What is PCOS?
PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is becoming better known and understood, and better diagnosed. PCOS is a condition in which cysts develop around the outside edges of the ovaries, which also typically become enlarged. It is thought that a combination of genetic and environmental factors give rise to this syndrome. According to the CDC, it’s one of the leading factors of female infertility and affects up to 6-12% of women in their reproductive years.
What Are the Symptoms?
You might wonder if you (or someone you know) has PCOS if you’re struggling with symptoms like thicker, more noticeable facial hair growth, blood sugar swings, irregular or painful periods, irritability, acne, weight gain, depression, insomnia and more.
Thick hair growing on the face/chin is a common (and often disturbing for many women) visible sign that lead many of our clients to seek testing or support to see if PCOS is to blame.
Does PCOS Go Away On Its Own?
Technically, PCOS doesn’t go away, but symptoms can be greatly improved with diet, lifestyle, targeted supplements, and sometimes medications.
Where Did it Come From?
Although the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, there are several factors that may be at play: genetics, excess androgen (the hormone that helps develop more typically male characteristics), low level inflammation, and/or excess insulin levels.
Which Blood Tests do I Need to Do?
Cambiati Wellness Programs offers several types of hormone panels and testing, and we typically recommend a combination of testing to look for PCOS “flags” that might alert us to a possibility of this condition.
Will I Gain Weight From PCOS?
Although every case is individual and no two people will have the same experience, many people with PCOS do experience weight gain and often have a difficult time releasing weight. This stems largely from the insulin resistance that often accompanies the syndrome, and its effects on the body’s hunger and satiety hormones. These factors can also lead to discomfort, fatigue and a lack of motivation.
How do I Treat or Manage PCOS?
Since it is a medical condition, a qualified medical practitioner must make the diagnosis for PCOS. Although our nutritionists and dietitians don’t make medical diagnoses, our nurse practitioner can. Our hormone tests can guide her in determining if we may suspect an underlying hormone imbalance or PCOS condition.
What’s really exciting (especially for us nutrition nerds) is that there is so much you can do to support your body’s ability to manage this syndrome with the help of targeted nutrition, herbs and vitamins. We always look at those before considering medication, though in some cases, medications are necessary to correct imbalances.