PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOD Polycystic Ovarian Disease and it is a female endocrine or hormonal disorder. It is estimated that 5-10% of women of childbearing age are affected with PCOS and may not even know it. It is one of the leading causes of infertility and has a list of varying symptoms which may include:
– Excessive weight gain and obesity
– Irregular or completely absent menstrual cycles
– Ovarian cysts
– Skin tags
– High cholesterol levels
– Exhaustion or lack of mental alertness
– Sleep apnea
– Thyroid issues
– Depression and anxiety
A report in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2000 reported that up to 40% of women suffering with PCOS have either impaired glucose intolerance or Type 3 Diabetes by the age of 40. This syndrome can also contribute to high levels of obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and increases your chances of developing Cardiovascular Disease.
Due to an abnormality in the insulin production in the body there is an increase in the amount of fat storage. Glucose cannot enter the cells properly which means it remains in the blood stream which then causes blood sugar levels to rise and later is converted to fat and stored in various parts of the body. When you eat your body has a choice of either burning the calories for energy use or converting them to fat and putting them in storage for later use. In PCOS sufferers, due to Insulin Resistance it promotes the storage option.
Although there is no known cure for this syndrome as of yet, there are ways to minimize the symptoms. You must follow a regular nutrition program, exercise daily, manage stress levels, follow a prescribed vitamin/mineral plan, and have a solid supportive network. Find a doctor that is familiar and knowledgeable with PCOS and a Registered Dietician that can provide the right nutrition plan that is appropriate for this type of endocrine disorder.
On a personal level, I have to be honest having this disease SUCKS! Pardon my brutal honesty. I was diagnosed 3 years ago and am still learning how to cope with it. Upon further research, I have found that some scientists believe you are born with this disease and it usually starts rearing its ugly head at the onsite of puberty, but stress is a HUGE trigger. So for me there were signs but no doctor would test me because I was overweight. It wasn’t until I moved out of state and my stress levels were through the roof that I started really noticing a weight gain, I found a doctor that would listen and despite her beliefs, tested me anyways. She was shocked that I had levels as HIGH as I did for PCOS.
If you have been diagnosed with this disease I encourage you to align doctors that understand this particular disorder and that are willing to listen to you. This is not something you want to play with as most cases usually end up with Diabetes and it increases your changes of Cardiovascular Disease and Ovarian Cancers. So take it seriously and just understand exercise and clean eating have to be a daily part of your life. Hang in there and be patient and you will get a handle on it, I promise. Remember your health is the most important thing.