Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

What is PCOS?

PCOS, technically called polycystic ovary syndrome, is a condition that affects your ovaries.  One of the main symptoms in PCOS patients is high levels of androgens (male hormones).  Researchers believe that the higher levels of androgens interfere with your ovaries, the hormones they produce, and the process of ovulation.  In this article we’ll describe the main symptoms and causes of PCOS, and how Chinese Medicine can help you treat it.

How Does PCOS Affect My Ovaries?

In healthy ovaries, a hormone called follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) triggers the growth of a follicle that contains an egg.  When the egg has matured enough, another hormone called luteinising hormone (LH) allows the ovary to release the egg.  This is called ovulation.  However, in polycystic ovaries, there are many small follicles filled with fluid and immature eggs that never mature enough to be released.  This lack of ovulation disrupts the normal balance of hormones, leading to symptoms such as irregular periods, excess hair growth, and darker patches of skin.

PCOS Symptoms:

If you have PCOS, you might experience symptoms such as:

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Irregular menstrual periods, which can occur due to a lack of ovulation
  • Heavy bleeding during your period.  When you skip a period due to an absence of ovulation, the endometrial lining keeps building up. This means that more blood will be released when you do get your period.
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Excessive hair growth.  This is called hirsutism, and may occur on your face, chest, back, or abdomen.
  • Acne
  • Patches of darker skin

Although you may not experience all these symptoms, doctors will generally diagnose PCOS if you have two out of the three main symptoms:

  • High levels of androgens (male hormones)
  • Irregular periods
  • Ovarian cysts

Your androgen levels can be checked by having a blood test, while problems with your ovaries and uterus can be checked by a pelvic exam or ultrasound scan.

Causes of PCOS:

The exact cause of PCOS is still to be discovered by researchers.  However, they believe that the syndrome is related to insulin resistance, inflammation, and genes. 

Many people who suffer from PCOS are also resistant to insulin.  This means that their cells find it very hard to use insulin to obtain energy from blood sugar.  This increases the body’s demand for insulin, so the pancreas produces more insulin than usual.  The increased insulin levels in the body can trigger the ovaries to make more androgens, resulting in the hormone imbalance of PCOS. 

Inflammation can also lead to higher levels of androgens.  Interestingly, being overweight or obese can contribute to both insulin resistance as well as inflammation.  Aside from insulin resistance and inflammation, PCOS may also be related to genetic factors.

How Can Chinese Medicine Help?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

If you’re looking for a natural and holistic treatment for PCOS, come along to Centre of Balance!  Our team of friendly professionals practise Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments like acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine.  The great thing about Chinese Medicine is that your treatment is tailored to your unique individual needs and addresses the underlying imbalances in your body that cause your symptoms.  Chinese Medicine is very effective for treating many health issues including PCOS, and rarely presents any unwanted side effects.

Conclusion:

Overall, PCOS is a syndrome in which high levels of androgens cause disruptions in the hormones and ovulation processes.  This can lead to symptoms like irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth, and acne.  Researchers believe that PCOS may be caused by a combination of insulin resistance, inflammation, and genetic factors.  For an effective, holistic treatment for PCOS, come along to Centre of Balance.  Our qualified practitioners can develop an individualised treatment plan to get you back to optimal health.

Click here to find out more about how Chinese Medicine can help with fertility issues. (https://balancetcm.co.nz/category/fertility-treatment/)

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References:

Watson, S. (2021, April 19). Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/polycystic-ovary-disease Centre of Balance: Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine (n.d.). Archive for category: Fertility Treatment. https://balancetcm.co.nz/category/fertility-treatment/