September is #PCOS awareness month! What’s that? Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder, affecting 10-15% of reproductive aged women. There are many contributing factors in this syndrome including inflammation, autoimmunity, insulin resistance, androgen secretion & altered GnRH signalling from the pituitary gland. This syndrome can be genetic, and is often present at birth but symptoms are experienced after puberty.
➖ ➖ SYMPTOMS include irregular menstrual periods, acne, oily skin, hair growth in male patterns including on the chin, between the breasts, on the abdomen or inner thighs, weight gain, hair loss on the scalp, difficulty getting pregnant, skin tags, darkening of the skin behind the neck or under the armpits and pelvic pain (different for everyone).
➖ ➖ DIAGNOSIS is based on the Rotterdam Criteria. 2 of 3 of the following must be met: 1️⃣ Anovulation or oligo-ovulation: this means having no period or cycles where there is more than 35 days between periods 2️⃣ Hyperandrogenism: this can mean elevated androgens such as testosterone or DHEA-S on bloodwork, or signs of acne or hirsutism (male pattern hair growth) 3️⃣ Polycystic ovaries: this is found on transvaginal ultrasound. Because only 2/3 criteria must be met for diagnosis, there can be different types of PCOS (ex: irregular periods & acne without actually having cysts on the ovaries).
➖ ➖ TREATMENTS are dependent on each individual case and labwork results. Diet and lifestyle recommendations are often fundamental to improve the body’s response to insulin & to decrease inflammation. If you’re noticing any of the symptoms mentioned above, please book an appt with both your MD doctor + naturopathic doctor. Do you have PCOS? Let’s support one another below! #hereforhealth
(Written by Dr. Gina Neonakis (@dr.ginaneonakis) & artwork by @alexneonakis)