Uggghh… There’s nothing worse than feeling bloated. You feel full but have hardly eaten anything. You look about 6 months pregnant and as people know you’re trying to conceive, people ask when your baby is due (not what you want to hear when you’re struggling to conceive anyway). The clothes that you love and normally fit you just don’t feel comfortable anymore. Bloating and PCOS seem to go hand in hand.

I know that I’m not the only one who feels like this on occasion as many of you have asked me to look into how we can beat the bloat with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

What Causes Bloating with PCOS?

Bloating is a common symptom of PCOS and many women with a normal hormonal profile will also experience bloating occasionally. Let’s try and figure out the culprit that is causing us to feel bloated.

Hormone Imbalance

We know that our hormones are totally imbalanced when it comes to PCOS anyway. But did you know that Estrogen and Progesterone are important in fluid balance? (1)

Estrogen in particular causes us to retain water. One lovely lady asked me recently why she looked thinner or less bloated when she finally had her period after 4 months without it. Well, Estrogen would be the culprit. Before ovulation, estrogen levels are high and drop when progesterone levels rise during menstruation. The dropping Estrogen levels help to relieve the water retention and subsequent bloating.

Gut Flora

We all have bacteria and yeast living in our gut that help with digestion. But sometimes they can get out whack with too much of one kind and not enough of another.

If you’re lacking in some bacterias, your food may not be digested properly. This leads to the food fermenting and you become bloated.

Also, yeasts produce gas which leads to bloating. And, yeasts loved refined sugars and alcohol. So, reducing wheat and refined sugars should help avoid bloating. (2)

Food intolerances

I’ve already spoken about Gluten and PCOS but it seems that many women with PCOS are intolerant togluten (3). Many people also have an intolerance to dairy (which we shouldn’t be having anyway. See here for why). People who have food allergies have an autoimmune response to food, with symptoms that include (4):

  • Abdominal pains
  • Acid reflux
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
  • Nausea

In a food intolerance, you can get the same symptoms but you do not have the full autoimmune response.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

This one is particularly important for women with PCOS who are using fertility drugs. OHSS is caused by stimulation of the ovaries to produce eggs. It can be caused by Clomifene or HCG and having PCOS greatly increases your risk of OHSS (5)

Symptoms of OHSS include:

  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

If you are undergoing fertility treatments and you experience any of these symptoms, you need to be seen by your doctor!

Right, so now that we have looked at the causes of bloating in women with PCOS, let’s look at how we can deal with bloating.

Beat the Bloat

Balance your hormones

I know that this is often easier said than done but it is fundamental to managing your PCOS and is exactly what this whole website is dedicated to. If you can manage your insulin and testosterone levels through diet and exercise in particular (this addresses the underlying pathology of PCOS instead of simply relying on drugs) you should have a return of your cycle. This will normalize your estrogen and progesterone levels and will relieve some of your bloating (6).

There are plenty of articles throughout this site that will help you to make those dietary changes but if you need some more guidance, check out the Resources page for more information on our weekly meal plans…

Exercise

Movement and exercise helps with the movement of food and air through the digestive tract so it will help to alleviate bloating (7) – not to mention all of the other benefits of exercise as it specifically relates to polycystic ovarian syndrome).

Drink spearmint tea

We already know that spearmint tea helps to manage testosterone levels (and if you didn’t, you can find out more here). The other advantage is that it helps with digestive disturbances and bloating (8) If you haven’t already started drinking spearmint tea, I would highly recommend it. In fact, my kettle has just boiled for my next cup.

I order mine online from Amazon as I struggle to find it in health food stores or my grocery store. Alvita have a highly rated Spearmint tea on Amazon.

Take Probiotics

Probiotics help to balance flora that lives in your gut and will help to alleviate bloating (9). The most common source of probiotics is yoghurt. This leads to a little bit of a dilemma as we’ve already said we should eliminate dairy.

