What is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?
When a woman’s hormones are out of balance, a disease known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can occur. It affects her periods, can cause infertility, and can create unpleasant changes in appearance such as increased facial and body hair, and acne.
While the term may be unfamiliar, it affects as many as 1 out of 15 women, with signs of it appearing in the teen years. There is treatment available to control the symptoms and prevent any long-term health issues, however, if left untreated, serious health problems such as diabetes and heart disease can develop.
What are hormones, and what happens in PCOS?
The job of our hormone is to signal the release of another hormone; they are chemical messengers that trigger many different processes, including growth and energy production. When PCOS is present, the hormones get out of balance. For reasons still being researched, hormones become changed, and that change signals another change in the next hormone.
Here are two examples of the effect of PCOS:
Normally, the ovaries make a tiny amount of male sex hormones (androgens), but with PCOS, they start making slightly more androgens. This may cause ovulating to cease, a woman to get acne, and the growth of extra facial and body hair. In short, the sex hormones are out of whack.
Or the body may have a problem using insulin, called insulin resistance. When the body doesn’t use insulin well, blood sugar levels go up. Over time, this increases your chance of getting diabetes.
Does PCOS have symptoms?
Yes, but they are mild at first. Women may only have a few symptoms, or quite a few. The most common are these:
- Weight gain and trouble losing weight.
- Extra hair on the face and body. Often women get thicker and darker facial hair and more hair on the chest, belly, and back.
- Thinning hair on the scalp.
- Irregular periods. Often women with PCOS have fewer than nine periods a year. Some women have no periods. Others have very heavy bleeding.
- Fertility problems. Many women who have PCOS have trouble getting pregnant (infertility).
Most women with PCOS grow many small cysts camera on their ovaries. That is why it is called polycystic ovary syndrome. The cysts are not harmful but can lead to hormone imbalances.
What causes PCOS?
The changes in hormone levels can cause PCOS, and there can be a whole host of reasons for that change.
Heredity. PCOS has been found to run in families, so if another woman in your family has PCOS, or even irregular periods or diabetes, your chances are higher. It’s not just the mother’s side that can pass it down, it can also be inherited from the father’s side.
Lifestyle. Poor diets, high stress, little exercise and sedentary living can all contribute or cause PCOS.
How is PCOS diagnosed?
To diagnose PCOS, the doctor will take a full medical history. He, or she, will want to review any past health issue, any symptoms you are experiences, and your menstrual cycle.
Conduct a physical to look for signs such as extra body hair, and high blood pressure. Height and weight will also be noted to check the body mass index (BMI.)
Perform lab work to check blood sugar, insulin, and other hormone levels. These tests can also rule out other factors such as thyroid or other gland problems that could cause similar symptoms.
He or she may also request a pelvic ultrasound to look for cysts on your ovaries, although the diagnosis of PCOS can be secured without one, but this test helps rule out other problems.
How is it treated?
As with many health issues, PCOS does usually respond when a proper lifestyle is put into place. This includes regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and a diet of Pancrease-healthy foods. This goes a long way to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Obtaining treatment as soon as possible is key to eliminating unpleasant symptoms and preventing long-term health problems.
Simply fitting in a vigorous walk every day is a great idea.
Eat a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and whole grains. Do limit foods that are high in saturated fat such as fried foods. If you have blood sugar problems, you may want to confer with a nutritionist who can help you create a custom meal plan.
Even just losing 10 pounds (4.5 kg), women with PCOS would find their hormones regain balance, and a regular menstrual cycle can begin again.
If you smoke, consider quitting. Women who smoke have higher androgen levels that may contribute to PCOS symptoms. Smoking also increases the risk for heart disease.
Other treatments your doctor may prescribe include:
- A diabetes medicine called metformin can help restore regular menstrual cycles and fertility.
Follow ups with your medical doctor and naturopathic doctor are critical ensure treatment is working, and to adjust if needed. Updated blood work may be ordered to assess for diabetes, hormones, nutritional deficiencies, heavy metals, high blood pressure, and other possible problems.
The most effective treatments for PCOS have been diet, herbs, vitamins, minerals, supplements to help rebalance the body. You should consult with Dr. Robert Naturopath and Nutritionist who call help you improve your PCOS. Click here …