What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome is the most common reproductive and endocrine disorder affecting reproductive aged women. It is a complex hormonal condition, with ‘polycystic’ translating literally as ‘many cysts’.
The exact cause of PCOS remains unknown however it is known that woman with PCOS express a genetic predisposition and lifestyle choices (diet and exercise) can worsen or improve the disorder.
PCOS may be clinically diagnosed if a woman has at least two of the following features:
- Polycystic ovaries on ultrasound
- Irregular menstruation (menstrual cycle longer than 35 days or no periods over six months or more)
- High levels of male hormones (androgens) indicated with blood tests or by the presence of increased hair growth on the face or body, acne and/or head hair-loss.
Over 80% of women with PCOS have underlying metabolic disturbances. Insulin causes changes in ovarian follicles and ovarian hormone production. About half of women with PCOS are overweight and many express an apple shape or a large abdomen with skinny legs and arms. Many women are diagnosed with PCOS during their early reproductive life and report feeling isolated, depressed and anxious about their fertility and appearance.
Naturopathy for PCOS at Alana provides tailored support. Naturopathy is a type of overarching complementary medicine that covers nutrition, herbal medicine, massage and homoeopathy. It follows an independent framework that incorporates personal characteristics of women with PCOS as well as features of the disorder. Treatment aims to improve general well-being and promote lifestyle behaviours that reduce the expression of the disorder. Herbal medicine and nutrients are used to improve metabolic function, hormone balance, regulate menstruation and manage natural fertility. Treatment regimens are realistic and practical and designed for lifelong sustainability.
Alana Naturopath, Dr Susan Arentz, published research in 2017 which found significant improvements in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) symptoms in overweight women by combining lifestyle interventions such as diet and exercise with a novel herbal formulation. You can read the published research here.