In fact, as many as 20% of women of reproductive age may have PCOS!
You may find yourself amongst that number, and have been told to take the Pill.
You may have been told that your only low this advice but are unaware there is an alternative.
Recovering from PCOS is not only possible but also very achievable.
With the help of naturopathic and nutritional medicine.
So what is PCOS?
It is an imbalance in female sex hormones that leads to a delay or lack of ovulation, known as anovulation.
This in turn leads to irregular cycles and fertility issues.
The symptoms of PCOS are varying in nature and profound in their effect on your wellbeing.
-Weight gain and cravings
-Male pattern hair growth (Chest, face, back)
The Pill and PCOS – is there something missing?
Often, your doctor will prescribe the contraceptive pill to get you feeling good.
But your underlying drivers of PCOS go untreated.
Many women diagnosed with PCOS are under a high amount of stress.
They’re often over-worked, time poor and in desperate need of some quality self-care.
In my clinical experience with women with PCOS, another group of symptoms often comes up.
And these have to do with how she views herself in the world and her self worth. Grouped together, these symptoms fall into the experience of “Imposter Syndrome”.
Imposter Syndrome – the hidden component of PCOS
Imposter syndrome is the experience of feeling incompetent, despite being very capable. As the name suggests, it is feeling like a ‘fraud’ and not owning your success.
It can creep into all situations; work, school, university, relationships and parenthood. There is often a constant fear of being ‘found out’.
Women experiencing imposter syndrome will often find themselves:
-Trying to do everything
-Giving to others more than what is necessary
-Putting in long hours at work
-Going ‘above and beyond’
-Setting challenging goals that are impossible to meet
Does this sound familiar?
If it does, you might find yourself taking up some unhealthy habits to help you meet your high standards.
Reaching for your third cup of coffee to get your through the work day?
Grabbing a high sugar snack because you don’t have time for meal preparation?
Needing to ‘wine down’ to switch off at the end of the day?
Staying up late AND waking up early?
Skipping your stress reducing activities? No time for exercise?
All these habits can be drivers for PCOS.
And The Pill isn’t addressing any of them.
PCOS and the Pill – not addressing the underlying cause
For many women, a time will come when they want to stop taking the OCP, only to find all their symptoms returning.
Often worse than before.
The reason behind this is due to testosterone.
In PCOS, we see women with higher levels of testosterone than what is healthy.
Testosterone drives many of the symptoms of PCOS.
The Pill works by increasing the levels of competing hormones oestrogen and progesterone.
This brings the female sex hormones back into balance and relieves your symptoms.
Yet, as you take synthetic hormones, your body’s natural hormone production slows. Your body gets the message that it doesn’t need to make oestrogen and progesterone.
So it stops.
Women lose their natural cycles, and their connection to their body’s rhythm.
In the long run, this perpetuates the hormone imbalance.
When you come off the pill, those hormone production centres can take a long time to start up again. During this time, high testosterone causes your symptoms to return, worse than before.
Can naturopathy help with PCOS?
The solution, as with most things in natural medicine, is to address the cause. The underlying drivers that have created the hormone imbalance.
Your body has an incredible ability to come back into balance, if supported in the best ways.
In PCOS this looks like:
-Clearing excess testosterone from the body, through herbal and nutritional medicine.
-Supporting the production of healthy female hormones.
-Addressing the underlying drivers like blood sugar dysregulation, stress, genetics, diet and lifestyle.
As your body is supported, you’ll notice a three-fold effect.
Your cycle becomes regular.
Your symptoms resolve.
You return to balance.
Many women find themselves feeling the best they’ve felt in a very long time.
PCOS is a multifaceted condition, that’s why it’s called a ‘syndrome’.
A multifaceted syndrome needs a multifaceted treatment.
One that addresses your body, mind and soul.
And that is what naturopathy is all about.
Madeline is a naturopath specialising in Women’s Health and practicing at Living Holistic Health in Geelong.
For appointment enquiries, please contact our clinic on (03) 5201 0557