Well, the IGF-1 content (which causes a rise in our testosterone levels and is really problematic for PCOS) is significantly reduced by the fermentation process (10). So, I would suggest that yoghurt with live cultures is a good source of probiotics for women with PCOS. Just be careful of the carbohydrate content and artificially sweetened yoghurts. A plain Greek yoghurt is probably your best bet.

Up your Potassium

We tend to have a lot of salt in our food and salt or sodium chloride promotes water retention. Potassium, on the other hand, counteracts the sodium chloride and helps to regulate the fluid balance in our bodies (11). Foods that are rich in potassium include bananas, cantaloupe, mangoes, spinach, tomatoes, nuts and asparagus. Just be aware of carb content and glycemic loads of these foods. If you are going to have a banana, for example, make sure that you have it with some protein to balance the carbs and prevent a huge spike in your insulin.

Summing it Up

So, we know that bloating is common for so many of us with PCOS and it can leave us feeling uncomfortable in our own skin. It is often caused by:

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Gut flora
  • Food intolerance
  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome

It can be dealt with, though, and you can manage your bloating by:

  • Balancing your hormones
  • Exercising regularly
  • Drinking spearmint tea (yum!)
  • Taking probiotics
  • Upping your potassium intake

So many of us are trying to lose weight and even just dealing with the bloating is a great start in the right direction. If you have any other tried and tested ways for dealing with bloating, please let me know in the comments below! I always love hearing from you!

Next Steps

Becoming victorious over the symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is not easy, but you can overcome your PCOS symptoms to live the life you deserve.

It takes strength, courage, and perseverance. It can be challenging and that’s why Insulite Health created this website. It’s has information and resources that will help you balance your hormones and reverse PCOS symptoms.

So take these next steps now! Use the links below to learn how to make the changes that will transform your health and your life forever.

  1. Read more about PCOS. Search our 1300 page PCOS library.
  2. Join our Facebook Group right now! Pose your questions to this group of like-minded women and get the support you need.
  3. Take the PCOS Quiz! Get your PCOS score and assess your risk.
  4. Learn more about the Insulite 5-Element PCOS Solution

Insulite Health, is committed to helping women reverse their symptoms of hormone imbalance. Scientific research has revealed that this imbalance can be a primary cause of many devastating health symptoms. Hormone Imbalance can also underlie the increased risk factors for PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) – a major source of serious diseases as well as cause of excess weight gain, adult acne, unwanted facial hair, depression, anxiety, and heartbreaking female infertility.

©Insulite Health, Inc., pcos.com empowers women with PCOS to transform their lives through a process of healing with the 5-Element PCOS System – a complete solution for helping women reverse the symptoms of PCOS and hormone imbalance.

Four women describe their PCOS symptoms

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition affecting how a woman’s ovaries work. The three most recognisable symptoms of the condition are irregular periods, excess androgen (a male hormone, meaning women with PCOS can grow excess hair on their face and bodies), and polycystic ovaries. This means the ovaries become enlarged, and contain fluid-filled sacs which surround the eggs.

The condition is thought to affect approximately one in five women,1 although roughly half of these women won’t have any symptoms at all. Those that do display symptoms have reported a huge variety, including oily skin, irregular or no periods, weight gain, fatigue, mood changes, and pelvic pain, among others. In some women, PCOS can affect fertility, and make it difficult to get pregnant.

At present, there is no cure for PCOS, although there are ways of decreasing the severity of, or eliminating entirely, some of the symptoms. If not managed effectively, PCOS can lead to more serious problems, including diabetes and heart conditions. It has been shown that losing weight can reduce symptoms,2 and going on the pill can help regulate your menstrual cycle.

Despite being a common condition, little is known about what causes it, and little is known about PCOS in general. Many women, indeed, won’t have even heard of its existence until they are diagnosed. But what is it actually like living with the effects of PCOS? And what steps do women take to keep their symptoms under control? Below, four women share their stories.

