Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) impacts 1 in 10 women, yet it takes an average of two years and three or more office visits with a medical provider to make the diagnosis. This disease creates hormonal imbalances and a disruption to one’s metabolism. PCOS impacts multiple organ systems with significant metabolic and reproductive manifestations. Rest assured, PCOS is manageable with lifestyle adjustments, supplements, and medications for some.
We know that symptoms vary significantly from woman to woman as some may have a few symptoms while others have them all. Common symptoms include but are not limited to missed periods, irregular periods, or very light periods. Dark or excess body hair, commonly on the chest, stomach, and back. Weight gain that is sudden or hard to lose, especially around the belly area. Skin and hair changes such as acne, oily skin, skin tags, dark patches to neck and armpit area, baldness, or thinning hair. PCOS often leads to infertility due to hormonal imbalance interfering with ovulation.
Let’s look at a common supplement and prescription medication used to treat PCOS.
Metformin is a prescription medication commonly used to treat diabetes but is often used to treat PCOS. This medication makes the body more sensitive to insulin and can help lower elevated blood glucose levels and androgen levels. Its mechanism of action is decreasing the amount of sugar the liver makes and reducing the amount of sugar the intestines absorb from food. The side effects of this medication often lead to stopping or wanting to seek other options. These include but are not limited to diarrhea, bloating nausea, and dizziness. Dosing is based on an individual’s health history and ability to tolerate the dosing, which you will discuss with your healthcare provider.
Myo- Inositol is a supplement found to be more effective than metformin in some studies! This supplement can help with symptom management, weight reduction, return of ovulation, and even unexpected pregnancy! Inositol is produced by the body and is found naturally in foods. In women with PCOS, the action needed to convert inositol into its bio-available form is not working as it should. PCOS patients tend to have lower levels thus, supplementation is helpful. The exact mechanism inositol improves ovulation and pregnancy outcomes in those with PCOS is not fully understood but is likely linked to glucose and insulin levels. Typical dosing is Myo & D-Chiro Inositol 2000 mg twice daily. The great news is that you receive that dose when taking Baseline+!
It is common to use one of these options alone or together as a combination approach to care. Working with a healthcare provider familiar with PCOS is very beneficial and will allow you to create a plan that best fits your needs. Being diagnosed with PCOS can feel heavy and overwhelming. Knowing there are options available to assist you with your symptom management can provide hope. Never hesitate to advocate to your healthcare provider if you have these symptoms but have not been diagnosed. You know your body best!
Blog written by Protea Nutrition affiliate Dr. Tara Brandner DNP, FNP-C
Podcast: Hopeful Hints: An Infertility Podcast