Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition of both sex hormones and hormones that affect the metabolism. PCOS is estimated to affect 1 in 10 women (some studies believe it may be even more than that!). This condition can leave women struggling with their health and confidence as it is associated with irregular periods but also acne, hair growth, hair loss and in some women, their weight. PCOS is also said to be the number one cause of anovulatory infertility.
There is no one cause of PCOS. We know genetics are at play but diet, gut health and toxic exposures are also elements. Just because PCOS or diabetes runs in your family that does not mean you have to struggle with the symptoms or stay on birth control forever. Speaking of which, birth control is not a TREATMENT for PCOS, it merely masks the symptoms temporarily. There are many treatment options though and some of the most well researched treatments for PCOS are natural.
Do you wonder if you have PCOS but your doctor’s aren’t too sure?
This can be really common! Not all PCOS has the classic hair growth and metabolic syndrome. Lean type PCOS and Adrenal PCOS are two subtypes that need special treatment. Our in-depth evaluation process and specialized lab testing can help you to get answers.
Did you know…?
PCOS is commonly misdiagnosed! In fact, I was misdiagnosed years ago when I had absent periods. There are many factors that can contribute to ovarian cysts, these include going off of the birth control pill, thyroid diseases and stress and low body weight. Getting a proper diagnosis is the first step of any good plan!
The Advanced Women’s Health
At AWH we realize that you are unique and therefore you need a plan that is customized to your individual needs. We also realize that the advice to ‘just lose weight’ is far from helpful! Insulin resistance and inflammation can affect your ability to improve and therefore we assess and customize your nutrition and supplement plan to those factors in our three phase plan.
Phase 1 – Understand and Customize
Insulin resistance and high androgens are at the root of PCOS. Research has made it clear that addressing these factors is what helps to restore fertility, reduce acne and hair loss and support weight regulation.
In the first appointment you can expect that your Naturopathic Doctor will take time to hear your unique symptoms. We will also help you to understand what is happening in your body so that you can understand what we will do to fix it. We don’t just tackle your PCOS symptoms though, we are always looking for thyroid hormone issues, digestive issues, underlying infections, stress hormone imbalances, liver dysfunction and much much more!
At the end of this appointment you can expect to leave with:
- Basic diet and lifestyle recommendations
- Personalized herbal and nutrient recommendations
- Where appropriate, in house testing for your adrenal health, gut health, and/or body impedance analysis
- Lab test recommendations may include insulin and glucose testing, FSH, LH, androgens, female sex hormones such as Estradiol and progesterone, a full thyroid assessment, inflammation investigations and liver and cholesterol testing. We use both functional tests and standard blood tests to come to understand your health better.
After we receive the results of your testing your ND will explain all of the findings. No blanket normal statements here, we want to ensure you understand what it all means. From that point we will customize a meal system and supplements to your specific needs.
Phase 2- Tweak and Monitor
After supporting insulin sensitivity and using herbal medicines to help with adrenal and hormone balance it is time to tackle residual symptoms. It is very common for women with PCOS to experience a variety of health concerns, these include:
- Thyroid hormone imbalances and Hashimotos
- Gut problems such as bloating, constipation, loose stools, pain
- Liver and gallbladder concerns including fatty liver, gallbladder pain
- Rashes and skin issues
- Yeast infections
Some or all of these concerns may have been taken care of by this phase but any remaining issues are tackled head on!
Three months after embarking on your plan we will also be retesting insulin, inflammation markers and any other important tests. This allows us to make sure that you are improving as expected and making your way into Phase 3.
Phase 3- Flourish and Maintain
Unfortunately, there is no cure for PCOS. This means that maintaining your diet and lifestyle will be important to ensuring that you remain as symptom free as possible. But life happens, right? We all fall off and experience set backs so this phase helps to keep you on track, judgement free! For some this is a semi annual check up or kick start community program, and for others they move right into our Healthy Mom, Happy Baby program. No matter what this looks like for you we are here 100% of the way!