What is PCOS?
The naked truth with PCOS exposed. PCOS is a common endocrine disorder. It is estimated to affect 1 in 10 women. 50% of women are undiagnosed. It is the number one cause of infertility in women, worldwide. Women with PCOS can suffer from menstrual cycles that are very long and or cycles that are irregular or completely absent.
It may cause elevated levels of male hormones (androgens). These androgens are responsible for some unfavorable side effects that we’ll talk about a little later on.
Upon ultrasound confirmation, women can develop small cysts on their ovaries. Women can also have trouble releasing their matured eggs from the ovaries. This results in polycystic ovaries.
Although the name suggests that Polycystic ovaries are necessary for a diagnosis. This is actually false. The hallmark symptom for PCOS is increased androgens. Polycystic ovaries are one of the criteria that a woman needs to be considered for PCOS, however, it is not the end all be all of a PCOS diagnosis.
What Causes PCOS?
There is no particular cause linked at this time. Research indicates that it stems from a high level of male hormones in a woman, that prevents the woman from producing hormones naturally. It also disrupts a woman’s ability to normally create eggs for having a baby..
If a woman’s ability to create eggs normally is affected she will have trouble trying to have a baby.
Different Kinds of PCOS?
There are different types of PCOS. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the cookie-cutter mindset. Even if you do not meet the criteria of one of the types of PCOS 100% below, it doesn’t mean you don’t have PCOS. Only a physician can diagnose you with PCOS upon further testing.
Below are the four types of PCOS;
1. Insulin-resistant PCOS
Insulin resistant PCOS is one of the most common forms. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. Its job is to help our bodies absorb sugar (glucose) from our blood. When your body is working normally, insulin helps to make sure your body doesn’t get too much or too little sugar.
High levels of insulin in the blood prevent ovulation and trigger the ovaries to create testosterone.
2. Hidden Cause PCOS
Hidden Cause PCOS results from another process in your body that is causing you to have PCOS. Causes of Hidden Cause PCOS may include thyroid disease, Vitamin deficiencies (such as zinc and Vit. D), and increased levels of prolactin. Once the initial issue is resolved, PCOS should be alleviated within 3-6 months.
3. Post Pill PCOS
Post pill PCOS occurs after a woman stops taking hormonal birth control. She may meet the criteria for PCOS. Some women may experience a delay in the start of their menstrual cycle once they stop taking the pill. For other women, their bodies may not be able to restart their menstrual cycle without help.
A woman may have trouble ovulating after stopping birth control. This may be caused by an increase in prolactin levels. Prolactin levels increase in response to luteinizing hormone (LH).
4. Inflammatory PCOS
Inflammatory PCOS occurs as a result of chronic inflammation in the body. The inflammation can be caused by many things. The inflammation stops a woman’s ability to ovulate and disrupts hormone receptors. By blocking the hormone receptions, the body may stimulate the production of DHEA.
High DHEA levels can be indicative of PCOS, adrenal cancer, or tumor. Which may result in making the adrenal gland hyperactive.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
The symptoms of PCOS include:
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Excessive hair growth
- Weight Gain
- Male pattern hair loss/thinning
- Acanthosis nigricans- A condition that causes darkening of the folds of the neck.
How is PCOS Diagnosed?
There are three ways to diagnose.
PCOS causes increased androgen levels in the blood. Elevated levels of androgens in the blood are the hallmark indicator for diagnosis.
Your physician may order an ultrasound as one of your diagnostic tests. If your ultrasound does not reveal a cyst, it doesn’t automatically exempt you from a diagnosis. Some women may have this condition and not have any cysts present.
Women with PCOS suffer from infrequent periods. If you have consistently missed periods or prolonged cycles. Discuss with your doctor your risk of having PCOS.
Does PCOS cause infertility?
Having PCOS does not mean you cannot get pregnant. It only means you may have some additional trouble getting there It is one of the most COMMON but TREATABLE causes of infertility.
