PCOS Treatment vs Healing
TRANSCRIPT EPISODE 104
PCOS or Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a silent disorder and like most things that are left unchecked or routinely masked with medications it often has downstream issues that land women in a poly-autoimmune state. PCOS is a fancy word for a hormonal imbalance that is one of the most common hormonal disorders in women. It’s closely associated with infertility, and a whole host of symptoms for women of child-bearing age. There tends to be a heavy emotional energetic burden that comes with PCOS as well.
Along with the risks and symptoms that come with PCOS, there are often downstream effects that begin as a result of the initial imbalance or the treatments that go with it. Women are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, mood disorders, endometrial cancer, fatty liver, sleep apnea, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome and heart disease, and whole host of autoimmune conditions - specifically thyroid issues.
The good news is there are many natural ways to treat PCOS symptoms, in fact dare I say that the natural ways are more effective because you heal the body rather than just mask the symptoms. It all starts with doing everything you can to balance hormones naturally - and that is what we are talking about today.
It’s also a good time to invite you to my upcoming free class on balancing your hormones naturally - taking place on Facebook in a private group dedicated to hormones - that way you can ask your questions and get the answers you need. Class starts Friday March 6 and you will have a full week to consume the content afterwards. and it starts with doing everything you can to balance hormones naturally. You can jump in here.
In this class, Hormone Balance- Sleep, Stress, and PMS, you are going to learn:
- Simple ways to get rid of your stress without having to spend all day meditating.
- The connection between your sleep, hormones, and even your body weight.
- How essential oils, nutrition, other plant medicine, and energy medicine can be used to balance your hormones so you can sleep better, feel less stressed, and finally deal with PMS (and Menopause symptoms) for good.
- Plus so much more on PCOS and Endometriosis too! (I love to over-deliver!)
Just head over here and drop your email address in to join. Did I mention...its free?
Before we dive into PCOS we need to set a framework of what hormones are - right? Knowledge is power my friends!
Hormones are not just about periods and hot flashes and reproductive function, although that will be our primary focus in today’s episode. It’s important for you to know that hormones are chemical messengers at play in our bodies that influence nearly all functions - everything from temperature to heartbeat, blood sugar to fertility, mood to sleep patterns.
Also important to know is that they are all interconnected, so if you are having a probelm with hormones commonly associated with or thought of as reproductive hormones, you are certainly having issues in areas outside of the reproductive system as well, even if you don’t know it yet. Since hormones are interconnected, they really have a domino or cascade effect, meaning even with PCOS we need to pay attention to more than just estrogen and progesterone.
Where do hormones come from?
Our endocrine system is responsible for synthesizing and secreting hormones, but some other organs also produce hormones even though that's not their main function. The endocrine is kinda funny like the immune system - there are some dedicated organs but by enlarge all the organs in the body play a role.
Although most people know that the reproductive system produces hormones, we sometimes ignore the important function of our adrenal glands, thyroids, and pancreas. Even our adipose tissue, or fat, plays a role in the secretion and release of certain hormones.
Where does PCOS come from?
As I mentioned, PCOS is one of the most common hormonal imbalances affecting women today. An interesting aspect of it is that it almost always is accompanied by insulin resistance. Without diving too far off into insulin resistance - if you are unfamilar it is when the body doesnt have the proper response to insulin and it causes blood sugars to be elevated. Insulin resistance is often a pre-cursor to diabetes.
Trends show that somewhere between 6 percent to 21 percent of women of childbearing age are affected by PCOS and that of those numbers less than half are properly diagnosed. Which means that millions are wondering what is causing their symptoms.
PCOS is a tree with many roots, it can develop for a number of different reasons, and symptoms can vary a lot from woman to woman. Conventional medicine will tell you there is no “cure” for PCOS but it we know in the functional and integrative world that PCOS is just a hormonal imbalance and that is simple to re-balance with lifestyle and natural techniques.
What are PCOS symptoms?
Women with PCOS may struggle with a wide variety of symptoms including weight gain, fatigue, facial or excess body hair growth, Thinning hair on the head, Infertility, Acne, Irritability, Insomnia, and Headaches.
Conventional treatment of PCOS is dependent upon whether or not you are trying to get pregnant. I am excited to share that my methods have helped 9 women to conceive who were previously on a PCOS infertility journey.
