Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Proven Natural Medicine
What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
As described by Mosby's Dictionary of Medical, Nursing & Allied Health 3rd Edition, Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is an abnormal condition characterized by anovulation, amenorrhea, excess facial hair and infertility.
How Do You Get Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
PCOS is not a well understood condition but the theory behind the cause is that it is an imbalance of hormones that produces cysts on the ovary's.
The cysts are fluid filled sacs that disrupt the production of hormones even further. The increased levels of testosterone, estrogen and lutenizing hormone(LH) and decreased secretion of follicle stimulating hormone(FSH) causes the symptoms mentioned above.
It is believed that polycystic ovary syndrome is hereditary. Daughters and sisters of those with PCOS have 50% more chance of developing the condition.
Read about one person's experience with
Polycystic ovary syndrome
and how she coped with the symptoms.
PCOS and Insulin Resistance
Up to 80% of women with PCOS also have insulin resistance, which means the body cannot carry out the normal functions of insulin. Insulin helps control the blood sugar levels and without the normal function, the PCOS patient can develop Type 2 diabetes and have problems with obesity.
The high levels of insulin can also increase the production of male hormones which only contributes to the collection of symptoms.
Being overweight can actually worsen the insulin resistance and therefore worsen the symptoms of PCOS. Symptoms can actually be controlled if you are normal weight.
Consider these factors:
1. 10% of reproductive age women have PCOS.
1. This is raised to 30% if the women are overweight.
Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
• Period Problems- Your periods may disappear altogether or they may be irregular. Less than 8 periods a year indicate irregularity.
• Excess Hair (Hirsutism)- this extra hair is caused by the extra male hormones being produced. 60% of PCOS women have hirsutism. The hair is darker and coarser on the face and arms. Dark hair is often seen where it normally grows on men such as the upper lip, chin, sideburn area, lower abdomen, chest and thighs and around the nipple.
• Acne- there is an increase in the production of oil on the skin which can lead to acne.
• Hair Loss (Alopecia) - As there is an increase in male hormones, there is also an increase in the chance of developing male pattern baldness or thinning of hair on the top of the scalp.
• Infertility - Because of the disruption in the menstrual cycle, ovulation does not always occur. This does not happen to all women with PCOS, some have no problems falling pregnant.
• Psychological- because of the obvious symptoms such as excess facial hair and obesity, many PCOS women have little self esteem. They tend to feel less feminine and this can lead to a variety of problems such as
• Sleep Apnoea - This disorder is cause by the obstruction of the upper airway due to excess fatty tissue in the neck putting pressure on the airway. The lack of sleep can also contribute to the other symptoms such as depression and fatigue.
How is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Diagnosed?
PCOS is diagnosed by an ultrasound of the ovaries, blood tests for hormones, menstrual difficulties and the symptoms mentioned above. As you can see from this ultrasound, there are multiple cysts.
Can you treat PCOS naturally?
PCOS needs to be treated individually by an experienced natural health practitioner. The aim of treatment is to gain a balance in hormones. There is no point in treating the symptoms on the surface as once the hormone levels are normal, these symptoms should recede.
At the time of writing this article, there are only two natural products that have been tested for PCOS.
Proven Natural Medicines for PCOS
Taking inositol orally appears to decrease serum triglyceride and testosterone levels. It also mildly decreases blood pressure, and stimulates ovulation in obese women with PCOS. Taking
Pure Inositol Powder
is the fastest and most effective way for absorption of inositol.
Nestler JE, Jakubowicz DJ, Reamer P, et al. Ovulatory and metabolic effects of D-chiro-inositol in the polycystic ovary syndrome. N Engl J Med 1999;340:1314-20.
Early evidence suggests that chromium picolinate 500 mcg twice daily might increase glucose disposal in women with PCOS.
Pure Encap's Chromium Picolinate 500mcg 180Vcaps
is not only one of the few 500mcg tablets available but they are also reasonably priced.
Lydic ML, McNurlan M, Bembo S, et al. Chromium picolinate improves insulin sensitivity in obese subjects with polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertil Steril 2006;86:243-6.
Lisa Pastore, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UVA Health System conducted a study which involved scheduled accupuncture sessions with women with PCOS. After varying times, many women reported regaining normal menstrual cycles within months.
A normal menstrual cycle will generally create a perfect cycle for fertilization. This study also boasted a number of pregnancies.
Another noted benefit of using accupuncture for PCOS was the lowering of testosterone levels. Blood tests confirmed the reduction in testosterone levels which is very important in PCOS patients. Increased testosterone levels are common in PCOS patients causing an array of unwanted symptoms such as facial hair and increased upper body fat.
University of Virginia Health System (2008, September 9). Acupuncture May Hold Promise For Women With Hormone Disorder Who Experience Fertility Challenges. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 29, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/09/080903172159.htm
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