Polycystic ovarian syndrome (also called polycystic ovarian disease or PCOS) is a widespread cause of infertility. One symptom is irregular cycles, usually nine or fewer menstrual cycles per year. Because of this menstrual irregularity, women with PCOS tend to have a harder time getting pregnant.
This condition can also cause heavier-than-normal bleeding during menstrual periods.
These menstrual irregularities are caused by the failure of the ovaries to produce the right amounts of hormones throughout the cycle.
Many women have a weight problem with PCOS, which tends to be primarily in their mid-section, giving them an “apple” shape (somewhat round) as opposed to a “pear” shape that reveals more weight around the hip area. Such weight gain is believed to be related to insulin resistance.
Other symptoms of PCOS can include:
- Completely absent periods
- Ovarian cysts or polycystic ovaries
- Insulin resistance
- Excessive facial or body hair
- Hair loss
- Skin tags
- Brown skin patches
- High cholesterol levels
- Exhaustion or lack of mental alertness
- Decreased sex drive
- Excess male hormones (such as testosterone)
- Ovarian pain
You may ask, “So what can I do about polycystic ovarian disease?”
If you suspect you have polycystic ovarian syndrome, it would be a good idea to have some tests done to know for sure what’s going on. Saliva testing is a great method of testing (some believe it’s more accurate than blood testing) to find out which hormone levels may be too high or too low.
Since insulin resistance is frequently found in PCOS cases, it would be wise to take a glucose tolerance test in order to find out if insulin resistance is a problem for you.
If you find that you have an insulin resistance issue, an insulin resistance diet is a crucial to reversing the effects and improving your fertility. An insulin resistance diet would include little or no refined sugars and simple carbohydrates. Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables should replace these unhealthy foods.
I recommend that you not simply “diet,” as this tends to be something that is done for a while and then discontinued. Rather, change the way you eat, eating smaller portions and eating better foods. If you need to start slowly by eliminating one unhealthy food at a time – do that. You will be glad you did!
If you suffer from PCOS, I recommend using a fertility monitor such as OvaCue to better determine when you are ovulating each month. You can read more about OvaCue and other ovulation kits here.