Someone very dear to me started experiencing irregular periods about four years ago. She didn’t think too much of it until she also started putting on weight (with no changes to her diet or exercise regimen).
Then she began having pain on the side of her abdomen and noticed hair growth in places that women don’t typically grow hair, including her chin and torso.
After her complaints were brushed off by who she thought was a thorough physician, she was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) by her gynecologist.
If I’ve even remotely described you or someone you know, please read this blog in its entirety…because undiagnosed and untreated PCOS can be hell on earth for a woman who’s suffering from it.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)—what exactly is it?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common hormonal imbalances that affects women. It is estimated that up to 21 percent of women of childbearing age may have the condition, but over half of them don’t even know it.
As its name suggests, with PCOS, the ovaries can form multiple cysts. What happens is this: A sac forms on the surface of the ovary around a maturing egg, and usually, the sac goes away once the egg is released. But if the egg isn’t released or the sac closes around the egg and fills up with fluid, it becomes a cyst.
PCOS commonly goes hand in hand with insulin resistance, which explains the weight gain that many women experience. Also, if it remains undiagnosed or untreated, it can raise your risk of metabolic syndrome, elevated lipids, high blood pressure and/or diabetes.
In addition, while it’s normal for the ovaries to release a small amount of male sex hormones (including testosterone), in women with PCOS, the ovaries start producing abnormally high amounts, which causes the male-like hair growth.
A plethora of symptoms
Although PCOS may be characterized by multiple cysts on the ovaries, not every woman that suffers from it has visible cysts, so that’s one of the reasons it’s not detected as often as it should be.
As you can probably surmise, having (potentially) multiple cysts on your ovaries, insulin resistance and too much testosterone going on in your body can produce a wide range of symptoms including:
- Partial or total infertility
- Irregular or painful periods
- Weight gain and/or an inability to lose weight
- Hirsutism (excessive hair growth, such as on the face and abdomen)
- Thinning hair
- Low libido
- Miscarriage or premature birth
- Depression; anxiety
Diagnosis is the key!
Since fewer than half of the women who have PCOS get diagnosed, it’s essential to make sure your doctor isn’t just brushing off your symptoms and/or prescribing pain pills.
A vaginal ultrasound is a must. But as I mentioned above, not every woman displays ovarian cysts, so it’s not a catch-all.
In addition, although many doctors rely on blood tests to measure hormones, a saliva hormonal test is the best and most accurate way to assess hormone levels and pick up on elevated testosterone.
Other hormones that may be elevated with PCOS include androstenedione, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and DHEA sulfate (DHEA-S).
Once PCOS is diagnosed, the typical treatments include hormonal therapy (birth control pills or others), as well as medications such as Metformin (to counter any insulin resistance), fertility drugs (if infertility is an issue), or high blood pressure drugs.
Natural ways to help
As in most cases, taking natural measures to support strong health and encourage your body to work like it should can make a huge difference in how you feel and in the effectiveness of your PCOS treatment!
Here are ways you can help:
1- Switch to a keto-type diet
The keto way of eating has been shown to be extraordinarily helpful with insulin resistance and weight loss, plus it is naturally consistent with the Great Taste No Pain way of eating, so it can help improve your digestion too!
There are many reference sources out there for keto, but simply put, concentrate on clean proteins (preferably organic meats and wild-caught fish), non-starchy vegetables (everything but potatoes and corn) and lots of healthy fats (including real butter, eggs, avocado, olive oil and full-fat dairy).
At the same time, avoid ALL processed/fast foods, sweets, grains, starches (including bread, pasta, rice and quinoa) and soda.
Also, although fruit is a healthful and nutritious food, it also happens to be high in sugar, so fruits are best limited in keto. Berries are the best choice.
2- Try acupuncture
Acupuncture helps to balance and restore the energy levels in your body and supports its optimal functioning, so it can be extremely helpful with PCOS (as well as many other disorders).
3- Get enough Vitamin D
It has been estimated that up to 85 percent of women with PCOS have a degree of Vitamin D deficiency.
This makes sense when you consider that the functions and health benefits of Vitamin D include:
- Heart and cardiovascular health
- Lower blood pressure
- Brain and mental health
- Skin and hair health
- Reproductive health
- Proper carbohydrate and fat metabolism
Your doctor can do a blood test to see where you stand with Vitamin D, and to help make sure you have health-supporting levels of this nutritional superstar, Optimum DK Formula with FruiteX-B is your ticket!
Optimum DK Formula provides a therapeutic 5,000 IUs of Vitamin D3, plus its partners Vitamin K (which also supports heart health) and the mineral boron (a deficiency of boron is associated with sex hormone imbalances!).
4- Get enough rest
It’s essential to get between seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Sleep is crucial for cell regeneration, hormone production, stress control and weight management. In fact, lacking sleep can have the same negative effects on your health and hormone levels as a sedentary lifestyle and a poor diet.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try taking a warm bath before bed, sip chamomile tea, listen to relaxing music or try some of our Ocean lavender essential oil on your pillow.
At the same time, stay away from sugar, caffeine and alcohol in the evening, avoid watching violent or upsetting programs on TV, and make sure it’s good and dark in your room.
5- Engage in regular exercise
Regular exercise can help with PCOS symptoms in a variety of ways!
Exercising with PCOS can help improve fertility markers and insulin resistance, reduce inflammation and of course help with weight loss.
In addition, regular exercise helps improve your sleep too! Just avoid exercising within 2 hours of your bedtime.
6- Get enough Omega-3 fats
Omega-3 fats have been medically proven to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure—two of the common symptoms associated with PCOS.
They also support proper brain and mental health! As a matter of fact, a deficiency in Omega-3 essential fats is commonly seen in people with depression (another PCOS symptom).
In addition to incorporating more fatty fish (like salmon) into your diet, our VitalMega-3 fish oil formula can help ensure you maintain healthful levels of these crucial fats.
If you have known or suspected PCOS, be sure to get diagnosed and help support your body’s efforts toward maintaining healthy hormone levels!
I’m sure you’ll see a big difference in how you feel!
To your health,