Diagnosed with PCOS? Took long enough, Now what!?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is one of the most common disorder due to a hormonal imbalance. In Canada this disorder affects between 6 and 10% of women with symptoms starting as young as 12 years old, sometimes not appearing until the woman is well into her 20’s or 30’s. As per Stats Canada there are 17.2 million women living on Canadian soil, that is approximately 172,000 women suffering from PCOS. I myself have been dealing with a variety of these symptoms since I was young. In my own experience now that I am better with my diet and lifestyle I only have a breakout of cysts when I am eating a diet high in simple carbohydrates. Sourdoughs and baked goods are my weakness.
What is happening on the inside?
What we know about PCOS is that it is caused by excess androgens in the body. Androgens are the “male” hormones present in both males and females, primarily testosterone and androstenedione. In females having high numbers of androgens can cause disruptions in ovum (egg) production. Where the egg usually exists, little sacs called cysts can grow, these are generally full of liquid and sometimes also an egg as well. When most females go through a 28 day cycle, women with PCOS may not be able to ovulate. If there is no ovulation the woman will miss her bleed and the cysts continue to enlarge.
These growths can leave the women with multiple symptoms including pain, bleeding, and nausea. This symptoms come along side other symptoms experienced due to excessive androgens.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
– Infrequent periods
– Non existant periods (amenorrhea)
– Heavy bleeding during periods (polymenorrhea)
– Skin Tags
– Thinning of hair
– Weight Gain & Obesity
– Anxiety & depression
– Infertility (not 100% should still practice protective sex if a pregnancy isn’t wanted)
– Excess Hair all over the body (hirsutism)
– Increased blood sugar / insulin resistance
– Discolouring of the skin near where skin folds most commonly the neck, armpits and groin
Is there a cause to PCOS?
At this point even with so many women suffering from these horrible symptoms there is no known cause for PCOS. Research points to ongoing high levels of insulin which is known to influence the release of androgens into the blood. There seems to also be a connection with genetic
Where do I find a cure?
Even with so many women dealing with the symptoms of PCOS there is no medical cure. Many doctors prescribe birth control pills and other behind the counter medications to reduce symptoms. These drugs may mask symptoms and give the appearance that the condition has been“cured”. These drugs may slow hair growth, increase chance of fertility, and reduce acne but they do not get to the source of the issue. There are also many holistic ways to reduce symptoms and assist your body balance hormones without the use of drugs. These holistic practices will never “cure” you but assist your body to work on its own balance to reduce symptoms. Unless you work hard to correct your imbalance there will only be temporary relief.
How to relieve symptoms:
Lifestyle changes are very important for reducing symptoms of PCOS. Stress levels can put strain on the body causing symptoms to worsen. Stress management should be paired up with a movement plan. Exercise for stress management can include but is not limited to qi qong, yoga, pilates, cardio, weight lifting, swimming, horseback, and kickboxing. To keep involved with your stress levels and movement using a journal outlining daily, weekly and monthly goals spiritually, personally, for your career and hobbies. Journaling food consumed can be timely and picky but is very eye opening and a great way to learn about yourself. Another very important key influencer is water consumption, Making sure the body is not dehydrated will improve digestion, toxin removal, and balances pH and electrolytes.
Since we do know that insulin and blood sugar levels directly impact your hormone health it is very important to work on balancing blood sugars. Eating smaller meals high in fat, and has equal complex carbohydrates and protein will keep your body able to find an equilibrium. With practice and more intention you will be able to listen to what your body needs, it’s a feeling that will change your life. With health on your side you will be able to be more yourself and support those around you whole heartedly.
Foods to cut out:
Dairy – Milk, Cheese, Yogurts
Pop & Juice
Gourmet Hot Drinks
What foods to increase:
Dark Leafy Greens
Nuts & Seeds
Small Wild Fish
Avocado & Other healthy Fats
Beans & Lentils
Whole Grains – Buckwheat, Bulgur, Millet
Foods to limit:
Processed Soy Products
High Sugar Vegetables – Potatoes, Carrots