PCOS, What is that? PCOS is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, cancer, infertility, and more. PCOS is caused from hormonal imbalances in a women’s body that has a wide variety of symptoms.
It is estimated that up to 21% of women of reproductive age have PCOS and it is also estimated that approximately 50% are undiagnosed. (1)
Many women silently suffer with PCOS because they think their symptoms are common. But we disagree! JUST BECAUSE IT IS COMMON, DOES NOT MEAN IT IS NORMAL.
PCOS is a hormone imbalance. Many people, including Doctors, think of cysts first because it’s in the name, but it’s not just about the cysts. It’s about the hormones needed to make sure your body develops the follicle into an egg that releases properly. If your body is not operating properly and you have very low hormones, or simply none at all, your body is going to potentially develop the symptoms of PCOS that ultimately make you feel worse.
For women who are cyclic, your hormones are always in a state of transition. In fact, they transition 4 times per month. That is what your hormones are supposed to do. When an egg develops, the hormone estradiol rises and sends a signal to the brain that it is time for ovulation. If your estradiol level is too high or too low, then the brain is not receiving the proper signal and it is not quite sure what it should do. So, at that time you could be ovulating or not. If that egg doesn’t drop, then the potential for cysts exists.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM IMBALANCED?
It is simple. Get tested! At The Wellness Way Centennial, we never guess what your body is doing. We test your hormones which then help guide our Doctors in formulating a customized health plan based on your test results. Three major mediums are used to measure hormone levels: blood, urine, and saliva. Depending on the individual case, one or more may be necessary. The next step involves knowing whether there is a hormone production or hormone conversion issue, or potentially a combination of the two. With a full understanding of how the body works and where the hormone levels are at, a game plan can be established to help restore the normal dynamics of the hormones.
POTENTIAL SYMPTOMS OF IMBALANCED HORMONES
No one person is the same. Every woman will experience symptoms differently which is another reason it is important to get properly tested. Did you know that estrogen is NOT a hormone? It is actually an umbrella term for all of your hormones. So, here are some potential symptoms associated with PCOS and a hormonal imbalance.
High Sex Drive
Your ovaries produce small amounts of male hormones, like androgens. The higher levels can lead to hair growth for women in unwanted places like the lip, chin, nipples or abdomen.
Irregular Period or No Period at All
Is your period missing in action? Are you all over the place when it comes to menstruation? Your hormonal imbalance confuses the brain on when an egg should be released or when it should shed the uterine lining. Missing a period is common, but not normal. A good sign you need your hormones tested.
Are you having trouble sleeping? Can’t fall asleep or stay asleep at night? PCOS or a hormonal imbalance can set off a vicious cycle that results in lack of sleep.
Missing a period is one thing. Having a heavy period is another. If your uterine lining is still building between periods, this can lead to a very heavy period or potentially a painful period.
These Pants Fit Me Last Month
Have you noticed some weight gain around the waist and hips? PCOS and hormonal imbalances can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin is the hormone that signals to your body on what it should do with the sugar that is in your blood. It is estimated that 50-70% of women diagnosed with PCOS have a form of insulin resistance.
That acne from your high school years has returned. Like hair growth, high levels of androgens can increase the acne on your face, and potentially cause cysts to appear on the face as well. This is a clear warning sign that an underlying hormonal imbalance or PCOS is lurking in your uterus.
Anxiety, depression, erratic mood swings, lack of sleep, heavy periods are all closely tied to a hormonal imbalance like PCOS. Whether you like it or not, your hormones are what make you who you are and how you feel.
Unfortunately, the majority of women diagnosed with PCOS experience cysts and/or infertility (possibly up to 80%!!). (2) Most Doctor’s don’t understand the physiology of the female body, which will oftentimes lead down the wrong path for treatment.
What can cause PCOS and Hormonal Imbalance?
Birth Control Pills: Birth Control disrupts your hormones and can lead to many health problems.
Mental Stress: Mental stress is the biggest contributor to why transitional hormones are out of control today.
Endocrine Disruptors: These are chemicals that mess with your hormones and endocrine system. Endocrine Disruptors are often found in shampoo, pans, laundry soap, perfume, and other commonly used items. Soy is also an endocrine disruptor.
Inflammation: When there is chronic inflammation in the body, your hormones can be disrupted and/or fail to transition and convert properly. Inflammation can be caused by any or all of the Three T’s: Traumas, Toxins, Thoughts.
Begin Your PCOS Healing Journey
As you can see, a little imbalance of a woman’s hormones can lead down a path of failing health. If you are experiencing any of the above, we want you to know you are not crazy, your hormones could be out of whack. The good news is you can begin your journey to healing and balancing your hormones with proper testing.