top of page

The Most Common Hormone Imbalance: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a complex hormonal disorder affecting countless women worldwide, presenting a myriad of distressing symptoms. From irregular menstrual cycles and weight fluctuations to fertility challenges and emotional imbalances, PCOS can significantly impact a woman's quality of life. This article explores the holistic approach to managing PCOS and finding relief from its burdensome effects.

What Is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder that affects the reproductive system in women. It is characterized by the presence of multiple small cysts on the ovaries, which disrupt normal hormone production and lead to various symptoms. Women with PCOS often experience irregular or absent menstrual cycles, elevated levels of androgens (male hormones), and insulin resistance. These hormonal imbalances can manifest in physical symptoms like acne, excessive hair growth, weight gain, and emotional challenges.

Understanding the root causes of PCOS is crucial for effective management, and this article delves into the insights of Dr. Cresencia Felty, an esteemed naturopathic doctor, to explore holistic approaches for addressing PCOS and promoting overall well-being.

Potential Symptoms Of PCOS:

  • Irregular or absent menstrual periods

  • Excessive hair growth (hirsutism)

  • Acne and oily skin

  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight

  • Hair loss or thinning

  • Mood swings and emotional disturbances

  • Fatigue and low energy levels

  • Infertility or difficulty conceiving

  • Insulin resistance and risk of type 2 diabetes

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Pelvic pain or discomfort

  • Anxiety and depression

  • Darkening of the skin (acanthosis nigricans) in certain areas, such as the neck or armpits

The 4 Types Of PCOS

Insulin Resistant PCOS

One of the most common subtypes of PCOS is insulin-resistant PCOS. The body's cells become less responsive to insulin, leading to high levels of this hormone in the bloodstream. Insulin resistance affects blood sugar levels and exacerbates hormone imbalances, increasing androgen production and disrupting the normal ovulation process.

Adrenal PCOS

Adrenal PCOS is a less common variant of the syndrome, where the adrenal glands overproduce androgens, leading to hormonal imbalances. The ovaries may not be the primary source of excess androgens. The symptoms of adrenal PCOS may resemble those of other PCOS subtypes, such as irregular periods, hirsutism, and acne.

Inflammatory PCOS

Inflammatory PCOS is a distinct subtype where chronic inflammation triggers the ovaries to produce surplus testosterone, leading to physical symptoms and ovulation challenges. Headaches, joint pain, unexplained fatigue, eczema, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are common signs of inflammation in this condition.

Post-Pill PCOS

Post-pill PCOS is a specific type that may arise after discontinuing oral contraceptive pills. Individuals experiencing post-pill PCOS often don’t exhibit symptoms like acne, irregular periods, and excess hair growth before commencing the pill. When stopping the pill, the ovaries undergo a natural surge in androgens, leading to typical PCOS symptoms.

The Multifaceted Causes Of PCOS

While the exact cause of PCOS remains multifactorial and complex, researchers believe that a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors contributes to its development. Insulin resistance, hormonal imbalances, and inflammation are key factors leading to the characteristic symptoms of PCOS. Dr. Felty addresses these root causes holistically to manage PCOS effectively. Through personalized treatment plans, incorporating dietary changes, stress reduction techniques, and natural therapies, patients can restore optimal hormonal harmony.

Possible Causes Of PCOS:

  • Genetic predisposition and family history

  • Insulin resistance and elevated insulin levels

  • Hormonal imbalances, including increased androgen production

  • Inflammation and chronic low-grade inflammation

  • Environmental factors and exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals

  • Excessive insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) levels

  • Abnormalities in hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian (HPO) axis

  • Obesity

  • Unhealthy lifestyle habits

  • Post-pill hormonal fluctuations (Post-Pill PCOS)

  • Thyroid disorders and imbalances in thyroid hormones

  • Chronic stress and cortisol dysregulation

  • Emotional pain and trauma

  • Inadequate physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle

Lab Tests To Check For Hormones

Diagnosing PCOS involves a series of comprehensive lab tests to assess hormonal levels and identify imbalances. The following tests can help to evaluate hormone levels:

  • Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

  • Luteinizing Hormone (LH)

  • Testosterone

  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin (SHBG)

  • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

  • Prolactin

  • Thyroid-stimulating Hormone (TSH)

  • Free T3 and Free T4

  • Insulin and Glucose levels

  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH)

Natural Remedies To Balance PCOS

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) can be challenging to manage, but natural remedies can offer a holistic approach to restoring hormonal balance and improving overall well-being. Here are some natural strategies to support hormonal health for women with PCOS:

  • Balanced Diet: Adopting a balanced and nutrient-dense diet can profoundly impact hormone regulation. Focus on whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Limit processed and sugary foods that can exacerbate insulin resistance. Some small studies indicate that the keto diet may help with PCOS by improving insulin resistance, promoting weight loss, and balancing hormones.

  • Low Glycemic Foods: Opt for low glycemic index foods to stabilize blood sugar and reduce insulin spikes. Incorporate whole grains, legumes, and colorful vegetables into your meals. If you crave sugar often, increase protein and healthy fats in your meals.

  • Regular Moderate Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity to improve insulin sensitivity, aid weight management, and support hormone balance. Enjoyable and sustainable activities like brisk walking, yoga, or strength training can be beneficial. Over-exercising can make symptoms worst in some individuals.

  • Stress Management: Chronic stress can contribute to hormonal imbalances. Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or mindfulness to reduce stress levels. Challenging negative thoughts can create more harmony in the mind and body.

  • Vitamins and Minerals: Certain vitamins and minerals play a role in hormone synthesis and metabolism. Supplements like vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, and B-complex vitamins can be beneficial, but it's essential to work with a professional to ensure proper dosing and safety.

  • Herbal Support: Herbal remedies, such as spearmint tea, chasteberry (vitex), and saw palmetto may help balance hormones and manage PCOS symptoms. However, it's crucial to consult with a naturopathic doctor like Dr. Felty before using any herbal supplements.

  • Adequate Sleep: Prioritize getting enough restful sleep as it is essential for hormone regulation and overall well-being. Aim for 7-9 hours of undisturbed sleep per night.

  • Manage Weight: Maintaining a healthy weight can positively impact hormonal imbalances in PCOS. A balanced diet and regular exercise can aid in weight management.

  • Avoid Environmental Toxins: Reduce exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in plastics, pesticides, processed food chemicals, and phthalates in certain cosmetics, as they can interfere with hormone function. Use glass, stainless steel, and iron cookware.

  • Regular Monitoring: Regularly monitor hormone levels and progress with the guidance of a healthcare professional to tailor the natural remedies to individual needs.

While these natural remedies can be beneficial in managing PCOS, it is crucial to work with a qualified healthcare practitioner to develop a personalized plan tailored to individual needs. Combining these strategies with professional guidance can empower women with PCOS to regain hormonal harmony and enhance their overall quality of life.

Get Expert Guidance For PCOS

Dr. Cresencia Felty is committed to empowering women like you on their healing journey, and if you are struggling with hormone imbalance, she is here to help.

Book a discovery call with Dr. Felty to explore personalized approaches. With her extensive expertise in natural medicine, mind-body healing, and holistic therapies, you can gain valuable insights and tailored recommendations to address the root causes of PCOS. Discover the possibilities of healing and the freedom to live life fully under Dr. Felty's guidance.




bottom of page