Amanda Bootes, 24, PR Manager

I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 19 and in hospital having tests for something else — I didn’t even know I had it. At that point I didn’t realise I had any symptoms, because doctors had put the symptoms I had, such as bloating, hair falling out, stomach cramps and night-sweats, down to stress. It wasn’t until a few years later that the real problems started.

On a general day to day basis, I don’t have any problems any more apart from the odd twinge, because I have managed to get it under control. But I do have bad attacks every few months. These will last for around two to three weeks and include painful and unexplainable bloating, bad stomach pains to the point of hospitalisation, and heavy and dark bleeding with clots. I have had three cysts burst over the last few years, which have required urgent medical attention.

Apart from the stress and strain of having to deal with constant and unwanted pain and numerous hospitalisations, I have lost countless jobs due to not being able to get out of bed or not being able to stand long enough to work. I used to be a chef and had to leave the industry due to the amount of time I needed off. I now work in PR where I can work from home if needed. I was also told, aged 19, that I might not be be able to get pregnant. At the time it didn’t bother me too much, but now I’m a bit older I am worried I may struggle.

I was on the implant for contraceptive purposes, but I have since been put on the combined pill on top of this to try and control the hormones and stop more cysts from forming and bursting. I have adopted a healthier, less-sugar, no-gluten diet and I have seen a significant improvement.

I had to have surgery once after a cyst burst, and I needed surgery a second time when another burst, but it was on Christmas Day and there were no doctors available, so my body had to reabsorb the fluid, which meant two weeks of excruciating pain. I even have a bottle of oral morphine at home to take when the episodes are extremely bad, to stop me from having to be admitted to hospital.

I’m really lucky that since the beginning, from the moment I was told i had PCOS, all doctors and nurses, from A&E to the surgical teams, to my own GPs, have been completely understanding and very helpful, offering a lot of advice and treatment.

Danielle, 26

I was diagnosed after a scan aged 16, and re-diagnosed at 21. I had another scan a few weeks ago which showed that although one of my ovaries looks OK, the other is still polycystic. The only symptom I really had was my skin. It was super oily and nothing was working in terms of tablets and creams. I did also have really irregular periods. Once I went around five months without one and then when I did have them they were awful.

Now, the main problem is still my oily skin. I have been really lucky in that I found a contraceptive pill, Rigevidon, that sorted out most of my issues. It is a medium strength pill and seems to work quite well, but I’ve tried about three or four others in the past that have been pretty horrendous. The only other one that was OK was Dianette, which is the standard PCOS pill. I occasionally get quite weird painful cramping in that area and I do feel like my weight has crept up a bit and I just can’t lose it, but apart from that it has been quite manageable.

I would say the biggest way in that PCOS has affected my life would be the fact that for now I am stuck on the pill to control my symptoms. At the moment I think it would probably be better for me not to be on the pill because I think my hormones are seriously out of whack and it would be good to give myself a break, but I worry the bad skin and irregular periods will come back.

Another symptom that I guess I haven’t yet technically suffered with, but is a concern, is infertility. It’s not something I have ever really given too much thought to, but as I am getting a bit older, I am starting to feel that I should start thinking about my options sooner rather than later.

It took a really long time to get a diagnosis and there isn’t really much support available unless you are in the stage where it’s causing infertility. I was 16 when I was first diagnosed (I’ve heard they no longer diagnose you this young) and it’s quite scary to be told then that you may have trouble conceiving later in life. Also I wasn’t told about alternative options to the pill, such as changing my diet, and I was left on Dianette for a ridiculously long time, which is not good for you.

Anna, 45, Marketing Director

When I was 17 I was hospitalised and had emergency surgery for a ruptured ovarian cyst, and further investigation revealed I had PCOS. When I was younger I didn’t realise that my symptoms were a sign of something more serious and not just caused by puberty and hormonal changes. But in hindsight, I had very clear PCOS symptoms: irregular periods (once every three to six months on average), and inexplicable weight gain that was impossible to shed. I kept ballooning despite not changing my diet or exercise habits at all.

