What is the most common hormone abnormality in reproductive-aged women?
If you guessed Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, you’d be correct!
Believe it or not, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, also known as PCOS, affects upwards of 10% of all women who are of reproductive age. And if you yourself have been diagnosed with the condition, you know it’s no walk in the park.
Sadly, many women’s health issues aren’t talked about publicly. This often leaves women in the dark about what to do once diagnosed with this type of condition.
So, today, I thought it would be helpful to give an overview of what PCOS entails as well as offer a few solutions that may help women who suffer from PCOS naturally manage their symptoms.
As always, if you are suffering with PCOS or have concerns that you might be undiagnosed, please give your primary doctor a call. It’s important that you talk with a licensed professional and get the help you need to manage this type of hormonal imbalance.
And now, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at this unique women’s health issue…
What Is PCOS?
PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that is caused by the overproduction of androgen testosterone in women.
This hormonal imbalance creates problems in the ovaries when eggs are produced during a woman’s menstrual cycle.
These eggs often don’t develop properly, leading to painful ovarian cysts and fertility issues.
Common PCOS Symptoms
Because PCOS is caused by a hormonal imbalance, many women with this condition experience…
- Irregular menstrual cycles.
- Increased abdominal fat.
- Resistance to insulin.
- Fertility issues.
- Painful ovarian cysts.
More severe risk factors include the development of…
- Cardiovascular disease.
What Causes PCOS?
The exact cause of PCOS is still unknown. However, thanks to medical technology, doctors have been able to pinpoint two key factors that are likely contributors to developing this condition.
The first issue is a high level of androgens (male hormones).
Believe it or not, females naturally produce male hormones. In most women, these hormone levels are small and don’t really affect the body. However, some women tend to produce higher levels of the hormone, which in return affects menstruation.
Additionally, the release of too many male hormones can cause excess hair growth, acne, and fertility issues.
The second potential cause is a high level of insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that turns the food you eat into energy. When you have high levels of insulin, your body’s cells do not respond appropriately. For this reason, your insulin blood levels become abnormally high.
A large portion of women who are diagnosed with PCOS have abnormally high levels of insulin that often lead them to developing type 2 diabetes.
How You Can Naturally Manage Your PCOS Symptoms
While there is no official cure for PCOS, there are many natural things you can do to help rebalance your hormones, prevent fertility issues and cysts, and, in general, feel better and healthier.
Here are 3 things I often recommend to patients who are struggling with PCOS…
#1 – Consume Healthy Fats
Consuming healthy fats is important for naturally balancing your hormones.
In fact, your body can’t produce progesterone (an important hormone) without cholesterol.
Incorporating healthy fats such as…
- Coconut Oil
- Chia seeds
… into your diet is a good way to help your body get the fats it needs.
I also recommend you remove processed fats like lard, sour cream, or fatty meats from your diet.
#2 – Remove Refined Sugars from Your Diet
Eating too much sugar causes insulin resistance. And insulin resistance makes the symptoms of PCOS worse.
The only way to stop the vicious cycle is to remove refined sugars from your diet completely.
If you need to sweeten things up, try using honey, agave nectar, or sugar cane juice.
#3 – Incorporate Exercise into Your Daily Routine
When most people think of the benefits of exercising, they think of burning fat.
However, exercise also plays an important role in balancing the body’s hormones.
For example, daily exercise reduces levels of adrenaline and cortisol, and it stimulates the production of endorphins, which are happy chemicals.
This is very important for 2 reasons.
First, it’s believed that high cortisol levels contribute to hormonal dysregulation. Therefore, lowering your cortisol levels can help relieve the symptoms of a hormonal imbalance.
Second, many people with PCOS suffer from anxiety or depression due to hormonal imbalances. The release of endorphins can help naturally boost your mood and put you in a better mindset.
Just 30 minutes of exercise a day is enough. Try adding a walk into your daily routine or shooting hoops in your driveway.
While PCOS is a common issue for women, anyone (male or female) can be affected by various hormonal imbalances.
If you’re interested in learning more about stress and hormones, I encourage you to sign up for one of my Stress, Hormones, and Health talks either online or in person. These events are always 100% FREE and will help put you on the path to naturally taking back control of your health.
Check out our events calendar to see when my next talk is!