PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
PCOS is one of the most common gynaecological complaints, which according to research, is thought to affect from 1 in 4, to 1 in 10 within the population. Many women go undiagnosed because the symptoms of PCOS are difficult to detect unless you have had specific testing or have noticed you have a very erratic menstrual cycle.
To be diagnosed with PCOS a woman should have at least two of the following symptoms (Rotterdam Criteria);
- Elevated Androgen hormones (e.g. Androstenedione, Testosterone).
- Ovulatory Dysfunction (e.g. no positive result with Ovulation predictor kits)
- Evidence of Polycystic Ovaries (e.g. Ultrasound scan displays multiple, underdeveloped egg follicles)
Other common symptoms you may or may not experience;
- Irregular menstrual periods (e.g. 35 days apart or more)
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
- Hirsutism (excess hair growth, typically on the face, back, lower arms)
- Elevated cholesterol or blood pressure
- Elevated insulin levels
- Sub-optimal SHBG levels (sex hormone binding globulin is required for hormone conversion)
- An AMH (anti-mullerian hormone) result that is borderline too high for the woman's age.
One of the primary issues for PCOS patients is dysglycaemia (improper regulation of blood sugar levels). This biochemical picture is closely linked to diet and lifestyle. Stress hormones may also impact blood sugar levels via chronically elevated cortisol levels, so an assessment of adrenal hormones may also be recommended.
Even if you are taking medications to manage metabolic issues, a thorough analysis of your current dietary and lifestyle habits could make a significant difference to your hormonal balance and reduce your PCOS symptoms.
To book an initial consultation to discuss PCOS management options and how it impacts fertility, click here.
"Why diet is key to the effective management of PCOS"
If you would like to read my article on PCOS published in a recent edition of the British Journal of Family Medicine, Women's Supplement, please click here.