Due to issues with woman releasing her mature eggs and hormonal imbalances. Women with PCOS may have additional challenges in getting pregnant.
Health Risks Associated with PCOS?
PCOS can put a woman at risk for many health problems including but not limited to;
Women are able to produce insulin. The problem is that their body is unable to effectively utilize the insulin. This puts a woman at an increased risk of developing type two diabetes.
According to Medical News Today, half of all women diagnosed will develop type two diabetes by the time they turn 40 years old.
High Blood Pressure
According to a study conducted by the Dallas Heart Study on women with PCOS. Women with PCOS have a significant increase in the prevalence of high blood pressure.
There is no clear indication as to why women experience high cholesterol as a result of having PCOS.
It can increase the likelihood a woman will suffer from mood disorders, anxiety, and depression.
PCOS can lead to increased estrogen levels as a result of hormonal imbalance. Increased estrogen levels can put a woman at increased risk for endometrial cancer.
According to the U.S. Library of Medicine, insulin resistance affects 65–70% of women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
Is there any cure for PCOS?
There is no cure at this time. However, symptoms can be managed by medications, and lifestyle changes.
For best results, I recommend working with a life coach to ensure consistent and on track goals that convert.
To learn more about how you can book me as your life coach, CLICK HERE.
Tracking your PCOS symptoms
Tracking your menstrual cycle and your symptoms are an important factor in seeking treatment.
Have you ever heard the saying “ You cannot manage what you don’t measure”
One of the best things you can do to advocate for yourself as a woman who believes she may have this condition is to keep track of your important symptoms.
Below I have added not only examples of things you should be tracking but each of the links will prompt you to go to sign up for the FREEBIE library, where you can download these trackers for FREE:
Mood imbalances create a screwed view on the world. Feeling down or having a negative outlook can affect decisions made and life experiences. Constant negative thinking or mood can lead to a decline in function. This may eventually lead to clinical depression. Tracking your mood in a tracker can provide both insights, and be used as a tool when advocating for yourself with your physician.
Prefer Paperless Tracking?
Here is a list of 13 FREE apps by Refinery 29 to help you track and manage your anxiety. Click over to their site to read more about each individual app.
- Daylio: Free
- RealifeChange: Free
- Therapy Buddy: Free
- Smiling Mind: Free
- HelloMind: Free
- Anxiety Reliever: Stress and Anxiety Relief: Free
- MindShift: Free
- Moods: Free
- MoodTrack Diary: Free
- T2 Mood Tracker: Free
- Self-Help for Anxiety Management: Free
- Stigma: Free
- What’s Up?: Free
What are the treatment options for managing PCOS?
Treatment options for managing this condition vary. It depends on your current symptoms and what you would like to treat. It affects various women differently. Based on a woman’s individual symptoms she may seek treatment for the specific symptoms affecting her.
Here are some of the options for managing:
Lifestyle changes can help manage a woman’s symptoms. weight loss as a minimum as 5% of total body fat loss can have dramatic effects on a woman’s ovary function.
Life Coaching helps women understand what the obstacles are preventing them from achieving their weight loss goals. There may be mental, and physical obstacles preventing you from losing the weight you need to alleviate some of your symptoms.
Hiring a Life coach allows you to create a plan along with an accountability partner. Like to learn more about how you could book me as your accountability partner? Click here
Birth Control is usually the first medication physicians use to treat. Metformin, an anti-diabetic medication is also commonly prescribed. Metformin works to help the body respond better to the insulin that our bodies naturally create. Women with PCOS commonly suffer from low insulin sensitivity or insulin resistance.
Insulin sensitivity is the way your body responds to the insulin that is produced. If our bodies respond quickly and appropriately then our bodies have high insulin sensitivity. If our bodies respond sluggish or not at all to insulin levels in the blood, we are considered insulin resistant. Metformin works to help our bodies respond properly to insulin.
Birth control works to help regulate a woman’s hormonal imbalances. Birth Control works to increase a woman’s estrogen levels, and decrease a woman’s testosterone levels.
Hope this helps,