My Experience with PCOS

My Experience with PCOS


A few months ago I posted a blog on PCOS giving some tips to help alleviate symptoms and people seemed to really connect with it. It seems to be something that is on the rise.
A lot of people have asked to hear about my experience of it, so today I would like to share my story with you.
I have had issues with my period for years. I never had a regular cycle and went on the pill aged 16. When I was 21 I came off it as I was getting into healthy eating and it didn’t feel right to be putting these chemicals into my body.

“I expected to come off and get my periods back the following week, but they didn’t come. It took over a year for me to have my period. It was really awful I was scared and that little voice in my head kept saying “what if I can’t have kids””

I started to look into ways of helping restart my cycle. I met doctors, naturopaths and a healer. One of the most interesting things I cam across was that the healer says my energy was very masculine. This is never a comment you want to hear as a female without a period. However, she was right, I was masculine, I didn’t have a moustache but I was quite tough with myself, overly driven, rushing and busy. Of course we all have masculine and feminine energy but I was swinging the other side.

“I started to be more gentle with myself, nurturing myself, choosing dance over the gym and expressing myself creatively.”

I got my periods back but they weren’t regular. I went to get a proper scan and they said I had slight Polycystic ovaries. After a Google search I was filled with horror over the hairy bear I was going to turn into.
However, I have seemed to manage and alleviate it with acupuncture with Emma Cannon, meditation, eating well, cutting out sugar.

“One of the biggest thing of PCOS suffers is that sugar effects us more, so we need to be cautious with this, swap white refined sugar for more natural alternative like dates or honey but don’t go mad on them.”

I hope you enjoyed my story and if you have PCOS, I hope it makes you feel less alone. It is something you can live with and get through!
If you have any tips please leave a comment below…


  • Judith Fraser

    Hi Madeline, I’ve suffered with ovarian cysts too but also endometriosis. Your experience is really hitting home for me as I too was told that my endometriosis was linked to too much masculine energy and that I needed to work on getting ‘in touch’ with my feminine side. Which for me, a life long tom boy, was a terrifying prospect. But now, 6 years on, I’m what I would consider a girly tom boy (turns out I have a lot of love for handbags and girly gym clothes!) and I have not been bothered with endometriosis or ovarian cysts for a couple of years. I still find it a struggle at times to get the right balance between masculine and feminine, particularly when life is busy, so it would be great to hear some more on your thoughts on this and how you achieve it.

  • Jem

    Hey Madeleine,

    I don’t have PCOS but hoped to ask you a quick qu about appetite changes during your cycle- I have recently stopped taking the pill having been on it since I was 15 (now 25). Whilst on the progesterone only pill I didn’t have a huge appetite, but suffered with bad acne. I switched to the combined pill, but felt ravenously hungry and never felt sated by any amount of food, as well as feeling emotional and easily upset. Hence I switched back to the progesterone only pill, but eventually decided I just couldn’t hack the spots. I’m really enjoying not being on the pill and my skin has totally cleared up. Most of the month I am happy eating healthy home-cooked food and am satisfied without eating too much of it. But as my period approaches I feel the desire to eat all the time and find it hard to get full. Do you have any tips for overcoming this? I was bulimic in my late teens, and so am wary of the restriction/ binge cycle, so I have tried to be kind to myself and allow myself the treats I’m craving before my period, but then I feel like I undo a lot of the balance and consistency I try to practice the rest of the time. I wondered if you had any tips for what to eat and how to cope with the appetite fluctuations..

    Thanks and best wishes

  • Sally

    Hey, did you find coming off the pill effected your weight in any way? The weight seems to have fallen off me since coming off it (not that I’m complaining haha!) xx

    • Madeleine Shaw

      Personally it didn’t for me gorgeous girl! xxx

  • Gemma

    A tiny bit personal, but do you use any contraceptive? I’m on the pill at the moment but would really rather not be!

    • Madeleine Shaw

      Hello lovely, I’m not on it no. I just use other forms of contraception xx

  • Annabel Boys

    Great to hear that you’ve managed your PCOS naturally Madeleine! It took me the best part of a decade to work out how I needed to eat and change my lifestyle to make it PCOS-friendly …. and sadly I had to endure the emotional rollercoaster of clomid and IVF before I got myself sorted. Luckily there is so much more info out there now – some amazing facebook groups to join and very helpful resources and kickstart courses too … hopefully more women will try the natural approach before flooding their bodies with fertility drugs like I did!

    • Madeleine

      Hi Annabel, thanks so much! So glad you enjoyed the post xx

    • Madeleine Shaw

      Hi Annabel, thanks so much! So glad you enjoyed the post xx

  • LittleLottieBlog

    This is really good to hear and I, as well as so many others can definitely relate. I was on the contraceptive pill for 5 years and came off it 8 months ago when I went vegan because I didn’t want any synthetics or chemicals in my body otherwise the healthy eating would be pointless. I recently had blood tests and they said my testosterone was slightly higher than average so I have been drinking herbal teas and taking supplements to try and balance it. No such luck yet and I also have the little voice inside my head that worries about fertility but I’m glad yours came back and hope mine does too, in it’s own time. x

    • Madeleine

      Hey gorgeous, it does take time. Keep strong and healing through healthy eating and herbal teas is amazing xx

    • Madeleine Shaw

      Hey gorgeous, it does take time. Keep strong and healing through healthy eating and herbal teas is amazing xx

  • Lauren Martinez

    This was really reassuring to read. My periods are hugely irregular after being on the pill for 2 years (i’ve only had one in the last 8 months). I’ve just bought your book today and am going to try out some of your delicious recipes and reduce my sugar intake (which I’m ashamed to say seems to be a major part of my diet). Hopefully I’ll see some results soon! Thanks again x

    • Madeleine

      Thank you, I’m glad you found it interesting xx

    • Madeleine Shaw

      Thank you lovely! Let me know how you get on xx

  • Demi

    In regards to being cautious with sugar, do you also limit your intake of fruits?

