Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

2646438199_b309cffd65In honor of Women’s Health Month, I felt it important to discuss a syndrome that, like women, is elusive, complex, and foolish to ignore. The syndrome is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

PCOS appears in between 4 and 12% of women seen in American clinics (1. 2) and in 20% of obese women (3). These numbers may be inaccurate, though, because of the variety and inconsistency of criteria for diagnosis in the past, and the myriad of subtle symptoms that go unreported or overlooked.

Symptoms such as acne, mild facial hair or nipple hair, irregular periods, heavy periods, difficulty conceiving, or intermittent pelvic pain may seem unremarkable or easily treatable by themselves, but collectively, they point to a very important diagnosis.

This is disturbing because not only are we at risk for missing the mark on its prevalence, but we may also be missing the diagnosis of PCOS all together.

The possibility of misdiagnosing or ignoring PCOS has significant implications.  There is increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, increased thickening of the endometrial lining and hyper-estrogen related cancers, and cardiovascular disease.

Treatments typically include pharmaceutical hormone regulators such as oral contraceptives and metformin, as well as a recommendation for weight loss in the overweight or obese PCOS patient. While medications have been beneficial for some, many women are opposed to the use of prescription medications unless absolutely necessary.  And women often do not like the side effects associated with these treatments.

More and more, women are asking the question, “Are there any alternative therapies?” The good news is that for many women the answer is yes.

We take an integrated approach to treating PCOS, we use the most effective treatments for your health needs. These can include  lifestyle changes, nutritional therapy, herbs, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, as well as conventional therapies.

Our goal is to get you the best possible outcome.

Regardless of the approach, the goals for treatment are; decreasing circulating insulin and androgens, restoring ovulation and menstrual regularity, weight loss, improving cardiovascular profiles, supporting liver function, and improving the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

If you believe you have symptoms of PCOS, or you already have a diagnosis and are looking for a more holistic approach to treatment, we encourage you to give us a call today.