After I was first diagnosed I was put on the pill to control the symptoms and that worked for a while, but then at 23 I developed a pulmonary embolism, so had to stop. For many years it wasn’t treated at all as I moved countries and doctors didn’t take me seriously. Although in my native Finland the doctors were great, after I moved to the UK it took me the best part of 10 years for doctors to believe my diagnosis and often I found them just blaming my weight for all my symptoms without investigating further. I was prescribed diet pills, instead of being given an ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis. I started to suffer from hair loss and I found it impossible to lose weight, even with a low fat diet and plenty of exercise.

In my early 30s I worked with a nutritionist and changed my diet, cutting down on dairy, sugar and processed food, adding pulses and vegetables, and that had a very positive effect. My cycle became more regular, my weight stabilised and eventually I managed to get pregnant without any medical help (after four years). Nowadays my PCOS is well under control and I don’t really have any symptoms. Since childbirth the situation has changed, my cycle is like clockwork and even my hair is stronger and thicker than it has been in years.

Irene, 25, Social Media Officer

When I was around 17 my periods starting getting very irregular. The doctor didn’t pay much attention and because I had become sexually active I started to take the contraceptive pill, which meant my periods became regular again. However, after a few years, when I was 22, I decided to come off the pill.

As soon as I did so, I started to have quite bad acne and my periods became more and more infrequent, up to the point where I didn’t have a period for nine months. After going to the doctor several times, they finally decided to order a blood test, which showed that my testosterone levels were quite high. The doctor interpreted those results as PCOS.

When I was experiencing irregular periods I found it quite distressing, as I worried all the time that I was pregnant, or that there was something wrong with me. PCOS also made me develop acne, which is obviously not very pleasant. With the contraceptive pill I no longer have those problems, but I have to deal with side effects of the pill, which include migraines and decreased sex drive. I also worry about not being able to get pregnant when the time comes.

I had to change contraceptive pill several times until I found one with the least unwanted side effects, and I have now been told I should take the combined pill for the rest of my reproductive life to keep PCOS under control.

While doctors have always been very kind to me, it did take a lot of visits until I was diagnosed. Everyone seemed to think I was pregnant, even though I told them I was using protection: I was asked to do a lot of pregnancy tests. I was also told I couldn’t have PCOS because I was thin. And I was never offered an ultrasound scan — my diagnosis was made based on my blood test results and my symptoms alone.

Page last updated June 2017

Why women should take abdominal pain seriously

By Shruti Pathak
Twenty-four-year-old Sharadhi, a sprightly youngster who chanted the `work hard, play hard’ mantra, began complaining of abdominal pain a few months ago. The frequency of the pain ruled out bad eating or a stomach infection.
When her family doctor suggested a visit to a gynaecologist, Sharadhi was surprised. But an ultrasound scan revealed that she had an ovarian cyst, that too on the verge of rupturing. What followed was a quick laparoscopic surgery to remove the cyst. She was advised 10 day rest before getting back to work.
Yes, ovarian cysts are a good example of something so routine but having the potential of turning life topsy-turvy. These fluid-filled sacs inside or on the ovary are usually formed during ovulation in a woman. According to the US National Library of Medicine (NLM), women between puberty and menopause are most likely to develop ovarian cysts. But women who have attained menopause aren’t completely spared of this problem.

