Help for polycystic ovary sufferers

It is not uncommon for women to have cysts on their ovaries. Very often ovarian cysts go unnoticed as they are often quite small and cause no pain or discomfort.

They usually disappear of their own accord within a couple of months and are generally not harmful. Under normal conditions, at ovulation follicles grow on the ovaries out of which an egg develops and is released into the fallopian tubes. The follicles which are left behind deteriorate. Polycystic ovaries occur when groups of undeveloped follicles appear in bunches.

It is when other symptoms are present because of hormonal imbalance that the term Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS ) is given. This condition affects approximately one in ten women which is a surprisingly high number. This is a disorder which affects the whole body resulting in symptoms such as weight gain, scanty periods, acne, an overgrowth of facial hair, and fertility problems. Many women with PCOS also develop diabetes as blood sugar levels are likely to be unstable.

This is not so surprising as PCOS affects the body’s hormones; insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas to control blood sugar levels. The hormone testosterone which is responsible for male characteristics is also elevated which accounts for the common symptom of excess facial and body hair. Diet plays a major factor in this condition. Foods which should be avoided or eaten rarely include refined, processed foods and microwave meals, pies, and pastries.

Give preference to fresh organic fruits and vegetables. Avoid red meat, especially pork, instead eat more vegetable proteins such as beans, soya, wholegrains, lentils, and nuts. Sugar should be eliminated from the diet. The mineral chromium is very important if you have PCOS as it helps to reduce cravings and balance blood sugar levels. A deficiency in this mineral can lead to insulin resistance, allowing too much insulin to circulate in the blood.

Insulin dependent diabetics are not advised to take this mineral unless advised by a GP. Magnesium and zinc are other important minerals as they work with insulin. Perhaps the most important herb for PCOS sufferers is Saw Palmetto as it helps reduce excess testosterone levels, especially recommended in cases of an overgrowth of facial or body hair. The herb Dong Quai may also be of benefit as it has been shown to regulate oestrogens. These herbs as well as the mineral chromium are available in capsules and are not known to cause side effects.

For more information contact Susan in Au Naturel, Irishtown, Athlone on (090 ) 6487993.

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