PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and is a metabolic disorder that creates a hormone imbalance on Women. It actually affects 1 in 10 women in this planet, which is a large percent of the female population. Unfortunately, it isn’t spoken about enough and Women can suffer from uncomfortable, embarrassing symptoms which can affect their confidence and self-esteem.
PCOS is random and affects women very differently. This is partly why there isn’t enough help out there, because it’s incredibly complicated and expensive to research. Having said that, I have spent 15 years as a certified nutritionist and PCOS coach delving deep into the condition, finding the root causes and how to reverse the symptoms once and for all. I now help women regain their confidence and health both physically and mentally through awareness, support and education.
What are the main symptoms?
Symptoms usually begin shortly after puberty but can also develop during the later teen years and early adulthood. Symptoms maybe be left unnoticed or associated with other causes so unfortunately PCOS may go undiagnosed for some time. This can cause symptoms to become worse, which can lead to further problems later in life.
People with PCOS typically have irregular or missed periods as a result of not ovulating. My periods actually stopped when I was 14 for 3 years. At first, I thought nothing of it, in fact I felt quite lucky. I was naïve and didn’t understand the importance of having a period. Other symptoms started to show, so a trip to the doctors was scheduled and an ultrasound showing large cysts on my ovaries confirmed I had PCOS.
- Weight gain. About half of people with PCOS will have weight gain and obesity that is difficult to manage. This is due to insulin resistance.
- Fatigue. Many people with PCOS report increased fatigue and low energy levels. Due to our hormones being all over the place, we can have severe mood swings too where we feel happy highs and depressive lows.
- Unwanted hair growth (also known as hirsutism). Areas affected by excess hair growth may include the face, arms, back, chest, thumbs, toes, and abdomen. Hirsutism related to PCOS is due to hormonal changes in androgens levels.
- Thinning hair on the head or clumps of hair falling out. Hair loss related to PCOS may increase as we get older.
- Infertility. PCOS is one of the leading causes of female infertility. However, not every woman with PCOS is the same. Although some people may need the assistance of fertility treatments, others are able to conceive naturally.
- Acne. Hormonal changes related to androgens can lead to poor skin. Other skin changes such as the development of skin tags and darkened patches of skin are also a sign. You can also develop red spots on the back of your arms and legs
- Depression and Anxiety is much higher in women with PCOS than without. This is due to our hormone imbalance sending our emotions erratic and hard to control
- Pelvic pain. Pelvic pain may occur with periods, along with heavy bleeding.
- Headaches. Hormonal changes can encourage headaches.
- Sleep problems. People with PCOS often report problems such as insomnia or poor sleep. There are many factors that can affect sleep, but PCOS has been linked to a sleep disorder called sleep apnoea. With sleep apnoea, a person will stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep.
As you can see, with such a variety of symptoms affecting each female differently, it can be hard to diagnose and easy to miss. To confirm someone has PCOS, at least two of the following must be met –
- Irregular or no periods
- Higher levels of androgens are present in the blood (Seen by symptoms such as hair loss, hair growth or acne or blood tests)
- An ultrasound is performed on the ovaries and at least 20 follicles (Partly developed eggs) are visible or the size of one (or both) ovaries have increased considerably.
Ladies, please do not feel overwhelmed. PCOS can be managed and you can lead a very normal life. There are ways through nutrition and exercise alone that can reverse many of these symptoms. Your lifestyle has a huge part to play, including factors such as sleep, stress and supplements. Medication is not always the answer which your GP will try and prescribe you. Birth control will only hide the symptom and cause you problems later in life like severe infertility.
If you think you have PCOS and would like to work with me, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I provide a 1 to 1 coaching program and an online course which covers everything you need to know on how to tackle PCOS naturally and reverse all your symptoms. I will make sure you are feeling and looking your absolute BEST! As that’s exactly what you deserve.
Get in contact for more information! So much love, G x