Many women with ovarian cysts don’t have symptoms and the cysts are usually harmless. There is also no specific cause for ovarian cysts to form. “Fluctuation in hormonal levels can lead to cysts. But what triggers hormonal changes is not fully ascertained, but stress is definitely not a factor, “said Dr Gayathri Kamath, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru.
There are several kinds of cysts that can form on the ovaries, but the most common types, called functional cysts, form during the menstrual cycle and are usually not cancerous.
“Ovarian cysts, however, should not be confused with polycystic ovaries, “said Dr Alka Kumar, gynaecologist, SL Raheja Hospital, Mumbai. In some women, the ovaries make many small cysts, commonly known as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). “Ovarian cysts may bleed, rupture or twist the ovary. Polycystic ovaries do not throw up such a condition, “Kumar said.
Complications
Ovarian cysts can cause problems if they twist, bleed or rupture. They have the potential to turn cancerous and so, should not be ignored.
Ovarian torsion (twisting around the fallopian tube) is another complication of ovarian cysts, though rare. This is when a large cyst causes an ovary to twist or move from its original position. Cysts that grow larger than 5 cm are at a greater risk for torsion and are a gynaecological emergency.
Blood supply to the ovary is cut off and if not treated, it can cause damage or death of the ovarian tissue. Ovarian torsion accounts for nearly 3% of emergency gynaecology surgeries.
Ruptured cysts can cause intense pain and internal bleeding. This complication increases the risk of an infection and can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Symptoms of the problem
Although many cysts have no accompanying symptoms, pressure or pain in the pelvic area is a common problem that many women complain of. Irregular menstrual cycle, nausea, vomiting, bloating, painful bowel movements and pain during sex are signs related to ovarian cysts.
Women experiencing ovarian cysts may also have problems eating. Getting full quickly when eating, loss of appetite and losing weight without any reason may be signs of a cyst.
Women with ovarian torsion present with sudden onset of abdominal pain often associated with nausea and possibly vomiting and low-grade fever. “When faced with such symptoms, women, especially youngsters, often put off seeking treatment thinking it has something to do with the stomach and go for self-medication. This only makes things worse, “said Dr Roopa K, a consultant gynaecologist based in Chennai.
Detection
Doctors often check for cysts using ultrasound scan. The scan can tell the cyst’s shape, size, location and mass (whether it is fluid-filled, solid or mixed). CT scans or MRI may also be used to see how far the tumours have spread. Blood tests may also be done to check changes in hormone levels and possible cancer. In case the growth is cancerous, a blood test is done to look for a protein called CA125. Levels of this protein tend to be higher in some but not in all women with ovarian cancer.
Treatment
Once a cyst is confirmed, larger, cancerous or persistent cysts may be removed surgically. A laparoscopy is usually conducted to treat ovarian cysts. During surgery, the surgeon can find cysts or tumours and may remove a small piece of tissue (biopsy) to test for cancer. It is possible for cancerous ovarian tumours to return. If that happens, doctors usually advice one more surgeries, sometimes combined with chemotherapy or radiation. It is also possible for a new cyst to form on the same or opposite ovary after a cystectomy. New cysts can only be completely prevented by removing the ovaries (oophorectomy).
Some women, however, are more prone to developing cysts. In these cases, doctors prescribe birth control pills to help reduce the risk of developing certain types of functional cysts that occur after ovulation. “Birth control pills are a safe method to deal with ovarian cysts. They are prescribed for short-term purposes and do not have any long-term side effects. They are not as bad as they are made out to be. They might not go down well with women suffering from migraine though. It is important for patients to follow up with their doctor, “said Kamath.
Cysts and fertility
Women are often worried that cysts may affect their fertility. In general, fertility is not affected by functional cysts. Only women having an endometriotic cyst (formed by a small patch of endometrial tissue that bleeds and grows inside the ovary) may have problems conceiving. In rare cases when an ovary has to be removed, women need not lose hope. “Even if one ovary is removed, a woman can still conceive if her ovarian reserve is good. A simple blood test is all that is needed to check the patient’s AMH and FSH levels. These tests are done to determine ovarian reserve, “said Kumar of Mumbai’s SL Raheja.
Prevention
There isn’t yet a way to stop cysts from forming in the ovaries. Women must be aware of the symptoms and consult a doctor if they are suffering from irregular periods. Also, once a cyst is diagnosed, they must follow up with their doctor to check for recurrence.
Good lifestyle choices can help in the overall well-being of a woman and the same can be said of ovarian cysts too. “Physical exercise can ensure hormonal balance in the body and may prevent cysts to some extent, “said Roopa. “Maintaining ideal weight with sensible eating is a must to prevent any gynaecological problem,” she said.
“Women can exercise since it has a positive effect on the body. But they should go for moderate amount of cardio and weight training so as to avoid complications like rupturing or twisting of the cyst (in case they are diagnosed with one),” said Suhasini Mudraganam, head nutritionist, Truweight.
Also read: How to plan the other big moon, the ‘babymoon’

