Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

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1 Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) The ovary (from Latin: ovarium, literally egg or nut ) is an ovum producing reproductive organ, often found in pairs as part of the vertebrate female reproductive system. Structure The ovary is about 4 cm x 3 cm x 2 cm in size. Ovaries in female individuals are analogous to testes in male individuals, in that they are both gonads and endocrine glands. Each ovary is dark black in colour and located alongside the lateral wall of the uterus in a region called the ovarian fossa. Functions Ovaries secrete the hormones e.g estrogen, testosterone and progesterone. In women, 50% of testosterone is produced by the ovaries and adrenal glands and released directly into the blood stream. Estrogen is responsible for the appearance of secondary sex characteristics for females at puberty and for the maturation and maintenance of the reproductive organs in their mature functional state. Progesterone prepares the uterus for pregnancy and the mammary glands for lactation. Progesterone also functions with estrogen by promoting menstrual cycle changes in the endometrium. 170

2 Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome Problems The main problems associated with an ovary are: Ovarian cysts and Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Premature ovarian failure Ovarian torsion (a twisting of the ovary) Ovarian cancer Among these, PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age, affecting as many as 1 out of 7 Indian urban women. Often the symptoms begin in the teen years. In this chapter, we will mainly discuss about PCOS and its cleansing process. Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome is a problem in which a woman s hormones are out of balance. Ovarian cysts are closed, sac-like structures within the ovary that are filled with a liquid or semi-solid substance. PCOS is accompanied by a variety of different health issues, many of which directly impact fertility. One hormone change triggers other, which changes another. For example, the sex hormones get out of balance. Normally, the ovaries make a tiny amount of male sex hormones (androgens). In PCOS, they start making slightly more androgens. This may result in stopping of ovulation, acne and growth of extra facial and body hair. 171

3 If it is not treated, over time it can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease. Women with PCOS have low-grade inflammation, which may be a cause for insulin resistance. White blood cells produce substances to fight infection, this is known as inflammatory response. When inflammatory response is triggered, white blood cells produce substances that may contribute to insulin resistance and atherosclerosis. Causes Doctors are unsure of what causes PCOS, but there may be a genetic link, possible abnormal foetal development and inflammatory response contributing to the cause. PCOS is also negatively affected by diet, lifestyle and exposure to certain environmental toxins. Women whose mothers, sisters or grandmothers had PCOS are at a higher risk for developing PCOS. Research suggests that exposure to excessive amounts of male hormones (androgens)by the developing foetus may alter proper gene expression. This means that the affected genes will not function properly later in life, which may cause PCOS during the reproductive years of a woman s life. Symptoms Pain in the abdomen or pelvis is the most common symptom of an ovarian cyst, but most cases of PCOS are asymptomatic. Symptoms tend to be mild at first. The most common symptoms are: 1. Acne 2. Weight gain and trouble losing weight 3. Often women get thicker and darker facial hair and more hair on the chest, belly and back 4. Thinning of hair on the scalp 5. Often women with PCOS have fewer than nine periods a year. Some women have no periods. Others have very heavy bleeding. 6. Uterus may become bulky and larger than normal 7. Recurrent miscarriage, depression and mood disorders 172

4 Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome If the cyst has reached a large size, other symptoms may arise as a result of pressure or distortion of adjacent anatomical structures. These symptoms can include: 1. Abdominal fullness or bloating 2. Indigestion 3. Feeling full after eating only a small amount (early satiety) 4. Urinary urgency 5. Feeling an urge to defecate or having difficult bowel movements 6. Pain during sexual intercourse Risks Infertility Menstrual cycle irregularities Possible increased risk for endometrial and breast cancer due to unopposed oestrogen Cardiovascular disease Diabetes and Gestational diabetes 173

5 PCOS Cleanse The Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Cleanse guidelines are simple and easy to follow. This mild cleanse will help jump start weight loss; remove unwanted toxins, hormones and chemicals from your body, along with bringing your body into balance. You do not need to be diagnosed with PCOS. Just do it as it benefits overall reproductive and general health. You can try any of these methods but not to be done together at the same time. Apple Cider Vinegar It has been seen that apple cider vinegar can regulate your menstrual cycles. Apple cider vinegar is beneficial for dealing with PCOS because it helps control blood sugar and keeps your body from producing too much insulin. Less insulin means less testosterone. Plus, it will help you lose weight and improve your overall health. Procedure Mix two teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a glass of water. Start with a low dose and then move onto the standard dose when you get used to the taste. You can gradually increase the dosage of apple cider vinegar to up to two tablespoons per glass, two or three times a day. If the taste is too strong, mix the apple cider vinegar with orange or any other fruit juice. Drink it daily in the morning and before meals. Continue for several weeks or until you see improvement. Within a few weeks, you would notice the symptoms of PCOS receding. Fenugreek Seeds Fenugreek (Methi) promotes glucose metabolism in the body and improves insulin resistance. This in turn helps balance your hormones. It may also help lower cholesterol, aid weight loss and promote healthy heart functioning. 174

