Poly Cycstic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

pcosPoly = many Cysts = Fluid filled sac
PCOS = many fluid filled sacs on the ovaries
PCOS is the most common hormonal problem in women in the reproductive age group; 1:6 women have the genetic tendency to develop PCOS.

In a normal ovary, a single egg develops and is released from the ovary each month ovulation. In PCOS normal ovulation is inhibited, and the eggs become trapped in the ovaries. This results in fluid collected in the follicle (sac) which swells and is called a cyst. 

PCOS runs in families however the exact cause of this hormonal imbalance is unclear. It appears to be linked to elevations in blood levels of insulin (insulin resistance) which then reduce the liver's ability to produce a protein called SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin). This in turn causes elevated levels of free testosterone which then inhibit ovulation and the PCOS cycle continues.

There are a cluster of symptoms associated with PCOS that include: 

Irregular or absent menstruation
Hirsuitism - excessive hair growth
Acne, skin tags, dark patches
Sweet cravings
Elevated androgen hormones (Testosterone) 
Male pattern baldness 
Fertility problems
Symptoms may occur singularly or in clusters.

Diagnosis of PCOS usually follows finding of ovarian cysts on ultrasound, changes in blood results with elevated androgen hormones, blood sugar, cholesterol and insulin levels irregularities and the presence of one or more of the above symptoms.

You may have increased risk of developing PCOS with a history of eating disorders or over exercise. Patients may also have the PCO Syndrome in the absence of visible cysts on ultrasound.

Treating PCOS involves correcting the hormonal imbalance through establishing normal menstrual cycles and relieving the symptoms. Down regulating excessive Testosterone and Oestrogens while improving Progesterone levels and treating the primary imbalances on sugar/insulin is the aim of therapy. This results in correcting the symptoms created by the above imbalances.

As these ladies are not ovulating they have a natural Progesterone deficiency as it is primarily produced following ovulation. They respond very well to supplementation. Synthetic Progestogen cannot be used with this group as they can further exacerbate both cholesterol and insulin imbalances Progesterone.

Using supplements, like high dose Chromium Picolinate helps the cells to communicate better with the insulin hormones thereby improving the uptake of insulin and treating the root cause of PCOS and DIM (Di Indoylmethane) which helps down-regulate stronger oestrogens to reduce the effects of unopposed oestrogens on the uertus are also essential for healing with PCOS A healthy diet and a reasonable exercise regime is also critical for the treatment of this condition.

It is possible both to effectively treat PCOS and help women with condition to conceive once they are hormonally balanced.

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Bu S Z et al. (1997) Progesterone induces apoptosis and upregulation of p53 expression in human ovarian carcinoma cell lines. Cancer. May 15:79(10): 1944-50.
Lee J.R. (1999).  “What your doctor may not tell you about premenopause.” New York, NY. Warner Books
Cabot: Sandra. (2004). Don’t let hormones ruin your life. Australia. WHAS Pty Ltd.