Polycystic Ovary Syndrome affects around ten percent of women, meaning it’s important to recognize the signs as well as learn how to help yourself or friends who may have PCOS.
What are the types?
There are four types of PCOS: Insulin Resistant PCOS, Post-pill PCOS, Inflammatory PCOS, and Adrenal PCOS.
Let’s begin with Insulin Resistant PCOS. This type of PCOS is caused by insulin resistance. If you have insulin resistance your body is more likely to overproduce testosterone causing an imbalance between testosterone and estrogen. Insulin resistance also causes problems with ovulation.
Post-pill PCOS occurs after discontinuing the use of an anti-androgen contraceptive. This can cause a rise in androgen levels giving a person post-pill PCOS.
Inflammatory PCOS is characterized by inflammation. All types of PCOS have some level of inflammation but inflammation is the primary factor in inflammatory PCOS. Inflammation results in an excess of testosterone being produced by the ovaries.
Adrenal PCOS occurs when there is a high level of DHEA, dehydroepiandrosterone, which is a hormone produced in the adrenal glands. This is different from other types of PCOS where there are high levels of testosterone due to the fact that testosterone is produced by the ovaries.
What does it affect? PCOS predominantly affects ovulation because higher levels of androgens, common in PCOS, can stop the ovaries from ovulating and releasing an egg. Irregular periods are another sign of PCOS, although there can be other causes for irregular periods. Other symptoms of PCOS include hair loss which is caused by an excess of androgens, acne, and excessive growth of facial and body hair, known as Hirsutism. Hirsutism is the key physical sign of PCOS.
How can you manage it?
While there are some medications like metformin and cyproterone acetate that help with PCOS, certain lifestyle changes like a different diet can help treat the symptoms of PCOS. A good diet for a person with PCOS includes grass-fed meat. The difference is that grass-fed meat has higher omega-3s which help to reduce inflammation. Fruit is also great to include in your diet. Avoid sugary fruit and opt for low sugar fruit instead. A few examples of this are strawberries, blackberries, grapefruit, and avocado. Vegetables that are high in fiber are also good for PCOS because fiber helps with managing the blood sugar side of hormone health.
Understanding PCOS and how to manage it is important information for everyone. Being aware of changes in your body and what they may mean can help you live your healthiest life. We only scratched the surface of PCOS here today, but stay tuned for more resources on this all to common hormone imbalance.
As always, we are not doctors and you should consult a healthcare professional if you have any health concerns. This information is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice.
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Brighten, Jolene. “The Best Diet for PCOS.” Dr. Jolene Brighten, 14 Jan. 2022, https://drbrighten.com/best-diet-for-pcos/.
Miles, Maddie. “PCOS - the 4 Types of PCOS & Natural Healing Approaches.” Peace. Love. Hormones., 13 June 2022, https://www.peacelovehormones.com/blogs/life-style/pcos-the-4-types-of-pcos-natural-healing-approaches?_pos=1&_sid=69459cc40&_ss=r.