What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects the life of 6 – 10% of Canadian Women. PCOS causes the ovaries to produce abnormally high levels of androgens (male hormones) which causes interference with natural female egg production. Instead of the eggs that would normally be produced, the ovaries produce small sacs filled with liquid (cysts). This becomes an issue during ovulation when the eggs should be released. The newly formed cysts build up in the ovaries and become enlarged.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome has numerous short-term (which will be touched upon in the following section) and long-term health consequences to your bodily function. PCOS can contribute to insulin resistance and can increase your risk of developing diabetes.
For more information on PCOS, please visit the Canadian Women’s Health Network.
What are the Symptoms of PCOS?
The symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can vary drastically between women; fitting since we are all unique in our own way. The common symptoms of PCOS are:
- Irregularity in the timing/frequency of your periods
- Excessive bleeding during your period
- Enlarged/painful ovaries
- Darkening of the skin around sensitive areas (neck, groin, underarms, etc.)
- Skin tags appearing in sensitive areas (neck, groin, underarms, etc.)
- Thinning of hair on the top of the head
- Excess growth of body/facial hair
- Excessive body/facial acne
- Excessive weight gain
- The feeling of anxiety and depression
- Increased blood sugar
It is important to note that not all women with PCOS will experience every symptom as they vary between each person. This is why consulting with a naturopathic doctor is beneficial if you are suffering from PCOS.
How Does Your Naturopathic Doctor Diagnose PCOS?
A consultation with a naturopathic doctor is more comprehensive than a consultation for traditional medicine. As a naturopathic doctor, it is my responsibility to have a complete understanding of your overall health to make preventative recommendations instead of reactive measures. For example, understanding your nutritional intake and how the absence of key vitamins and minerals will cause long-term health consequences.
When diagnosing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, it is up to the health practitioner to recognize the cluster of symptoms experienced by the patient and attribute them to PCOS. The symptoms experienced with PCOS are common discomforts that I am cognizant of during my standard comprehensive consultation. Once diagnosed, we will highlight the correct treatment to relieve the symptoms experienced that are unique to you as a patient. It is important to remember that PCOS does not have one set cure. However, there are numerous naturopathic treatments that will aid in alleviating the symptoms experienced and improve the overall quality of life for a woman suffering from PCOS.
How Does Your Naturopathic Doctor Treat PCOS?
The naturopathic treatment prescribed will be unique to you as a patient and be dependent on the underlying health condition that is causing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Examples of these health conditions are as follows:
- PCOS Caused by Hormone Imbalance: The goal of treatment is to correct the patient’s trajectory of hormone levels.
- PCOS Caused by Insulin Resistance: The goal of treatment is to correct the patient’s diet and support the re-sensitization of cells to insulin and sugar.
- PCOS Caused by Anovulation: The goal of treatment is to support healthy ovulation.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is unique to every woman who suffers from the condition. It is my role as a naturopathic doctor to understand what treatment is right for you as a patient. My areas of clinical expertise related to PCOS include women’s health, reproductive health, weight management, hormonal dysfunction, and sexual dysfunction.
If you are interested in a consultation for the symptoms you face with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, you can email me and schedule a meeting at the Lifetime Wellness Centre on North Service Road.