We often see patients with a diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) that are on a long list of drugs, including synthetic hormones, designed to treat each symptom. This “Band-Aid” approach doesn’t get to the crux of the issue! When all women are offered is drugs that suppress the body, many women are left struggling to manage symptoms of hormonal imbalances rather than uncovering and working to correct the causes of these symptoms. A multifaceted, individualized approach is the only way to find true healing from PCOS. Sometimes we evaluate women and find they have been mis-diagnosed with PCOS when there’s really another underlying problem.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is more than just cysts on the ovaries! Women with PCOS also experience issues with sex hormone abnormalities, adrenal function, blood sugar regulation, cholesterol, and sometimes thyroid function as well. This interconnected web of imbalances can contribute to depression and anxiety, weight gain, hair loss, unwanted hair growth in places like the face, back, and chest, as well as difficulty getting pregnant.
Dr. Nayak specializes in piecing together the PCOS puzzle for patients. She is accepting new patients in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and diving into the many complexities each woman’s body brings to the table. In doing so, the main areas that MUST be addressed are:
1. Diet- Every PCOS patient must get on an personalized food plan and begin thriving on foods that are beneficial to their individual needs while avoiding foods that will negatively interact with their blood type and other underlying genes. There are three main times a day for us to medicate ourselves and that is with with our breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Most PCOS patient have issues with insulin and blood sugar regulation as well. While this can be addressed with minerals and herbs, it is ESSENTIAL to take a dietary approach to managing blood sugar as well.
2. Lymph Flow The lymph system is responsible for clearing the waste that accumulates in the spaces between cells known as the extracellular matrix. It also carries immune complexes and inflammatory molecules to and from the tissues. Both of these aspects can be underlying reasons for “stagnation” in terms of healthy fluctuating hormone clearance, cellular communication, and tissue damage. Lymph flow also encourages the delivery of progesterone to the body which is an important consideration in the typically estrogen dominant PCOS woman!
3. Liver Function- The liver is our main organ of detoxification of both hormones made in our bodies and hormones we ingest via foods, synthetic drugs, and chemicals such as dioxin in plastics, etc. The liver requires a LOT of essential cofactors in the form of vitamins and minerals to execute the complex detoxification system it houses. In addition to giving the liver it’s basic needs we sometimes need to “jump start” liver function with herbs or other nutrients.
4. HPO Axis- The hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis involves brain signaling to target hormone-releasing organs. Although hormonal imbalances are often thought of as issues with the ovaries or glands, very often the problem resides in the signaling system, not within the exocrine (hormone secreting) tissues themselves! To get to the true root of the problem, we must restore communication between cells by supporting this nervous system function.
5. Microbiome- All of the bacteria that reside in our intestinal tracts are actually organized into highly individual patterns, like fingerprints. These microbes contribute to transforming plant hormones (phytoestrogens) into estrogenically -active compounds as well as helping to eliminate hormones from the system via the intestinal excretion route, poop! Testing for microbiome patterns can help predict responses to treatment and sometimes uncover a trigger for the underlying hormonal imbalances in PCOS.
6. Emotions- Many woman dealing with PCOS also suffer from depression and anxiety. There are actually many links between the above mentioned physical systems with direct effects on psychological health. That being said, the emotions underlying hormonal imbalances often need to be uncovered, addressed, and supported to facilitate true healing on all planes. While neither of us is a licensed counselor, we definitely provide a listening ear, suggestions, and referrals when more support is needed.
Dr. Nayak’s practice website is here.