6 Procedure Soak three teaspoons of fenugreek seeds in water for six to eight hours to make them soft and chewable. Take one teaspoon of the soaked seeds along with some honey in the morning on an empty stomach. Also take one teaspoon of the seeds about 10 minutes prior to lunch and one teaspoon prior to dinner. Continue this treatment daily for a few weeks or until you see improvement. Cinnamon Cinnamon (Dalchini) is considered as a very effective home remedy for PCOS. It can help normalize the monthly menstrual cycle and can also curb sudden hunger pangs owing to its high fibre content. Procedure Add some cinnamon to your dishes every day. You can also sprinkle some cinnamon powder on the snacks that you eat. You can consume a tablespoon of cinnamon after every meal for best results. Do s and Don ts 1. Avoid eating high glycemic index foods Low glycemic index foods are carbohydrates that break down slowly in the body and don t cause such a dramatic spike and drop in insulin levels. For example, vegetables, whole grains, unprocessed foods and fibrous foods. Avoid foods that have a high glycemic index such as sugary and starchy foods: pancakes, syrups, sugar, white potatoes, jams, white bread products, pasta etc. 175

7 2. Consume Good Fats The consumption of good fats is pivotal for your body to produce and balance hormones. The good fats are those that aren t highly processed as such: Butter best if found raw from pasture-fed cows (avoid pasteurised milk) as it is higher in the fat soluble vitamins so pivotal for fertility. Extra virgin olive oil from the first pressing of the olives, this oil has a stronger flavour yet is full of heart healthy benefits and well suited for ovary health. Coconut oil another good fat, made of medium chain fatty acids, is used primarily for energy and not for storing. 3. Avoid Meat and Animal Products Because oestrogen dominance is very often associated with PCOS problem, it is advisable to avoid intake of animal products and if you can t go without it, stick with organic animal products as non-farm raised animals are often fed hormone shots for fattening them up. Ingesting hormones causes major problems in our bodies, whether it be PMS, infertility or menopause. 4. Eat 5 Meals a Day When you look at the way most Indians eat, it is usually two big meals a day. With such a large gap of time between meals, the body goes into fasting mode which causes the metabolism to become imbalanced. Here is what the 5 meals a day could look like: Breakfast (right away, when you wake up) Snack Lunch 2 eggs scrambled with spinach + 1/2 cup oatmeal or a plate of Poha or a couple of Idlis with Sambhar. Protein shake with organic milk Two midsized chapattis, one serving of dal and rice each, salad, two servings of vegetables. Dinner Same as lunch Snack(before bed) Fruits low in sugar and a cup of curd. 176

8 Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome Cleanse 5. Choose Natural Women s Products Used by women every month, conventional pads and tampons are actually not great for the body. Tampons contain something known as dioxin which is both carcinogenic and inhibiting to fertility. Disposable pads prohibit air flow and can cause the area to be a breeding ground for bacteria, though they are better than using tampons. The best options for menstrual products are going to be reusable, fabric pads, natural tampons or something your previous generations used. 6. Take Care of Your Liver Your liver is responsible for taking excess and old hormones out of the body. Taking a day two or three times in a year to cleanse the liver is very beneficial. You could cleanse your liver by following our Liver Cleanse. See Page 73 for more details. 7. Practice Lunaception One thing which has not been talked much about yet is lunaception the practice of sleeping in complete darkness except for 5 nights of your cycle/month. Darkness is closely tied to hormone production and when we sleep in a room with light from street lamps, night light and alarm clocks, it can disrupt the natural production of hormones while we sleep. To practice lunaception, you need to sleep in complete (cover the windows with heavy curtains, cover your alarm clock etc.) darkness from the beginning of your cycle until day 13 when you would use a dim night-light on days 13, 14 and 15 then sleep in darkness until your next month s day 13. Benefits PCOS Cleanse increases the rate of spontaneous ovulation Significantly improves the environment of the uterus, preparing it for healthy conception Decreases the potential for miscarriage Prevents diseases like diabetes, arthroscelerosis etc 177

9 Frequently Asked Questions Q.1 Why doesn t PCOS allow me to lose weight? A.1 The answer is insulin resistance. The average woman with PCOS does not process insulin properly and as a result, struggles to lose weight. Q.2 What is insulin resistance? A.2 Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body s cells do not respond to the effects of insulin. When the body does not respond to insulin, the level of glucose in the blood increases. This may cause more insulin to be produced as the body tries to move glucose into cells. Q.3 What can irregular menstrual periods lead to? A.3 Irregular menstrual periods can lead to infertility and, in some women, the development of numerous small cysts on the ovaries. Q.4 What effect can weight loss have on women with PCOS? A.4 For overweight women, weight loss alone often regulates the menstrual cycle. Even a small weight loss of 5-6 kgs can be helpful in making menstrual periods more regular. Weight loss also has been found to improve cholesterol and insulin levels and relieve symptoms such as excess hair growth and acne. Q.5 If I have PCOS, will I be able to get pregnant? A.5 PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility in women, but infertility related to PCOS is treatable in most cases. Women with PCOS can and do still get pregnant sometimes naturally, sometimes with help. Q.6 How can I cope with the emotional effects of PCOS as I am embarrassed to talk about such problems? 178

10 Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome Cleanse A.6 Having PCOS can be difficult since most women are quite embarrassed by their appearance. Others may worry about being able to get pregnant. Some women with PCOS might get depressed. You can discuss with your mother, sister, husband or friends. Find people who would take your problem seriously. You can also mail me if you have any issues to discuss. 179

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