I read a study yesterday that showed women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are at a significantly increased risk (52%) of contracting COVID-19 compared to women without PCOS. Wow! What is PCOS? Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which the ovaries produce an abnormal amount of androgens, male sex hormones that are usually present in women in small amounts. The name polycystic ovary syndrome describes the numerous small cysts (fluid-filled sacs) that form in the ovaries. However, some women with this disorder do not have cysts, while some women without the disorder do develop cysts. Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance. This means the body can't use insulin well. Obesity can also increase insulin levels and make PCOS symptoms worse. The best evidence shows PCOS is a symptom of metabolic disorder. I take PCOS very seriously because, for one, it can lead to mental health issues. Consider this study: People with PCOS had *8 times* the risk of developing bipolar disorder. The good news is PCOS is hugely impacted by a complete lifestyle renovation.
The first thing we look at is what a patient is eating. High insulin levels signal the ovaries to produce greater amounts of androgens, which is common in PCOS. We need to get insulin levels into a normal range. How? A nutrient-dense diet with organic meat, fat, wild fish, seasonal and fermented vegetables, fruit, and traditional cooking oils. Many patients also benefit from low-carb eating as well. A recent study showed a diet low in refined carbs has a positive effect on women’s hormones involved with PCOS.
A nutritious diet will get us on track to resolving the hormone imbalance and estrogen dominance.
High estrogen in relation to progesterone (estrogen dominance) is a root cause in many hormonal imbalance conditions, such as PMS, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and endometriosis. Estrogen dominance can be caused by exposure to xenoestrogens (toxic compounds that mimic estrogen and wreak havoc on your endocrine system) and inadequate estrogen clearance due to sluggish liver function. If your liver is overworked dealing with other toxins, estrogen does not get properly metabolized and may then be recirculated back into your system. The resulting high estrogen levels can cause skin inflammation and acne.
While continuing with a good diet and achieving a normal weight, we recommend patients exercise, get daily sunlight exposure, eliminate alcohol, and avoid all xenoestrogens. Targeted supplements have been shown to help. Namely, Berberine and Sugar Control. Berberine helps to stabilize sugar levels, but it’s also an antifungal herb and can help with activating metabolism. Sugar Control is great for keeping blood sugar levels steady as well. It might sound simple, but these steps are hugely impactful. Returning to tradition in the way we eat, live, and love are crucial to reclaiming health over a PCOS diagnosis. Your body is trying to heal, we just have to let it. If you have PCOS, or think you might have PCOS, consider booking an appointment at 949-680-1880.
Your Partner in Health, Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy