PCOS, PMS, Ovarian Cysts, Fibroids, and Fertility
PCOS, PMS, Ovarian Cysts, Fibroids and Fertility
Hormone imbalances don’t just arise as we approach peri-menopause and menopause (40 – 60 yrs); unbalanced hormones can cause an array of symptoms related to a woman’s cycle.
Symptoms that you may experience with your menstrual cycle are:
- Back pain
- Heavy bleeding
- Clots in menstrual blood
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings
- Migraines or headaches
- Low energy
Although these symptoms are common for women who are menstruating, they are not normal. These symptoms tell us that the female sex hormones are unbalanced.
Often, if a teenage girl is experiencing a painful or heavy period, they may be put on an oral birth control pill to regulate their cycle. This method of treatment does often work for regulation of their cycle, however by putting young women on oral hormones, and leaving them on them for extended periods of time, we are affecting their fertility and ability to make their own hormones.
At Bay Wellness Centre, we aim to treat the whole person and we are always trying to treat the cause of the symptoms, not the symptoms themselves. So, when a young woman comes to us with painful, irregular and heavy menses, we prefer to look at their overall health and rebalance their hormones so their cycles are regular and manageable. Hormones can be rebalanced naturally by modifying specific diet and lifestyle components, as well as adding in herbs and nutrients when necessary.
We also do specialized hormone testing in our practice so that we can know exactly where we’re starting from. We use either urinary or salivary testing to look at the female hormones and cortisol curve. We also may need to test your blood to look at thyroid function, iron levels and liver health.
Let’s look at a few common conditions separately.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a condition that used to be defined as having multiple cysts on a female’s ovaries. The diagnosis has since changed to a set of criteria. The criteria include:
- Length of cycle
- Dark coarse hair growth (hirsutism)
- Discharge from nipples
Typically, with PCOS, testosterone is elevated, and progesterone is low, as compared to estrogen; insulin resistance is apparent, weight gain may be evident. This creates the symptom picture of an overweight female, with excess facial and /or nipple hair growth, possibly with acne, suffering from irregular and painful periods. Some women with PCOS may not cycle at all, and fertility can be affected.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Many women experience some form of PMS. Symptoms of PMS are typically experienced 1 week before beginning the menstrual cycle, and end during menses. For some women the symptoms are of minimal discomfort and don’t actually cause any problems. However, in some women, PMS symptoms can be severe and greatly affect their lives and activities of daily living.
There are subsets of PMS, based on symptoms.
- Mood swings
- Nervous tension
- Carb and sweet cravings
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- Memory loss
The severity of PMS symptoms depends on the overall health and hormone balance of the female. PMS is another case where women are prescribed oral birth control to manage these symptoms but there is a lot more we can do before reaching for prescriptions.
Ovarian Cysts and Fibroids
Cysts and fibroids are growths that can occur on the female’s internal reproductive organs. In some cases, no symptoms are present and they may be found by accident during a routine exam or pregnancy. In other cases, the cysts or fibroids are causing severe symptoms and even affecting fertility.
PCOS, PMS, Ovarian Cysts, Fibroids, Endometriosis, Fertility – all symptoms related to your cycle:
In each of these cases, an imbalance of hormones is the cause. With proper testing to determine hormone levels, and then implementing changes to diet and lifestyle, we can re-balance hormones and regulate your cycle naturally. Balancing your hormones during your childbearing and pre-pregnancy years can be of great benefit for when you enter peri-menopause and menopause.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms or conditions, book with us for a comprehensive approach.