Conquer Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
While the most common hormone abnormality in upwards of 10 percent of reproductive-aged women is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), anyone male or female can be affected by hormonal imbalances. Those suffering with PCOS or have concerns that they might be undiagnosed should call their primary doctor because it is important to talk with a licensed professional and get the help needed to manage this type of hormonal imbalance.
PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that is caused by the overproduction of androgen testosterone in women. This 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 include irregular menstrual cycles, increased abdominal fat, resistance to insulin, fertility issues and painful ovarian cysts. More severe risk factors include the development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The exact cause of PCOS is still unknown, but 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). Females naturally produce male hormones, and 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, a hormone that turns food into energy. When we have high levels of insulin, the body’s cells do not respond appropriately. For this reason, insulin blood levels become abnormally high. A large portion of women diagnosed with PCOS have abnormally high levels of insulin that often lead them to develop Type 2 diabetes.
We can do things to help rebalance the hormones, prevent fertility issues and cysts and feel better and healthier in general.
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, avocado, nuts, chia seeds and eggsinto our diet is a good way to help the body get the fats it needs. Also remove processed fats like lard, sour cream or fatty meats.
Remove Refined Sugars from the Diet
Eating too much sugar causes insulin resistance and makes the symptoms of PCOS worse. The only way to stop this vicious cycle is to remove refined sugars from the diet completely. If a sweetener is needed, try using honey, agave nectar or sugar cane juice.
Incorporate Exercise into a 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 stimulates the production of endorphins, the “happy chemicals”.
This is important for two reasons. First, it is believed that high cortisol levels contribute to hormonal dysregulation. Therefore, lowering cortisol levels can help relieve symptoms of a hormonal imbalance. Second, many people with PCOS may suffer from anxiety or depression due to hormonal imbalances. The release of endorphins can help naturally boost mood and put us in a better mindset. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day is enough. Try adding a walk into our daily routine or shooting hoops in the driveway.
Dr. Michael Smith is a naturopathic physician and owner of Carolinas Natural Health Center, located at 6404 Bannington Rd., Ste. A, in Charlotte. For appointments and more information, including on free Stress, Hormones, and Inflammation webinar, visit www.CarolinasNaturalHealth.com, call 704-459-8633 or email [email protected].
Michael T. Smith, Naturopath. Providing whole family healthcare. Specializing in classical homeopathy and clinical nutrition. Treating people with conditions ranging from diabetes to ADHD... Read More »