Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a term used to describe a constellation of clinical and biochemical features. It is considered a syndrome, as the causes are not currently understood. PCOS is a hormone disturbance affecting women, it is characterised by at least two of the following conditions:

  • Polycystic ovaries on ultrasound
  • Elevated levels of androgens (testosterone on blood or dried urine testing)

Clinical signs:

  • Hyperandrogenism: hirsutism (male pattern hair growth), acne, alopecia (hair loss)
  • Anovulation (when the ovaries do not release an oocyte during a menstrual cycle)
  • Oligo-ovulation (If ovulation is irregular, but not completely absent)

Presenting symptoms may include:

  • Obesity
  • Menstrual disturbance
  • Oligonmenorrhoea
  • Regular menstruation
  • Hyperandrogenism
  • Infertility
  • Sometimes asymptomatic
  • BMI hip/waist ration
  • Fluctuated weight
  • Hormonal disturbances
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Hypertension
  • Endometrial hyperplasia and carcinoma

Treatment of insulin resistance in PCOS usually consists of blood sugar regulator medications such as Metformin.

This medication can be associated with:

  • Bloating,
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased nausea
  • Decreased taste
  • Folate deficiency
  • B12 deficiency
  • Malabsorption

This can in turn lead to reduced intrinsic factor (a carrier for B12 to be absorbed in the small intestine), low energy, and an increase of homocysteine (a common amino acid in your blood).

How you can manage you symptoms:

Diet

Studies show that a low GI and a higher protein diet may decrease some long-term health risks in PCOS.

Spearmint tea may have an anti-androgenic effect, which could assist with hirsutism (a condition of unwanted, male-pattern hair growth in women).

Sugar and refined carbohydrates have a significant effect on women with PCOS contributing to fat distribution and insulin resistance. Reducing alcohol consumption is also indicated.

 

Lifestyle factors that can assist PCOS

Studies indicate that women who are diagnosed with PCOS have significant benefits from regular exercise, relieving:

  • Stress
  • Depression

and increasing fertility by reduction of:

  • Androgens
  • Weight: a 5 – 10 % reduction in weight has indicated benefits by regulation of menstrual cycles, as well as increasing energy and insulin resistance

 

Nutritional Supports for PCOS

B Complex

B1: (Thiamine) is required for cellular reaction, which plays a role in fats and carbohydrate metabolism. A Thiamine deficiency leads to glucose intolerance.

B2: (Riboflavin) required for adequate carbohydrate metabolism

B3: Helps with the treatment of elevated fats such as:

  • Triglycerides,
  • LDL cholesterol
  • Lipoprotein

B5: Breaks down fats

B6, B9 and B12: Reduces elevated homocysteine and associated with metformin therapy.

This group of B’s also assist in the stabilisation of hormones.

Chromium

Shown to improve insulin sensitivity in patients with PCOS increasing glucose tolerance.

Essential Fatty Acids

  • Shows improvement in insulin sensitivity, and has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Has a strong association with the prevention of cardiovascular risks, triglycerides and liver fat content as well as blood pressure, which may be associated with PCOS.
  • There has been evidence that indicates a lowering testosterone, lowering of Luteinising hormone and decreasing androgen.

Magnesium

Nervous system support

Vitamin E

The pathogeneses of PCOS has been linked with depletion of antioxidants. Vitamin E assists in supporting ovulation and increasing follicular development.

Zinc

Zinc is an insulin regulator within the body as well as decreasing the risk of type-2 diabetes and insulin sensitivity.

Zinc has shown to decrease the activity of androgen in the skin as well as immune boosting and skin healing.

Cinnamon

Has shown to reduce fasting glucose level and is indicated as a blood sugar regulator.

As qualified Naturopaths we are trained in hormone regulation treatment, if you or someone you know may need some further information and understanding on treatment and treatment strategies give us a call and book in for a consultation. We are here to assist you on your path to wellbeing!

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