Foundation for Prevention
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome (or PCOS)is a disorder affecting many women, often beginning in their teens.
Its very name is one reason that may be under-diagnosed. Although multiple large cysts on a woman's ovaries are considered common in this disorder, they are all only a small part of this complex inflammatory syndrome. It is more sensible to think of this problem as part of the continuum of type 2 diabetes, along with pre-diabetes and the metabolic syndrome. The problem begins with a high dietary intake (usually of carbohydrates, especially sugar). That intake causes a woman's body to create extra insulin to maintain a normal sugar level. Over time, that extra insulin causes insulin resistance. The result is inflammation which can affect her ovaries. This can cause both multiple cysts and a hormone imbalance.
Both men and women need a combination of male and female hormones, but in a different balance that is appropriate for their sex. If a woman has too much of the male hormone testosterone, she may develop unwanted facial hair, excessive acne, and perhaps a husky voice. Her cycle may become irregular, painful, or even stop completely. She may find herself infertile.
If your PCOS has been diagnosed, there may still be confusion about how it should be treated. Some treatment is aimed at symptoms, such as acne treatment, facial hair removal, ovarian surgery, and hormonal treatment with birth control pills or fertility drugs. These all help with the specific problems caused by PCOS, but not the underlying cause. Metformin, a drug that is commonly prescribed for diabetes, does moderate insulin resistance, but should not replace dietary change. Weight loss is a standard recommendation, but it is actually the dietary change itself, not your exact weight that you will benefit from. In other words, change begins when you start to diet, not once you reach some arbitrary weight goal.
I recommend you talk to your physician if you have been diagnosed or believe you may have this problem. Click here to review tests I suggest at www.PreDiabetes.Solutions or visit the entire site. Discuss these with your doctor and begin the same dietary changes that I suggest for reversing types 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes. You will be creating a healthier future both for yourself, as well as any future children. My book Diabetes Recovery: Reversing Diabetes with the New Hippocratic Diet ® and our e-learning course Learning To Use The New Hippocratic Diet ® should prove helpful.
READ DIABETES RECOVERY:
Reversing Diabetes using the New Hippocratic Diet®
Disclaimer and Cautions
This information is provided by Irving A. Cohen, MD, MPH. Dr. Cohen is the author of Diabetes Recovery: Reversing Diabetes with the New Hippocratic Diet®. He is a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine. He obtained his training in Preventive Medicine at Johns Hopkins University where he served as Chief Resident of Preventive Medicine. All information presented here is the opinion of Dr. Cohen and represents general information. If is not intended to offer individual medical advice. Individual medical advice should be obtained from the reader's personal physician.
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