From Professor Dr Shirley MD, Integrative Medical Doctor of over 30 years’ experience, author, speaker, women’s health and mental health expert
Hi, you’ve come to this page looking for more information on PCOs or PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome.
PCOs is becoming more and more common among young women, with some estimates around 15-20%. This is alarming, since it means that not only are you at risk of infertility, you are also at risk of other diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and the complications which you can get from this.
The good news is that there is a whole lot you can do to fix your body and make it work better as well as prevent you getting the condition in the first place.
With my long experience dealing with women’s health problems, I am convinced that if you are diagnosed with PCOS, you need to have a holistic approach to managing it. Just starting on the oral contraceptive pill or a drug like Metformin, while it might mask your symptoms, doesn’t really fix the cause of the problem.
What are the causes of PCOs?
Well first of all, diet is a major issue. And believe me its not just overweight women who have PCOs. There are lots of skinny and even underweight girls who get it too. Buts its more to do with how you fuel your body than just about what your weight is. Many women have a high fasting insulin and insulin resistance. This affects how you handle sugar and carbs and also your risk for Type 2 Diabetes. It also creates inflammation in your body which can cause acne.
Secondly, vitamin and mineral deficiencies are also common such as zinc and B12, iron, chromium, iodine and a whole list of vital nutrients. Even if you eat healthy your body may not be able to absorb enough for your needs, especially if you are still growing or play sport. These deficiencies can result in hair loss and make acne worse.
Thirdly, your gut plays a big part in fuelling your body and absorbing vitamins. Poor gut health can be a major factor in those deficiencies I mentioned. Gluten intolerance is also becoming an important reason why you are not absorbing healthy nutrients.
Fourthly, anxiety and stress can make PCOs worse. Stress and worry can upset your hormones and put an extra load on your body. PCOs sufferers have more anxiety and depression than healthy women.
So you see, you need to manage all these areas if you are going to conquer your PCOs. The end result of the above problems is that you have an imbalance of your female hormones.
Oestrogen becomes dominant- meaning you don’t ovulate regularly and stop having periods. So infertility is the result.
Testosterone becomes too high, giving you excess body hair especially on the face
Your insulin levels rise up and put you at risk of diabetes, diabetes during pregnancy, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
How is it diagnosed?
Many women are diagnosed after having an ultrasound of their pelvis. This shows lots of cysts on the ovaries. There is some dispute about whether cysts alone is all that’s required for the diagnosis or you need to have unbalanced hormones too. You may not have any symptoms at this stage, but you could be put on treatment to reduce your insulin, regulate your periods or shrink the cysts.
Having hormone treatment is also to help reduce your testosterone and oestrogen, and balance your hormones better.
My treatment plan includes;
- A special healthy eating approach (in collaboration with a dietician) to help you become more fat-adapted. It doesn’t involve strict ketogenic diets but more a plan of attack which will fuel your body and keep you satisfied. Believe me starvation diets and very low carbohydrate diets don’t work and may make your metabolism worse. The aim is to reduce your insulin and help you produce better energy throughout the day. If you have a weight problem, then this will help you lose weight and keep it off for good.
- The type of exercise you do is important too. If you exercise a lot, we can tailor your exercise to helping your body become more fat–adapted and even if you aren’t a sporty type you can still do some simple stuff to help your body work better.
- The right testing and supplements to boost your body function. It also gives you the building blocks to make the right hormones and in the correct amounts, balancing your body and ovulation, and reducing excess hair and acne.
- A gut health approach which will allow any leaky gut to heal up and give you the best chance of absorbing those vital nutrients and reducing inflammation.
- A stress and anxiety program that will help you feel more relaxed and able to cope, boosting your confidence and putting you back in the driving seat.
So you see a complete approach is the best way to tackle this health problem and get you well for your future – like pregnancy, your future risk of disease and getting you feeling great and bursting with energy.
If you would like to know more, please join my blog so that I can go into more detail about how you can take control of your health and free yourself from PCOs for good
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Every woman has the right to feel great