Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS for short is one of the most common hormonal dysfunctions, the most common cause of fertility challenges & is said to affect over 5 million American women. YES! FIVE MILLION… that number is staggering. So the chances that you or someone you know is struggling with PCOS & wants out is pretty high.
PCOS goes hand-in-hand with insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, hormonal imbalances & chronic inflammation & comes with a multitude of symptoms like:
Hirsutism (hair growth in unwanted places like the face)
Immune System Issues
GI Upset & Dysfunction
Depression & Anxiety
So what can you do about it if you have found yourself affected by PCOS? Keep reading for my top 3 ways to ditch those symptoms & get yourself right…
# 1: Balance Your Blood Sugar
This is the most important thing you can do for your overall health but especially for your hormonal health. If you find yourself “hangry” between meals, feel yourself crashing after meals or even just crave sweet & carby foods.. you could benefit from some blood sugar support.
Excess insulin (which is released to deal with an influx of carbohydrates and sugars) also signals to your body to make excess testosterone. Add on top of this that sugar is highly inflammatory in the body & can jam up cell signaling & we have ourselves a crummy situation.
Pro-Tip: Eat within one hour of waking & always pair a quality protein and a healthy fat source with your carbohydrates. This will slow the absorption of sugar into the blood stream and give you a more balanced energy feeling throughout the day.
#2 Improve Your Nutrient Stores
While there is not one set of vitamin and mineral deficiencies that all PCOS women have, there are at least commonalities. (The best way to know your personal status is to run blood work!) It is said that 75% of those with PCOS have a deficiency in Vitamin D, a vitamin that also acts as a hormone in the body. Studies have shown significant pain reduction during the menstrual cycle in women after their Vitamin D levels were restored.
Doctor prescribe metformin for your PCOS? Metformin can deplete B12 stores, something you might not have had extra to spare if you're also one of the many PCOS women with a MTHFR genetic mutation. This is a double-whammy, ick. I recommend the use of inositol instead, as it does not deplete B12 & the use of methylated B vitamins for any women who shows elevated homocysteine levels on her blood work. (*always talk with your doctor about your prescriptions before stopping or starting anything new. This is not medical advice)
Other general supports to help restore nutrient stores & balance inflammatory responses would include magnesium (depletes quickly with high crabs/sugar intake & stress), omega-3 oils & a good probiotic. A probiotic itself might not be a nutrient, but it helps support a good gut environment & a good colony of organisms in our gut is what helps us pull nutrients from our food!
Pro-Tip: Get pharmaceutical grade supplements from a knowledgeable practitioner & get a protocol tailored to your needs. No one needs another random supplement in their cabinet for the hell of it.
#3 Support Hormone Balance
There are a number of hormones that can become imbalanced either because of PCOS or due to other factors that then lead to PCOS themselves. The key is finding the right way to balance them all & live in hormone harmony. The main hormones to focus on include:
Androgens: there are the “male” hormones that occur in women at smaller amounts. When these are in excess it women, it is one of the indicators of PCOS. Balancing blood sugar is never a bad place to start for out of balance androgens. Some herbs work great in this siutation but I do not recommend choosing supplements blindly here, as you can swing your hormones too far in the opposite direction.
Cortisol: When we are constantly stressed our body releases excess cortisol leading to an excess in insulin (and then testosterone) & eventually can send a message to your brain to shut down reproductive functions until the stressful event ends (which in today's world full of stressful events and not enough relaxation time, when will that be?) Statistics show that at least ¼th of all women with PCOS have some form of dysregulation with their cortisol rhythm.
Progesterone: Most women with PCOS find that they have less than optimal progesterone, even if they are ovulating each month. This can lead to painful & heavy periods and trouble conceiving and/or multiple miscarriages. Supporting your body with tons of colorful veggies in the form of red, yellow & orange varieties & delicious pasture-raised eggs is a simple way to boost progesterone production. (Note: if your doctor prescribes progesterone supplementation, ask for a bio-identical as supplements like Provera are synthetic and can come with a host of side effects & react differently in the body.)
Estrogen: Due to dysfunctional digestion & lower than optimal progesterone in those with PCOS, estrogen can end up in excess. I recommend supporting the body with lots of estrogen detoxification foods like Brussels, Kale & Broccoli. A DUTCH hormone panel can shed light on how your detoxification pathways of estrogen are working & what needs support.
Thyroid Hormones: Your thyroid is intimately linked with your reproductive health & hormone regulation. Many women who find themselves with PCOS also discover they are dealing with a hypothyroid condition especially Hashimoto's. The easiest way to support your thyroid outside of a healthful diet is to ditch the use of fluoride toothpaste for a natural “no fluoride” version! Halogens like fluoride compete for thyroid receptor sites & lead to a deficiency of thyroid hormones.
Ready to make the switch to a lifestyle that supports hormone harmony & says goodbye to imbalanced hormones & everything that comes with it? You've got options!
A 21-day Purification Program can be a great jump start into a new healthful way of living that not only teaches you how & what to eat but also supports your body's natural ability to detoxify excess hormones & balance blood sugar! Check it out here. We begin at the start of the year, so for anyone that loves a good New Years Challenge this is for you!
If you feel that you already have a great diet but still find yourself stuck on where to go next, my Fertility Fast Track might be a perfect fit. Even if you are not currently trying to conceive, getting a personalized plan to balance hormones & restore depleted nutrients could not be easier with The Fertility Fast Track. Two comprehensives tests + a personalized plan made for you backed by my guidance and support for maximum success! You can find more information about the program here & register to get started today!