PolyCystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
"PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is the most common endocrine disorder in females. There are many signs and symptoms that a woman may experience. PCOS cannot be diagnosed with one test alone and symptoms vary from female to female. Early diagnosis of PCOS is essential since it has been linked to an increased risk of developing several metabolic diseases such as diabetes and high cholesterol.
Most women and adolescents experience weight gain or obesity, while others may be lean. Multiple follicles (cysts) on ovaries in a “string of pearls” pattern is also an indicator for PCOS, but may not appear in all cases.
This hormonal imbalance can cause Insulin Resistance, which is also a prime indicator of PCOS. Females suffering from PCOS may experience high testosterone levels, which leads to other symptoms such as Hirsutism (excessive hair growth), male pattern baldness and acne. This high level of testosterone can also prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg each month (ovulation).
An estimated 7 million women and adolescent girls are affected by PCOS, with less than 50% diagnosed. PCOS is responsible for 70% of infertility issues in women who have difficulty ovulating. Teens and post-menopausal women can also suffer from PCOS.Studies have shown that approximately 40% of patients with diabetes between the ages of 20-50 may have PCOS. In addition, some studies have found that if a mother has PCOS, there is a 50% chance that her daughter will have PCOS.The good news is that early diagnosis and proper education can help adolescents and women lower their risk factors and live a happy, healthier life." Source: PCOS Foundation site PCOS Education Trifold
Please use this site as informational purposes only. I do not recommend everything suggested on this site. For example, birth control is listed as a treatment and I do not believe in this. While birth control may "help" symptoms, this is not a CURE and most likely symptoms will reoccur once off birth control. This is not a treatment in my opinion when trying to get pregnant or wanting to get pregnant in the future.
With that said, I did take a nursing-safe birth control after my daughter was born because I wanted (needed) to be safe that first year, for my sanity. It is all in knowing the purpose of taking the medication, what your goals are and understanding alternative methods of treatment.
If you know someone with these symptoms or think you might have it, please contact your doctor and ask question after question. Drugs and prescription medications are not the only option to eliminate symptoms and/or achieve a healthy pregnancy. With that said, some women will only respond to medications and I, in no way, fault anyone for that method.
I only believe in being educated about all of the options and that nutrition and exercise are key components in treating ANY condition or disease. Other tactics may be needed, but how can it hurt with starting with areas that you can control - what you put in your mouth and your physical activity (although yes these are very difficult and areas that I struggle with as well). Although my PCOS was confirmed in 2010, I have experienced symptoms all of my life for as long as I can remember. September is PCOS awareness month, but I want to make it known all year round. Please see my Pregnancy Story for more details.
Other Personal Interest Links
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
The Infertility Cure - I read parts of this book before I went in for my initial consultation with the fertility doctor. I loved how she merged western and eastern, more natural methods, together and was not one-sided. Be sure and read her story.
Stop the Thyroid Maddness - I have yet to read this book, but one of the authors confirmed my PCOS and delivered my daughter; I have the utmost respect for him. I can't wait to check it out.
Dr. Mark Hyman - Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine and Founder of The UltraWellness Center
Dr. Mercola - Natural Health Website