Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Last week I received the news from both my naturopath and acupunturist, that they believe that I have polycystic ovarian syndrome. While I have not been medically tested for it through an ultra sound, all my symptoms point to this syndrome.

Obviously, I will get tested for it when I go to the fertility clinic (more on this in a post coming up soon), but the problem with the cysts is that they can come and go and therefore cannot always be seen on an ultra sound. Both doctors and naturopaths acknowledge that is a very difficult syndrome to conclusively diagnose.

Some of the symptoms for this hormone disorder are:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles - menstruation may be less frequent due to less frequent ovulation, and may be either heavier or lighter than average.
  • Amenorrhoea - some women with PCOS do not menstruate, in some cases for many years.
  • Obesity - the cause of this is unclear.
  • Excessive hair growth and/or facial hair - may be due to increased testosterone.
  • Acne - the cause is unclear.
  • Infertility - related to less frequent or absent ovulation.
  • Sugar cravings
  • Increased LH, lower FSH levels, progesterone is low, testosterone is high.

I have 6 of these symptoms, including the test results. And the three main ones for their diagnosis are the fact that I haven't ovulated for the last 2 months, irregular periods and my higher levels of testosterone along with my other hormone test results. While the lack of ovulation could be my age, when combined with other symptoms they are fairly certain of this diagnosis.

So, treatment has begun to help. Whether I truly have this syndrome doesn't matter in regards to treatment, because what I am being given is all good for helping us to conceive anyway.

One important thing for me to do is cut out sugars. Just like with candida, sugars and high GI foods feed the cysts. Normalizing insulin and blood sugar levels is an essential part of treatment and assists in stimulating ovulation.
I have also started to wonder if it is sugar that is giving me these headaches. I'm not sure yet, but I began to wonder about the link a couple of days ago and am keeping a close eye on it now. Any just maybe, with the cysts and my hormones being treated, any sugar is just freaking out my system.

Several supplements are essential to reduce excess androgens, improve insulin function and hormonal regulation by the ovaries. B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, chromium, Omega 3 oils, Dong Quai. Most of these I have been taking for some time now - especially B vits and Omega 3 oils.

In doing more research on this, I discovered the following definition...

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), also known as Stein-Leventhal syndrome is a condition characterized by an imbalance of hormones in women which can affect menstrual periods and ovulation. Women are often very embarrassed and upset by some of the symptoms associated with this condition such as excessive hair
growth, acne, obesity and the growth of small cysts on the ovaries. It is also one of the leading causes of infertility. Because of these distressing symptoms, women may also experience feelings of depression and anxiety.

It makes me wonder how long I have had this condition for. Irregular periods and weight control have been the bane of my life for a long time. And plucking hairs out of my chin and neck began many years ago. Nothing extreme, just a few here and there, but it makes me wonder...


  1. Thank you for this informative post. I think you are definitely right about sugar's affect on our bodies . Since entering menopause, I see a huge increase in my hot flashes when I overeat anything sweet. When I follow a healthy diet, I hardly notice any symptoms.

  2. I am glad you are getting more and more information and that you are understanding your body more.

  3. Thats interesting Deb, about your experiences with sugar increasing the hot flashes. If only the knowledge of the affects of sugar would take away the craving for it!!

    Thanks Nicci. ((hugs))