Polycystic Ovary Disease
PCOS Symptoms affect as many as 5 million women in the US. In my practice, I have encountered so many who are suffering.
These women were truly suffering scheduling Doctor appointment after Doctor appointment only to be told they need birth control.
Unfortunately, this advice wasn't helpful for my clients and I'm sure it hasn't been helpful to you either.
PCOS Symptoms are the most common cause today for infertility leaving a woman saddened, frustrated and emotionally spent by uncontrollable weight gain.
The most common symptoms of PCOS include:
- Menstrual Disturbances (skipped periods)
- Facial Hair Growth
- Weight Gain
- Male Pattern Hair Loss
- Elevated Androgen levels(Testosterone)
- Oily Skin
- Ovarian Pain
- Elevated Blood Pressure
- Elevated Insulin Levels
- Insulin Resistance
It is unknown what actually causes PCOS but we do know that poly=many and of course cysts as in Polycystic Ovarian Disease or Syndrome. What we do know, generally speaking, the woman with PCOS Symptoms has disordered blood sugar. In response to the elevated blood sugar the pancreas continues to pump out insulin in response to the blood sugars thereby creating insulin resistance and the result is weight gain, constant hunger and potentially diabetes.
It is also known that the ovaries of women with PCOS produce excess amounts of male hormones known as androgens or (testosterone). This excessive production of male hormones may be a result of or related to the abnormalities in insulin production as mentioned above. If you've not been diagnosed with PCOS, a testosterone saliva test is a good first step.
A rare but likely scenario which one of my clients suffers is Reactive Hypoglycemic PCOS. Reactive Hypoglycemia is a blood sugar disorder where the blood sugar dips too low causing symptoms such as shakiness, nausea and hunger. This client, we'll call her "D" suffers with not only the RH-PCOS but Candida Albicans as well and manages her symptoms with a low glycemic (sugar)diet. "D" even had her third baby this year!
With all of the information out there, I'm sure you're well educated on your disease and are now asking yourself:
What Can I Do to Manage My PCOS Symptoms?
The following recommendations are compiled from my many hours of education as well, personal experience with Polycystic ovary disease.
- Begin with the Restricted Phase I and follow the plan for 30-90 days to begin training the body to become more insulin sensitive. Insulin resistance also leads to leptin resistance, your satiety hormone leaving you constantly hungry even after eating a meal. Managing insulin manages everything in the endocrine system. Monitor yourself and continue with the restricted if you feel energetic, satiated and most importantly, a sense of healing.
- Exercise will begin managing the circulating insulin in your blood stream and make you more sensitive. High Intensity Cardio, Weight Bearing Exercises and even swimming are helpful. This is non-negotiable so begin by walking if you're not adapted to exercise. A walk, running in place and even dancing after a meal will help increase your insulin sensitivity.
- Clearing the liver is incredibly important for hormonal imbalance such as that with PCOS Symptoms. The liver can become sluggish or stagnant. 1/2 of a lemon juiced in a glass of water 2-3x a day and Milk Thistle along with your new healthy diet plan can achieve this. Choose meats free of hormones and antibiotics, choose organic produce when ever possible and reduce to eliminate your use of plastic most particularly water bottles
- Talk to an Endocrinologist or Naturopath about the adrenals as they have a huge part to play in PCOS. You just might need a supplemental boost. If you are producing too much cortisol, Phosphatidylserine can be quite helpful.
- Adaptogens can assist in normalizing the bodily systems. Adaptogens are herbs that literally "adapt" to the body systems. Whether more or less is needed, adaptogens can be beneficial most particularly for hormonal disturbances. Ashwaganda, Maca Root Powder (add to smoothies) and Ginsing are a few examples.
- The herb Vitex has been shown in studies to promote ovulation. 160-240 mg. daily.
- PCOS and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis A medical study was recently published that showed a relationship between PCOS and Hashimoto's Disease, which is autoimmune thyroiditis. Autoimmune thyroiditis is an inflammatory condition where your immune system attacks and damages your thyroid gland. A healthy thyroid is important for reproductive health. Have your testing done and be sure to check out the thyroid page before the blood is drawn!
- Omega 3 fatty acid consumption will reduce inflammation, a classic PCOS symptom that you can't see because it's internal. Essential Fatty Acids promote gland health and are often lacking in today's diet. This is especially true if one has been following the health damaging lowfat dietary advice. 1 Tbs. Cod Liver Oil and 1000mg
or 2000-4000gr Fish Oil.
- Many Dr.s will prescribe Metformin. I once heard a Naturopathic Dr. claim that metformin might not be the best option, rather the diet and exercise to move that circulating insulin is your best first choice.
- Chromium Picolinate is a potent nutrient to assist healthy insulin function. Chromium is an essential mineral that appears to have a beneficial role in the regulation of insulin action and its effects on carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism. Chromium is an important factor for enhancing insulin activity. Studies show that people with type 2 diabetes have lower blood levels of chromium than those without the disease.
- If you're suffering reactive hypoglycemia and have PCOS Symptoms, it is in your best interest to eat 4 meals a day always containing protein and fat. Do not let your blood sugar fall.
The above recommendations should be quite helpful to you and if you're working on planning a family, you're in the right place for advice.
I have seen many pregnancies by result of some of these recommendations. If you are trying to normalize your body and not become pregnant, do be cautious.
If you're trying to get pregnant, I do hope these recommendations work for you!
The most important component of all of course is diet.
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