Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a surprisingly common
disorder in women of reproductive age, although many are not
aware of it. Most women first become aware of PCOS when they
don’t menstruate for a long time, tend to gain weight easily,
have acne, and get excess body hair. When they want to have
children, they have difficulty getting pregnant. PCOS is
basically a hormonal disorder, with too much male hormone and too
Women with PCOS often have multiple ovarian cysts that may be
symptom-free, or may become painful. An ovarian cyst is a
fluid-filled sac usually found on the surface of an ovary.
The cause of polycystic ovary syndrome is very complex and not
well understood. There’s a genetic component. Chronic stress,
nutrient deficiencies, and excess consumption of animal foods and
refined carbohydrates may all contribute to the development of
Women with PCOS have increased risk of developing diabetes
mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and estrogen-associated cancers
including breast and endometrial cancer.
Conventional treatment is quite limited, usually consisting of
birth control pills and a drug called Glucophage, which helps to
reduce insulin. Both of these medications have side effects in
some women. The effect is mainly to manage symptoms, without
trying to deal with the underlying causes.
In order to become pregnant, PCOS women often resort to in-vitro
fertilization, in spite of its tremendous cost. Even then, these
women have a lower probability of becoming pregnant, and a higher
probability of miscarriage.
PCOS symptoms are quite variable. PCOS is a complex “metabolic
syndrome” involving a disorder of multiple hormones exacerbated
by “thrifty genes” that make weight loss extremely difficult.
Symptomatic therapy with drugs is not the answer.
A better approach is to have a thorough diagnostic workup,
including a complete hormonal lab profile. The workup would be
followed by a comprehensive treatment program, possibly
including: (bio-identical (“natural”) hormones customized to
the needs of each individual; (supplements and herbs that help
to balance hormones; (precise nutritional guidance, including
a “low-glycemic” diet; (exercise – a vigorous exercise program
may also be required in order to get desired results; and (5)
stress management, because excessive stress hormones are a major
contributor to PCOS.
PCOS is one of the most emotionally troubling diseases because
many women report that they don’t feel like they are women
anymore. They can’t have babies, are too hairy, have acne, and
are overweight. Our physicians are skilled in providing emotional
support as part of the clinic’s overall program to effectively
deal with PCOS.