Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal disorder causing enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges. The cause of polycystic ovary syndrome isn’t well understood but may involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Symptoms include menstrual irregularity, obesity, facial hair, acne, skin darkening.
I was diagnosed with PCOD in my teens and my gynecologist gave me hormone pills to induce my menstrual cycles. She told me it is not a problem unless you have difficulty in conception. What she didn’t tell me was the other symptoms like excess hair growth, obesity, mood swings, period cramps, and hormonal depression that would come with it.
I had no difficulty conceiving my first child but after 3 years of my first baby my periods suddenly stopped altogether. The OB/GYN told me my PCOD had flared and I may not able to conceive again. And I was put on Treatment which included birth control pills to regularise periods, medication called metformin to prevent diabetes, and exercise to stop weight gain.
Luckily I had regular menstrual cycles in a few months and conceived my second baby baby naturally. But as I grew other, other symptoms started presenting- weight gain, bloating, fatigue, body pains, mood swings, period cramps, inflammation, and PMDD or Post Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (a type of PMS which causes depression). I didn’t want to get back on any hormone or birth control pills as they gave me a lot of breast pain and mood swings.
Today, with a lot of lifestyle changes my PCOD is in check. This is not a one-time thing. Exercising regularly, eliminating gluten and sugar from my diets has worked wonders by controlling the inflammation in my boday and also my blood sugar. I have stopped using paraben, sulphate loaded cosmetic, bath and cleaning products as they disrupt the endocrine glands causing hormone imbalance.
But apart from all this, there is something more that I want to share with you all from my personal experience. I have started something called seed cycling, one of the best “food as medicine” tools for getting your cycle back on track, balancing your hormones and making those period problems disappear.
What is seed cycling?
Seed cycling is the rotation of different edible seeds into the diet at different times in the menstrual cycle. Consuming this on a regular basis has helped me get my periods on track. Once my periods got regular, I have reduced PMS and cramps, and also the periods are shorter than my usual seven-day cycle. This is a great fix for hormone imbalance, PCOD, and menopause symptoms.
Seed cycling involves eating flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds at different times of the month to balance certain hormones. Seed cycling advocates note that the menstrual cycle is broken up into four interconnected phases. The first phase is menstruation, followed by the follicular phase, then ovulation, then the luteal phase.
Assuming a 28-day cycle, the first 14 days represent the menstrual and follicular phases, in which day 1 is when menstruation begins
Eat 1 tablespoon each of flax and pumpkin seeds per day for the first 13–14 days of your menstrual cycle, which is known as the follicular phase. These can be eaten wholly, dry roasted and chewed or freshly ground and consumed.
During the follicular phase, or menopause, levels of estrogen and progesterone decrease so the phytoestrogens (compounds in plants that can mimic the action of estrogen) in flax seeds can help increase or decrease estrogen levels as needed. Also, the zinc from pumpkin seeds is claimed to promote progesterone production in preparation for the next phase of the cycle.
For the second half of your cycle, or the luteal phase, eat 1 tablespoon each of sunflower and sesame seeds per day until the first day of the next period when the cycle starts again. These can be eaten wholly, dry roasted and chewed or freshly ground and consumed.
During the luteal phase, lignans — a type of polyphenol — in sesame are supposed to inhibit estrogen levels from increasing too much. Meanwhile, the vitamin E in sunflower seeds is thought to help boost progesterone levels.
For menopausal and postmenopausal women without a regular menstrual cycle, it’s often recommended to use the phases of the moon as a guide to cycle dates, with day one of their cycle falling on the new moon. This is also the procedure to be followed for people with amenorrhea or those who have had an absence of periods for months.
Seed cycling has worked wonders with many women and me too personally and is a testimony that PCOD can be greatly managed with lifestyle changes. Helps to balance hormones, boost fertility, and ease symptoms of menopause. Even if I can’t maintain this cycle, I just mix my seeds and dry roast them, store them in an airtight container, and consume 1 spoon every day. You can also add this seed to your salads, soup, or foods.
While it may take few months for some to see results, it is also possible that many doctors may not belive it. But since this is a natural remedy with no side effects, there is also no harm in trying it.