Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
polycystic ovarian syndrome
Many women with PCOS are unaware of their diagnosis, and their lifestyle choices are wrongly blamed for their symptoms
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome, also known as PCOS or polycystic ovarian disease, is the most common hormonal disorder in women of reproductive age. It affects approximately 6-10% of women of childbearing age, equating to 1 in 10 women. PCOS causes a number of frustrating, and demoralizing symptoms that significantly impact quality of life. There are also a number of long term health consequences associated with the condition.
Unfortunately, many women with PCOS are unaware of their diagnosis, and their lifestyle choices are wrongly blamed for their symptoms. According to recent surveys, women with PCOS noted it takes an average of 2 years and 3 doctors to receive a proper diagnosis of PCOS. Problematically, PCOS looks very different in each woman, making it both difficult to diagnose, as well as easy to overdiagnose. To learn more about this diagnosis issue in PCOS, and to ensure you’ve received a proper diagnosis, check out our blog here.
Symptoms & Long-Term Health Impacts of PCOS
Naturopathic medicine approaches oncofertility care before, during, and after cancer treatment to help you at every stage of your journey.
Common symptoms of PCOS include the following:
Irregular or absent periods
Difficulty getting pregnant
Excessive hair growth on the body
Thinning and hair loss on the head
Weight gain despite exercise and dieting
Long term health consequences of PCOS include the following:
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
If you’ve been dealing with any number or combination of these symptoms, it might be time to have your hormones checked. A proper PCOS diagnosis allows you to get treatment that will actually help ameliorate your symptoms, as well as mitigate long-term health consequences associated with PCOS.
Naturopathic Treatment of PCOS
Naturopathic medicine excels at both diagnosing and successfully treating PCOS, without the use of pharmaceuticals. Research has confirmed that the best course of action for PCOS includes nutritional and lifestyle counselling. Additionally, certain herbs and supplements have been shown to be as effective as medications in the treatment of PCOS. Naturopathic medicine can be used effectively to decrease symptom severity, as well as manage long term risks of PCOS. Our treatments are gentle, evidence informed, and customized to each patient.
PCOS: Goals of Treatment
The goals of naturopathic treatment are four-fold: identify and correct the underlying cause of PCOS, improve symptom severity, prevent associated long-term health risks, and maintain hormonal balance moving forward. Every individual with PCOS has a unique set of symptoms and risk factors, so our treatment goals will be further customized to each person and treatment plan. We aim to improve symptoms such as irregular/absent periods, acne, weight gain, hair loss, excessive hair growth, difficulty conceiving, and blood sugar management.
PCOS: What to Expect from Treatment
If you are struggling with PCOS, or suspect you may have PCOS, here’s a rough outline of what you can expect from naturopathic treatment:
Month 1: Initial Appointment, 60 - 90 Minutes in Length
We complete a thorough social and physical health assessment to identify barriers to hormone health, and your unique PCOS risk factors. A social intake, as well as physical exams will be completed.
We will requisition lab work to get a baseline understanding of your inflammatory response, blood sugar balance, general health, and hormone health. Lab work is used in tandem with your initial health assessment to accurately diagnose or rule out PCOS.
We will complete The Orenda’s PCOS Impact Questionnaire to determine which type of PCOS you have, how it is impacting your quality of life, and how to best treat your unique case.
You will be sent home with an environmental impact questionnaire, to assess your level of environmental exposure.
An initial treatment plan will be provided to get you started on your road to recovery
Month 1: Nutritional Consult, 30-45 Minutes in Length
Once we have received your lab results and environmental impact questionnaire, we will spend an hour going through how to support your body through nutrition based on your unique physiological requirements
You will be provided with customized dietary guidelines, grocery lists, and meal plans unique to you
We will discuss obstacles to compliance, and how to overcome them
Month 2: First Follow Up Appointment, 45-60 Minutes in Length
We review your lab results together, so you fully understand how your body is functioning
We will go through an even more detailed, and customized treatment plan that is specific to your physiological needs and based upon your symptoms and lab results
This is the point where we start tracking your progress. Hormonal imbalances such as PCOS can often take anywhere from 3-9 months to treat.
Months 4-8: Second, Third, Fourth Follow Up Appointments, 45 Minutes in Length
Every two months of customized treatment, we reassess your progress, and reevaluate your goals
We troubleshoot any problems you might be having with treatment or compliance with treatment
We often tweak treatment as needed based on your results. We formulate treatment to further propel you towards your health goals.
By 6-9 months, our goal is that you are feeling much better at this point, and you no longer need us!
We provide you with long-term strategies to help you manage PCOS on your own, and prevent your risk of future disease
Of course, we can’t guarantee results or how you will respond to treatment. Most patients do feel better by 6 months, however some people take longer, whereas others feel better even sooner. Our ultimate goal is that you don’t have to keep seeing us! We aim to have you feeling your best within 4-5 appointments. At this point, we begin to schedule bi-annual to annual check ups to ensure you’re staying on track, and continuing to feel your best.
If you’re suffering from PCOS, our hormone support team is here to help answer your questions and provide safe, effective care. If you would like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact us or book a complimentary 15 minute meet-and-greet with one of our practitioners. For more educational support on PCOS, check out our 8-Week PCOS Series here.