Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder. It is characterized by irregular menses, hyperandrogenism, and polycystic ovaries. PCOS affects around 6%-25% of child bearing age. The prevalence is based on the diagnostic criteria that were used. PCOS causes excessive ovarian and or adrenal androgen secretion. Insulin resistance affects 50%–70% of women with PCOS and increases their risk of having metabolic syndrome threefold.
Risk factors for PCOS in adults includes genetics, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Due to the long-term complications of PCOS our treatment protocols are comprehensive. We can help to reduce complication listed below.
- Infertility and obstetrical complications,
- type 2 diabetes mellitus,
- cardiovascular disease,
- mood and eating disorders, and
- endometrial hyperplasia and cancer.
Women with PCOS who are also obese have a prolonged time to conceive, increase risk for miscarriage, and higher rates of preeclampsia and preterm labor.
Common symptoms and side effects of PCOS are listed below. They can begin shortly after menses and remain throughout adulthood.
- Hirsutism, increased growth of facial or body hair usually dark and; usually on the upper lip, chin, sideburn area, chest, stomach face, chest, abdomen, back, upper arms, or upper legs.
- Acne from too much testosterone released from the ovaries.
- Weight gain or obesity, usually with extra weight around the waist.
- Male-pattern baldness or thinning of hair.
- Acanthosis nigricans due to high levels of insulin evident as patches of darkened skin on the back of the neck, under the arms, and in the groin area. Patches of skin on the neck, arms, breasts, or thighs that are thick and dark brown or black
- Skin tags in the armpits or neck area.
Women with PCOS need care that is based on medical protocols to prevent complications from incorrect self-care ‘treatments’. These do-it-yourself home remedies often result in post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from constant plucking or shaving; as well as scarring, and acne.
So where to begin? There are numerous studies and guidelines that support weight loss and lifestyle changes as a first- line therapeutic approach. For example:
- “Benefit of Delayed Fertility Therapy with Preconception Weight Loss over Immediate Therapy in Obese Women with PCOS” recommends that obese women with PCOS delay infertility therapy and pursue lifestyle modification first. (Source: The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 101, Issue 7, and July 2016)
- The 2018 International Evidence Based Guideline for the Assessment and Management of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome recommends following a healthy lifestyle to “reduce body weight, abdominal fat, reduce testosterone, improve insulin resistance, and decrease hirsutism in women with PCOS.”
Our protocols address weight loss; which is often enough to regulate the menstrual cycle, improve cholesterol and insulin levels and relieve symptoms such as excess hair growth and acne. We discuss treatment therapies that might include:
- insulin sensitizing drugs such as Metformin
- hormones therapy or testosterone lowering drugs
- weight loss medication
- antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication
- Supplementation with high grade fish oil and probiotics to improve the gut microbe
- IV nutrition Therapy
- Interventions for optimal sleep and improved physical activity
- Professional hair removal procedures and medical grade facial products
At QHC Wellness Institute, we engage women and their partners in discussion. We accurately explain where they fit in the spectrum of PCOS and metabolic risk. Conversation opens the door to other sensitive issues; such as mood, eating disorders, and body image.