potent drugs first but the doctors will add in CoQ10 in the hopes that it will help the heart muscle function better. I have also given Vitamin E in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to premature babies. It is given to help prevent damage and stress to their little fragile blood cells.

When I first started taking MaxCoQ Lipoid I asked our pharmacist if she knew much about its use for PCOS. She said that there was no real evidence for its use, but that otherwise it was a safe drug with minimal side effects. 

 

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GlucoManager

I was taking GlucoManager to help “manage” my blood sugar levels.

With polycystic ovaries you have a greater risk for high insulin levels  so the naturopath put me on this pill to help keep my blood sugar levels stable.

Insulin is another pesky hormone that can pick up the phone and interrupt a necessary conversation between the ovaries and the brain.

“Yo” Insulin says to the ovaries, “There is too much of me and I’m bored. Lets make some extra testosterone shall we?”. The ovaries are sensitive and easily swayed so they shrug and say “Sure. Sounds like it could be fun.”

Now I cannot comment on whether this drug worked for me or not. My insulin and blood sugar levels were normal and within range when I got them tested (in fact, I suffer more from LOW blood sugar spells), but if you’ve been diagnosed with some form of insulin resistance then it might be worth a shot.

But I’m gonna be real with you here. IF you have PCOS….then it is a good idea to QUIT sugar. Do it gradually and wean yourself off (You don’t have to go cold turkey like I did) but its important to START CUTTING BACK. It will change your life, your gut, your skin, your health, your hormones….etc

 

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China Med
I do NOT know what this is or why I was taking it. The only ingredient I recognised was Angelica root (which I read somewhere is used to help start your period).

 

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B Complex

The Naturopath recommended a sustained release B-Vitamin complex to help me with my energy levels as I was feeling extremely fatigued. I admit, it is NOT coffee but these pills have become my obsession. I do not go a day without taking them.

I also started taking them on my night shifts and I noticed a significant difference. I used to always have a Red Bull around 0300am. I broke up with Red Bull when I gave up caffeine, but the B vitamins (some of which are actually in Red Bull) have actually helped me make it through the night without craving that early morning caffeine hit. Don’t get me wrong, I still get deliriously tired, but I can now make it through the brutal and dreary hours of 0300-0700am.

(I also now use stimulating Essential Oils to get me through those brutal hours….post to come 🙂

 

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Women’s multivitamin
For over a year I took a prenatal vitamin. Finally I gave up. I accepted the fact that I was probably never actually going to get pregnant and I switched to a standard women’s vitamin.

I remember when my Uncle (an OBGYN in the States) told me that ALL women of childbearing age should take a multivitamin, whether they were trying to get pregnant or not. It wasn’t until I became a midwife that I realised that most pregnancies coming through the door were unplanned.

“Did you take folic acid or a multivitamin before falling pregnant?” I ask.

Most people say NO.

Folic acid is needed to form the baby’s spinal chord. Most people don’t realise that the spinal chord is already formed by the time they find out they are pregnant (at 5-6 weeks). That is when they start taking their multivitamin, but sometimes it is too late. The spinal cord has formed and the little heart is already starting to beat.

So pick a multivitamin and TAKE IT EVERY DAY (Even if you’re not planning on getting pregnant).

 

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Folic Acid and Iodine
Iodine has now been added to prenatal vitamins because the latest research shows a rising deficiency in iodine in our diets. Some of this has to do with the popularity of natural sea salt & pink salt (which is not iodised).

We need a little bit of iodine in our diet for good thyroid function.

A long time ago they started adding iodine to salt in an attempt to make sure that EVERYONE got some iodine in their diet. The outcome was very successful….in fact, when was the last time you saw someone walking around with a large goitre protruding out of their neck?

Now people say table salt is “poison”. They are eating natural salts that are less processed and yes, have more minerals than table salt. The problem is that now we are seeing an iodine deficiency. And you need iodine for your thyroid to work properly and for your baby to form properly. So now iodine has been added to prenatal vitamins.

So this would be a good supplement ONLY if….

  1. You eat a lot of natural, whole unprocessed foods AND mostly add sea salt or pink salt
  2. You are currently trying to conceive
  3. You are NOT taking a pregnancy multivitamin that has iodine already in it

 

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Iron and Vitamin C
People HATE taking iron. It makes them feel nauseas and it makes them constipated. And most of time they stop taking it. The problem is that most people don’t really understand how IMPORTANT iron is. It affects our bodies in so many ways, for example…

  1. Our energy levels
  2. Our immunity
  3. The function of every cell in our body
  4. The development of the baby

People that are especially at high risk for iron deficiency are Vegans + Vegetarians (I’ll discuss this further in another post). But to put it simply you just don’t absorb plant iron as well as animal iron.

Now I became extremely iron deficient for two reasons.

  1. I eat a mainly vegan diet (though I do consume animal products occasionally)
  2. I  have VERY heavy periods

So when I got my iron levels tested, they were in my boots!

As this post is already too long (and there is SO much to say about iron) I will be covering this in detail in another post but here is the SUMMARY….

  1. Take iron on an EMPTY stomach (preferably at night time)
  2. Probiotics help with the constipation

 

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Probiotic
This is one of the things that I have kept in my life since seeing the Naturopath.

I LOVE my probiotics and my fermented foods.

Gut health is once again a whole post of its own, so I will just summarise it this way….

PROBIOTICS make everything better. Your gut, your mood, your skin, your health….

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Evening Primrose Oil
This is another one I have kept in my life. This beautiful oil has helped with my PMS symptoms as well as my severe breast pain.

Since I came off birth control I have had constant (NON-CYCLICAL) breast pain that kept me up at night. I even convinced myself that I had breast cancer…..until I realised it was just my terrible hormones! The evening primrose oil made a HUGE difference.

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Krill Oil
Everyone knows why we take Fish oil. In fact, Omega 3’s are now added to prenatal vitamins. Since I am NOT on a prenatal vitamin, I have chosen to supplement my Omega 3’s separately. If you’re Vegan you can take Flax Seed oil, though the composition of Omega 3 is a little different and needs to be converted into a more usable state.

 

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Magnesium
When I stopped using all the crazy concoctions that the Naturopath had prescribed, I started taking Magnesium on its own. I take it for migraines, muscle/pelvic pain, restless leg and period pain. I usually take it at night. Absolutely LOVE this supplement, but most people don’t need 600mg. This is a high strength dose that I chose to take due to some research articles that I read about the optimal dose for migraines. There are different concentrations, so choose what’s best for you.

 

I APOLOGISE for the length of this post. There is SO much information to share and I was trying to keep it brief. I plan to post further info later.

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