My guide to PCOS

Type 3 diabetes. We of course know there are Type 1 and Type 2 – but could there be a Type 3?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, also known as PCOS, is caused when normal follicles which grow on a women’s ovaries don’t develop properly causing cysts on the ovaries’ surface, which, when accompanied by a hormonal imbalance is deemed as PCOS.

In a normal cycle, several follicles develop on the surface of your ovaries. In one of those follicles, a single egg matures more quickly than the eggs in the others, and is released into the fallopian tube. All the remaining follicles then die away. If you have polycystic ovaries, you have a number of undeveloped follicles remaining on the surface of your ovaries, making the ovaries appear larger.

This generally is not a problem, many women have polycystic ovaries and have regular cycles and have no problem with conceiving. However, if you have higher than normal levels of specific sex hormones, such as the male hormones known as the androgens, including testosterone, this can then trigger symptoms to the condition such as irregular or absent periods, acne, excess hair and weight gain.

Cause?

PCOS is an extremely complex condition and even some of the specialist still struggle to get their heads around it. There is definitely a strong genetic and hereditary link for the condition. There seems to be a delay in certain messages between the pituitary gland and the ovaries, therefore the wrong amount of hormones are generally produced.

Diet

There is a whole heap of information and evidence to suggest to us that diet plays a significant role in the natural management of PCOS. So, perhaps before going on any pharmaceutical based changes, why not try starting by adjusting your nutritional approach.

If you can follow the below for the next 6 months as well as follow the supplement guideline and you don’t see any improvements naturally then perhaps then go back to your doctor.

If you’re also overweight whilst suffering with PCOS it is crucial that we work on bringing this down. Being overweight increases insulin levels dramatically and makes the symptoms of PCOS much worse. So, weight loss is also crucial.

Ideally with your nutrition you want to try and keep your blood sugars balanced. Every time your blood sugars are too high or too low it causes your adrenals to secrete the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which can suppress ovulation altogether.

With PCOS it is better to eat 5-6 small well balanced meals rather than just 3 meals per day. Smaller meals with a wider variety of macronutrients on your plate at each time.

Phytoestrogen rich foods are also ideal – when there is excess circulating of oestrogen within the body we need certain foods in order to help to pick it up and excrete it. These foods include beans, chickpeas, organic soybeans, and lentils.

So what are my steps to follow in order to help with PCOS?

1. Switch to unrefined carbohydrates – we need to help your blood sugars to become as stable and avoid the hormonal cascade of stress hormones constantly going up and down. Stick to those 6 small meals per day, rather than 3 large, or perhaps small ones, as you may currently also not be eating enough.

2. Eat oily fish and food rich in Omega 3 fats to encourage your body to become more sensitive to insulin. Our bodies, especially abdominal fat cells, respond extremely well to Omega 3’s in fats, so making sure to eat oily fish such as Sardines, Mackerel, Salmon and Herring are extremely important. If you HATE fish, then make sure you’re supplementing in a good quality fish oil such as Eskimo 3 or Nordic Oil.

3. Eliminate dairy from your diet. Unfortunately, most of the cow’s dairy products which are on the shelves, especially cow’s milk, have got high levels of circulating oestrogen which can further put our hormones out of balance. Just remove for 3 months and see how you go, whilst at the same time really increasing the amount of green leafy vegetables your eating – perhaps including a green smoothie most days for a mid morning snack and also sardine bones are an extremely rich source of calcium which can be included.

4. Eat more vegetables and pulses – not only the phytoestrogens which I mentioned earlier which are super super important but it also increases the amount of SHBG (Sex hormone binding globulin) which is another hormone which helps to attach itself onto your male androgen hormones and excrete them from the body.

5. Cut right back on alcohol for at least 3 months – to allow your liver to start to heal itself. Most people in their lifetime will never do a liver detoxification protocol. Our livers are designed to be detoxifying all of the time however can be put under quite a high amount of stress just due to the nature of our lives. Starting your day with some hot water and lemon or dandelion tea would be perfect for this,

6. Cut down on caffeine and try to stick to 1 cup of caffeinated drink per day. Our adrenals are in need of a rest and to prevent the constant stream of stress hormones being released. Caffeine can cause over stimulation of the adrenal glands so its important not to go overboard.

Like I said above, try sticking to this for at least 6 months and then if symptoms do not improve then go back to your doctors to discuss other options.

Supplements

1. B- Complex (25mg of each B-Vitamin daily). All of the B Vitamins are needed in order for the liver to function properly, so this is a must. Viridian is the company I use for this.

2. DIM – This is an extract of cruciferous vegetables which aids in the detoxification of the liver. Extremely important for removing excess oestrogen from the body. Nutri advanced is the company I use for this.

3. Chromium & cinnamon complex – Low levels of chromium can be a contributor to insulin resistance and cinnamon is perfect for blood sugar balancing. If you’re diabetic or on any medication then please ask your doctor beforehand. Viridian is another brand I would chose for this.

Good luck & let me know if you need any other help!

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