Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a hormonal imbalance in the ovaries. It affects one in ten women of childbearing age and is the number one cause of infertility. With polycystic ovarian syndrome, the egg released each month during the menstrual cycle may not develop as it should, or it may not be released at all. (1) PCOS symptoms include irregular or missed menstrual periods, which can lead to infertility or the development of cysts in the ovaries.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Pregnancy
PCOS symptoms often appear between the ages of 20 and 30. Polycystic ovarian syndrome weight gain, irregular menstrual cycles and thinning hair are common signs of the condition. Having polycystic ovarian syndrome does not mean a woman cannot get pregnant, but it is one of the most common causes of infertility in women. (2) The hormonal imbalance caused by PCOS interferes with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries. Without ovulation, a woman cannot get pregnant.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is often diagnosed through physical exams, pelvic exams, pelvic ultrasounds or blood tests. The exact cause of the condition is unknown, but researchers believe that several different factors play a role, including genetics. (3) High levels of insulin and high levels of male hormones in the body are two factors that may lead to PCOS.
Less than 50% of women who have PCOS are properly diagnosed. Symptoms can come and go depending on lifestyle and other factors. Understanding the symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome can help women recognize the major health issue that’s causing their underlying symptoms. (4) PCOS symptoms include:
- Irregular periods
- Missed peroids
- Trouble conceiving
- Changes in weight, weight gain and trouble losing weight
- Insulin resistance
- High testosterone levels
- Excessive hair growth in unusual places such as on the face and abdomen
- Male pattern baldness, thinning hair
- Changes in mood
- Low sex drive
- Darkening of the skin
- Skin tags
- Pelvic pain
- Sleep problems
Other Health Problems Associated With PCOS
Having PCOS can also raise the risk of other health problems. More than half of women who have the condition will have diabetes or pre-diabetes before the age of 40. (5) Women with PCOS are also at a greater risk of having high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety and endometrial cancer.
There are several natural ways to help reverse the imbalance of hormones associated with PCOS and other health issues that are linked to disease:
- Eat a healthy diet – Fill your diet with whole, nutrient-dense foods. Packaged, processed foods can contain synthetic hormones and other toxic chemicals that can wreak havoc on your hormone levels.
- Lower stress levels – Chronic stress can have major negative impacts on the endocrine system and hormone production. Get plenty of sleep and find stress-relieving activities to help reduce anxiety levels.
- Exercise – Exercise can help with hormonal balance by reducing stress levels and helping you maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoid exposure to chemicals – Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the body’s natural hormones. To reduce your exposure, use safe and natural beauty products and household cleaning products.
1. Mayo Clinic
2. Women’s Health
4. PCOS Awareness Association
5. Women’s Health