During the spring and summer months, my cycles were on average 33 days. But lately? They have slowly climbed to an average of 57 days (76 is my record). YIKES! This is not only frustrating, but unhealthy. So what is going on with my body?! I have always kept a calendar with the length of my cycles and I noticed that in the last two years, I have had the shortest cycles (30-32 days) during the spring and summer months. This got me asking “Why?”, so I began my research. I typically do not like to call upon “Dr. Google” because it can usually instill more fear than relief, but I figured this wasn’t something that would cause me more panic so I proceeded to Google on
Upon my research, I learned that Vitamin D is essential for:
- Insulin resistance (common symptom of PCOS and one of the main reasons for lack of ovulation)
- Breast health (70% of woman with breast cancer are vitamin D deficient)
- Stronger bones
- High blood pressure (another common symptom of PCOS)
- Immune support
- Improved moods/agitated thoughts (does anyone else find themselves more “cranky” and “grumpy” in the winter?)
- Weight control (trouble controlling weight is a common symptom associated with PCOS)
- Irritable bowl syndrome
- Increasing fertility
- Preventing Preclampsia in pregnancy
- Reducing the chances of having a C-Section
I also learned that nearly 70-80 percent of women with PCOS are vitamin D deficient!
3 out of 4 PCOS sufferers do not get enough Vitamin D and this could be attributing to their high blood pressure and insulin resistance.
Could I be one of them? Could this explain why my cycles are shorter during the spring and summer months? I am fortunate enough to be a “Domestic Engineer”, which is a fancy title for “stay at home wife” and during the Spring/Summer months I am outside soaking up Mr. Sun’s golden rays at least two hours a day. I love to be in my pool…I call it my “happy place” :). But once the pool shuts down for the summer, I spend about 80 percent of my day indoors. What’s the point in going outside when about 5 out of the 7 days it looks like this…?
Therefore, I have to ask, am I getting enough Vitamin D? Could me being a hermit crab from September-April be causing my PCOS symptoms to worsen and thus cause my longer cycles? I have no idea, but I don’t think it would hurt for me to start getting outdoors more, in addition to possibly taking a Vitamin D supplement for those days when it is cold, rainy, snowy or I’m just too plum lazy to get outside for a brisk walk…
I believe we all need the good ol Mr. Sun in our lives and not just because it puts a little spring in our step, but because exposure to the sun helps our bodies make Vitamin D and Vitamin D is important for women who suffer from PCOS.
A week ago, I trotted off to Target to buy a Vitamin D supplement and noticed that most Vitamin D supplements had Calcium with it, which got me asking another question “Why?” So I came back home and did more research and discovered that Vitamin D is needed for Calcium to be absorbed in the body, so if your Vitamin D levels are low, chances are you’re also in need of a Calcium boost. I probably need a little Calcium boost myself because I rarely drink milk, eat cheese, yogurt or any other form of dairy on a daily basis. Even if I do get enough Calcium, I don’t think taking an extra Calcium supplement is a bad thing because I discovered it is also important in follicle maturation and egg development and I could use a little help in that department.
How to get Vitamin D:
- Strive for at least 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure on your hands, face, and arms every day
- Eat Vitamin D rich foods such as mackerel, sardines and egg yolks.
- Supplement with Vitamin D (1000-2000IU/day)
So, after consoling Dr. Google and doing further research with my doctor friends, I have started a daily regime of walking (if I feel energetic I turn it into a jog), as well as taking a Vitamin D and Calcium supplement. If you’re already taking Vitamin D and Calcium, I’d love to hear how it’s helped and if you’ve noticed any changes so please leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts!
P.S. Ever since I started researching the correlation of a Vitamin D deficiency and PCOS, I can’t get the song “Oh, Mr. Sun” out of my head. Do you remember the song “Oh, Mr. Sun”? (If not, I have provided a video for your pure entertainment and to refresh your memory. I hope it doesn’t get stuck in your head all day like it has been in mine.)