Learn about PCOS and how to treat it to start feeling better!
Join integrative medicine-trained OB/GYN, Dr. Jennifer Rolands, as she breaks down PCOS symptoms, why they occur, and what we can do to alleviate them. She shares her years of experience specializing in PCOS, hormones, and gut health to give you actionable advice for your journey to better health.
Listen now and discover how to manage PCOS!
PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is a complex disorder that goes beyond reproductive symptoms, involving metabolic issues, inflammation, insulin resistance, gut health, and more. That’s why it’s important to understand the holistic nature of PCOS and the need for personalized approaches to address its underlying causes.
PCOS is a multifaceted condition with a wide range of symptoms that can significantly affect your health and well-being. Some of the hallmark symptoms of PCOS include irregular menstrual cycles and higher levels of androgens, useful hormones which, in large quantities, are often associated with acne, and unwanted hair growth in areas like the abdomen and face. These irregular cycles are a result of inconsistent ovulation, which can make it challenging for individuals with PCOS to conceive if they wish to do so.
In addition, PCOS can cause weight gain, food cravings, hair thinning or hair loss, immune function issues, and even skin problems like rashes. That’s why it’s not merely a reproductive concern but also a metabolic and systemic disorder that can impact many aspects of a person’s health.
It’s crucial to recognize less common symptoms and be proactive in seeking medical attention when something doesn’t feel right. Some people may experience irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fibromyalgia, or migraines, which can be linked to the metabolic issues associated with PCOS. This underscores the importance of comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plans for those who suspect they may have PCOS or are living with the condition.
Several key features of PCOS include irregular menstrual periods, elevated levels of androgens in the body, and the presence of small fluid-filled sacs (cysts) on the ovaries. One of the hallmark symptoms is anovulation, when the ovaries do not consistently release mature eggs during the menstrual cycle. This disrupted ovulation is a major contributor to infertility among women with PCOS, who may experience infrequent periods, or have long cycles without ovulation, making it challenging to conceive naturally.
Due to the ovulatory dysfunction associated with PCOS, women who are trying to get pregnant often require medical interventions, such as fertility medications, to induce ovulation. This can help regulate the menstrual cycle and increase the chances of successful conception. Additionally, lifestyle modifications, including dietary changes and regular exercise, are often recommended to manage PCOS symptoms and improve reproductive health.
Gut health plays a significant role in everyone’s well-being and is also considered one of the drivers of PCOS symptoms. Many patients may experience gastrointestinal issues such as constipation, bloating, and irregular bowel movements, which are part of the larger picture of PCOS. Furthermore, the gut is involved in metabolizing hormones such as estrogen. So a compromised gut can lead to hormone imbalances that can worsen PCOS symptoms.
In an integrative medicine approach to PCOS, addressing gut health is crucial. A dysfunctional gut can lead to deconjugation of hormones, which can contribute to hormonal imbalances and exacerbate PCOS symptoms. These are just some of the many reasons why maintaining a healthy gut to support overall well-being and improve the management of PCOS is important.
There’s no one single way to diagnose PCOS. Rotterdam criteria and androgen excess and PCOS society criteria are often used as diagnostics, but the two biggest hallmarks are irregular cycles from not ovulating consistently and evidence of higher androgen levels. There can be clinical signs like acne, unwanted hair in places like your face and abdomen, or lab abnormalities.
Lifestyle modifications, including dietary changes and exercise, are often recommended as the first line of treatment and can play a significant role in managing PCOS. Weight loss and regular physical activity can help improve insulin sensitivity, which is often impaired in PCOS.
Some women with PCOS also have insulin resistance, which can lead to elevated blood sugar and insulin levels, which affect many body functions, including the menstrual cycle. Insulin-sensitizing medications can improve insulin sensitivity, and can be particularly helpful for those with PCOS who have metabolic disturbances.
It’s important to note that the treatment for PCOS can vary depending on an individual’s specific symptoms and goals. Regular monitoring and follow-up with a healthcare provider are crucial to assess the effectiveness of treatment and make any necessary adjustments.
Listen now and start better managing PCOS today!
Dr. Jennifer Rolands. is an integrative medicine-trained OB/GYN who specializes in PCOS, hormones, and gut health. She is also the SHEO of Well Woman MD, a virtual women’s health clinic founded on her passion for reimagining a more holistic approach to women’s healthcare.
She partners with women to find out the root cause of their symptoms so they can have energy and predictability in their periods, weight, and fertility, and feel like themselves again.
She believes women helping women is the most incredible force in the universe! As a former sufferer of PCOS and hypothyroidism, she has been on the hormone roller coaster. From digestion issues to fatigue, hair loss, brain fog, and infertility, she has been there. Even as a doctor, she was blown off by doctors who said her labs were normal. She spent countless hours diving into nutrition and mind-body medicine. She learned how the gut is connected to hormone health. And medications like the birth control pill can wreak havoc on our bodies by depleting our bodies of nutrients and masking our symptoms but not actually treating the condition. She found out the CAUSE of her symptoms and used that information to focus on gut health, stress reduction, and the right exercise for her body. She was able to lose weight, clear her skin, wake up rested, have more energy, and ultimately get pregnant! Now, she is sharing her knowledge!
Lose Weight By Improving Your Leptin Sensitivity, with Dr. Bindiya Gandhi
Get Pregnant and Stay Pregnant, with Kela Smith
Try Keto for Optimal Health, with Robert & Crystal Sikes
Leverage Ketosis and Fasting to Reverse Disease, with Ben Azadi
Food Freedom and Life Boundaries, with Melissa Urban
Get the Right Treatment for Complex Conditions, with Dr. Nafysa Parpia
Heal Leaky Gut, with Dr. Vincent Pedre
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection, with Dr. Will Cole