PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome
A Clear Perspective on Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that is common in women during their reproductive years. This disorder affects 1 in 10 women of child-bearing age. The exact causes are unknown, but there may be factors that increase the chances of getting this disorder.
Signs and Symptoms
Irregular periods - Prolonged, irregular or infrequent menstrual cycles are the most common signs of PCOS.
Acne and increased facial or body hair - This is due to the increase in the male hormone called androgen.
Cysts on ovaries - Polycystic ovaries may occur due to enlargement of the ovary which may lead to the failure to function regularly.
Excess Insulin - Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which if produced in excess causes blood sugar levels to rise. Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance which may ultimately lead to type 2 diabetes.
Excess Androgens - Having excess androgens can prevent the ovaries from releasing the egg during the regular menstrual cycle, which may also lead to excess hair growth and acne.
There is no single test to diagnose PCOS; however, there are a few ways to determine this disorder and rule out others.
Physical Exam - By simple observation looking for signs and symptoms such as excess hair on face, chest or back areas along with checking the thyroid gland, to rule out enlarged thyroid which has similar signs and symptoms.
Pelvic Exam - This exam is done to check the size of the ovaries as well as a possibly enlarged clitoris, which would signify increased male hormones.
Pelvic Ultrasound- to see if there is the classic ‘Ring of Pearls’ cyst formation on the ovaries. The presence of cysts is not necessary to make the diagnosis.
Blood Tests - Blood tests are taken to determine the hormone levels, Specifically LH/FSH ratios and androgen levels.
The conventional treatment is hormonal birth control. Although this may work for some women, it is not the only option. A holistic approach would involve herbs, diet modifications, specific minerals and nutrients. It is very possible to relieve all symptoms and have natural conception without the use of pharmaceuticals.