It’s estimated that one in ten women have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a sex-hormone imbalance in women of childbearing ages that causes both reproductive and metabolic consequences. Women with PCOS frequently report similar symptoms to those with IBS, including feeling bloated, experiencing constipation and/or diarrhea, and having stomach and pelvic pain.

· Signs and symptoms of PCOS include irregular or absent menstrual cycles, acne, hair growth on a woman’s face and body, hair loss from her head, weight gain and difficulties losing weight, and infertility.

· Elevated insulin levels are an underlying cause of PCOS, resulting in the need for nutrition modifications to help with weight management, improved fertility, and to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

· Like those following the FODMAPs approach, women with PCOS are advised to limit their intake of sugary foods and beverages. Fructose and fructose-containing foods such as soft drinks, high fructose corn syrup have been shown to contribute to insulin resistance and are strongly discouraged. Gut-friendly sugars including granulated sugar, brown sugar and 100% pure maple syrup can be used but in moderation.

· High fiber foods can benefit women with PCOS as they can add fullness to meals, help with insulin and blood sugar regulation, and work to lower cholesterol. Examples of foods high in fiber include whole grains, legumes, beans, fruits, and vegetables, many of which pose challenges to women following a low FODMAPs diet. (Editor’s note: )

· Women who struggle with PCOS and IBS can see relief of symptoms by following a low FODMAP diet. Working with a registered dietitian nutritionist who is trained in both PCOS and FODMAPs can help you create a personalized healthy diet that includes fiber-rich and low sugar foods based on your unique needs.

Connect with Angela on twitter, facebook, pinterest, and LinkedIn or sign up for her PCOS Nutrition Tips Newsletter

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which the ovaries produce an abnormal amount of androgens, male sex hormones that are usually present in women in small amounts. The name polycystic ovary syndrome describes the numerous small cysts (fluid-filled sacs) that form in the ovaries. However, some women with this disorder do not have cysts, while some women without the disorder do develop cysts.

Ovulation occurs when a mature egg is released from an ovary. This happens so it can be fertilized by a male sperm. If the egg is not fertilized, it is sent out of the body during your period.

In some cases, a woman doesn’t make enough of the hormones needed to ovulate. When ovulation doesn’t happen, the ovaries can develop many small cysts. These cysts make hormones called androgens. Women with PCOS often have high levels of androgens. This can cause more problems with a woman’s menstrual cycle. And it can cause many of the symptoms of PCOS.

Treatment for PCOS is often done with medication. This can’t cure PCOS, but it helps reduce symptoms and prevent some health problems.

What causes PCOS?

The exact cause of PCOS is not clear. Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance. This means the body can’t use insulin well. Insulin levels build up in the body and may cause higher androgen levels. Obesity can also increase insulin levels and make PCOS symptoms worse.

PCOS may also run in families. It’s common for sisters or a mother and daughter to have PCOS.

What are the risks for PCOS?

You may be more likely to have PCOS if your mother or sister has it. You may also be more likely to have it if you have insulin resistance or are obese.

What are the symptoms of PCOS?

The symptoms of PCOS may include:

  • Missed periods, irregular periods, or very light periods

  • Ovaries that are large or have many cysts

  • Excess body hair, including the chest, stomach, and back (hirsutism)

  • Weight gain, especially around the belly (abdomen)

  • Acne or oily skin

  • Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair

  • Infertility

  • Small pieces of excess skin on the neck or armpits (skin tags)

  • Dark or thick skin patches on the back of the neck, in the armpits, and under the breasts

How is PCOS diagnosed?

