The Scoop on PCOS
Updated: May 2
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder that affects nearly 10 million women in the United States. The exact cause of PCOS is actually unknown, but we do know there is a strong genetic and enviromental component.
PCOS is characterized by high levels of androgens from the ovary and associated with insulin resistance. Insulin is the main growth hormone in the body produced by the beta cells of the pancreatic islets. Insulin is released from the pancreas to assist the cell in absorbing glucose for energy. In those with PCOS, the cells are less receptive to insulin, causing the pancreas to excrete more into the blood stream. The excess amount of insulin production leads to an increase of androgens in the body. An androgen is a natural steroid hormone that regulates the development and maintenance of male characteristics. When the body produces an excessive amount of androgens, the following may occur: acne and skin concerns, amenorrhea, excessive hair growth on the body, or hair loss from the head.
Signs & Symptoms
More than 50% of individuals with PCOS go undiagnosed. A diagnosis of PCOS may be given when two of the three signs are present: irregular periods, excess androgens, and polycystic ovaries. Other signs and symptoms that are commonly seen in the with PCOS may include:
A Family history of PCOS
Intensive carbohydrate cravings
Mood changes and irritability
Darkening of skin
Excessive hair growth
Hair loss from head
Medical Nutrition Therapy for PCOS
Lifestyle enhancements such as medical nutrition therapy can help alleviate and eliminate symptoms related to PCOS. Working with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can be beneficial, as numerous research studies have shown the importance of nutrition throughout PCOS treatment. Through a Health at Every Size (HAES) and weight-inclusive approach, our in-house Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Eden Davis, enjoys working with clients on gentle nutrition in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. Research has shown that an intake consisting of a wide variety of nutrients, balance, and moderation, can be extremely beneficial. Eden takes a gentle nutrition approach with clients, exploring glycemic index, macronutrient and micronutrient pairings, and more. To schedule a complimentary consultation call with Eden, please reach out through the contact form.
If you or a loved one are experiencing PCOS, we wish you the best on your health journey. Our hope is to build a strong and supportive environment for those who have been affected by this medical condition.