Thanks to Naturally Knocked Up for the basic info… its more simplified on that blog than on a medical site.
What is it?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) also known as Stein-Leventhal syndrome or Syndrome O, is a metabolic disorder that causes hormonal imbalances as well as a vast array of other symptoms. Including:
• Irregular or absent periods (normally the main symptom)
• Ovarian cysts
• Insulin resistance
• Hair loss or even excess facial hair
• Weight gain
• High blood pressure and/or high cholesterol
• Mood swings
Not all woman experience these symptoms in the same way. Some may have only one or two, while others feel each and every one of them. Sometimes getting a diagnosis is difficult, as test results don’t always seem accurate. Some women also don’t show the classic ‘cysts’ on their ovaries (the cysts are actually empty follicles) and others even have a period every month, although they don’t actually ovulate (anovular cycle).
And a staggering 10% of women actually suffer from this disorder, as it’s the most common cause of infertility.
What causes it?
It’s unknown as to why some women may suffer from this disorder while others don’t, but your genes are thought to be a large factor. Researchers have also found that insulin production is also a large part of it. What you may not know, is that insulin is actually a hormone. And when one hormone is off balance, they all are. It’s a domino effect.
An excess of insulin also seems to increase the production of another hormone, androgen. Androgen is actually a male hormone (that all women produce, but it’s supposed to be to a much smaller extent) that is made in fat cells, ovaries, and in your adrenal gland. When your body has to much androgen, it can cause ovulation problems as well as excess hair growth and weight gain.
Risks associated with PCOS
Women with PCOS have higher instances of:
• endometrial cancers
• heart disease and heart attacks
• type II diabetes
What can you do about it?
PCOS can actually be greatly helped by better nutrition and change of lifestyle. While not easy, it can be done successfully. Most women find that being at a healthy weight relieves a lot of their symptoms.
My PCOS was diagnosed when I was 14, as I had never once had a regular cycle. I would mostly have very confused cycles. I went onto the birthcontrol pill, but this made me pick up weight, and I realised a few months ago, that it makes me PSYCHO! I have thus tried to be healthier and try handle PCOS naturally. Before my wedding I went to the doctor with my weight and I was diagnosed with insulin resistance due to my PCOS. I went to a dietician and began to follow the Low GI diet… which helps immensely, but now I have to try to get back into it, as I lost track of it somewhere…
A few things that I am trying to do now, which will help are:
• Eating little to no processed foods
• Giving up a low-fat diet and eating only good, natural foods
• Cutting sugar out of my diet and using only natural sweeteners (i.e. honey)
• Lowering my carbohydrate intake, not cutting carbs completely, but cutting back
PCOS isn’t a devastating diagnosis. It’s a livable and manageable condition. It just makes you have to try harder to be healthy. I will hopefully be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle and find my healthy weight, and then Lord willing we will be blessed with children… the absence of which was my biggest fear – but I rely on the Lord for these gifts.