    I am 21yrs old and have been recently diagnosed with PCOS along with Hypothyroidism. It turns out these symptoms actually started when I was 16 (but I just ignored going to the doctor, because I just kept telling myself I am fine/have other things to worry about…guess I just wasted time by not going).

    You are a beautiful person and an amazing role model. I wish you the best in everything you do!

    • Madeleine

      Hi Demi! Thanks so much. I eat low GI fruit such as berries and apples daily. With high fructose fruit such as bananas and mangoes I limit these to a couple of times a week. I hope that helps xx

    • Madeleine Shaw

      Hi Demi! Thanks so much. I eat low GI fruit such as berries and apples daily. With high fructose fruit such as bananas and mangoes I limit these to a couple of times a week. I hope that helps xx

  • Lauren Barber

    Great to see more people being honest about their hormonal experiences! I found reading a book called Womancode helped me understand issues and learn more about just how the female body works! We aren’t taught enough about it in school growing up and it has become a ‘taboo’ subject so great to see you putting it out there!!! x

    • Madeleine Shaw

      Thanks so much, yes I agree xx

  • Emma @ Project Body Image

    Thanks for sharing! It’s such a scary time when you lose your periods or they go a bit awry! (It’s yet another thing for us to compare ourselves to others). I think it’s great to have open and honest stories like this out there :)

    • Madeleine Shaw

      Thank you xx

  • HD

    At 16 I also was told I had PCOS, with 6monthly visits to a consultant. They tried my on the diennet (the pill) and before that metformine tablet 3x daily (which my grandad was also taking for diabetes)! However it gave me a bad stomach so stopped taking it. I was discharged from the specialist and told to come back when I want to start a family…The pill I was on for 5years, it wasn’t until I went uni, and my new doctor wouldn’t give it me, because the increase risk of heart problems with long term use. At this point I decided to take over and try work with it myself!

    I lost weight, which has always been a. Battle for me, I was climbing mountains and running, I cut out sugar, I ate a 80%plant based diet, but didn’t deprive myself of treats.
    Iv been back in that time for scans due to issues with periods and pain. Just the usual PCOS diagnosis every time. I then ended up in A&E last year with abdo pain, I was in surgery with a ruptured ovarian cyst. Going to sleep I thought I was having an ovary out, fortunately it was saved :-)
    I thought me having children was a right off at this point @27years of age.

    Me and my partner had an attitude of, if we have children it was meant to be, (after all I have spent my adult life being told I have something that will make it difficult, you start to believe it!)
    if not, we have a good life and are lucky.

    I’m now 27weeks pregnant. And so far no complications no issues. At 28years of age. No medical help.
    4 months before this I was having regular periods for the first time in my life! Just inspiration from people like you and motivation to look after myself and my body took care of the rest x

    • Madeleine Shaw

      What a wonderful story beautiful, big kiss xx

  • Lucy Birchall

    I love that this was so concise but really well written. It just got straight to the point and that’s very refreshing, although I’ll happily read and talk all day about PCOS it’s easy to feel the need to ramble! I LOVE that you’ve mentioned those with PCOS are more affected by sugar. It’s 100% true and I find if I’ve gone overboard with it, it affects my cycle, skin and general wellbeing. One well known ‘healthy living “guru”‘ (horrible term but I can’t think of any other!!) has mentioned her lifestyle cured her PCOS (?!) and I met her once and mentioned I find sugar effects me a lot more as I have PCOS. She told me that was nonsense and there must be something else ‘wrong’ with me…?! Bizarre. Yes, refined sugar is just bad for our health in general and yes, there are healthier sweet alternatives but it’s still important to be cautious about your intake of that too. Fab post, thank you Madeleine! xx

    She’s So Lucy

    • Madeleine Shaw

      Thank you lovely xx

  • Anarob

    Thank you Madeleine for your post. I was also diagnosed with PCOS and went on the pill for almost three years . But I stopped it one year ago and yeah I have had irregular period since that time. So I wanted to ask you whether you experienced the same ? I am currently taking a supplement which is considered natural and helpful for treating PCOS called INOSITOL . I don’t know if you ever took it or not but I would rather hear your advice because I don’t know for how long I will have to take it. I have also another request for you Madeleine. Can you please write a post about the best way of food combination so that we keep our insulin levels within the range. And when you say that we have to be careful with the sugar, do you also mean that we have to somehow limit fruits because of their sugar ? Thanks a lot for your time and effort. I really appreciate it :)

    • Madeleine Shaw

      Thank you, yes hopefully in the future xx

  • AmeliaRoseL

    I found this super interesting and helpful. I was diagnosed with PCOS aged 16 and went on the pill soon after, I’m now almost 21 and stopped taking the pill about 2 months ago (I didn’t like the thought of putting hormones into my body) but I haven’t had a period since, which is making me a bit worried…similar to you.

    I practice daily yoga and quit sugar a year or so ago, so I’m not sure what else to do. I suppose I need to just carry on eating right and exercising – hopefully my body adjusts.

    Nourishing Amelia | Food, Health and Lifestyle Blogger


    • Madeleine Shaw

      Thanks so much, yes if we treat our bodies well they will repay us xx

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