PCOS Natural Treatment: Managing the 4 Different Types
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, touches the lives of approximately 20% of Australian women.
Now, here's the plot twist: Despite its name, PCOS isn't about the presence of cysts on the ovaries. Instead, it's a metabolic puzzle, where the key players are high androgens (those assertive male hormones like testosterone) and elevated blood sugar or insulin resistance. It's a condition that can be perplexing and, sadly, often misdiagnosed. Here's a crucial distinction: Having polycystic ovaries doesn't necessarily mean you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
PCOS can present differently in different women, making it a complex disorder that requires individualised natural treatments. However, the good news is PCOS is able to be managed naturally.
In holistic medicine, we know there are 4 different types of PCOS:
Insulin Resistance-Related PCOS:
The Insulin Connection: This is the most common form, accounting for approximately 70% of PCOS cases. Insulin resistance is at the heart of it. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps regulate blood sugar levels. However, when there's resistance, the body produces more insulin to compensate, leading to higher than normal levels in the bloodstream.
Impact on Ovaries: High insulin levels trigger the ovaries to produce excess androgens (male hormones), leading to many characteristic PCOS symptoms, such as hirsutism (excess hair growth) and acne. Insulin resistance can also impair regular ovulation, resulting in irregular or absent menstrual cycles.
The Role of Hormonal Birth Control: In this type of PCOS, the use of hormonal birth control, such as the pill, temporarily suppresses ovulation. What's unique is that after discontinuing birth control, some women may experience PCOS-like symptoms even if they didn't have them before starting the pill.
Post-Pill Ovulation: It can take months to years for ovulation to return to its natural pattern, which can lead to irregular menstrual cycles, acne, and other PCOS-like manifestations.
Chronic Inflammation's Influence: Chronic inflammation, often linked to underlying health conditions or food intolerances, is at the core of this type of PCOS. While blood sugar levels may remain normal, inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP), are elevated in blood tests.
Hormonal Balance Disruption: The presence of chronic inflammation can disrupt hormonal balance and ovulation, contributing to the development of PCOS symptoms.
The Stress Response Factor: Adrenal PCOS is related to an abnormal stress response. In this type, a hormone called DHEA-S (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate) is typically elevated, although it's not always tested, making diagnosis challenging.
Stress and Hormonal Imbalance: Chronic stress can impact the adrenal glands, leading to an overproduction of DHEA-S and, in some cases, the development of PCOS-like symptoms. Adrenal PCOS accounts for approximately 10% of PCOS cases.
For effective management of PCOS, it's essential to understand which subytpe of PCOS you fit into.
Each type requires tailored strategies for management and treatment. For instance, focusing on dietary changes to address insulin resistance, helping clients manage stress and inflammation, or providing support during the transition off hormonal birth control, are some ways that PCOS can be managed naturally.
A holistic outlook on health can be game changing for women dealing with PCOS, as addressing the root causes has the power to improve and restore normal bodily functioning.
The bottom line is, PCOS can be completely manageable.
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