Skip to content

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of most common hormonal disorders affecting 15-20% of women of in their reproductive age: Few stats about PCOS:

  • Up to 70% of women with PCOS go undiagnosed. More awareness is vital!
  • It’s a leading cause of infertility: Accounts for 30-40% of infertility in women
  • Up to 80% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance
  • Around 50% develop diabetes before age 40
  • Around 50% of women with PCOS also suffer from depression or anxiety
  • Women with PCOS have a nearly 3 times increased risk of developing endometrial cancer due to prolonged exposure to unbalanced estrogen.

It goes without saying, that PCOS is a ‘major health concern for women and should be for the society. Unfortunately, it’s not!

At DMH Functional Medicine we are dedicated to understanding and addressing the root causes of PCOS to provide personalized, effective solutions for optimal hormonal balance and overall health.

Learn more about the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, complications, and treatment of PCOS, and how DMH Functional Medicine can help you improve your PCOS.

Signs & Symptoms of PCOS

Signs and symptoms can vary from person to person, and may include:

  • Infrequent, irregular, or prolonged periods due to hormonal imbalances.
  • Excess facial and body hair (hirsutism), acne, and male-pattern baldness.
  • Polycystic ovaries: Enlarged ovaries with multiple small fluid-filled sacs (follicles) surrounding the eggs. Can interfer with ovulation and infertility
  • Weight gain around the abdomen. Caused by insulin resistance and/or excess cortisol production.
  • Fatigue and tiredness due to hormonal changes and blood sugar fluctuations.
  • Mood swings, depression, or anxiety.
  • Sleep apnea, particularly if obese.

Also, some the symptoms and complications of insulin resistance may often be present as the majority of women with PCOS also have insulin resistance.

Causes of PCOS

The development of PCOS is multifactorial. Contributing co-factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Dietary stress such as increased intake of carbs, unhealthy fats, alcohol, processed foods and lack of fibres,
  • Insulin resistance which can increase productions of male hormones called androgens
  • Inflammation can worsen insulin resistance and contribute to hormonal imbalances
  • Hormonal changes, such as hypothyroidism, high cortisol and insulin levels can increase the risk of PCOS
  • Environmental toxins, such as endocrine disruptors, can negatively impact hormonal balance and contribute to the development of PCOS.
  • Various deficiencies in micronutrient, such as vitamin D, A, B, iron, manganese, selenium and others, can increase the risk of PCOS
  • Sedentary lifestyle, chronic stress, and insufficient sleep can contribute to the development and progression of PCOS.
  • Genetics: A family history and specific genes are associated with an increased risk of developing PCOS.

Understanding the causes of PCOS in your specific situation is key to a successful treatment of the condition

Conventional approach to PCOS

Conventional medicine traditionally uses symptoms, blood tests and a pelvic ultrasound to diagnose PCOS. Once a diagnosis is established, further investigations are usually not carried out and symptomatic treatments are carried out:

  • Oral Contraceptive Pills to regulate the periods
  • IUI or IVF to treat infertility
  • Hair removal for hirsutism
  • Oral or topical treatment or light therapy for acne
  • Medicines to address hypertension, weight gain and blood sugar fluctuations

The Functional Medicine approach to PCOS

The functional medicine approach to PCOS is so very different and this is really where Functional Medicine shines: A diagnosis of PCOS is just the beginning of the work we carry out. We want to know the WHY:

WHY do you have high androgens?

WHY do you have cysts?

WHY do you have irregular periods?

It may be due to an imbalance between estrogen/progesterone/androgens, WHICH may be due to high cortisol levels/insulin resistance, WHICH may be due to dietary stress, emotional stress and hidden inflammation.

If we improve the diet, reduce emotional stress and address hidden inflammation, it can reduce your cortisol and insulin levels, and the body may itself become better in balancing your sex-hormones and thereby treat the cause of your PCOS.

