What is PCOS?
PCOS is an endocrine disorder. In the simplest of terms this means that there is
something wrong with the hormones. It can affect 1 in 10 women.
How is it diagnosed?
Many doctors diagnose using the Rotterdam criteria. You need to have at least 2 of
the following 3 symptoms.
– An irregular cycle
– Symptoms of high androgens (testosterone)
– Cysts on the ovaries (normally seen on an ultrasound).
The knock-on effect on fertility, this can be hugely problematic when it comes to
getting pregnant. Women with PCOS often have trouble conceiving because they
don’t ovulate on a predictable schedule and their egg quality and uterine
environment may be affected. If you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS, knowing what
type of PCOS you have can drastically change the way you should be treating it.
This is the most common type of PCOS. Insulin resistance is the culprit in the
development of this classic type. When the body becomes less responsive to blood
sugars it causes insulin resistance. High insulin with impede ovulation and stimulate
the ovaries to make testosterone. Insulin resistance is caused by obesity, sugar
intake, smoking, trans fats and other environmental toxins.
Quit sugar, should be your first step. A little amount of sugar is healthy but by taking
it in large quantities you are contributing to the insulin resistance. To prevent insulin
resistance PCOS you can take inositol. You will need to be taking 4grams of inositol
per day. I recommend people start slowing at 2gram and working up to 4grams per
day. A period of almost six to nine months is needed to improve for this type of
PCOS as it is a slow process. Ask your doctor to check you fasting blood
sugar/glucose levels. You may also have elevated LH (lutenising hormone) or high
Immune Related PCOS
This second type of PCOS is due to chronic inflammation, which can be the result of
many different causes. This inflammation impedes ovulation and disrupts hormone
receptors, stimulating adrenal gland androgens like DHEA.
If you have symptoms such as headaches, joint pain, infections or skin allergies and
your blood tests show that you are deficient of vitamin D, your blood count is not
normal, increased levels of thyroid then you might be one having inflammatory
Blood tests for inflammatory markers like CRP, ESR, vitamin D deficiency, thyroid
antibodies and food sensitivities/allergies should be evaluated. You may also have
elevated DHEA-S. Stop consuming inflammatory foods like dairy products, sugar or
wheat. Start taking supplements of magnesium as it has anti-inflammatory effects.
Post Pill PCOS
For most women, it’s a temporary effect, and ovulation will usually resume fairly soon
after the Pill is stopped. But for some women, ovulation-suppression can persist for
months or even years. During that time, it is not unusual to be given the diagnosis of
This is a simpler form of PCOS. What’s the cause? In patients who are sensitive,
certain foods can play around with the body’s ability to ovulate. Once the cause is
addressed then it takes about three to four months to get resolved. Causes of
Hidden PCOS: Thyroid disease, (because hypothyroidism can disrupt normal
ovulation), deficiency of iodine (ovaries need iodine), vegetarian diet (it makes you
zinc deficient and the ovaries need zinc) and artificial sweeteners.
There can also be an overlap between categories, Chinese HerbsChinese Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture and
Nutrition can play a huge factor. Some useful reading.
8 Steps to Reverse your PCOS – Fiona McCulloch, N.D
Period Repair Manual – Lara Biden