WHAT IS POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME? - MARCH 2017 - VOLUME 8, ISSUE 12

 

Ramilas Health Tips

Ramila's Healing Arts Clinic

 

The topic this month is polycystic ovary syndrome or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). It is the most common cause of infertility and affects many premenopausal women. However, it can be successfully managed with lifestyle changes and certain supplements.

 
These newsletters will help you make better choices for better health. The choices that you make today can either have a positive or negative impact on your overall health. Begin by choosing better. It is a step toward longevity.

clinic

Volume 8, Issue 12

Ramila Padiachy

Doctorate of Natural Medicine (DNM)®

Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic

1437 Woodroffe Avenue
Ottawa ON (map)

613.829.0427
info@ramilas.com

 

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What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?

PCOS is a common endocrine system disorder, involving a hormonal imbalance, among women of childbearing age. In the U.S. it is estimated 5-10% of women in this age group are affected. However, it is also estimated that less than half are properly diagnosed. Canada is probably not much different in this respect. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, although it tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic component.

 

mother and daughterNormally the ovaries produce a small amount of male sex hormones - androgens - but with PCOS, they produce too many androgens in relation to female hormones, causing an imbalance.

 

Symptoms include:

  • Irregular periods. This is the most common indication. Menstrual cycles may be longer than 35 days, with fewer than 8 cycles per year; or they may be more frequent than usual, e.g. 21 days or less; there may be either heavy or scant bleeding. Some women stop having periods.
  • Trouble conceiving or infertility
  • Weight gain and difficulty losing weight
  • Insulin resistance, which may be more a cause of PCOS than an effect, since elevated insulin levels act to raise androgen levels. Hyperinsulinemia (elevated insulin levels) is seen in 50 to 70% of cases of PCOS. While it is more common in women who are obese, it can also occur in women who are a normal weight.
  • Acne on the face, chest and upper back
  • Hirsutism (excessive hair growth, including places women don't usually grow hair, e.g. face, abdomen, back).
  • Male pattern baldness, thinning hair
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in mood
  • Low sex drive

Not all symptoms are necessarily present, and the severity may vary over time and from one woman to another. Most women with PCOS develop symptoms from adolescence to their 30s.

 

The term 'polycystic' means that a woman's ovaries have multiple small cysts. However, some women who have multiple small ovarian cysts have no symptoms of PCOS, and some women who are diagnosed with PCOS don't show any evidence of ovarian cysts on ultrasound.

 

Complications: Treating PCOS promptly can prevent a number of serious health risks (especially important if obesity is a factor). These include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cholesterol and lipid abnormalities, such as elevated triglycerides or low high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the 'good' cholesterol
  • Metabolic syndrome, a cluster of signs and symptoms that indicate an increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Gestational diabetes or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
  • Endometrial cancer (cancer of the uterus)

 

Natural solutions for PCOS symptoms

A healthy diet and regular exercise are very important ways to control PCOS symptoms. Both are obviously also related to the issue of obesity which occurs in many women with PCOS.

 

1. Eat a nutrient-dense diet.

 

vegetablesFocus on nourishment as the goal. Include foods that are anti-inflammatory, such as:

  • vegetables
  • fruits
  • grass-fed/pasture-raised meat
  • wild fish (e.g. salmon)
  • nuts and seeds (chia, flax hemp, almonds, walnuts)
  • unrefined oils/fats (coconut oil, olive oil and avocado)

Avoid:

  • too much alcohol or caffeine
  • most sources of sugar and sweeteners, plus refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, pasta not made from whole grains
  • packaged and processed foods (almost always full of artificial ingredients, preservatives, sugars, sodium
  • hydrogenated and refined vegetable oils (soybean, canola, safflower, sunflower and corn) which are highly inflammatory
  • common sensitivities, such as dairy products and gluten

 

2. Get appropriate, regular exercise.

 

Exercise helps lower blood sugar levels. Moderate exercise is best. Walking is one great way to exercise - it can be done every day (either outdoors or inside), and all you need is a good pair of walking shoes. Yoga is an excellent choice. Another option is high intensity interval training - intense exercise for short periods of time. Focus on getting enough activity to help with insulin sensitivity and burning excess fat.

 

3. Reduce stress (physical and psychological).

 

Stress can have a major impact on the endocrine system and hormone production. There are many ways to combat stress, and different choices work for different people.

  • Meditation is really effective, and it doesn't mean hours of trying to emulate a Tibetan monk! There are many prerecorded meditations and smartphone apps available to suit different tastes.
  • Yoga (see section 2)
  • Journalling
  • Taking time for yourself, pampering yourself
  • Chatting with a friend you trust
  • Spending time in nature (perhaps when the weather is a little warmer)

 

4. Get enough sleep.

 

Sleep deprivation can have the same adverse hormonal health effects as a poor diet and too little physical activity. Unfortunately, research shows that sleep disturbances are twice as common in women with PCOS as those without sleep. I recommend that you do your best to get between 7 and 9 hours of good quality sleep per night.


Some tips to improve your sleep:

  • No TV in the bedroom
  • Don't use your computer, tablet or smartphone within 2 hours of going to bed
  • Be sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and cool
  • Don't exercise late in the evening
  • Eat at least 2 hours before bedtime
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine in the evening

 

Experiment with these tips to see what works best for you. If you suspect you might have PCOS, please book an appointment with me. I have extensive experience in successfully treating PCOS.

 

Supplements

Super Omega 3There are some Nature's Sunshine supplements relevant to this newsletter. You can find information about these products and purchase them in our online store:

 

  • Berberine
  • GTF Chromium
  • Flax Seed Oil
  • Psyllium Hulls Combination
  • Super Omega-3
  • Wild Yam & Chaste Tree

 

References:

  1. Axe J. No. 1 cause of infertility? Polycystic ovarian syndrome. draxe.com/polycystic-ovarian-syndrome/ Accessed March 7, 2017.
  2. Mayo Clinic Staff. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pcos/basics/definition/con-20028841 Accessed March 7, 2017.
  3. Polycystic ovary syndrome. womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/polycystic-ovary-syndrome.html Accessed March 7, 2017.
  4. Wahlgren K. 7 things you need to know about polycystic ovary syndrome. prevention.com/health/7-things-you-need-to-know-about-polycystic-ovary-syndrome Accessed March 7, 2017.
  5. Dunaif A. Insulin resistance and the polycystic ovary syndrome: Mechanism and implications for pathogenisis. Endocrine Reviews 1997;18(6):774-800.

Disclaimer: The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.

Ramila created a nutritional plan for me. She also taught me how to balance out my nutritional needs, and what kinds of food eat and to avoid. I started seeing major differences in my body and overall health in just 3 weeks. I had more energy, my headaches were fewer to none and my feet and joints didn’t hurt as much. I stuck to the heath plan and went from a size 15 to now a size 9. I have lost 40 lbs.

- RG

When health begins, dis-ease ends.