PCOS is diagnosed based on the Rotterdam criteria, which state that a woman has to have two of the following three symptoms of PCOS:
There are some other features that may be part of a PCOS picture, including:
Many patients can be diagnosed based on history and physical exam since only two of the three main criteria are required. Most women with PCOS have a long history of irregular periods, usually since their teenage years. If further testing is required, blood tests that look for high levels of male hormones and a transvaginal ultrasound may be ordered.
Conventional treatment of PCOS focuses on the management of symptoms. Lifestyle changes, like weight loss and increasing exercise, can help improve symptoms and lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Eating low-sugar foods, too, can help with blood sugar regulation and help control the syndrome.
In some cases, even birth control pills are sometimes recommended to help reduce the levels of male hormones in the blood and to help promote a regular period. This works for some women, but many don’t want to take the pill, and it’s definitely not an option for women trying to get pregnant. Diabetes medications like metformin may also be prescribed. They help control blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity, and may help ovulation return.
Natural solutions for PCOS work very well. Diet and lifestyle modification are imperative, and your naturopathic doctor can help you develop a diet and exercise plan that works for your lifestyle. Naturopathic physicians are trained in supplementation and herbal medicine, and there are options from each category that can help.
In PCOS, the ovaries become less sensitive to insulin and targeting the ovaries seems to help get women ovulating again. Inositol is one supplement that helps make this possible. Natural non-pharmaceutical options also help regulate blood sugar which works similarly to metformin.
Herbal medicine can help regulate hormone levels, and one of the best herbs for helping women with PCOS is a chaste tree. Many other herbs can reduce symptoms, and your ND can help you choose the perfect ones.
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