We often discover that a significant amount of women today find themselves having irregular periods.
The cause can be for many reasons.
Although today we are going to discuss one important cause that women should be aware of – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
PCOS is a “syndrome” which is different than a disease. A disease is a pathological process that is well defined by what is causing it and the symptoms it causes.
On the other hand, a “syndrome” is a collection of symptoms we see together that are not necessarily caused by the same problem.
PCOS has symptoms relating to hormonal imbalances and problems with metabolism (how our body uses it’s fuel).
PCOS is very common in women of child bearing years. As many as 1 in 10 women fit the criteria for diagnosis.
Women with PCOS will have a varying degree of symptoms.
Symptoms of PCOS
1. Irregular periods. Few or no menstrual periods over a the span of a year.
2. Changes in hair growth. Excess hair on the face, chest, back, stomach. Thinning head hair.
3. Breakouts that become inflamed.
4. Women who have PCOS may have difficulty getting pregnant.
5. Weight gain. Difficulty achieving ideal weight, even with diet and exercise.
Why does PCOS happen?
These are a few of the factors that influence the development of PCOS.
1. There is several genes associated with PCOS. If a pregnant mother had PCOS, her daughters have a significantly higher risk of developing PCOS.
2. Insulin resistance and obesity. When blood sugar is high, insulin (the hormone responsible for helping the body use and store sugar) doesn’t work well.
The ovaries are very sensitive to insulin resistance and in response they don’t produce the appropriate amount of hormones necessary for ovulation and the body has too much testosterone circulating.
3. Exposure to “Endocrine-disrupting” chemicals. Chemicals like BPA found in plastics alter the activity of sex hormones.
BPA is know to interact with estrogen receptors which will decrease the bodies ability to ovulate.
Treatment of PCOS
Conventional Approaches include regulating the cycle through use of oral contraceptives, regulating blood sugar with medications like metformin and fertility treatment if the individual is having difficulty conceiving.
How Annex Naturopathic Clinic approach PCOS
Naturopathic doctors look at addressing the root causes of PCOS and treatment is revolved around naturally restoring hormonal balance through:
- Dietary and exercise recommendations that reduce insulin sensitivity and exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals.
- Nutritional supplementation that encourages insulin sensitivity and hormone balance.
- Herbal medicine that gently and effectively balances hormones and metabolism.
- Bioindentical hormones therapy if appropriate.
If you’re concerned with hormonal irregularities, come see us at Annex Naturopathic Clinic for a comprehensive assessment and treatment plan to help your body get back in balance.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Marnie Luck, N.D