PCOS is a condition that is rising alarmingly all over the world.
It is the most prevalent reproductive problem in young girls and women, affecting up to 10% in the 15 to 50 age group. Although reaching almost 25% if women with mild cystic ovaries and ovaries damaged by the contraceptive pill are included.
PCOS is generally considered a syndrome rather than a disease, because it manifests through a group of signs and symptoms that can occur in any combination, rather than having one known cause.
Other names for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome are Stein-Leventhal Syndrome, hyperandrogenic chronic anovulation, functional ovarian hyperandrogenism, and Polycystic Ovary Disease.
Symptoms vary and include some or all of the following...
Reduce androgen levels - use progesterone to suppress these and avoid all food which converts to glucose, to reduce insulin, which causes androgens to rise.
Reduce insulin levels - eat organic protein (with no growth hormones), avoid all starchy carbs such as the grains and legumes, sweet/starchy fruit and root vegetables, eating only the non-starchy leaves, shoots, sprouts, non sweet fruits and fruit vegetables etc.
Check homocysteine levels. As this can be a contributing factor, a blood test should be done. If higher than 6 then it is essential to take the following nutrients to bring it down...
It could take a while for things to sort themselves out, so have patience. Researchers have found it takes from four to six months for the ovaries to start functioning correctly.
If inflammation is found, (a CRP test can be done to find this, see below under 'Tests'), it should be reversed. This will prevent the suppression of ovarian function, allowing the ovaries to start functioning normally.
Insulin resistance is not always found in PCO, but if it is, it must be reversed. This will lower insulin levels, which in turn lowers androgen levels.
Insulin resistance can be present from birth. If a diet with an excess of folic acid and a deficiency of vitamin B12 and the amino acid taurine is eaten by the mother while pregnant, the child will be affected. Neither B12 nor taurine is found in plants. A lack of vitamin D while pregnant can lead to insulin resistance in the child too.
Insufficient vitamin D is now thought to be the principal cause of oxidative stress and insulin resistance. For more information on vitamin D levels, testing etc see ......
Blood levels should be 70-100ng/ml or 175-250nmol/L and not the 30ng/ml or 75nmol/L most labs and doctors regard as adequate. The minimum daily dose should be 5000iu's per day, although the latest research indicates it should be 10,000iu's per day, see here.
Apply 150-250mg of progesterone per day. The higher dose might be needed.
It should only be used at ovulation, for the last 14 days of the cycle, taking day 1 as the first day of bleeding.
Cycles can be very erratic or non-existent in PCO, if this is the case use a 28 day cycle to begin with, until the natural cycle exerts itself. This would mean using the cream from day 15 to 28. For more information please see this web page on how to use progesterone.
If symptoms are severe, please consider using the progesterone daily, through any bleeding that might occur. Do this for at least 3 months, before following the cycle once again. A scan will confirm if the cysts are being absorbed back into the body.
If after the 3 months the scan confirms the cysts are going, a cycle can be started using the progesterone following a 28 day cycle. This should prevent any further cysts developing and hopefully initiate ovulation. It's essential to take the necessary antioxidants too. Progesterone alone won't be sufficient.
If there is a cycle, but with spotting before a full period, between 200-250mg of progesterone will be needed during the last 14 days to prevent the spotting. The spotting is a sign that the progesterone level is dropping too low, too soon, to support the endometrium.
Stress drops progesterone levels sharply so symptoms come back. Increase the amount used if stress should occur.
Before using progesterone it's essential to first read the page on Oestrogen Dominance.
Please see here for more information on Nutrition and Diet.
The medications used to treat PCO's include...
Treatment with clomiphene induces the pituitary gland to produce more FSH, which in turn stimulates maturity and release of the eggs. Although one study found a high level of bioactive FSH in PCO granulosa cells which failed to effect maturity of an egg.
The birth control pill contains progestins (synthetic progesterone) and oestrogen, which not only stops ovulation, but reduces the level of natural progesterone in a woman, plus the many adverse side affects it has. For more on this please see the web page on Contraceptives.
Contraceptives also increase insulin resistance.
If insulin resistance is present glycophage (Metformin) or one of the thiazolidinedione medications is given. Glycophage reduces vitamin B12 levels, which could cause homocysteine to rise.
Oestradiol (normal, high or low in PCO)
Testosterone (often high in PCO)
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Altered trace mineral milieu might play an aetiological role in the pathogenesis of polycystic ovary syndrome
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The Combined therapy myo-inositol plus D-Chiro-inositol, in a physiological ratio, reduces the cardiovascular risk by improving the lipid profile in PCOS patients
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Endocrine and clinical effects of myo-inositol administration in polycystic ovary syndrome. A randomized study
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Bye-bye chiro-inositol - myo-inositol: true progress in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome and ovulation induction
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The combined therapy with myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol reduces the risk of metabolic disease in PCOS overweight patients compared to myo-inositol supplementation alone
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How to best absorb progesterone
A good skin cream (such as Natpro) is the most user friendly of all the ways progesterone can be taken. Oral progesterone is a waste as 80-90% is destroyed in the digestive system and liver. Injections are inconvenient and painful. Buccal drops or pills are very bitter and suppositories are not much fun!
The cream can be applied anywhere... in the vagina or nose for dryness, on piles or painful, achy or itchy areas. Its the best thing for burns and wonderful on the face and elsewhere.
All the successful studies done on progesterone use between 100mg to 200mg per day. This equates to 3ml to 6ml of Natpro per day. Some authorities suggest as high as 400-600mg/day. Orally administered forms need 5 to 10 times as much to compensate for the digestive losses. The cream is best applied twice a day, to keep levels up.
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