What is PCOS and how can you manage yours?
I am learning more and more about some of the hormonal issues that are impacting my clients and would like to share with you some of the most common situations I am encountering.
You may have heard of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (or PCOS for short), as it is the most common endocrine (hormonal) condition in women of reproductive age. PCOS affects about 10 million women worldwide.
So what is it, and how might it impact you?
PCOS is actually a syndrome, not a condition; it is a cluster or collection of symptoms. Although it usually shows up around puberty, most women find out that they have PCOS in their 20s or 30s when they are trying to get pregnant.
Aside from difficulty with conception, PCOS shows up as irregular, infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods.
In PCOS, the ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs. Your doctor would see this on an ultrasound. This anovulation gives rise to the fertility challenges associated with PCOS.
Women affected by PCOS have high levels of androgens (male hormones) so this may result in excess facial and body hair and occasionally severe acne. Women with PCOS also have low levels of progesterone and higher than usual levels of insulin.
There is no exact cause of PCOS but the following do play a role:
Genetics; females with PCOS or diabetes in the family may be more prone
Environmental toxins that mimic hormones such as BPA
High levels of insulin
High levels of androgens
Where there is no cure, many lifestyle factors can lessen symptoms:
Good nutrition, low in processed carbs
Achieving your ideal body weight
These lifestyle factors are super important for you to focus on, especially because PCOS also puts you at higher risk for other lifestyle related conditions, such as:
High cholesterol and high blood pressure
Insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes
Mood disorders, like depression and bipolar disorder
Endometrial cancer, especially when you're older
If some of these symptoms resonate with you then please visit your doctor. If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, then Natalie can help create the beneficial lifestyle changes you need.