Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, known as PCOS for short, is a condition affecting women of the reproductive age. It is the most common hormonal disorder for this age group and affects around 15% of woman worldwide. It is classified as the appearance of cysts (which are actually not cysts but follicles) on the ovaries which lead to a range of additional symptoms.
The development of the syndrome can be clearer to understand in comparison to a normal menstrual cycle in which several follicles develop on the surfaces of the ovaries each month. In one of those follicles, a single egg will mature more quickly than the others and is released into the fallopian tube. The remaining follicles then disintegrate away naturally. With PCOS, the undeveloped follicles tend to accumulate on the surface of the ovaries causing the appearance of cysts.
PCOS is caused by an imbalance in the hormones (chemical messengers) in your brain and your ovaries.
LH and FSH are the hormones that encourage ovulation, and these are two hormones which are typically imbalanced in PCOS. The hormone LH is usually too high which can contribute to high levels of androgens. Additionally, the hormone FSH is usually low which contributes towards poor egg development and absence of ovulation.
Insulin resistance in PCOS is common and means that the cells have difficulty converting glucose to energy, to balance this, the pancreas produces more insulin than normal which stimulates abnormally high androgen secretion from the ovaries.
Not every woman will get the same symptoms however there are some symptoms that PCOS can be characterized by including:
– Irregular periods: caused by absent ovulation from imbalanced LH.
– Absent periods: caused by absent ovulation
– Weight gain: caused by insulin resistance
– Acne: due to excess androgens
– Hirsutism (facial/body hair growth): due to excess androgens
Several studies have shown that people with PCOS are more likely to have elevated levels of the inflammation marker CRP compared to those without with suggests that inflammation is a potential driver of PCOS. To reduce this inflammation, focus on an anti-inflammatory diet: choose an abundance of fruits & vegetables, anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric and ginger, oily fish such as salmon or mackerel and a variety of whole grains, nuts, seeds & legumes. Specific supplements such as omega 3, Vitamin D and an antioxidant can also be supportive for inflammation but should be recommended on a perosnlaised basis based on your own medical evaluation.
To support the clearance of excess hormones such as LH and androgens including testosterone it is important to support your liver. Cruciferous vegetables are great for this which include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower & Brussel sprouts. Herbs such as garlic, rosemary & basil are another great addition for natural liver detoxification. Again, there are specific supplements that support with the clearance but please speak to health professional about this to safely look into this for you.
To promote weight loss and decrease insulin resistance focus on a well-balanced lower GI diet with protein, essential fats and again an abundance of fruits & vegetables! Reducing saturated fats and refined sugars too. Supplements can be added where needed to support with blood sugar balance too.
My rebalance programmes work to rebalance the hormones and also the gut health (if needed) following a bespoke personalised nutrition plan with dietary, supplements and lifestyle recommendations tailored completely to your health profile and goals.
Here is how it works:
The first step is during our first consultation together in which we go through a detailed health evaluation to understand your previous medical history and your current symptoms. This helps us to understand which body systems are under stress and need support and what the potential drivers are.
Following on from our first consultation, along with the plan I will also request if needed up to date medical analysis through blood tests. This is usually done through the GP. We can then see what particular hormones are driving your PCOS and make our protocols even more specific to you.
Each month you will receive a personalized protocol completely unique for you. This will include dietary, supplement and lifestyle recommendations to rebalance your body and get you back to feeling like you again!
My programmes are either 3 or 6 months long and throughout each month we have continuous communication and support. Each month the plans are updated in line with goals and progress.
Following on from the programmes and plans and along with the lifelong education you have picked up from working together, you will have all the tools to be the healthiest and happiest version of you again!