PCOS: Everything You Need To Know

Posted by Riannon Page on

Have you recently been diagnosed with PCOS? You might be wondering what it is. PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is a hormonal disorder affecting around 10% of women! 

The symptoms of PCOS are caused by an imbalance in hormones such as androgens, testosterone and SHBG. When these hormones are imbalanced and often higher than they should be, this can lead to symptoms including acne, excessive hair growth, irregular periods and issues with ovulation and even infertility!

Common Signs & Symptoms

  • Weight changes
  • Facial hair or excessive hair growth
  • Acne
  • Insulin resistance
  • Cysts on the ovaries
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Skin tags
  • Infertility
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Irregular/ missed periods
  • Thinning hair/ hair loss

How to get tested for PCOS

It essential you test BOTH!

  • Ultrasound investigation & blood testing

The four different types of PCOS

In order to treat PCOS correctly first we need to see what is driving it! There are four different drivers when it comes to PCOS that’s why blood testing is incredibly important to identify the condition and identify the drivers.

Insulin resistance PCOS

The most common type, with 70% of PCOS driven from insulin resistance. If you have high insulin (blood test of high fasting insulin or HbA1c) this will drive up androgens and you will have insulin resistance PCOS.

Inflammatory PCOS

Chronic inflammation can cause an overproduction of testosterone by stimulating the ovaries. It’s likely there is some underlying inflammation in all types of PCOS. If inflammation is driving up your PCOS you may also experience headaches, joint pain, eczema, fatigue and IBS.

Adrenal PCOS

This type only accounts for 10% of cases. The key sign for adrenal PCOS is normal testosterone and high DHEAs which is a type of androgen made from the adrenals. This type of treatment involves supporting adrenal health and stress!

Post-Pill PCOS

If you’ve recently transitioned off the pill and have high androgens this one’s likely you. It’s common for a surge of androgens to spike after coming off OCP medication, this spike is usually temporary. You can also prevent this spike by working with a naturopath before transitioning off your OCP as there are so many great anti-androgenic herbs + nutrients!

Each type of PCOS requires a different treatment tailored to the drivers! It also great to look into contributing factors such as diet, lifestyle, sleep quality and stress which can contribute to worsening symptoms! If you are struggling with symptoms from PCOS or think you might have it book in with one of our naturopaths for individualised support! BOOK HERE

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