PCOS: Diagnosis and Testing in Functional Medicine

In Functional Medicine we go over and beyond diagnosis of PCOS through symptoms, blood tests and pelvic ultrasound. We want to know the causes and further work-up is certainly required, which may include:

  • More extensive blood tests to identify any metabolic imbalances, hormonal issues and nutrient deficiencies
  • An Adrenal Stress Profile to see if your body is in a heighten state of alert with too high cortisol levels or a burn out-state with too low cortisol and DHEA levels. This can have a very direct impact on you sex hormones
  • Testing your Gastrointestinal tract to check for any pathogens, imbalances in your gut microbiome, indicators of digestive issues or malabsorption
  • Organic Acids testing to assess your metabolic health and nutrient status along with other factors that may contribute to the development of PCOS

Once we have a better understanding of the causes of PCOS, we can treat the root cause. This will then reduce the need for prescription medicines and their side effects.

The functional medicine approach to PCOS is often much more sustainable with a much lower risk of side effects or long term complications to the treatment.

Complications of PCOS

Untreated or poorly managed PCOS can lead to several complications, including:

  • Infertility
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Insulin resistance
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • And all the complications of insulin resistance

Treatment Plan for PCOS

A personalized treatment plan for PCOS aims to address the root causes of the condition, manage symptoms, and prevent complications. Some key components of a comprehensive functional medicine treatment plan include:

Lifestyle Modifications

  • Dietary changes: Whole foods, balanced macronutrients with sufficient protein intake can help manage adrenal stress, reverse insulin resistance, promote weight loss, and support overall health.
  • Sufficiency in micronutrients.
  • Regular exercise and physical activity can help improve insulin sensitivity, support weight loss, and reduce inflammation.
  • Reducing stress through meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga, can support better hormonal balance and overall well-being.
  • Ensuring adequate sleep is crucial for overall health, hormonal balance, insulin resistance and can play a great role in PCOS management. Prioritizing restorative sleep and practicing good sleep hygiene can help support symptom management.

Fertility Treatment

Often lifestyle and diet changes can considerably improve your general health and increase the changes of a health pregnancy. In many cases this may be enough and no further intervention is not required.

In some patients a stronger focus on micromanaging estrogen and progesterone levels may be required to improve ovarian health and increase fertility. In many cases patients can avoid assisted reproductive technology treatments such as In-vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI).

How DMH Functional Medicine Can Help?

At DMH Functional Medicine, we take a comprehensive approach to addressing PCOS. Our treatment plans take into account hormonal management, nutrition, physical activity, stress management, and sleep optimization, ensuring a comprehensive approach to your PCOS management:

  • Optimizing adrenal health which alone may be sufficient to stabilize female sex hormones and treat PCOS.
  • Optimizing GI health whih plays a major role in chronic conditions such as PCOS
  • Nutrient Optimization: Both macro- and micronutrient optimization are vital for better and faster recovery.
  • Stress Management: Stress management techniques and self-care activities can help you maintain optimal hormonal balance.
  • Sleep Optimization: We work with you to improve your sleep habits and create an environment that promotes restorative sleep.
  • Fertility Guidance: The above measures may often be sufficient to improve your fertility. In some cases we may need to use mild hormone therapies to adjust your cycle to improve fertilitet. Of course, any male factors causing infertility would also need to be addressed.
  • Preconception Counseling: Our team offers preconception counseling to help you optimize your health and prepare for a healthy pregnancy.
  • Monitoring Progress: We closely monitor your progress and adjust your treatment plan as needed to ensure optimal hormonal balance.
  • Long-Term Success: We provide continuous support, helping you stay accountable and motivated throughout your journey to improved PCOS management.

At DMH Functional Medicine, we are committed to helping you achieve optimal hormonal balance and improve your overall health and well-being.

Contact us now to learn more about our comprehensive Functional Medicine approach to PCOS and to schedule your consultation.