PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome is one the most common condition that I see in women of reproductive age at Vital Chi Wellness.
So what is PCOS? It is a condition in which a woman’s hormones go out of balance.
The main concern for women with PCOS is irregular period, painful periods and problems with conception. This results from deficiencies in oestradiol and progesterone which generally means women not to ovulate regularly.
Other symptoms include hair loss, acne, and infertility, due to high testosterone.
Many clients want to understand why they are not ovulating in the first place. I always explain that, there is no one size fit all reason. Everyone’s physical composition and symptoms are different. To improve my patient’s condition, I need to first understand their specific situation and symptoms. One of the reasons there is so much confusion about PCOS is that there 4 types, each characterized by different symptoms and each treated differently.
1) Insulin Resistant PCOS- this is the ‘classic’ type of PCOS, characterized by:
- Pre-diabetes symptoms
- Glucose intolerance
- Elevated insulin
- Elevated LH (luteinizing hormone)
- Overweight, although you may be normal weight. Normal-weight insulin-resistance can occur in the years following dieting or eating disorder.
2) Pill-Induced PCOS or Post-Pill PCOS – for some women, ovulation-suppression can persist for months or even years after stopping the pill. It is characterized by:
Regular periods prior to taking the pill
Acne prior to the pill
Elevated LH, or normal LH, and high-normal prolactin
3) Inflammatory PCOS – when systemic inflammation activates your immune system. This can result from stress, environmental toxins, gut issues and food intolerances/allergies. Long-term inflammation impedes adrenal function and confuses the hormone receptors, which effects ovulation. It is characterized by:
- Poor immune function, such as recurring infections
- Joint pain
- Skin conditions
- Vitamin D deficiency, abnormal blood count, elevated C-RP, thyroid antibodies, or gluten antibodies
- Elevated DHEA or androstenedione
4) Hidden-Cause PCOS -This is someone who does not fit in the above 3 types.
Common hidden-causes of PCOS include:
- Thyroid disease
- Vegetarian diet
- Iodine deficiency
- Sugar cravings and high sugar intake
- Too little starch in your diet
- To make matters even more confusing there can be overlap of more that one type. This is why it is so important to work with a Naturopath and understand what is really happening in your body, PCOS is not a permanent condition and can be treated naturally with diet and nutritional supplements.
For more information or to discuss your specific situation call Vital Chi Wellness on 98940014.
Written by Shiho Mafune (MOTPrac, BHs)
Naturopath & Occupational Therapist