PCOS treatment and symptoms
More than 1 in 5 women are affected by Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Many also have a lowered thyroid and some have insulin resistance. Most struggle with weight and some find it hard to conceive. Does this describe you, or perhaps one of your friends?
Is this you?
- Weight around your tummy, thighs or buttocks that just won't budge?
- 'Been there done that!' Generic diets just don't work?
- Cravings, mood swings or irregular cycles are driving you batty?
- Perhaps your sugar level or cholesterol is high?
- Distressing facial hair or acne?
- You have a thickish neck with broadened facial features?
- Perhaps you are struggling to conceive?
PCOS and those symptoms
By way of explanation, cysts attached to your ovaries are producing an excess of a hormone called androgen. This often triggers symptoms such as excess facial hair, acne, hair loss, infertility and weight gain and impeded weight loss.
Fig 1: What a Polycystic Ovary looks like
Perhaps you are also experiencing periods that have become infrequent, painful and heavy, or have stopped altogether? PCOS also leads to insulin resistance, which means your body doesn't burn fat but rather stores it at a much faster rate. This also can occur with ovarian cysts and fibroids.
Diet and lifestyle play a big part in effectively treating PCOS
Specific foods can naturally support a PCOS condition, putting your body into fat burning mode, as opposed to fat storing mode. Starving yourself is both unhealthy and ironically counter productive to losing weight.
Throughout the past six years Narelle has researched over 500 foods, examining how they affect hormonal imbalances.
Should you, like many women, have multiple conditions (such as the combination of PCOS, thyroid or fibroids) then this will further complicate your food selection.
Successful natural treatment of PCOS can be further enhanced and accelerated with nutrients. By targeting and supporting glucose regulation, one's insulin sensitivity will be significantly improved.
Your thyroid and PCOS
The thyroid gland plays a vital role in regulating your metabolism, temperature control and therefore your entire hormonal system. Diet plays a significant role in supporting your thyroid gland.
It is estimated that more than 40% of women who have PCOS also have an impaired thyroid function, due to autoimmune thyroiditis. Therefore, an important aspect of PCOS treatment is to support thyroid function.
Experiencing tiredness and lowly moods? This could be associated with a low/poor thyroid function. You may have undiagnosed mild hypothyroidism, which is complicating your PCOS problems, especially if you have a weight problem. Sub-clinical or mild hypo-thyroidism is an under-active thyroid not severe enough for blood test identification and therefore left undiagnosed. Sadly, from my experience such conditions are often misunderstood or overlooked by many health practioners.
Remember, thyroid hormones set your metabolic "thermostat". If your metabolic thermostat is set on "low", it can be very difficult to lose weight and avoid cellular sluggishness. If it is discovered that you have an under active thyroid, and you get it back to optimal function, then you have a great chance of diminishing the severity of your PCOS symptoms.
Hypothyroidism can lead to a reduction of sex hormone binding globulin and an increase in free testosterone. Free testosterone is one of the factors contributing to PCOS symptoms, such as; infertility, polycystic ovaries, hirsutism, male pattern hair loss, and acne.
Naturally, as your thyroid, PCOS and insulin resistance are interrelated it is critical that treatment is holistic.
"Treating a condition in isolation will not only be less effective but this narrow approach may worsen one or more of the existing conditions", say Narelle.
PCOS causes Infertility
Polycystic ovary syndrome is the most common endocrine disorder in women, affecting an estimated five to ten million women of reproductive age. For women trying to conceive, PCOS is a serious, common cause of infertility - nearly half of all female infertility cases can be traced to PCOS. Treatment has allowed many women to overcome PCOS and conceive a child naturally, while reducing the risk of miscarriage.