What is PCOS?
At it’s core, PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) is an imbalance of hormones in a women’s body. The male sex hormone, though produced at small levels in women, starts over producing thus causing a harmful cycle in a women’s body that eventually causes her to experience symptoms associated with PCOS. In most cases not all of the symptoms will appear which might make the person getting diagnosed question whether it was an accurate assessment. Usually a blood test ordered by a physician will give conclusive evidence as to whether or not a women’s hormones are out of balance. In some cases, cysts form on the ovaries which can be triggers to hormone imbalance. One of the big caveats to PCOS is insulin resistance, which is where the paleo diet comes into play. Long term, insulin resistance can lead to diabetes which brings a whole slew of other health related issues.
Symptoms of PCOS
- Irregular/Loss of menstrual cycle
- Weight gain/trouble losing weight
- Abnormal hair growth (face, chest, stomach)
From what I know, there is no conclusive evidence on what triggers PCOS in a women’s body. Some say genetics. Personally, while I think genetics might be at play, I also strongly feel that diet plays a much bigger role in the prevalence of PCOS, particularly in America where packaged, processed and genetically modified foods are staple foods. Weight also plays a crucial role (for most women, not all) in those diagnosed with PCOS. Usually, obese/overweight women are at a higher risk though in some cases, ladies of smaller stature and weight may find they too are victims of hormonal imbalance. For some, losing just 10% of their body weight can reduce or diminish their symptoms.
Help from Essential Oils
I am definitely no expert, but from personal experience I know the feeling of hopelessness and confusion when first diagnosed with PCOS. Frustration at the thought of infertility. Feeling overwhelmed with losing weight when just looking at a french fry seems to add 5 pounds to your waist line. Embarrassed by being a 20 something year old who still has facial acne. It’s a real struggle, so I know where your at!
One the natural ways I encouraged my bodies hormones to level out was with the use of an essential oil from Young Living called Progessence Plus which was designed to lower estrogen levels which would cause an increase in progesterone. I would rub it right above my fore arm (in the elbow pit area…is that even a location?!) and neck twice daily. Within two days I noticed a HUGE difference. My menstrual cycle started and my emotions began to balance out. A helpful web page with good information has been put out by Experience Essential Oils, I highly recommend checking it out!
After doing some research, my mom and I stumbled across Insulite Laboratories who’s main focus is helping women deal with PCOS by using nutraceuticals. Sticking to their routine of taking their natural supplements, eating healthy and exercising I noticed a change in my health once again. My period became regular and normalized to being once a month, weight loss became easier, and my emotions had less ups and downs. Working with them was easy and their informative supportive staff were able to give a support system I had yet to find.
Paleo and PCOS
One of the biggest lifestyle changes that will benefit a women with PCOS is diet and exerciser. The paleo diet, high in protein, vegetables and low sugar fruits, helps reduce inflammation and naturally encourages weight loss by throwing out processed sugars (which encourage weight gain) and starchy carbohydrate rich foods such as pasta and bread. A focus on eating healthy fats such as avocados, animal fats, coconut oil, flax meal (just to name a few) encourage your body to get full and stay full longer thus curbing hunger causing you to eat less. Studies have shown that processed sugars can be triggers to many health related issues other than just PCOS and as American’s sugar is in almost every food we eat. Go read some labels in your fridge to see! In her post on fats we should eat, the Paleo Mom gives helpful tips for cooking with fat as well as foods to include in your diet.
Another helpful aspect of the paleo diet when talking about PCOS is that by limiting sugars, your own blood sugar levels will begin to balance out. Decreasing blood sugar spikes decreases the risk of acquiring diabetes which is one of the major concerns when dealing with PCOS. Two of the sweeteners allowed on a limited bases in the paleo diet are honey and maple sugar. Compared to their processed counterparts, these sweeteners have trace minerals that are valuable to your health. In an interesting article about sugar, The Paleo Mom notes that sugar is sugar at its core that that in general, we should limit our intake of all sugars, not just the processed ones.
I am by no means a doctor, dietician or naturopath, as with everything don’t just take my word for these supplements, oils and diet suggestions but be a lover of learning your body…you will never regret it!