A friend came to me recently with a diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It is one of the most common conditions in women of childbearing age, with almost 1 in 10 women developing this condition at one time or another. And although it is one of the most common hormonal disorders in women, she was having difficulty finding information on how to handle it naturally.
Although the cause of PCOS is uncertain, symptoms include high testosterone levels, which can lead to menstrual problems and infertility, along with high insulin levels, which can contribute to obesity.
Some of the characteristics of PCOS include elevated levels of testosterone and/or related hormones called androgens (hyperandrogenism), infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods (anovulation), and/or the presence of multiple ovarian cysts, which are usually painless and only discovered by ultrasound.
PCOS can cause problems ranging from cosmetic to fertility issues. It is associated with acne, as well as hair growth in hormone sensitive areas such as the lip, chin, and abdomen, and thinning of the hair on the head. And although cosmetic, these things can lead to self-esteem and anxiety issues.
PCOS may also result in subfertility due to poor or irregular ovulation. It is actually the number one cause of infertility in women. And PCOS has been associated with increased risk of several chronic diseases in the long term, including diabetes, heart disease, and endometrial cancer.
Over the next few weeks, we will look at a holistic approach to dealing with PCOS including diet, exercise, and herbal and nutritional supplements.
Photo from here, with thanks.