Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a complex female endocrine disorder that affects between 5% and 10% of women. PCOS is on the rise, and is the most common cause of infertility, but in my experience it is still largely misunderstood by many health care professionals.
There are a wide variety of symptoms, and women with this condition may suffer with all or just some of them. The name “polycystic ovary syndrome” is misleading because you can have PCOS with or without ovarian cysts, and if you do have ovarian cysts, it does not necessarily mean that you have PCOS. The cysts associated with PCOS are actually eggs that do not get released from the ovary because of abnormal hormone levels. When viewed on an ultrasound scan, the unreleased eggs look like a string of pearls sitting on the ovary.
Other symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome are menstrual disorders, infertility, and high levels of masculinising hormones to name a few. Some women will also struggle with depression, although it is unknown whether this is a direct impact of the disease itself or as a result of having it.
Diagnosis usually occurs through an ultrasound test on the ovaries and/or a number of blood tests.
If you are diagnosed with this condition, you will likely be told that there is no cure for it and often younger women will be put on the contraceptive pill until they wish to conceive. They may well be then taken by surprise when all their symptoms return oncethey stop taking the pill.
So, if like me, you have a diagnosis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, what can you do to help yourself?
I was diagnosed with this condition at age 14 (I am now 42),and I very quickly realized that I was going to have to help myself to improve the symptoms. Often Doctors will tell you that you need to lose weight, because losing even a small amount of weight can improve your symptoms, however, by having polycystic ovary syndrome can make it extremely challenging to lose weight with a traditional diet.
If you have a Polycystic ovary syndrome you need to cut down on the sugar and refined carbohydrates as well as the bad saturated fats. This is where the help of a Nutritional Therapist may come in helpful. A Nutritional Therapist will design an individual diet plan just for you, as we are all unique and Nutritional Therapy is about ensuring your body has the correct nutrients to function correctly. This will then ensure that you lose weight in a healthy way.
For me, as with many other women it was very difficult to conceive, my cycle was very erratic and when I did have a period it was very heavy in the extreme. There are a number of ways I found helpful with managing these symptoms, Homeopathy, Acupuncture and Reflexology all played a part in helping me to balance my body.
I am not suggesting that you should have lots of different therapies at once, but in my experience it may take a while to find what works for you, I have tried different therapies throughout my life as my symptoms have changed over time.
Happily, I did manage to conceive, and I now have 2 healthy teenage boys.
With this this condition, as with many other chronic conditions, learning to deal with the stress in your life and learning to relax are vital as stress has a negative impact on your hormonal system. For me, Craniosacral therapy and meditation go a long way to helping me with this. You may also find it necessary to find someone to talk about the implications of having a chronic condition, Polycystic ovary syndrome is a complicated condition that can leave you feeling down at different times in your life and having someone to talk to can be very empowering.
As I have said there are many different things you can do to help yourself with this condition. I am not suggesting that my way is the only way or the right combination of therapies for everyone. But, in my opinion, it is worth trying to find a combination that works for YOU. All of the therapies I have mentioned are safe and natural and can only do you good. Don’t ignore any doctor’s advice, but there are lots of ways to help yourself that can work safely alongside conventional medicine and leave you in a much healthier position.
Most importantly, when choosing a therapist check that they have knowledge of your condition and the symptoms you are experiencing. Hopefully, by working with a therapist, and taking time to look after yourself, you too could start to alleviate some of the nasty symptoms that PCOS can bring.
Edited: Carla Moore
Photo Credit: Wendy Conibear