Preventing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) in Young women
Jerilynn C. Prior, MD Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, at the University of British Columbia believes that PCOS is preventable in young women.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a condition in adolescent and premenopausal when the body does not pop an egg from the ovary but forms a cyst. When no egg is released progesterone is not produced and the cycle is considered one where no ovulation took place - anovulatory.
Dr Prior calls PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) AAE (Anovulatory Androgen Excess). “I call PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, "Anovulatory Androgen Excess" (or AAE). AAE is more descriptive of the basic issues like not releasing an egg or making progesterone and on the higher than normal male hormone levels (androgen excess).”
How Can I tell if I have a risk for PCOS/AAE?
- Cycles are irregular, far apart or non-existent
- Not ovulating or making an egg most cycles
- Developing signs and symptoms of higher male hormone such as: coarse or dark facial, breast, lower abdominal and inner thigh hair, acne, and thinning head hair
- Gaining weight ....particularly in the abdomen
- Insulin tests reveal high sugar levels and a risk for Diabetes
- An ovarian ultrasound shows multiple cysts and enlarged ovaries
How is PCOS usually treated?
“PCOS usually gets treated like disease, but we consider AAE to be reversible, so that a woman with appropriate treatment can regain regular cycles, get rid of acne and unwanted hair and go on to have normal fertility and a healthy future.” says Dr. Prior
Is THE PILL the best solution?
All The Pill does is cover up the problem-it doesn't reverse it.... because The Pill stops ovulation thus stopping the production of progesterone which is needed to overcome PCOS/AAE. It would be important to avoid that therapy!
Young girls with the potential to develop PCOS will need to work on 5 fronts:
TEST DON’T GUESS!
Evaluate hormone levels regularly using a 3 panel saliva test kit. Saliva Testing is an easy test which can be done at home. It is very accurate and allows personal monitoring of a prevention program for PCOS/AAE. Test kits are available at www.salivatesting.com.
BALANCE WITH PROGESTERONE
Progesterone the natural hormone is missing with PCOS/AAE and it is important! Cycling bio-identical progesterone will help to regulate cycles, decreases androgen levels and decrease the acne, corrects the hormonal imbalance in her brain, prevents the endometrial cancer for which women with AAE/PCOS are at increased risk and helps with insulin resistance. Surprisingly it will also help to prevent weight gain because taking it causes the body to burn about 300 extra calories a day!
The success of any PCOS/ AAE prevention program depends of the ability of the participant to eat healthily – using a program like 40% Carbs 30% Protein and 30% Fats and keeping away from junk foods.
It goes without saying and just makes sense that if the participant is unable or unwilling to adjust to a healthy diet then supplementation is warranted. Supplements could include: Vit C for adrenal support; additional fiber to bind to excess hormones for elimination; I3C to modulate estrogen.
The last key for preventing PCOS/ AAE is regular exercise. Walking for at least 30 minutes every day is a MUST. Get involved with activities that require lots of movement, instead of more sedentary activities. Ramping up the activity level will pay rewards for a lifetime.
We believe that PCOS/AAE is preventable! Understanding the issues and how to begin a prevention program is the key. Every young woman can have healthy hormones.