Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal imbalance condition affecting about 5 to 20 percent of women of childbearing age.
The term “polycystic” means that a woman’s ovaries have multiple (poly) small cysts on them. These cysts are not harmful (benign) but lead to an imbalance of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. PCOS can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, fertility and appearance.
Despite what the name implies, however, not all women with PCOS have visible ovarian cysts.
Causes of this condition may be genetics, environmental factors or a faulty diet and prolonged stress. There is an abnormally high level of male sex hormones androgens, compared to female hormones (called hyperandrogenism). High levels of male sex hormones prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg each month, thus causing irregular menstruation and infertility.
SYMPTOMS OF PCOS
Many women are not properly diagnosed as the symptoms closely mimic those of other hormonal disorders such as thyroid disorders and chronic fatigue syndrome.
PCOS symptoms can vary from woman to woman. Common and most frequently found symptoms of PCOS include:
- Irregular periods—menstrual intervals longer than 35 days, with fewer than eight menstrual cycles a year
- Excess androgen (male sex hormones)
- Polycystic ovaries—enlarged ovaries that may contain numerous small fluid-filled sacs that surround the eggs. Despite the name, some women don’t have a single ovarian cyst.
- Infertility or difficulty conceiving due to lack of ovulation
- Insulin resistance—may be related to an increased risk for type 2 diabetes
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
- Unwanted facial and chin hair growth
- Patches of darkened skin on the back of neck, underarms, between breasts and in the groin area (called Acanthosis Nigricans)
- Thinning of hair
- Mood swings
- Acne or skin tags
- Sleep apnea and insomnia
- Pelvic pain
Most doctors usually prescribe birth control pills that are hormone-based to help regulate menstrual cycles. Although it may help to induce menstruation, they really don’t solve any problems but rather just masking the symptoms.
In fact, birth control pills are damaging to the liver and can cause more side effects to one’s health! These pills continuously raises estrogen levels in the body with synthetic hormones that does the opposite of what it’s supposed to do—and get the hormones even more out of whack!
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR PCOS
PCOS is a very complex condition, where it is different from woman to woman. The critical factor is the ratio of female hormones to the male hormones that need to be in the right proportion/balance. The best approach is to understand some of the causes of the condition individually, and do the opposite of what caused the problem in the first place!
Lifestyle Changes To Remedy PCOS
Detoxification: Many health problems begin in the gut. Detoxification should be one of the first things to consider doing to reverse any health conditions, starting with a gastrointestinal cleanse. Here is a comprehensive list of articles that cover every aspect of a complete detox.
Reduce Both Physical and Psychological Stress: Your body doesn’t know whether you are undergoing physical or psychological stress. When you’re stressed, your body produces adrenaline to increase your heart rate. Prolonged stress activates cortisol—the primary stress hormone that suppresses the immune system and cause other hormonal issues. Learn to manage down your stress level.
PCOS can cause insomnia. Yet, not having sufficient sleep can further cause negative effects on your hormone health. It is a vicious cycle but it’s something that you need to overcome. Do whatever you need to do and try to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night at the appropriate time.
Appropriate Exercises: High intensity exercises cause stress to the body that increases oxidative stress. If you have PCOS and are exercising extensively in order to lose weight, then you may want to reduce such exercise to prevent your adrenals from being overstimulated. Consider balance and low-impact workouts instead. If you don’t usually include exercise in your daily routine, walking is a good way to benefit your health.
Avoid Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors: You can’t completely eliminate exposure to endocrine disruptors, but if you know what they are and where they are hiding, you can avoid most of them. Endocrine disruptors are harmful chemicals that can mimic naturally-occurring hormones such as estrogen, disrupting the production of your natural hormones. Here are 10 common endocrine disruptors to look out for and avoid.