A Functional Medicine Approach to Addressing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Affecting up to 5 million women who are of reproductive age, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is often not diagnosed until a woman discovers difficulty becoming pregnant. As one of the most common causes of infertility, it can be extremely frustrating for couples hoping to conceive. This blog will share specific details on PCOS, its causes, symptoms, and how it is most effectively treated.
What causes PCOS?
According to the Mayo Clinic, the exact cause of PCOS remains unknown. However, androgen levels that are higher than normal can play an important role. Additionally, excess weight and family history – both of which are related to insulin resistance – can be contributors too. With that being said, early diagnosis and treatment and weight loss may help lower the risk of long-term complications experienced by PCOS, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. More than half of women with PCOS develop type 2 diabetes by age 40.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
PCOS typically begins soon after the first menstrual period, as young as age 11 or 12. However, sometimes symptoms do develop later on, between ages 20 and 30. PCOS signs and symptoms are typically more severe in people with obesity. It is important to note that the symptoms of PCOS vary between individuals. To learn more about the symptoms associated with it, read our previous blog here.
A PCOS diagnosis is made when you have at least two of these symptoms:
- Irregular periods or no periods caused by lack of ovulation.
Having infrequent menstrual periods, periods that aren’t regular, or periods that last for long durations (past 7 days) are common signs of PCOS.
- Too much androgen.
High levels of the hormone androgen may result in hirsutism, which is excess facial and body hair. Sometimes, severe acne and male-pattern baldness can happen, too.
- Polycystic ovaries.
Your ovaries might be bigger. Many follicles containing immature eggs may develop around the edge of the ovary. For this reason, the ovaries might not work the way they should.
How does functional medicine, and OnePeak Medical specifically, help with PCOS?
At OnePeak Medical, it is our belief that an underlying issue generally causes PCOS. For this reason, it is essential that we first get to the root cause and build out a treatment plan specific to you. Initially, we start with onsite blood draws and laboratory testing to check your hormones and determine the underlying culprit. Once we have these results and based on what they uncover, we will recommend specific supplements, dietary and lifestyle changes, and an overall holistic approach aimed at balancing your hormones to get you back on track to feeling your best.
When to seek help
You should see a OnePeak Medical provider if you’re worried about your periods, are having trouble getting pregnant, or have signs of excess androgen.
Our providers are experts at treating hormonal imbalances and want to ensure their patients are cared for and treated in the best possible way. If you suspect PCOS could be causing you problems, or if you suspect any other hormonal issue, book an appointment with one of our amazing providers today.