Kym is one of those rare souls, who openly bares her struggles of being diagnosed with a chronic disease, and her inability to fall pregnant due to fertility issues. Through that soul-baring process, Kym has been changing the lives of many other women, through the invaluable knowledge she has gained along the way. We have been so intrigued by her story, and totally blown away with how much she has accomplished along the way. In this episode, we hear all about the heartbreak she has been through but also the incredible power of controlling her chronic disease through natural approaches, and eventually falling pregnant and giving birth to a beautiful baby boy.
As a kid, Kym recalls how she was constantly sick. Her leading medical problem was that she always seemed to have irregular periods. She didn’t know it at the time but she was actually already showing symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) early on, including acne, insomnia, anxiety, depression and extra belly fat, even though she was quite active.
When she got married at around 30, her attempts to fall pregnant didn’t quite go to plan. It was around this time that Kym was diagnosed with PCOS, which is becoming increasingly common with around 1 in 5 women being diagnosed with PCOS.
Modern day medicine fails to address underlying issues
Most modern-day doctors in the Western World will treat PCOS or infertility issues with a prescription of high potency medication. The underlying cause is often overlooked, including the importance of examining the diet.
Kym went down the road of infertility treatment including IVF, where she was successfully able to become pregnant, although sadly had two miscarriages. Two years into her attempts to get pregnant, she was fortunate enough to come across a functional doctor who explored Kym’s diet and a bigger picture was painted.
The gift of a functional (or holistic) doctor is that they have a medical degree like a regular GP, but also go on to study the ways to treat disease holistically, such as diet and nutrition. Through this approach, the root cause of the disease is able to be recognized, rather than a “band-aid approach” applied through modern-day medicine and pharmaceuticals.
Stripping back the diet
Kym removed all additives, preservatives, sugar and refined carbs from her diet, and replaced them with high-quality protein, good fats and nutritious vegetables. In fact, she discovered she had multiple intolerances to a whole range of foods.
We believe that almost everyone can learn incredibly powerful and life-changing tips from Kym such as:
- Bringing your diet back to basics and simplifying meals.
- Experimenting with multiple food groups and their reactions within the body.
- Removing or greatly reducing all refined foods, additives and preservatives.
- Reading the back of labels to begin learning about what’s actually contained in food products.
- The benefits of removing gluten from the diet.
- Recognizing hidden sugars and their many different names
Of course, all of the above processes that Kym has explored wasn’t something that happened overnight. She can honestly say that this journey has been over a period of many years, and it’s come with its many trials and tribulations!
Sugar is as addictive as cocaine
Kym’s biggest struggle was eliminating sugar out of her diet, even when she found herself generally eating cleaner. She truly believes what science says about sugar being as addictive as cocaine! Through constant challenges, Kym has been able to almost entirely rule out refined sugar from her diet, including many natural versions of sugar such as honey and dates. This was through the realisation that they still have fructose in them. The body doesn’t metabolize fructose, rather, it goes straight into the liver.
Kym found that many women who have been diagnosed with PCOS are insulin resistant, often leading to type II diabetes. They have to be particularly careful with their intake of glucose as it can quickly spike their blood sugar levels.
Sugar is something that once eliminated, or greatly reduced in the diet, can really lesson PCOS symptoms. If Kym does choose to have any type of sweetener, she uses rice malt syrup as it’s pure glucose, or occasionally stevia. If she eats fruit, she generally eats fruit that is low in sugar and only 1-2 servings per day, again this took years to accomplish!
So exactly what tests does a holistic doctor use?
While holistic medical tests are more expensive than a regular doctor, they can address problems that might otherwise continue well into your future, through a general doctor’s medicated approach.
Often, general doctors may even tell you that there just isn’t a cure for many modern-day diseases, when in fact there are many success stories of curing disease through a holistic approach.
Some tests that Kym underwent with her functional doctor included:
- “Poo Test” (Kym’s words)- this is where the doctor checks your microbiome and recognises the types of good and bad bacteria that are present.
- Cortisol tests– Kym undertook a 24hr cortisol test, where her cortisol curve was examined, showing how her cortisol fluctuated throughout the day. Through this test, Kym’s insomnia was linked to really high levels of cortisol in the evening. This test was life-changing as Kym was able to start sleeping for the first time in her life.
- Thyroid function test– We were so interested to learn that a general doctor’s test and a functional doctor’s test is completely different, as Kym’s holistic doctor performed a full-panel test, to determine exactly how the thyroid is functioning.
Taking various tests through a holistic doctor might reveal some pretty surprising results about certain health conditions that you may have been suffering with for years!
The power of mindfulness and exercise
With PCOS, Kym discovered that there are three levers that can be pulled to really help ease symptoms and manage this chronic disease. This includes diet, stress management and exercise. Through careful management, Kym has been able to live with very little symptoms.
Managing stress levels was yet another uphill battle for Kym, given her over-achieving personality. She always found that throughout her life she worked too much and didn’t get enough sleep. Mindfulness meditation was a saviour. That is when she was able to break through the struggle barriers to actually sitting still for any length of time!
Rating self-care high on her level of importance helped to fuel Kym’s desire for change for improving mindset. She also found herself inspired by the multitude of scientific research, linking the very many positive health-benefits to meditation.
Many women that suffer from PCOS also suffer from adrenal fatigue. Being a runner most of her life, Kym actually realised how this may not be the best form of exercise for her condition. She moved onto both high-interval training and resistance training and found this to have a huge impact on her overall symptoms and energy levels.
Kym started to get a more regular and normal period for the first time in her life. This was a drastic change from her massively fluctuating periods, of anything from once every two weeks to only once per year! She also felt she was the healthiest she had ever been, her anxiety and insomnia had gone, everything from her acne, to reflux, and even her reoccurring tonsillitis had vanished. The old Kym used to end up at the doctor’s at least once a month with some sort of medical issue.
While embarking on her journey to manage her PCOS naturally, Kym was also undertaking IVF treatment, which went on for a long 4.5 years until she finally surrendered and needed a break from treatment.
She said to her husband “Let’s just take a break, I mean we can try naturally, but it’s probably not going to work”. Literally, on her second cycle, she fell pregnant naturally!
Hormone disruptive issues on the rise
We can’t help but link our modern-day diets to hormonal issues. Processed food is cheap, easy and always available to those that lead very busy lives. What you put into your body is just so important, and food can absolutely be used as medicine! As the pace of our lives speed up, stress levels rise and can also greatly affect our health and lead to the formation of disease.
As the pace of our lives speed up, stress levels rise and can also greatly affect our health and lead to the formation of disease.
Of course, we know all too well how much external body care products and their many chemicals disrupt our hormones, as backed by plenty of scientific evidence! It’s almost like our current generation are the guinea pigs to the very many chemicals contained in diet and personal care products!
For every person that has gone through a similar experience to Kym, in relation to disease, they are moving on to teach the next generation how to take better care of their health naturally.
What we find so incredible about Kym’s journey, is her discovery that modern medicine, is not always the right path to take. In fact, she has learnt the hard way that IVF can make some women even sicker, even though it holds its many strengths in medical breakthroughs. While much of the Western World holds the view that the “only way” to treat infertility is through medication and IVF, Kym is first-hand proof that holistic medicine is a much gentler approach that’s certainly worth giving a go.