First of all, what is PCOS? PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which is when a woman has an excess of the androgen hormone causing hormones to become imbalanced. PCOS is fairly common and actually becoming an epidemic. Between 1 in 10 women, 1 in 20 in women of childbearing age, has PCOS, and the cause is not fully known. Unfortunately, many conventional ways of treatment include just using birth control, which I’ve found in practice to not fully address the underlying issue. Many women come to see me because they are struggling with infertility and don’t know why—sometimes it’s undiagnosed PCOS. They come seeking an integrative medical approach to treating PCOS or infertility issues. It is important to note though that PCOS does not only happen to women who are having a hard time getting pregnant. It can happen to girls as young as 11 years old and those well past menopause.
My recommendation is to see a doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms below because a diagnosis is the first step toward healing.
Here are common symptoms of PCOS:
- Unexplained Weight Gain (especially abdominal weight)
- Irregular Periods, painful periods
- Hair Loss (especially at crown)
- Hypoglycemia or Insulin Resistance
If left untreated, PCOS can lead to long-term hormonal issues. So if you are suffering from the issues above, do not ignore them. There is hope!
Here’s what I recommend to begin your journey of healing:
- It is important to nail down the imbalance by getting your hormone levels tested.
- Get bloodwork done to see if you have nutritional deficiencies as they are often connected to hormone imbalances.
- We test for food allergies and intolerances at my practice. If you find that you have food allergies or intolerances, it is important to remove these invaders from your diet because both can throw off your hormones. It’s also important to eat for insulin regulation! And if you’re trying to conceive, eat a healthy and holistic diet, loading up on lots of fertility superfoods! [read more here]
- Make sure you get tested for candida. Candida is a fungus, a form of yeast, that lives in our mouths and guts. Some people have an overproduction of candida, which is not good because it can lead to leaky gut syndrome. A leaky gut allows (leaks) particles of undesirables into the bloodstream. This causes the immune system to go haywire, which is directly related to how our hormones function.
- Know your Methylation Markers. Methylation is a process that happens in our cells and keeps our bodies operating, from repairing DNA to cell detoxification. Knowing your methylation markers help you understand your genetic risk for PCOS and your threshold for tolerating stress, environmental toxins and hormones. This is a complicated one, so talk with your doctor to understand more!
- Lastly, take a look at your toxic load. This is not something that people think about when trying to balance their hormones, but we are surrounded by environmental toxins that can disrupt our hormones. Make sure that your water bottles and cans are free of BPA. Also, make sure your cosmetics are free of phthalates and parabens.