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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) – A Hormonal Disorder Affecting millions of Women

If you knew what major role hormones play in the way your body functions, you’d be more concerned with ensuring they’re balanced. After all, a healthy body produces hormones throughout a woman’s life.

When these hormones become out of kilter, hormonal disorders settle in. The endocrine system is made up of several major glands throughout the body such as the adrenals, thyroid, pancreas, hypothalamus, ovaries, testes and others.

Because these all affect different body processes which include growth, sexual function, reproduction, regulation of fluids, mood, responses to stress and metabolism, you want them to be functioning in tip-top condition.

A Common Hormone Disorder

One of the most common hormone yet most complex disorders for women is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

This can result in the growth of ovarian cysts which can affect a women’s menstrual cycle, cardiac function as well as her fertility. PCOS affects about 20% of Australian women, but there are many cases which go undiagnosed.

You’re Not Looking or Feeling Great

PCOS can manifest with a number of distressing symptoms that can affect a woman’s health and overall body confidence. Weight gain, skin discolouration, scant, irregular or absent menstruation, abnormal body hair growth or alopecia and facial acne.

The exact cause of polycystic ovarian syndrome isn’t 100% known, but there are certain factors which can contribute to this disorder.

  • excess insulin –  Insulin is produced in the pancreas and is used in the treatment and control of diabetes.. When a person is diagnosed as a diabetic, they secrete little or no insulin and the body doesn’t respond appropriately to insulin – it can’t transfer glucose from the bloodstream into cells and maintain blood glucose balance. For women trying to have a baby, excess insulin can increase androgen production which creates difficulty with ovulation.
  • inflammation – this is a way the body defends itself. Research reveals that women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome often exhibit signs of low-grade inflammation. This encourages polycystic ovaries to produce androgens which in turn exacerbates symptoms.

The standard medical approach…

To make a diagnosis for PCOS, with conventional treatments, a doctor will perform tests to rule out certain conditions. They may perform a physical and pelvic examination, do blood-, glucose- and thyroid function tests as well as a vaginal ultrasound test.

Standard medical treatments usually involve a prescription for the oral contraceptive pill to regulate a woman’s cycle, insulin regulating medications to control blood sugar, clomid to help encourage ovulation and enhance fertility and statins to control cholesterol.

Whilst these treatments can be useful, they are not truly addressing the underlying causes of PCOS.

Helping Your Body Help Itself

Naturopathic treatments can be very useful for managing PCOS.

A naturopath will initially assess your unique profile and case history using physical examination and blood work, then recommend a tailored program which may include….

  • Detoxification and weight management protocols. Diet is imperative for treating PCOS. A loss even as little as 5% of your body weight will reduce insulin resistance and improve PCOS symptoms.
  • Dietary modifications including lowering your intake of refined carbohydrates and sugar.
  • Consuming the appropriate combination of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.
  • Taking hormone regulating herbal medicines.

Exercise and lifestyle management.

You’ll be amazed how well you can feel!

Nature Empowers your Body to Heal Itself

With naturopathy, the body is provided with the appropriate elements needed to heal and re-balance. Treatment isn’t given to merely mask or alleviate symptoms but to support the body’s natural healing ability and establish optimal hormone balance.

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