What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects 1 in 10 women in America. It is an endocrine disorder that involves hormone imbalances. Some of the common symptoms of PCOS include weight gain, hair growth, insulin resistance, acne, mood swings, anxiety, etc. Getting a comprehensive lab test is one of the first steps in determining if you have PCOS.
PCOS is diagnosed using the Rotterdam criteria where 2 of 3 of the following need to be present:
· Hyperandrogenism (clinical or through a lab)
· Long menstrual cycles or delayed ovulation
· Polycystic Ovaries on ultrasound
Testing for hyperandrogenism:
The best way to test for hyperandrogenism is to do a blood test for Free Testosterone, Total Testosterone and DHEA.
Signs of hyperandrogenism:
Excessive hair growth on body
Acne around jawline and back
Male pattern hair loss
Effects of high Testosterone:
High testosterone especially in PCOS patients can inhibit the function of estrogen on the ovaries. This can ultimately prevent ovulation from occurring resulting in infertility.
Natural ways to decrease Testosterone (And its precursor DHEA)
RESVERATROL – aka, your favourite glass of red wine - A recent study has come out from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism showed that “1500mg of resveratrol, a natural polyphenol, was beneficial at lowering total testosterone levels by over 23%.”
“Our study is the first clinical trial to find that resveratrol significantly lowers PCOS patients’ levels of testosterone as well as dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, another hormone that the body can convert into testosterone,” Duleba said in a press release. “This nutritional supplement can help moderate the hormone imbalance that is one of the central features of PCOS.”
The article also went on to explain that resveratrol can be just as effective or better than oral contraceptives or metformin in decreasing testosterone.
Resveratrol is found in foods like wine, grapes, nuts and has been known to have antioxidant properties to help with inflammation and to protect the heart. So if you have PCOS, don't feel guilty about having a 120ml glass of red wine - daily!