Let’s face it, if you are on this site you probably already feel as if you know what PCOS (Polycystic
Ovarian Syndrome) is and you are now looking to see where you should go next; however, I think it is
best to take everyone back to the basics.
What is PCOS?
First and Foremost PCOS is an Endocrine disorder and NOT a gynecological issue! This is very important
to remember when seeking treatment for your PCOS. PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that can cause
insulin resistance. That insulin resistance then causes increased male sex hormone (Androgens) levels.
All women see a spike in these levels while the body is prepping for ovulation; however in PCOS women,
we produce excess amounts of this hormone and that causes anovulation (ovulation not to occur). The
actual cause of PCOS is still unknown, although many doctors now believe it could be genetics and
hereditary. This means there is something in our genes that we are born with causing PCOS and not a
syndrome we develop. PCOS now affects up to one out of every ten women and sadly that number
seems to be rising. PCOS is a syndrome made up of a long list of symptoms that can be hard to diagnose
and manage, as not every PCOS woman has the same set of symptoms. Some women begin to show
warning signs in adolescents while other will not show any signs or symptoms until adulthood or after
Most common symptoms of PCOS:
Unexplained weight gain primarily in midsection of the body
Hirsutism – extra hair growth on the body, primarily on the face, chin and belly areas
Male Patterned baldness or thinning of hair on scalp
Depression and/or Anxiety
Irregular or missing monthly cycles
Grayish or brownish discoloring of skin that may feel velvety, primarily on the neck and elbow
Enlarged ovaries and/or Polycystic ovaries
The items listed above are the most common visible symptoms; however, PCOS can also cause serious
medical issues you cannot see on the surface including:
High blood pressure
Increased cholesterol and triglycerides levels
Type 2 diabetes
Vitamin D deficiency
High Androgens (testosterone) levels
Increased Cortisol levels
Low progesterone levels
Thyroid hormone imbalances
Endometrial hyperplasia, which can lead to cancer
I have these symptoms, what should I do now?
I always advise to start with forming your support team. Find a doctor in your area proficient in PCOS,
usually an Endocrinologist. You will also want a Gynecological doctor to support any ultrasounds your
Endocrinologist may request. Make sure these two doctors work together and summaries of your
appointments are being transferred between the two offices. Find a PCOS Lifestyle Coach, who can help
guide you through this process, such as myself. You should reach out to other cysters to gain additional
support. Know that your best defense will be becoming knowledgeable with your own symptoms.
Understanding PCOS will help you at doctor’s appointments, will help you speak to your partner and/or
family on the syndrome and will help empower you to know how you want to treat your PCOS. Make
sure your medical team listens to you and completes all necessary blood work and ultra sounds. Do not
settle and remember it is in your right in the fight your health to seek out a second or even a third
opinion. Force yourself to become your own advocate for your health, remembering that western
medicine does not always hold all the answers. Consider adding an acupuncturist as well to your
medical team, as numerous studies show acupuncture treatments can help in reducing symptoms as
well. I wonder how much of this has to do with the relaxation side of the treatment, which could be
helping in reducing Cortisol levels that daily stress creates.
But how does my medical team diagnose me?
Going over your full medical history
Completing a full physical exam
Discussing any and all symptoms plus all concerns
Ultrasounds of both your ovaries and uterus
Now that we went all the way back to the basics, we will start breaking down PCOS. Are you pumped up
to become your own advocate? Continue to follow the blog for our posts, where we will break down
PCOS and discuss ways to treat both with a doctor’s assistance and naturally.