Your health care provider will ask about your medical history and your symptoms. You will also have a physical exam. This will likely include a pelvic exam. This exam checks the health of your reproductive organs, both inside and outside your body.

Some of the symptoms of PCOS are like those caused by other health problems. Because of this, you may also have tests such as:

  • Ultrasound. This test uses sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. This test is used to look at the size of the ovaries and see if they have cysts. The test can also look at the thickness of the lining of the uterus (endometrium).

  • Blood tests. These look for high levels of androgens and other hormones. Your health care provider may also check your blood glucose levels. And you may have your cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked.

How is PCOS treated?

Treatment for PCOS depends on a number of factors. These may include your age, how severe your symptoms are, and your overall health. The type of treatment may also depend on whether you want to become pregnant in the future.

If you do plan to become pregnant, your treatment may include:

  • A change in diet and activity. A healthy diet and more physical activity can help you lose weight and reduce your symptoms. They can also help your body use insulin more efficiently, lower blood glucose levels, and may help you ovulate.

  • Medications to cause ovulation. Medications can help the ovaries to release eggs normally. These medications also have certain risks. They can increase the chance for a multiple birth (twins or more). And they can cause ovarian hyperstimulation. This is when the ovaries release too many hormones. It can cause symptoms such as abdominal bloating and pelvic pain.

If you do not plan to become pregnant, your treatment may include:

  • Birth control pills. These help to control menstrual cycles, lower androgen levels, and reduce acne.

  • Diabetes medication. This is often used to lower insulin resistance in PCOS. It may also help reduce androgen levels, slow hair growth, and help you ovulate more regularly.

  • A change in diet and activity. A healthy diet and more physical activity can help you lose weight and reduce your symptoms. They can also help your body use insulin more efficiently, lower blood glucose levels, and may help you ovulate.

  • Medications to treat other symptoms. Some medications can help reduce hair growth or acne.

What are the complications of PCOS?

Women with PCOS are more likely to develop certain serious health problems. These include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, problems with the heart and blood vessels, and uterine cancer. Women with PCOS often have problems with their ability to get pregnant (fertility).

Living with PCOS

Some women struggle with the physical symptoms of PCOS, such as weight gain, hair growth, and acne. Cosmetic treatments, such as electrolysis and laser hair removal, may help you feel better about your appearance. Talk with your health care provider about the best ways to treat the symptoms that bother you.

When should I seek medical care?

If you have missed or irregular periods, excess hair growth, acne, and weight gain, call your doctor for an evaluation.

Key points

  • PCOS is a very common hormone problem for women of childbearing age.

  • Women with PCOS may not ovulate, have high levels of androgens, and have many small cysts on the ovaries.

  • PCOS can cause missed or irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth, acne, infertility, and weight gain.

  • Women with PCOS may be at higher risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, and endometrial cancer.

  • The types of treatment for PCOS may depend on whether or not a woman plans to become pregnant. Women who plan to become pregnant in the future may take different kinds of medications.

Next steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:

  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.

  • Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you.

  • At the visit, write down the names of new medicines, treatments, or tests, and any new instructions your provider gives you.

  • If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.

  • Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.

Everything You Need to Know About Pcos (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)

There are several issues becoming more prevalent with every passing day in today’s world. One such condition reaching near epidemic proportions is a dreaded and now very familiar name – PCOS. Here you will find everything you need to know about PCOS to get started.

What is PCOS or PCOD?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (sometimes referred to as disease depending on severity) is a problem in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance. It can cause problems with one’s periods and make it difficult to get pregnant. PCOS also may cause unwanted changes in the way you look. If it isn’t treated, over time it can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease and even cancers! Most women with PCOS grow many small cysts on their ovaries. That is why it is called polycystic ovary syndrome. The cysts themselves are not harmful, but lead to hormone imbalances. Did you know that symptoms of PCOS persist even when both the ovaries are removed? The root cause of the problem is not in your ovaries but in your metabolism.There is involvement of the hormone regulation centre at hypothalamus in the brain which affects multiple organs (Multi-system disease).

