Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), one of the most common endocrine (hormone) disorders, affecting approximately 10 million women of all races and ethnic groups worldwide.
PCOS is the leading cause of infertility in women and can present at any life stage - from puberty through post-menopause.
Too often women simply accept the discomfort and don't inform their doctors until symptoms are at their worst. Even then, they are often misdiagnosed because so many of the symptoms can be attributed to other causes.
PCOS has long been believed to be present only in obese women; we now know that it can affect women of any body weight including those who are normal or even underweight.
PCOS can present differently based on life stage, genetics, ethnicity, age and environmental and lifestyle factors such as self-care, exercise, and eating habits.
Causes of PCOS
Obesity and insulin resistance are health issues that are linked to PCOS and both affect hormonal function in the body.
Insulin resistance relates to problems with regulating insulin, a hormone that allows the body to properly use glucose (blood sugar) for energy. When the body isn't as responsive to insulin as it needs to be, too much of it circulates in the blood and can cause a hormone imbalance.
With the goal of enhancing a woman's quality of life, I perform a thorough lifestyle assessment, blood tests, and dietary analysis.
I also educate and guide women in using natural approaches to manage and heal from PCOS, with lifestyle improvements such as:
- whole foods diet
- stress management
- proper rest
These approaches can create a positive shift in blood sugar level, mood, and body weight. Approaches will differ based on a woman's stage of life and complexity of symptoms.
Some of the herbs and nutrition supplements that may be used for PCOS aim to balance blood sugar level as well as hormones. These can include:
- nettle root
- green tea
- flax seeds
- saw palmetto
- licorice root
- chaste tree extract
- trace minerals
- vitamin D3
Fewer than 50% of women with PCOS are properly diagnosed, due to the wide array of potential symptoms:
- irregular menstrual cycles
- pelvic pain with or without periods
- mood swings, depression or anxiety
- thinning hair on the head
- excessive body hair (hirsutism)
- fatigue and sleep problems