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What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

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PCOS is a complex metabolic syndrome that involves one or more of the following organ systems: pancreas, hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, adrenals, and thyroid.  PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder in pre-menopausal women today.  PCOS puts women at a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, hypertension, altered lipoprotein profiles, type 2 diabetes, endometrial hyperplasia, endometrial cancer, and gestational diabetes.  Fortunately, PCOS can be well managed by diet and lifestyle and responds favorably to comprehensive naturopathic care.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Amenorrhea or irregular menses
  • Insulin resistance
  • Infertility and miscarriages
  • Abnormal hair growth (hirsutism)
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Adult acne
  • Lactation
  • Voice changes

Treatment:

Conventional Drug therapy

  • Metformin– moderates insulin levels
  • Cyproterone acetate or oral contraceptives (with cyproterone)- treats acne and abnormal hair growth
  • Spironolactone- diuretic is usually given to lower blood pressure, but in the case of PCOS its used to treat acne and hirsutism
  • Progesterone- triggers menses
  • Clomiphene– improves ovulation and fertility for those wishing to conceive

Naturopathic treatment

Most naturopathic treatments are made based on the individual patient.  Rarely do people respond in the same way to a specific disease so it is the practitioner’s job to create a treatment plan based on the individual’s needs at that time.

Basic treatment goals for patients with PCOS

  • Normalize blood sugar
  • Maintain a BMI <25 and a waist to hip ratio of <1
  • Regulate ovulation and reduce androgens
  • Reduce the risk of CVD and Diabetes

Tips to help you reach your goals:

Þ   Avoid all refined foods, trans-fats, sugar, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, cigarettes and any food chemicals to which you may be sensitive.  A detox will help your body normalize hormone levels and support your body’s cells from becoming resistant to insulin.

Þ   Regular exercise 3-4x week of at least a half hour for overall health and weight reduction

Þ   Stress management for your adrenal health

Þ   Daily fiber intake should be between 35-50g per day with a diet high in vegetables and leafy greens.  Incorporate foods from the brassica family and bitter green vegetables to support your liver.

Þ   Plenty of proteins that are low in saturated fats such as lean meat from grass-fed animals free of hormones and antibiotics is best, legumes, tofu, and tempeh.

Þ   Ground flaxseed and milk thistle can be added to salads or yogurt and will help modulate estrogen.

Key Nutrients:

  • Chromium
  • CoQ10
  • Magnesium
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Silica
  • Soy isoflavones
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc

There are many herbal teas and tinctures available in substitution to drug therapies and can be made up based on an individual basis to fit your symptom picture.

Are you ready to look and feel better?

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