pcos nutritionist orange county

Stress & PCOS

What are adrenal glands?

Adrenals are the little organs above your kidneys that effect hormonal imbalance. The adrenal glands are controlled by the hypothalamus, which also controls the ovaries and thyroid.

How does stress effect PCOS?

High levels of stress over a long period of time makes our adrenal glands send signals to the hypothalamus, telling it to turn off ovulation. Extreme stress will translate in our bodies as "not a good time to bring a baby into the world."

Part of the adrenal gland produces DHEA-S, which is similar to testosterone. It causes facial hair and acne as well. DHEA-S is the best measure of adrenal stimulation.

What are possible stressors?

1. overexercising- you may be hanging on to high intensity exercise because you feel like your weight is spiraling out of control, however you need to let go of that to heal adrenal fatigue.

2. gut infection- even if you're totally calm laying on the beach, you may have dysfunction in your gut microbiome

3. not enough play- do something for enjoyment like going out for a walk or a hike for the pleasure of meeting new people

4. lack of social support- this could be living away from family or not having a good friend group

5. too little sleep

6. psychological stress (work/money/family)

7. disrupted wake and sleep cycle- the blue light in our devices can cause this when we use them late at night. our body mistakes it as sunlight and pushes back our circadian rhythm


The most comprehensive way to test adrenal hormones is by taking a DUTCH Comprehensive test. Speak with a Registered Dietitian, who can provide this test for you and interpret your results.


For more information on understanding how adrenal fatigue triggers symptoms, take a look here:


Screen Shot 2018-08-15 at 12.12.29 AM.png

PCOS Biomarkers


When managing PCOS, there are multiple symptoms that may occur, because there are multiple causes for having PCOS. Some symptoms include facial hair, hair loss, acne, mood swings, or weight gain. It is important to take an individual approach. There is no one cause or cure.

You may need a completely different treatment plan than another woman. Consider speaking with a registered dietitian for direction on how to treat your symptoms.

The following chart includes biomarkers for the different types of PCOS along with their functional ranges. These ranges are different than the reference ranges you may find when you get your blood drawn. PCOS can often go misdiagnosed due to the misinterpretation of references ranges. Take a look at the following golden rules for PCOS lab work:

Types of PCOS

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 10.42.15 PM.png