Some of the symptoms are as follows:

  • Acne.
  • Weight gain and trouble losing weight.
  • Extra hair on the face and body. Often women get thicker and darker facial hair and more hair on the chest, belly, and back.
  • Thinning hair on the scalp.
  • Irregular periods. Often women with PCOS have fewer than nine periods a year. Some women have no periods. Others have very heavy bleeding.
  • Fertility problems. Many women who have PCOS have trouble getting pregnant (infertility).
  • Depression.

As if it was not bad enough, it increases your chances of developing a big disease later on in life, like full-blown diabetes, autoimmune thyroid disease and even cancers.

The BioCycle study (NIH 2009) showed that untreated, hormonal imbalances increase significantly a woman’s risk to diseases of inflammation – heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and premature ageing, not to mention a perpetual state of body suffering before these diseases even show up.

The treatment

Today, the western medicine deals with identifying and treating the symptoms around PCOS. But these spot treatment are at best described as band-aid solutions to a much deeper problem that gets worse not only due to the ignorance of the root cause but also as side-effects of these symptomatic treatments over long periods of time. If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, chances are you have been prescribed Birth Control Pills or OC’s (oral contraceptives) for regularising hormone cycles and hence periods and metformin for elevated blood sugars or pre/diabetic conditions. All in an attempt to mask the symptoms but they come back in a worse form once synthetic hormones and pills are stopped. Lets have a look at these two so that you can get to the root of the problem and avoid potential side effects of these.

Birth Control Pill

What it does: The synthetic hormones in the birth control mask your natural hormonal patterns to prevent ovulation from happening, and therefore prevent pregnancy. The menstrual period you experience on the pill is not an actual period, but rather a “break-through bleed” that occurs from the drop in estrogen. So even though it might be regulating your cycle, once you get off the pill chances are your period will return to the same state is was before and mostly it gets even worse.

Side effects: Women who continually use contraceptive pills are more likely to develop circulatory problems (thrombosis and embolism), liver tumors, headaches, depression and cancer (especially breast cancer) than those who don’t use them. The risk increases with age.

Metformin (Glucophage)

What it does: Metformin helps with blood sugar and insulin management by suppressing glucose production by the liver. It’s commonly used for diabetes and PCOS with insulin resistance.

Side effects: In a recent study, metformin was found to cause an impairment mental cognition. It’s more commonly known to cause serious digestive issues like gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and more uncomfortable symptoms.

If you are diagnosed with PCOS and you have been offered a prescription of birth control pills & synthetic hormones, PLEASE STOP!

The advice to lose weight & exercise moreover, does not completely work either. They say that you should lose weight to be healthy but I say that you should be healthy to lose weight. I am sure you can relate to that. I am not here to criticize any system, and each kind of treatment has its own role.

Conclusion

Very often you’ll be told that the only thing you can do is take a pill, but I hope this article has opened your eyes to the side effects of synthetic hormones and helped give you your power back when it comes to making informed decisions about treating your PCOS symptoms.There is no quick fix to treating PCOS. It is a systemic issues that needs to be managed through diet and lifestyle and holistic approach. If you’re ready to get to the bottom of your hormonal imbalances once and for all, let me help you. Your body CAN work for you. You can choose to stop suffering and start feeling good all month long.

My thoughts

I believe it is my responsibility to share what I’ve learnt so that you and many others are not held back by PCOS & hormone imbalances, but rather use it as a way to improve your lives. I want to empower you. I want you to be the captain of your own ship because I know that if we take the necessary steps, we can improve not only our own lives, but those of our family, community & the world at large.

‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’

I will be glad to help you if you choose to take that first step in healing.

Wishing you health & happiness!

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