Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common hormonal disturbances affecting women. An estimated 5 to 10% of women of childbearing age have PCOS and at least 30% of women have some symptoms of PCOS.
‘Polycystic’ literally means ‘many cysts’, and polycystic ovaries are those with a string of cysts around their outside. These cysts are partially developed follicles (eggs) which are not able to go through ovulation
PCO vs. PCOS
Not every woman with PCOS suffers from all the related symptoms: either you can have any combination of them to any degree of severity, or have no obvious symptoms at all, except the cysts on your ovaries that give the condition its name. This is then known as polycystic ovaries (PCO); however patients with PCO are considered to be at risk of PCOS and should especially monitor their health because stress or weight gain may result in the symptoms developing.
Contributors: Genetics, Stress, Pollution & Diet
Causes known to play a contributory role include genetic predisposition, stress, pollution and poor dietary habits. PCOS is a life long condition that may have effects at all ages, not just in the reproductive years. This condition may have origins in foetal life with either intrauterine growth retardation or post-term birth.
Symptoms: Weight, Fatigue, Depression, Acne, Skin Tags …
Researches link PCOS to insulin resistance and as such it can bring about a wide variety of symptoms, including difficulty losing weight, fatigue, depression, acne, skin tags (small skin growths around the neck/armpit) or patches of darkened skin around the neck, excessive body hair growth, male pattern baldness, etc.
Fertility Problems Due to Hormonal Imbalances
Photo from US Dept. of Health & Human Services.
Fertility problems are common with PCOS. Insulin resistance, high levels of stress hormones or higher than normal Luteinising hormone raise Testosterone production in the ovaries, which in turn interfere with the maturation of the eggs. Raised levels of estrogen are commonly seen in PCOS due to thickened core of the ovary, which produces estrogen. As fat cells also produce estrogen levels can be greatly elevated, which in turn switch off the Follicle stimulating hormone, further interfering with egg maturation and fertility. There is often little or no progesterone to balance estrogen levels, as progesterone is only produced after ovulation (by the Corpus Luteum).
Focus: Insulin, Stress Hormones, Detox, & Progesterone
Tailor Made Diet Plan
These require high amounts of nutrients that should be supplied by diet – therefore optimising digestion/absorption is essential. Healthy weight lossregimes might also be necessary. A tailor made hormone balancing – liver supporting diet is the solution.
Herbs to Boost Progesterone Levels
We can call on the help of powerful herbs to boost progesterone levels – these however should be individually tailored and always checked against medications for contraindications. As we’re all individuals, a personalised plan is best to treat the condition.