By in large for women trying to get pregnant the treatment is around managing cycles and trying to get produce ovulation and success pregnancy, usually this involves massive doses of hormones.
For those who aren’t trying to conceive, and are trying to manage the symptoms - usually you will find a combination of metformin and oral contraceptive. Often successfully masking the symptoms but leading to much worse downstream health problems. I touched on it here (common medicat epsidoe) but will be doing a full epsiode coming up on the issue with long term oral birth control usage.
Healing PCOS looks very different treating PCOS. When healing PCOS we are taking into account the whole body, from a body mind and energy perspective.
As with all dis-ease in the body, there isn’t 1 aspect of your habits that you can change and have it be the “lock and key” of healing your PCOS. It has multiple roots and to achieve full healing, you have to address them all.
Nutritionally, there are a few methods of nourishing the body that reduce the symptoms and balance the underlying hormonal issues to heal PCOS. Rather than giving it a lable - I would call it an anti inflammatory diet protocol. One that is high in omega 3s, high in whole plant foods. It’s what I would call moderate protein, high fat, low carb if you wanted to get all macro about it. The specific foods to include depend on the specific root causes for each person so you can dial that nutrition in even further.
Supplements for PCOS
Go figure, God, Nature, Universe, what ever your name is for your higher power had it pretty well figured out when it comes to food in its original form having all the components needed to successfully digest it and put it to use in our human suits.
This means that you can supplement to help push healing a little faster but ultimately as a stand alone option its not going to work.
Micro-nutrients to consider include Vitamin D3 + K2, this improves insulin sensitivity, increase weight loss success, slow the formation of ovarian cysts, regulate periods, minimize inflammation, reduce oxidative stress, lower cholesterol, lower high triglycerides and reduce androgens in the bloodstream.
Additionally for insulin resistance a micronutrient is inositol, a sugar alcohol chemical compound found in cantaloupe and oranges. I will be teaching you a simple way to get this same chemical messenger action of inositol without eating the whole orchard in the upcoming Hormone Balance: Sleep, Stress, and PMS class.
Magnesium, Zinc, Calcium, and one of my favorite adaptogens, Ashwaghanda are all beneifical in supporting your human suit to heal.
Getting enough sleep is crticial to healing PCOS - that is when the body does the heavy lifting in hormone regulation. Remember that sleep is a 24 hour cycle, so your sleep is dependent on what you did during the day to support it, including managing your stress levels.
Most humans need 7-8 hours, but studies show that getting better than 9 hours of sleep is needed to heal PCOS.
Avoiding exposure to endocrine disruptors is critical for healing PCOS. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the production, release, transport, metabolism or elimination of the body’s natural hormones. Women with hormonal disorders like PCOS are very sensitive to this type of endocrine disruption. Much more at risk than those who don’t have PCOS.
Things to avoid include plastics, pesticides, chemicals in home cleaning supplies, and cosmetics.
It would be incomplete not to consider the energetic levels that contribute to PCOS and I don’t just mean from a fatigue perspective. PCOS sufferers often carry an overdeveloped sense of accountability for the welfare of those around her. Sometimes its a long lasting deeply implanted feeling have constantly having to “cover the bases” or “run the show” and can even develop into feeling cut off or abandoned by her higher power.
Working on this deep seated energetic stuff is simple, but it isn’t always easy and is often the “missing piece” to finding the lasting healing that you may be looking for. I often have my clients wake up and repeat a mantra in their head a few times just to start the day that helps to reverse this issue.
These are generally very custom to the person and circumstances, but one broad reaching mantra would be:
“I am willing to release the pattern in my consciousness that has created this condition.”
To wrap this up:
PCOS is a common issue and isn’t diagnosed as often as it occurs. Know that healing is simple but not easy and that treatment only dresses up the outward appearance.
Fully leaning in to the physicial, emotional and energetic healing can allow for hormone levels to balance, fertility to return, and symptoms to subside.
If you think this route is for you, feel free to jump on a complimentary case review.
Thanks for listening to the Naturalistic Nurse Podcast, if you’d like to contribute to this podcasting effort of getting the work out about how to shift your practice to ditch the bandaid fix and shift to root cause resolutions that stick be sure and subscribe, rate and leave a review - I’d be oh- so grateful.