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What is PCOS?

PCOS is a complex syndrome that is used to describe a variety of clinical signs and symptoms, as well as hormonal irregularities. PCOS affects over 10% of women of reproductive age. Symptoms tend to begin at onset of the menstrual cycle, but may not start until years later.


What Causes PCOS?

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. An imbalance in a number of different hormones can lead to symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome. This includes imbalances in pituitary, ovarian, pancreatic and adrenal hormones. Women with PCOS often have elevated insulin levels due to insulin resistance. High insulin levels can cause the ovaries to make excess androgens such as testosterone.


How do you know if you have PCOS?

PCOS is a hormonal condition that is defined by elevated male hormones and irregular periods or anovulation (failure to ovulate). The condition most often presents itself as a disorder of the menstrual cycle but many other symptoms can manifest including:

  • Hair growth on the chin, upper lip, stomach or chest.

  • Weight gain

  • Irregular periods

  • Skin tags

  • Moderate to severe acne.

  • Infertility and difficulty conceiving

  • Hair loss.

  • Dark pigmentation in the folds of your skin.

  • Depression and anxiety

How do you diagnosis PCOS?

It’s been estimated that 50% of women with PCOS do not know that they have it. A diagnosis of PCOS can be made when at least two out of three of the following criteria are met:

  • The ovaries are “polycystic”

  • 12 or more follicles are visible on imaging

  • High levels of androgens (testosterone) are found the blood

  • Symptoms of high levels of androgens are present

  • Excess hair growth and acne

  • Menstrual dysfunction

  • Lack or periods, irregular periods, or anovulation

PCOS Treatment Strategy

  • Addressing the Underlying Cause: Evaluating and correcting all hormonal imbalances; this includes reducing androgen levels which lead to excess hair growth and acne. Other common hormone imblances include high estrogen and low progesterone ratios, thyroid and adrenal dysfunction.

  • Life style: Stress management and weight loss support. Weight loss alone has been shown to restore ovulatory function in women with PCOS

  • Nutrition: Reducing insulin resistance: Exercise and nutritonal supplementation to improve insulin resistance

If you experience any of the symptoms described above, Dr. Gaucher can assist you in finding the underlying cause and addressing this through a comprehensive treatment protocol including natural therapies, lifestyle and nutrition.

Insulin resistance and the polycystic ovary syndrome: mechanism and implications for pathogenesis. Dunaif A. Endocr Rev. 1997 Dec;18(6):774-800. Review.

Dumitrescu R, Mehedintu C, Briceag I, Purcarea V, Hudita D. The Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: An update on metabolic and hormonal mechanisms . Journal of Medicine and Life. 2015;8(2):142-145.