PCOS is a multi-faceted endocrine and metabolic disorder that affects women in the childbearing year (reproductive age). It stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome and is also be called polycystic ovarian disorder. This name can be misleading, because while one can have multiple cysts on their ovaries, it’s possible to have PCOS and not have polycystic ovaries.
You can also have PCOS and not know it, because it isn’t routinely screened for. Until recently, the emphasis has been on the detection of polycystic ovaries, and not the accompanying symptoms. Women with PCOS are at risk of developing diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, digestive disorders, autoimmune disorders, and ovarian cancer.
PCOS may be genetic or autoimmune in nature, or caused by hormonal birth control. Hypothyroidism and Epstein-Barr Virus may play a role.*
PCOS symptoms include but are not limited to
- Multiple small cysts on your ovaries
- Hirsutism — excessive hair growth, especially on chin, neck, chest, and abdomen
- Male pattern balding around the edge of your hairline, hair thinning
- Skipped periods or no periods altogether
- Having a period, but not ovulating
- Unexplained weight gain and difficulty releasing it
- Elevated androgen levels (testosterone)
- Estrogen dominance
- Low progesterone
- Fatigue or low energy, even if you’re getting 6-8 hours of sleep
- High cholesterol
- Insulin resistance
- Infertility, including secondary infertility
Please keep in mind that this list is just some of the symptoms brought on by PCOS, and not everyone has the same or all of the symptoms. It’s also important that you get the right bloodwork done, and not just an ultrasound to determine if you have PCOS.
Unchecked PCOS may lead to type 2 diabetes, uncontrollable and excessive weight gain, and cardiovascular disease.
While unwanted and uncontrollable weight gain is one of the main external/visible symptoms of PCOS, you can also be lean with PCOS.
Hormonal birth control, pregnancy, hysterectomy, and menopause do not resolve PCOS.
As a PCOS Health Coach, I show women over 35 how to reclaim their menstrual cycles and nourish their bodies from the inside out. My clients learn how to read their periods for hormonal and nutrition imbalances, optimize their food and physical activity to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation, and advocate for themselves while navigating the healthcare system.
When you learn how to honor your body’s wisdom and treat yourself well, you’ll discover that:
Fit is not a clothing size.
Fertility is more than just for making babies.
Freedom is an inside job.
And you don’t have to suffer with PCOS.
How to work with me