What is PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)?

PCOS is a common hormonal issue affecting many women which causes cysts to develop on the ovaries. This condition is partly influenced by genetics and results in poor communication between the brain and ovaries.

The symptoms of PCOS can range from irregular or no menstrual period, acne (body and face) or excess hair growth. Patients may also experience weight gain, infertility and sleep apnea.

In order to test for PCOS, your doctor will send you for a transvaginal ultrasound to confirm the presence of cysts on your ovaries. They will also do blood work to check your Thyroid (TSH, free T4, free T3, TPO), fasting blood glucose, female hormones (Estrogen, Progesterone, Androstenedione, and free Testosterone), Follicular Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Luteinizing Hormone (LH), Prolactin and hCG.

 

There are many treatment options for PCOS, so I will list a few of them below:

Diet:

This is one of the best and most beneficial ways to take care of yourself if you have PCOS. The goal of diet changes is to help decrease inflammation within the body while aiding liver function and helping with proper digestive elimination. Patients who have tested positive for food sensitivities will benefit from avoiding those foods as they will cause unnecessary inflammation and aggravate PCOS symptoms. I suggest patients reduce sugar, refined carbohydrates and alcohol from their diets as these are all inflammatory in nature. Eating cooked cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts and cabbage are rich in indole-3-carbinol which helps with Phase I and II liver detox. Other options for diets are a Hypo-allergenic diet or an Anti-inflammatory diet. I usually discuss this in further detail with my patients during our appointments and supply them with handouts to take home.

Supplements:

Our goal for treatment is to decrease inflammation, regulate blood sugar and help the liver process hormones, so supplements that support these processes are paramount. Consult your naturopathic doctor on timing and dosing of these supplements.

  • A highly concentrated fish oil, rich in EPA and DHA
  • Vitamin B6
  • Indol-3-Carbinol
  • Vitamin D
  • Chromium

Herbal support:

It’s best to consult your naturopathic doctor to find out which herbs would be best for your case and at what dose – this is important as each person is different. Herbal medicine can be used to support and regulate hormone function. A few herbs which help:

  • Vitex agnus-castus
  • Glycyrrhiza glabra
  • Serenoa repens
  • Cinnamomum spp.

Acupuncture:

Acupuncture can be used to treat a variety of female hormone related conditions, including PCOS and can be used in combination with any of the aforementioned treatments without any contraindication. Before acupuncture is done, a full history is obtained, tongue and pulse diagnosis is done and then an acupuncture treatment can begin. Each patient is different, so depending on how your body is presenting, there will be specific Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis which your naturopathic doctor will follow.

Pharmaceutical Medications:

Some women benefit from using an Oral Contraceptive Pill (OCP) which uses synthetic hormones to help regulate hormones and promote ovulation. Low dose corticosteroids can be used to induce ovulation. Metformin helps to regulate blood sugar, improves ovulation and reduces the amount of circulating androgens. Pharmaceuticals are always an option, however, discuss your treatment goals with your naturopathic doctor to find out if this is the best option for you.

If you are concerned that this may be a condition you are currently dealing with, book an appointment with me so we can figure out how best to help you.

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