Are you wondering if you have PCOS, but aren’t sure? If so, you’re not alone. Many women with PCOS, (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) are unaware that they have this condition, and a large number of women with infertility are surprised to find that PCOS could be the reason.
PCOS is a common condition, affecting between 8 to 20 percent of women of reproductive age. Despite being fairly common, about half of women who have this condition have never been diagnosed. And those women who have a diagnosis, have found that it often takes multiple doctors’ visits over several months or years to be correctly diagnosed.
PCOS is a metabolic and hormonal disorder that can cause your ovaries to become enlarged with small, fluid-filled cysts. In PCOS the cysts that form are often in a formation that looks like a string of pearls. These cysts are essentially enlarged follicles that did not release an egg at the time of ovulation. In addition to polycystic ovaries, other symptoms must be present for an accurate diagnosis of PCOS, these include irregular ovulation and high levels of androgens.
There are a variety of other symptoms associated with PCOS, but not every woman will experience every symptom. Common symptoms associated with PCOS include insulin resistance, acne, facial hair growth, male pattern baldness, weight gain, skin discolouration and infertility. In addition, if you have PCOS, you may also be at a higher risk for other conditions, such as heart disease, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and uterine cancer.
At BodaHealth, we are committed to helping women who have PCOS. Women’s health is an area of special interest for our practitioners. In addition, PCOS is associated with a high level of ovulation-related infertility, which is also an area of extensive training and focus for BodaHealth’s practitioners.
We have a number of strategies to help women who have symptoms, insulin resistance, or infertility related to this condition. At BodaHealth, our acupuncture practitioners will work with you to help manage your symptoms, as well as any underlying imbalances. Research has documented that acupuncture treatments change your brain chemistry in a number of ways. It affects your hypothalamus and pituitary glands, which are responsible for regulating the hormones throughout your body.
Acupuncture also boosts the circulation of endorphins, which are feel-good neurotransmitters that stabilize your mood, relieve stress, and can alleviate pain. This is important, because stress and emotional upsets can affect the balance of your reproductive hormones, as well as the stress hormones cortisol, adrenalin, and insulin.
In tandem with our acupuncturists, BodaHealth’s naturopathic physicians also play an important role in treating women with PCOS. They are able to assess your hormonal status through blood, urine, or saliva testing to understand the underlying hormonal and metabolic cause of your PCOS or related infertility. When appropriate, they may prescribe bioidentical or traditional hormones to restore hormonal balance. In addition, because PCOS is frequently associated with insulin resistance, our naturopaths may also complete a dietary assessment, recommend diet modifications, as well as herbal or vitamin supplementation.
Many, if not most women with PCOS struggle to maintain their weight, and we have found that acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, and Traditional Chinese medicine all can be helpful. While it’s unclear whether weight gain elevates your risk for developing PCOS or is a complicating symptom of this syndrome, it is clear that weight control is a key component of your treatment plan.
Ear acupuncture can be especially effective in controlling food cravings. Full body acupuncture may be used to treat digestive issues, balancing your metabolism, and addressing any other symptoms you may be having. Our naturopathic doctors can assess your digestion and gut microbiome, as well as recommend dietary solutions and nutritional supplements. Using Traditional Chinese Medicine, our practitioners may also prescribe herbs formulated for your specific needs.
Whether you have a clear diagnosis, suspect that you have PCOS, or are having fertility issues, BodaHealth can help you. While your symptoms may be different from any other women with this condition, we can offer a number of strategies and treatments tailored to your specific needs to successfully manage your PCOS. Give us a call today to see how we can help you.