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Living with PCOS?

My Doctor Finder
June 06, 2022

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is an endocrine system disorder where small, fluid-filled sacs develop on the ovaries. This disorder can lead to infertility, with a global prevalence estimated between 6% and 26%. It's unclear how many women have the disorder, with some research suggesting anywhere between 10% and 30%. Women with PCOS are often diagnosed in their late teens or early 20s and can experience signs of the disorder such as difficulty sleeping and extreme mood swings.
 

Causes of PCOS

There is currently no known cause for PCOS. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but there do seem to be connections with family history and genetics; hormones that are increased during our development in the womb before birth; and lifestyle or environment.

But several other factors play a role as well:

  • Higher levels of male hormones called androgens

The ovaries are unable to release eggs (ovulation) due to high testosterone levels, resulting in irregular menstruation periods. Small, fluid-filled sacs can form in the ovaries as a result of irregular ovulation. In women, high androgen causes acne and excessive hair growth.

 

  • Insulin resistance

The ovaries produce and release male hormones as insulin levels rise (androgens). Increased male hormone suppresses ovulation and exacerbates other PCOS symptoms. Insulin regulates how your body processes and uses glucose (sugar) for energy. Insulin resistance occurs when your body does not properly process insulin, resulting in elevated blood glucose levels. Although not all people with insulin resistance have high blood sugar or diabetes, insulin resistance can lead to diabetes. Insulin resistance can also be caused by being overweight or obese. Even if your blood glucose is normal, a high insulin level can indicate insulin resistance.

 

  • Low-grade inflammation

 

Chronic low-grade inflammation is common in people with PCOS. C-reactive protein (CRP) and white blood cell levels can be measured by your healthcare practitioner, which can indicate the extent of inflammation in your body.

Symptoms of PCOS

  • Missed periods, irregular periods, or very light periods
  • Ovaries that are large or have many cysts
  • Excess body hair, including the chest, stomach, and back (hirsutism)
  • Weight gain, especially around the belly (abdomen)
  • Acne or oily skin
  • Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
  • Infertility 
  • Small pieces of excess skin on the neck or armpits (skin tags)
  • Dark or thick skin patches on the back of the neck, in the armpits, and under the breasts

 

Natural Treatment for PCOS

 

  • Lifestyle changes

Your doctor may recommend weight loss through a low-calorie diet combined with moderate exercise activities. Even a modest reduction in your weight — for example, losing 5 percent of your body weight — might improve your condition. Losing weight may also increase the effectiveness of medications your doctor recommends for PCOS and can help with infertility.

 

  • Medication

Combination of birth control pills - Estrogen and progestin-containing pills reduce androgen production while also regulating estrogen. Hormone regulation can help you avoid endometrial cancer, abnormal bleeding, excessive hair growth, and acne. You could use a skin patch or vaginal ring that includes a combination of estrogen and progestin instead of pills.

 

 

  • Exercise

Exercise is a vital part of losing weight. Regular exercise can help keep blood sugar levels low and insulin levels low. Exercise is also good for your heart, and it can boost your mood and help you sleep better.

It is not necessary to go to the gym to get a good workout; in fact, the most effective workout is one that is fun. Taking up a fun sport or activity will inspire a person to participate in it on a regular basis and get the maximum benefits.

 

  • Diet Changes

 

According to one study, the timing of calorie consumption has a significant impact on glucose, insulin, and testosterone levels. Lowering insulin levels may help with reproductive problems. Compared to women who ate their largest meals at dinnertime, women with PCOS who ate the majority of their daily calories at breakfast for 12 weeks saw significant improvements in insulin and glucose levels, as well as a 50% reduction in testosterone levels. A 980-calorie breakfast, 640-calorie lunch, and 190-calorie dinner made up the successful diet.

It may be possible to manage your symptoms by eating the correct foods and avoiding particular ingredients. A healthy diet can aid in the regulation of your hormones and menstrual cycle. Inflammation and insulin resistance can be exacerbated by eating processed, heavily preserved foods.

 

  • Reduce Stress

Cortisol can be controlled by reducing stress. Many of the measures listed above, such as yoga, getting adequate sleep, and avoiding caffeine, can help reduce stress. Walking outside and making time in your life for relaxation and self-care might also help you feel less stressed.

 

  • Talk with your doctor

Work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan if you're contemplating any of the above natural PCOS treatment alternatives. While herbal supplements and alternative therapies can help with PCOS therapy, they can't replace a tailored, ongoing conversation with your doctor about your symptoms. PCOS is a complex condition. While there is no cure, there are several conventional and alternative treatments that can help control the symptoms and problems. PCOS patients should maintain contact with their doctors to ensure that all of their problems are handled. 

 

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