What is Polycystic ovary syndrome?
Polycystic ovary syndrome also known as PCOS, Stein-Leventhal Syndrome, or hyperandrogenic anovulation is a hormone imbalance which affects many women trying to get pregnant. It is a hormone disorder that greatly affects metabolism throughout the body. It is one of the leading cause of infertility today. Someone with PCOS is also at a higher risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
What are some of the symptoms of PCOS?
Trouble conceiving or holding through the pregnancy
Irregular, infrequent, delayed or absence of periods
Excess body or facial hair
Hair loss, thinning hair
Acne, skin tags
Thick, dark colored skin areas on the neck and arms
Cystic ovaries (seen with ultrasound examination)
Higher levels of androgens (male hormones) have been seen in women with PCOS. This can confuse the body into preventing a release of an egg from the follicle, leading to a delayed ovulation or no ovulation. The unbalanced environment with high androgens may lead to eggs that are not at their best quality, issues with implantation, infertility, and possible miscarriage.
Women with PCOS will not always present with the common symptoms and many are diagnosed with unexplained infertility prematurely. Many of these symptoms can present as disorders of ovulation and hormone imbalances. If weight is an issue, there have been studies recently linking PCOS and the creation of insulin within the body. Insulin regulates the body’s change of sugar, starch and other foods into energy. This hormone if too high may cause the amount of androgens in the body rise.
Diet can play a major role in restoring weight, menstruation, and many of the symptoms associated with PCOS. It is extremely important for women with PCOS to avoid refined foods such as carbohydrates, sugar, flour and many foods made from them (ex. breads, pasta). Maintaining a steady blood sugar with a schedule each day that includes some protein and healthy fats such as nuts, eggs, and beans. Snacking every 3-5 hours helps the body to maintain healthy levels of blood sugar. High intake of vegetables, leafy greens, black beans, lentils, berries can help to keep the body healthy. Milk and dairy products may crate issues with phlegm, and many times contain hormones.
Exercise and stress management is extremely important for helping to keep control of PCOS. There are many ways to integrate relaxation techniques into your daily routine. Many patients enjoy their time practicing breathing exercises, yoga, listening to relaxing music, journaling, or taking a walk through nature. Lifestyle changes can help to keep your body happy and healthy.
Acupuncture has been shown help control PCOS through regulating the metabolic system, endocrine and neuro-endocrine system, reducing blood glucose and helping to increase insulin sensitivity, boosting the immune system function, and helping to improve blood flow to the ovaries. Regular treatments of acupuncture 1-2x a week can help maintain a healthy balance.