Note: September is Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome Awareness Month and teal is the official ribbon color.
Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, also known as PCOS, is an endocrine system disorder that effects women of reproductive age. To put it simply, it is a hormone imbalance. It is characterized by high levels of androgen or insulin.
Symptoms often include: mood swings, acne, irregular periods, hirsutism, alopecia, obesity, fatigue, pelvic pain, and ovarian cysts. Due to the increase in male hormones, women suffering from this condition, may also develop masculine characteristics, such as: a deepening of the voice, hair loss, male patterned hair growth, or a decrease in breast size. This condition may also lead to: Type 2 diabetes, cholesterol abnormalities, frequent miscarriages, high blood pressure, infertility, sleep apnea, endometrial cancer, heart disease, depression, and anxiety.
Doctors have estimated that one in ten women suffer from this condition. Despite its commonality, it may be difficult to obtain a formal diagnoses. It has been estimated that on average, women visit five practitioners before finally being told, with any degree of certainty, that they have PCOS. This may be due to the fact there are other medical conditions that exhibit similar symptoms such as endometriosis.
In order to be formerly diagnosed, a doctor will first rule out other possible disorders. They will then conduct physical and pelvic exams, take blood, and complete an ultrasound. Women suffering from two or more PCOS symptoms, can be diagnosed with this condition.
There is currently no cure for Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, however, doctors will suggest lifestyle changes that help manage the symptoms. In some cases, doctors will recommend birth control pills, androgen-blocking medications, or ovulation induction. Doctors will also recommend strict dietary changes. A low-carbohydrate, high-fiber diet, is recommended, along with abstaining from all dairy products and severely limiting sugar intake. Regular exercise also helps prevent insulin resistance.
*Further articles to follow including a PCOS “green light” food list.
I am not a doctor nor am I a nutritionist. All information presented here is from personal experience and my own personal research. Here are links to a few websites that I consulted in the writing of this article: