Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCO) are ovaries which contain an excessive number of primordial follicles. These follicles are tiny fluid-filled sacs which contain the eggs. Below is a list that shows if the number of the follicles in your ovaries are in the normal range or if they are surpassing it thus giving a sign for some problems.
Normal: less than or equal to 12 follicles
Borderline: 13-15 follicles
Mild: 16-30 follicles
Moderate: 30-50 follicles
Severe: more than 50 follicles, as a general guide – these women usually have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), associated with infertility, increased facial hair, and a disturbance of hormone levels.
In a normal menstrual cycle there are usually 5-10 follicles at the beginning of the cycle. Later in the cycle usually around day 14, one follicle gets bigger and shortly thereafter ovulation takes place with release of the egg. The remaining eggs regress and disappear before the next cycle. These events typically occur every 4 weeks and result in the monthly menstrual bleed. With polycystic ovaries, this cyclical sequence of events does not take place. Instead, no leading egg develops and there is a build up of small immature follicles with successive cycles.
Some of the symptoms of PCOS might be as follows:
-Few or no menstrual periods;
-Heavy irregular bleeding;
-Hair loss from the scalp and hair growth on the face, chest, back, stomach,thumbs;
Nowadays women suffer from PCOS more often then ever before in history. There isn’t one single opinion about the cause of it. There are many factors which can predispose a woman to develop PCOS- genetics, synthetic estrogens, obesity, insulin resistance. The true answer here is really arguable. The root cause of PCOS is considered to be insulin resistance. There are a lot of speculations, about the factors which predispose women to developing PCOS, but in reality it is something like the egg and the chicken- which one is first? You can’t figure out the answer, but you know that they both go hand in hand. It is the same in the case with PCOS- is obesity the reason for insulin resistance and thus for PCOS, or is insulin resistance the reason for obesity and thus PCOS?
Trying to figure that out, might be just a waste of precious time. The better thing to do in this case is find a way to relief the symptoms and thus try to cure the condition.
So what is insulin resistance?
Insulin resistance arises from long-term elevated blood sugar levels which the pancreas tries to keep in check by releasing insulin. Over time, the cells become desensitized to it and blood sugar regulation is impaired. If that is a permanent condition, this might eventually lead to diabetes.
The excess insulin, results in free-floating insulin, which stimulates the ovaries to produce excess testosterone. That means that insulin resistance leads to an excess of androgens. Excess testosterone, prevents the ovary from releasing the egg.
And this is one of the symptoms of PCOS- higher levels of testosterone( male sex hormone) and decreased female sex hormone levels.
The problem with the cure of PCOS, is that most doctors look at it as an ovarian problem. And as Stephanie from Paleo for Women says:
“you should understand that PCOS is a disorder of the endocrine system. It is not just an ovarian problem, but is rather a problem of hormone signaling to and within the ovaries.
This means that any kind of weight fluctuation can significantly disrupt endocrine function.
When a woman burns calories at a high rate, and when she consumes a low calorie diet (and also if she consumes a lot of fructose) her leptin response is minimal. This means that less satiety is reaching your hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is in charge of telling the rest of the body how nourished it is, and whether or not it should be running on “conserve” mode and shutting down peripheral systems such as reproduction. To do this, it releases Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone, which signals to the Pituitary to release FS and LSH, the hormones that tell the ovaries to produce sex hormones. Without leptin, GRH is impeded, and the entire neuronal cascade is impeded. No proper balance of pituitary hormones is produced.
Evolutionarily, this is quite young. This is partly because young girls are heavier than they used to be. Menstruation starts when a certain estrogen level is reached in the body, and estrogen is not just produced in the ovaries but also in fat cells.
If the thyroid is malfunctioning, the hypothalamus may reduce signaling to the pituitary gland in order to protect the thyroid system as much as possible. This is analogous to the phenomena of starvation. Another possible point at which hypothyroidism influences PCOS is at the level of cellular functioning. If there isn’t enough thyroid hormone in a cell, it will shut down or become sluggish independently. Reproductive tissues, such as those in the ovaries, might therefore not have enough energy or resources to produce estrogen at the proper rates.”
Sounds complicated right? If you really wanna understand the root cause of PCOS and the way your body functions, I highly recommend you reading Stephanie’s website on a daily basis.
Meanwhile, until you educate yourself, you shouldn’t put up with your bad eating habits and unhealthy lifestyle. Truth be told, your lifestyle and what you eat, directly influences your health. You know that every bite of food you eat, has the potential to make you healthier, or sicker! The food you ingest is in direct correlation with your body’s hormone levels. The food you eat, provokes some kind of a response from your body.
Nowadays our diet is full of junk food, processed foods and CARBOHYDRATES- refined carbohydrates and fructose- containing carbohydrates. Although I do not consider carbs to be for our body, what thyme is for the devil, it is no secret that diets consisting of refined carbohydrates and fructose- containing carbohydrates, could be the reason for a lot of health issues.
Such a diet leads to chronically high insulin levels ( eventually leading to insulin resistance=>PCOS), micronutrient deficiencies, and inflammation. All this disrupts the normal functioning of your body, and thus messing up your hormonal balance. And as Stephanie said PCOS is a disorder of the endrocrine system- it is the system of glands, each of which secretes a type of hormone directly into the bloodstream to regulate the body. That means that when your hormonal balance is thrown off the hack, the endocrine system isn’t functioning the right way. That means that there is a problem with your body’s natural hormonal signaling. That on the other hand, leads to confusion in your body’s systems.
You should really understand how important food is for your health! As mentioned above nutrient deficiency can mess up with the proper functions of your body. You’ve studied Chemistry, right? You know how when you put more of one chemical or forget to put a chemical, you get a totally different chemical reaction, and sometimes it might lead to an explosion or an unwanted outcome. Now apply this to your body. When it is deficient in something, or has an excess of some nutrient, you get a totally different reaction, which is not favored by your body.
I’ve been researching a lot on Stephanie’s websites, and I read this article where she discusses the four halogens-iodine, chlorine, bromine and fluoride). As you might already know iodine is of big necessity for your body:
“Only iodine and chlorine, of the four halogens–(iodine, chlorine, bromine and fluoride)–are necessary to the body. We need iodine in many of our organs, including the skin, muscle, and reproductive tissues. We need chlorine in the stomach for secretion of hydrochloric acid. Chloride is also an important part of the blood’s regulation of its acid-base balance, so we need chlorine to breathe. We consume bromine and fluoride in higher quantities than either iodine or chlorine. Yikes.
Much like we’ve seen before with other elements, each of these halogens attaches to the same receptors in our cells. Therefore, if we take in excessive bromine (which we do) or fluoride (which we do), we inhibit our ability to take up and use iodine. Receptors may fill up with bromine, which is common in grains, bleached flour, sodas, nuts and oils as well as several plant foods. Fluorine from sources such as toothpaste, certain teas, and fluoridated water will also take up important spots in halogen receptors.
This information is important because iodine deficiency is not only caused by reduced iodine intake, but also by increased bromine and fluorine intake.”
And iodine deficiency in the ovaries, might lead to ovarian cysts=>PCOS!
Do you see the connection? FOOD! FOOD! FOOD!
You might think that it doesn’t matter if you are gonna eat a grass fed steak, or a hamburger from McDonald’s, but the difference between what you choose to eat, is how healthy you are gonna be. The worse your food choices, the more you contribute to nutrient deficiencies, chronically elevated insulin and the more messed up your hormones will be.
If you are suffering from PCOS, you’ve probably tried a billion cures, hoping that you will find the right one. You search everywhere, you are trying to find the best doctor, the best medicine, but you haven’t searched in the right place. The best medicine is food and you are your best doctor!
Have you noticed that almost any widely spread disease, is accompanied by insulin resistance, or some kind of insulin disruption? What does that have to tell you? That you have to find a way to control insulin. Even though there might be a lot of factors that influence insulin, you should take care of the one you can control- food. You choose the food you eat.
Stop eating grains! Stop eating sugar. Stop eating processed foods. Stop eating artificial sweeteners. Stop eating artificial food. Eat real food.
Eat meat, fish, eggs, big varieties of vegetables and some fruits- mainly berries. Try this one for three months and let’s see how you feel. I am not a doctor and I don’t know everything about anything! But I know that for thousands years, food has been the best medicine and in the same time the most neglected one! It doesn’t cost you that much to try! It is not something dangerous or questionable I am asking you to do. I am not giving you a prescription, I am just giving you a choice! A choice that I believe is gonna help you improve your health!
Here are some great articles that I encourage you to read on the topic of PCOS:
I am searching for women who’ve had PCOS, but have seen dramatic improvements due to their dietary and lifestyle changes. I think on writing an article, with their stories and shared experience. So I hope that soon I will be able to provide you with more real stories.
Actually if you have a similar story, just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or add me on Facebook and write me so I can include you in the post.
Here are two of my favorite videos, where you could really understand how hormones are supposed to function properly. I think that women should know more about the way their body functions and stop taking hormone pills, just for the sake of it!
Do you have PCOS or have you ever had similar symptoms? How did you manage to improve your health? Everything you share is gonna be of real help for women suffering from PCOS!
P.S. If you liked this post, please share it with your friends. I’d greatly appreciate it!