PCOS (PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome) is a metabolic disease that interferes with fertility. It's really not a good name for this condition, because it takes more than resolving the ovarian cysts to create pregnancy. PCOS is a fundamental imbalance in the way the body generates and processes insulin, which drives hormonal imbalances in testosterone, estrogen, sex binding globulin hormone and progesterone: this is what causes your infertility. But PCOS also increases your risk of miscarriage, cardiovascular disease and diabetes (gestational and type 2).
If you have been diagnosed with PCOS-caused fertility issues, you are here because you want to get pregnant. I will help you address the fertility issue, but I am also committed to helping you design a lifestyle that will support your health after pregnancy. PCOS can be a very serious disorder.It can also be managed, and risk factors significantly reduced with changes in lifestyle and diet. The beautiful thing is that everything we do to improve your fertility will also improve your general health. It's win-win.
So what happens with PCOS? And why is this condition on the rise?
First, a little bit of background to help you understand. Hormones are your body's signalling system. Hormones are the way that your body "talks" to itself and creates action. All hormones are part of the endocrine system, which is a group of glands that secrete hormones. Estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are the main fertility hormones. You are probably familiar with these. You secrete estrogen in the first half of your cycle, progesterone in the second half, and as a woman, you secrete a very small amount of testosterone.
Insulin is the main hormone for managing blood sugar. This is where PCOS comes into the fertility picture. Your body makes insulin in response to a rise in blood sugar levels. Insulin is the way that your body gets that sugar out of the bloodstream and into the cells. Insulin, in normal levels, is good. But when too much insulin is generated, it hijacks the testosterone production system and cranks it up really, really high. The high levels of testosterone interfere with estrogen production, also turning it up too high, and supresses progesterone. Your cells develop insulin resistance, because they don't need all that extra energy (which gets stored as belly fat, oh joy.)
Many women with PCOS also have very long, irregular cycles, more hair, have trouble losing weight, acne and dark patches of skin around the neck and belly. It's all because of the high testosterone.
The result? Your fertility hormones are totally out of synch, and your follicles don't develop. Or, if you do ovulate, because the egg has been bathing in testosterone it isn't a healthy egg, and can't sustain development.
This is why PCOS is not just about the ovarian cysts. Without bringing insulin, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone into balance, your eggs will not be healthy.
This is also why many women with PCOS are poor responders to Clomid, or have failed IVF cycles. More eggs isn't better if the eggs haven't developed in a healthy hormonal environment. It is also why the rate of miscarriage is higher: the hormones are still out of balance, and your body just can't compensate.
The good news is, I can work with you and change the hormone balance, help healthy eggs develop, and increase your chances of conceiving. It requires a strong commitment on your part to change what you eat, manage your stress, and take supplements.
Treating PCOS fertility issues is very much a partnership between you and I.
It takes time. Egg development is a 3 month process, so treating PCOS takes a minimum of three months. I promise you will feel better, and will notice changes during this time.
Please call me at (702) 539-9185 to schedule an appointment, so you can feel better, address your PCOS, and improve your fertility!
Dr Lisa Grant, OMD
Spring Mountains Acupuncture, Summerlin, Las Vegas
9414 W. Lake Mead Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89134