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Balancing Your Hormones and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

If your hormones are out of balance both your physical and mental health goes out of balance, and this can be more true in women with PCOS than in the case of others. PCOS is an abnormality caused by hormonal imbalance and it can increase a woman’s risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as infertility and uterine cancer. It can also be triggered by genetics combined with environmental factors.

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A Brief Overview

Genes play a major role when it comes to PCOS. If one or more members of the family are obese, have diabetes or have a history of PCOS, it is likely that this condition will pass on to the next generations. If you are someone who has an excess daily calorie intake or is someone who eats a lot of simple carbohydrates it can lead to insulin resistance and PCOS or vice versa.

Hyperinsulinism and insulin resistance cause your ovaries to release more testosterone, which is very unusual for a woman’s biology. PCOS is mostly harmful to women because it interrupts the process of ovulation, disrupts their menstrual cycle and even in certain cases thickens their uterine wall which is a leading cause of uterine cancer.

What Is PCOS?

PCOS is a hormonal disorder condition in which the ovary produces an abnormal amount of androgens or male sex hormones that are usually found in women in small quantities. The name polycystic ovarian syndrome means numerous small cysts that start growing in the ovary. However, some women who do suffer from this hormonal disorder might not have cysts, and on the other hand, some women without this disorder can develop cysts.

Common Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of PCOS may include:

  1. Women may miss their periods, experience irregular periods or even prolonged periods.
  2. Their ovaries get enlarged and start growing cysts in them.
  3. They can go through an abnormality called hirsutism where excess body and facial hair start growing on a woman’s body.
  4. Women may gain excessive weight suddenly.
  5. They can also experience unwanted breakouts.
  6. Male-pattern baldness or thinning of hair is also experienced by women with PCOS.
  7. Dark patches start appearing on the skin of women with PCOS around their armpits and under their breasts.
  8. Although in very rare cases women with PCOS may also get skin tags.

Its Impact on Hormones

The healthy functioning of our body depends on a circuit of hormones, which works night and day to keep you from falling sick. This hormonal circuit consists of the thyroid, the adrenal glands and the reproductive system, which in the case of a woman is the ovary. You will be surprised to know that just your adrenal glands can produce 50 different hormones that regulate your body, which also includes cortisol.

Cortisol, just like many other important hormones when produced in excess quantity, can deplete the resources needed to make enough of the other hormones or cause issues with balancing out the hormones you already have. Excess production of cortisol also causes hair loss, fatigue, PMS, a low libido, exercise intolerance, irregular periods and infertility. And PCOS is the leading cause of excess cortisol production in a woman’s body. Another common symptom of PCOS is disrupted ovulation which eventually causes your progesterone levels to drop. Your hypothalamus gland then tries to stimulate the release of more estrogen and androgens from the ovaries, which can result in high levels of estrogen and androgens, worsening or bringing on AFS and Hormonal Circuit dysfunctions.

Common Hormonal Challenges Women With PCOS Experience

  • Hormonal imbalances often cause fatigue.
  • Women experiencing hormonal imbalances can become irritated with small things.
  • Mood swings and mental health disorders are very common side effects of sex hormone imbalance.
  • The weight gain that women with PCOS experience is caused by high levels of thyroid hormones. In some rare cases, this hormone can also cause weight loss.
  • Female hormone imbalance also causes hot flashes.
  • Hormonal imbalance triggered by PCOS often causes sexual disinterest or dysfunction.
  • It is no secret that a leading cause of infertility in women with PCOS is hormonal imbalance.
  • Sudden hormonal changes can also change the texture of your skin making it overtly dry or oilier than before.
  • Excess production of androgens in women with PCOS can cause them to experience male-pattern baldness.
  • An imbalance in the hormones produced by thyroid glands can cause heart disease in women with PCOS.
  • Low thyroid hormone levels, low testosterone and estrogen/progesterone imbalances can cause cholesterol levels to rise.
  • Hormone imbalances can even tamper with your memory causing you to lose your memory. And it can make you distracted.

Testing and Diagnosis To Determine If You Have a Hormonal Imbalance

  • A blood test is one of the very first steps that you may need to go through to test hormone levels. This test can detect testosterone, estrogen, cortisol and thyroid levels.
  • Even a simple saliva test can detect several types of hormonal imbalances.
  • If these tests are unable to assure your doctor about your condition he/she can prescribe you an ultrasound.
  • Even an X-ray or MRI will offer further opportunities for imaging. Depending on the results of prior tests, additional testing may be needed to have a better diagnosis.

Treatment Options

  1. The most popular medication for any hormonal imbalances caused by PCOS is birth control pills. These pills help in regulating your menstrual cycles as per your need.
  2. There are also hormone replacement medications that can be prescribed by your doctor temporarily to cure hot flashes and night sweats.
  3. Anti-androgen medications are mainly taken to control extreme acne, hirsutism or even hair loss.
  4. Clomiphene and letrozole are consumed by women with PCOS to boost their ovulation process. And if they don’t help you with your pregnancy journey the doctor can also prescribe injections of gonadotropins.
  5. Metformin is a drug that helps in curing type 2 diabetes medically.

Ayurveda and Natural Remedies for Balancing Your Hormones

  1. Maintaining a healthy body weight can resolve multiple hormonal imbalances in a woman’s body.
  2. Exercising daily and gradually increasing the intensity of it is a healthy way to begin your weight loss journey.
  3. A balanced diet is confused by people with a carb-free diet or a fat-free diet or even a diet that is dependent on fasting. But the ideal diet plan for balancing hormones is a diet that includes all nutrients and maintains a certain portion control.
  4. Some self-soothing exercises like deep breathing, meditation and yoga can help you calm your nerves that get agitated by hormonal imbalances.
  5. Avoid spicy food, fast food and foods that contain preservatives.
  6. Avoid using harmful chemicals in the form of deodorants, cleaners and pesticides.
  7. Try cooking and eating with clay or glass utensils.
  8. Consume water at room temperature.
  9. Bathe with water infused with ayurvedic herbs like neem, manjistha and turmeric.
  10. Visit your doctor frequently to keep track of your improvements.

How To Balance Hormones With PCOS

  • Follow a diet plan that contains foods that have a low glycaemic index (GI) to keep your insulin levels balanced. These include whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, starchy vegetables and other unprocessed, low-carbohydrate foods.
  • Anti-inflammatory foods are very good for balancing your hormones and reducing the symptoms caused by their imbalance. Such foods as berries, fatty fish, leafy greens and extra virgin olive oil may reduce inflammation-related symptoms, such as fatigue.
  • Have you heard of the DASH diet? It is a rich diet to keep you away from heart diseases and consists of fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, whole grain and low-fat dairy produce. The diet discourages foods that are high in saturated fat and sugar.
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day and sleep for 8-10 hours if you want your diet and medication to work properly and show results in time.

Talk to a Professional with Veera

The health care managers and doctors at Veera Health know how it feels to be in your shoes, so they treat your condition on a deeper level. They analyse your condition and curate a diet and lifestyle routine specifically for you. They know that every woman is different and her body’s needs are different too.

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