Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder that affects females of reproductive age. It is estimated to affect 1 in 10 females. The cause of PCOS is unknown. There may be genetic and environmental factors playing a part.  Despite how common it is, there is still a lack of understanding and awareness surrounding PCOS. In this article, we will delve into PCOS symptoms, the causes and treatment options.

What is PCOS?

PCOS is defined by a combination of features: (1) Excessive production of a family of hormones called ‘androgens’ of which testosterone is the most common.  This tends to cause acne and excessive hair growth. (2) Disorder of ovulation, usually manifested as infrequent or no menstruation, and (3) the appearance of multiple small follicles or ‘cysts’ on the ovaries.  These cysts are not harmful.  About 65-80% of females with PCOS have ‘insulin resistance’, or a ‘low sensitivity’ to insulin.  Insulin is a hormone that helps your body to regulate blood sugar levels.  Insulin resistance is when your body’s cells don’t respond properly to the insulin that your body makes.  Because your body cannot use the insulin as it should, your blood sugar levels can increase.  High blood sugar levels put you at risk of developing conditions such as diabetes.  There are other things which are common if you have insulin resistance such as having too much fat in and around the liver and pancreas, having high cholesterol and living with being overweight or obese. 

Causes of PCOS

The exact cause of PCOS is still unknown, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some studies have shown that females with PCOS may have a family history of the condition, suggesting a genetic link. Environmental factors such as diet and lifestyle may also play a role in the development of PCOS.

Symptoms of PCOS

The symptoms of PCOS can vary from person to person, and some may experience more severe symptoms than others. The most common symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Irregular or absent periods
  • Excess hair growth on the face, chest, and back
  • Acne
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Thinning hair on the scalp
  • Darkening of the skin in certain areas, such as the neck, groin, and underarms
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Mood swings and depression

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to consult with your doctor for further investigation.  

Making the diagnosis

If PCOS is suspected, your doctor may carry out hormone tests and a scan to confirm the diagnosis, and to exclude other causes for your symptoms.  It is important to remember that scans are less useful in making a diagnosis in adolescents

Treatment Options for PCOS

While there is no cure for PCOS, there are various treatment options available to help manage the symptoms and improve overall health.

Medications

Medications such as birth control pills, hormonal coils, anti-androgens, and insulin-sensitising drugs can help regulate hormone levels and manage symptoms of PCOS. Birth control pills can help regulate menstrual cycles and reduce excess hair growth, while anti-androgens can help reduce acne and excess hair growth. Insulin-sensitising drugs can help improve insulin resistance, which is a common issue in women with PCOS.  It is important to adopt a tailored approach to management focusing on what the priorities are for the patient, as well as reducing the risk of any potential longer term complications associated with the condition.

Lifestyle Changes

Making healthy lifestyle behaviours, including healthy eating and regular exercise can help manage PCOS symptoms and improve overall health. Healthy lifestyle behaviours will not only help achieve and/or maintain a healthy weight, but will optimise hormonal outcomes, Improve general health and quality of life.  If overweight or obese, weight loss will reduce levels of insulin and androgens, reduce the risk of developing conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as promoting menstrual regularity.

Alternative Therapies

Some women may choose to explore alternative therapies to manage their PCOS symptoms. These may include acupuncture, herbal supplements, and stress-reducing techniques such as yoga and meditation. While there is limited scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of these therapies, some women may find them helpful in managing their symptoms.

Health Restoration

Health restoration involves addressing the root cause of PCOS and making lifestyle changes to improve overall health. This may include addressing underlying issues such as insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances. By focusing on restoring health, rather than just managing symptoms, women with PCOS can see long-term improvements in their condition.

Holistic Healing

Holistic healing takes a whole-body approach to managing PCOS. This involves addressing physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. By incorporating practices such as mindfulness, self-care, and stress management, females with PCOS can improve their overall health and well-being.

Real-Life Examples of PCOS Treatment Success

There are many success stories of women who have managed their PCOS symptoms through lifestyle changes and holistic healing. One such example is Sarah, who struggled with PCOS for years before discovering the power of health restoration and holistic healing.

Sarah had been on various medications for her PCOS symptoms, but they only provided temporary relief. She decided to take a different approach and focused on improving her overall health through a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress-reducing techniques. She also incorporated mindfulness practices into her daily routine, which helped her manage her stress and improve her emotional well-being.

Within a few months, Sarah noticed significant improvements in her PCOS symptoms. Her periods became more regular, her acne cleared up, and she lost weight without much effort. She also felt more energised and had a more positive outlook on life.

PCOS is a complex condition that requires a multifaceted approach to manage. While there is no known cure, there are various treatment options available to manage symptoms and improve overall health. By focusing on a holistic approach to management, females with PCOS can see long-term improvements in their condition and overall well-being. If you are struggling with PCOS, know that you are not alone, and there is hope for a healthier and happier life.

If you have concerns about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome get a comprehensive clinical assessment at 2me clinic for £390 and start your journey to better health today.

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