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PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is not necessarily a diagnosis, but a collection of symptoms. There is no “one-size-fits-all” diagnosis. While the name *may* indicate one needs ovarian cysts present, this actually isn’t the case (PCOS is being considered to receive a name change for that reason). There’s believed to be multiple types (insulin resistant, adrenal androgen excess, inflammatory, and post-pill).

To make matters more difficult, changes that might support the healing of one type of PCOS could worsen other types of PCOS. For example, improving insulin resistant PCOS might entail lowering carbohydrate consumption, which could worsen someone with symptoms of adrenal androgen excess.

Common Symptoms of PCOS:
– Failure to ovulate regularly
– Infertility
– Insulin Resistance
– Weight gain (especially around the midsection)
– Period irregularity or lack of menstruation
– Elevated levels of androgens (Testosterone, DHEA, DHT, Androstenedione, etc)
– Inappropriate hair growth (hirsutism – dark hairs above lip, around nipples, ab trail, etc)
– Acne (especially along jawline), darkened skin patches, skin tags
– Hair loss
– Ovarian cysts
– Poor sleep/insomnia

Lab Work to Consider:
-Free & Total Testosterone, DHT
– 4-Point Cortisol Test
– Lipid profile
– Prolactin
– Fasting Plasma Glucose & A1C
– Leptin
– 17-OH Progesterone
– Progesterone (must capture between days 19-21 of cycle. Irregular cycle? Work with your doctor and aim for 5-7 days after ovulation. No cycle at all? Consider a Dutch test or Dutch cycle mapping test).

Daily Habits That Might Improve Symptoms of PCOS:
– Keep blood sugar balanced by eating at regular intervals during the day and get in a protein, carbohydrate, fat, vegetables, and plenty of fiber at every meal
– Avoid hormone birth control usage – HBC prevents ovulation. Anovulatory cycles are one of the root issues with PCOS
– Get 8-9 hours of sleep every single night
– Minimize caffeine & alcohol consumption
– Consider removing dairy/gluten (and see if it impacts menstrual cycle any)
– Consume 25-35g of fiber daily and drink ample water/fluids
– Consume plenty of cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts)
– Reduce training volume & intensity. Take more rest days in the gym & consider switching modalities to something like yoga, bodybuilding, or lifting (vs. high-intensity modalities like CrossFit, Orange Theory, etc). Check out Paragon Training Methods
– Optimize gut health via quality probiotics, fermented foods, bone broth, and collagen
– Reduce plastic exposure (tupperware, meal prep containers, water bottles, etc)
– Buy natural body care products, skin care products, deodorants, and household cleaners (we love Beauty Counter)
– Buy high-quality meats, minimize consumption of processed foods and refined sugar as much as possible
– Consider supplementing vitamin B Complex, vitamin C, vitamin D (if low on labs), zinc, magnesium
– Research & consider supplementing with Myo-inositol

We have a few posts on the individual types of PCOS. Go check them out (:

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