PCOS – What it is and what can I do to help my hormones?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is an imbalance of the hormonal system identified by multiple cysts developing on the surface of the ovaries. PCOS is more prominent in women of reproductive age, with many women unaware that they suffer from the illness as it often goes undiagnosed until fertility problems arise. The symptoms of PCOS can vary from woman to woman, but the most common include:
- Excess facial hair
- Weight gain (especially around tummy)
- Irregular/no periods
- Mood swings
- Male-pattern baldness
- Insulin resistance (where the body produces insulin but does not use it adequately)
The causes of PCOS are unknown, but there are links to high testosterone levels, insulin resistance and genetic factors.
Health Tips for dealing with PCOS:
- Reduce sugar: Eating a diet high in refined sugar causes insulin to be released more regularly by the body. This can stimulate the ovaries to produce excess testosterone which contributes to PCOS symptoms such as acne, facial hair and weight gain
- Increase omega 3 fats: Omega 3s are important for PCOS as they can stop the cell walls from hardening. If they harden, the insulin receptors can become unresponsive which can lead to insulin resistance- common in PCOS sufferers. Try an omega supplement!
- Exercise: Exercise is vital for overall health and it is especially important for PCOS sufferers. It plays a part in improving insulin resistance, it can help reduce weight gain associated with PCOS and it is important in excreting excess hormones
This advice was kindly submitted by Emma O’Connor. She graduated in Nutritional Therapy from the College of Naturopathic Medicine. CNM trains students for careers in a range of natural therapies, including Naturopathic Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture and Naturopathy. There are CNM colleges across Ireland, the UK, and in the US. www.naturopathy.ie