Infertility, irregular periods, additional and darker hair growth are some noticeable side effects. It is similar to diabetes, but it does not only affect overweight women.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome affects between six to ten per cent of women in Canada, according to Canadian Women’s Health Network.
But what is PCOS? Naturopath at the Rebirth Centre, Antoinette Falco explains PCOS as a hormone disorder, “That typically affects the ovarian function. It affects women typically in their twenties and thirties. Clinically, it usually presents with an androgen excess.”
She continues, “Androgen is a male sex hormone that will present with… hair on the chest or back, or even on the face. Jawline acne, as well as abdominal obesity. That being said, we’re also finding PCOS can be present in thinner people…A major issue is it’s related to insulin sensitivity. So, there’s a dis-regulation in blood sugar.”
Another issue mentioned by Falco are ovarian cysts. Which can be found by ultra sound.
Reproductive Endocrinologist Dr. Basim Aburafea says missed periods are not good, because it is like missing a month of internal cleaning. Without that monthly cleaning the risk of infertility becomes higher.
He also says, some ethnicities have a higher chance of having the syndrome.
“Very high rates are reported from Southwest Asia, like India, and the Middle East… It’s much lower for the caucasian population.”
Words to live by for spotting PCOS are, “Listen to your body.”
How is it diagnosed?
If you have noticed any of the signs mentioned above, you should visit the doctor to avoid any possible problems.
Dr. Aburafea says in order to diagnose the syndrome is to eliminate the rest of the possibilities first.
Because the syndrome is diagnosed by exclusion, it can go mis-or un-diagnosed.
Falco tells us a common scenario.
Typically women in their teen years who may experience irregularities during their period or are getting a lot of pain, may go see the doctor; “They may recommend…birth control to regulate your cycle and reduce some of the symptoms. Women can be on that for a number of years, and it doesn’t get diagnosed, per se, till they want to start a family and want to start having kids and then they go off the pill and they’re still having issues.”
How to live with PCOS
Both Dr. Aburafea and Naturopath Falco agree, a healthy diet filled with low-glycemic foods with exercise is the best path to take for managing PCOS.
Falco says, “It’s all about regulating your blood sugar. Similarly concerned with diabetes, is that we want to make sure people are eating the right foods. So, eating whole foods. Having an adequate number of fruits and vegetables. And fibre, fibre is very important for regulating blood sugar.”
She adds, “Consuming foods that have a low-glycemic index and exercise.”
The Glycemic index are foods with effects on blood sugar. Glucose is sugar, so the less sugar in your food the healthier it is.
There’s always hope
Falco says through lifestyle management the syndrome is treatable and reversible. Saying, “You can seek the right resources. You can get help. You can overcome this, have a healthy life and a baby. And all the things you would want in a life.”
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is preventable, treatable and reversible.
Go see a professional if you’ve noticed anything odd with your body. A few hours out of your day could save you years of struggle in the future.