Wellness is a collaboration of these aspects- the physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, social, and the environment. Whether someone identifies with the holistic pathway or the biomedical pathway, generally people desire a lifestyle of health, maintenance, and healing. But, what happens when the doctors discover an ailment in your body? Either pathway will help cure your body in one way or another, even if you have been diagnosed with PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome. This type of syndrome is a common diagnosis for women, especially, when they decide to have children.
PCOS is a common health problem among most women. the definition of PCOS is derived from two main symptoms: anovulation and excess androgens. It causes an imbalance in the reproductive system (Grigorescu et al., 2019). Between 5% and 10% of women or between the late teen years and forties will have this type of syndrome (2019). In some cases, women may be diagnosed shortly after they hit the age of puberty. However, PCOS is treatable. Most holistic heath enthusiasts prefer the natural method through lifestyle and maintenance. For everyone else, most women prefer to take medicine prescribed by their doctors.
Female Reproductive System
Inside of the female body, ovaries are the reproductive organs that secrete hormones and release eggs for fertilization. First, the lining of the uterus thins and sheds from days three to five (Women In Balance Institution, 2021) . Then, one of the eggs matures during days six to fourteen. From day 14 to 28, a luteinizing hormone causes the ovary to release the egg. During the last six days, the egg travels to the uterus and attaches to the uterine lining if it is fertilized by a sperm. Once the six days are finished, the cycle starts over (2021).
PCOS can cause missed or irregular periods leading to (Grigorescu et al., 2019):
- Inability to become pregnant, (or anovulation)
- Immature development of cysts, (or follicles) in the ovaries
PCOS can also cause two distinct features:
- Excessive androgens
- High levels of insulin
The hormones estrogen is in excess. It helps thicken the lining of the uterus. However, the production of the progesterone hormone is not available to correct the matter. Small amounts of androgens are naturally produced in females. Excessive amounts of androgens in women can cause traits to development like men (2019). For example, excessive hair growth or baldness. Levels of insulin can be high as well. This causes insulin resistance and can lead to type 2 diabetes.
PCOS Metabolic Hormones or Female Reproductive Hormones (2021):
Estrogen- Responsible for growing and maturing the uterine lining to help mature the egg prior to ovulation
Testosterone- Normal levels are small, but surges at the time of ovulation and helps women maintain muscle mass
Progesterone- Balances the effects of estrogen, relaxes the body, and helps to maintain to uterine lining if there is a pregnancy
Follicle Stimulating Hormone FSH: Released from pituitary gland and stimulates the follicles on the ovaries to mature
Luteinizing Hormone LH: Released from the pituitary gland and causes the ovarian follicles to release the egg
Lifestyle Changes- What to Do if You Have PCOS
In terms of reproduction and metabolism, PCOS can have long-term effects in the female body. Doctors may prescribe anti-androgen medicine or therapy (Oakley, 2014). It can reduce the excessive amount of androgen production, the body’s resistance to insulin, block the androgen receptors, and slow the production of prolactin. This is the biomedical way to solve the issue.
However, many people seek natural ways to heal their bodies through naturopathy. For example, insulin resistance causes a change in the conversion of sugar to energy. When this happens, obesity may follow. Losing weight can help reduce insulin levels. According to the department of Obstetrics and Genecology, “a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet is thought to improve insulin sensitivity, aid in weight loss and reduction of metabolic and reproductive symptoms and improve the long-term maintenance of a reduced weight,” (Moran & Norman, n.d.).
Depending on your cultural belief system, either pathway can lead to a complete healed body. Ask yourself this question, “will my body’s health determine the outcome of my life in the long run?” If the answer is yes, then you have already started your journey to healing!
Author: Jamie Moore Sam Houston State University Pre-Nursing
Grigorescu, V. G., Plowden, T. C. P., & Pal, L. P. (2019, April 1). Polycystic ovary syndrome | Womenshealth.gov. Office on Women’s Health. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/polycystic-ovary-syndrome
Moran, L., & Norman, R. J. N. (n.d.). Understanding and managing disturbances in insulin metabolism and body weight in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. PubMed. Retrieved January 28, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15380143/
Oakley, A. O. (2014). Anti-androgen therapy | DermNet NZ. DermNet NZ. https://dermnetnz.org/topics/anti-androgen-therapy/
Women In Balance Institution. (2021). Hormone Imbalance, Menstrual Cycles & Hormone Testing. Women in Balance Institute. https://womeninbalance.org/about-hormone-imbalance/