Friday, 21 December 2012

PCOS: What You Need To Know

So I thought that I would give you all a brief rundown of what PCOS actually is! 
PCOS is an acronym for Polycistic Ovarian Syndrome and while doctors aren't 100% sure what causes it, the most well thought reason is that it is genetic. Small cysts form on the  ovaries which lead to a wholllleee plethora of symptoms because of hormone imbalances, in particular testosterone. It is a pretty common syndrome; 5-10% of women are supposed to have it. However all women have a slightly different version and express different symptoms. One woman can find it impossible to conceive, but be as thin as a rake with no insulin resistance, while another can pop out a whole football team with no problems, but be overweight and have excess hair.

Some symptoms that are more annoying than anything include:
  • Insulin resistance
  • Irregular periods, or none at all
  • Oily skin
  • Acne
  • Excess hair on the body and face
  • Difficulty losing weight and quick to gain weight
However there are more serious long term effects and symptoms:
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • Infertility
  • Cancer of the uterus
  • Obesity
If I were to ponder on these long term ones then I would go insane. I can't control the future, but I can control what I am doing about it now. If I lead a healthy lifestyle, through a Paleo plan, and keep my weight in a 'normal' range then I can rapidly decrease my chances of developing diabetes and liver and heart disease. Done. Infertility? Well, again, being healthy can help with this but I won't know until I try. I can't worry about that now! One thing at a time.

As I have mentioned previously, I am currently taking a drug called Metformin. This helps with the insulin resistance part of the syndrome and is used primarily for diabetes, but also for PCOS.Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which tells your body to control the blood sugar level. In PCOS, like in diabetes, the pancreas is either producing too little insulin, or the body is not listening to it. Metformin encourages your internal organs to be more sensitive to insulin and absorb the sugar from the blood. This is great news for your weight, and your health! However, I want to be able to control this naturally. By eating Paleo, I will be avoiding any spikes in blood sugar levels and so shouldn't need Metformin. We shall see about this....

I am no medical expert but this is my take on the syndrome I have. I am lucky that I do not have all of these symptoms. Very lucky.I can have some positive effect over my insulin resistance and my weight through a lot of hard work. Periods? Well, that is another matter, but those can be sorted medically and in fact I have noticed a massive improvement in them when eating Paleo! I don't have to shave my face, treat any acne, or deal with diabetes. For this, I am thankful.

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