By Dr. Andrea Lee
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects 5-10 percent of pre-menopausal women, making it the most common female endocrine disorder. PCOS wreaks havoc on hormones: excessive amounts of insulin stimulate the ovaries to produce large amounts of testosterone. The result can be irregular periods and infertility, along with symptoms such as male-pattern baldness, fatigue, excess body hair, and obesity. The long term health risks for women with PCOS include diabetes and cardiovascular disease among others.
Stanford University has clearly identified the existence and effects of insulin resistance, a metabolic disorder and the major underlying cause of PCOS. Treating insulin resistance will help you to manage or reverse PCOS symptoms. Most importantly, this can be done naturally, without the use of prescription drugs.
1. Nutraceuticals: Nature’s Medicine
Metabolic change cannot be achieved with a single ingredient. But the right combination of disease specific herbs, vitamins and minerals can help restore your body’s metabolism. Minerals such as chromium, magnesium, and zinc work to control insulin and glucose levels. Vitamin C and folic acid promote a healthy circulatory system. The herbs fenugreek and milk thistle also help to control insulin and glucose levels. Guar Gum can reduce bad cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Insulite Labs’ nutraceuticals are formulated to reverse insulin resistance and PCOS.
2. Nutrition: Swap “Bad” Carbs for “Good” Carbs
All women with PCOS can benefit from adopting healthy eating habits. By eating a diet low in carbohydrates and refined sugars you can help reverse the imbalances of glucose and insulin in your body. Avoid “bad” carbohydrates like sweets, white bread, pasta and rice. Replace these with “good” carbohydrates that stabilize blood sugar like brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread.
3. Exercise: Part of Your Daily Routine
Although everyone should find time to exercise, it is especially important for women with PCOS to fit some form of exercise into their daily routine. Whether it is a 20-minute walk, playing outside with your kids, or going to a Pilates class, exercise has proven to boost metabolism and burn calories which helps to control insulin levels and, in turn, results in weight loss. Exercise can also help to stave off diabetes, a health risk for women with PCOS.
4. Food Addiction: Break the Cycle
Consuming “bad” or simple carbohydrates and sugars can create a vicious cycle of ups and downs. Eating sweets and chips may give you a temporary high by causing a surge in blood sugar and serotonin, but the crash is sure to follow, leaving you craving more. By weaning yourself from simple sugars and carbohydrates and replacing them with complex carbohydrates and lean protein throughout the day you can maintain stable glucose and insulin levels and break the cycle of food addiction.
5. Find a Support Network: You Are Not Alone
You are not alone in your struggle with PCOS. There are millions of women worldwide experiencing the same symptoms and emotions. These are the women who will lift you up when you are feeling down. Visit the blogs and online communities like www.pcos.insulitelabs.com/blog, and soulcysters.net. If you can’t find a support group in your area then start one and promote it online, in local newspapers, via flyers and at schools, college and health clubs. www.pcosupport.org has a state-by-state list of medical professionals who have shown a commitment to PCOS located on the PCOSA web site.
About the Author:
Dr. Andrea Lee is a Naturopathic Doctor who operates Norman Natural Health www.normannaturalhealth.com in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. Her practice, in which she treats a number of women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and other conditions, is totally mobile – Dr. Lee makes house calls throughout the state.
Previously, Dr. Lee practiced at Arizona Advanced Medicine in Scottsdale. Prior to attending Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ, she worked as a senior research study associate and volunteered with a breast cancer support group in Oklahoma City. Her Bachelor’s degree is from the University of Alaska where she studied Psychology and Exercise Science. As a member of Insulite Laboratories’ Medical & Advisory team www.pcos.insulitelabs.com, Dr. Lee provides guidance and coaching to individuals who contact the Insulite Support Network, including those using the various Insulite Systems. Ask Dr. Andrea, her blog which focuses on advice for Lesbian and Bi-sexual women with PCOS, is available at http://pcos.insulitelabs.com/blog/