We all know that irregular periods or no periods and weight gain are common symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), but few people realize that there are four types of PCOS with different causes and treatment options.
The fastest way to start healing and reversing your PCOS symptoms is to know what type of PCOS you have. You can find this out by ordering a lab test kit, then reviewing the results with your physician.
Even if your PCOS symptoms have improved, you can still learn a lot by taking a lab test kit. Your results will most likely be a vast improvement from your initial lab tests and blood tests. But monitoring your inflammation (by checking your C-reactive protein, taking anti-inflammatories, avoiding food sensitivities and/or cutting down on inflammatory foods), your hormone levels, and signs of adrenal fatigue can give you clues on how to be the healthiest version of yourself.
Unless you have lab work done, or have dominant symptoms, some sneaky things can still be happening in your body that you might not even recognize as symptoms.
For example, maybe you’re used to a little bit of cramping or acne before your period or mood swings on the first day of your period. You’ve gotten so used to these symptoms because they’re “not as bad” as the serious symptoms you’ve either healed or reversed.
Did you know you don’t have to deal with even “small” symptoms like those? There’s a way to fine-tune your body, understand how to increase energy, and drop extra pounds, healthily!
Please note this blog post is not a substitute for official medical advice. If you are concerned about your PCOS symptoms, suspect you have an underlying health condition, or wish to make dietary/lifestyle changes, please consult your doctor first.
What PCOS type do I have?
After you take your lab test and get your results, your practitioner will walk you through the panel. And, talk about what you can do to improve your symptoms or check any issues before they become worse.
Understanding which of the four possible PCOS types you may have will help you focus on what to work on and create a foundation for treating PCOS. The four types of PCOS are: insulin resistance PCOS, adrenal PCOS, inflammatory PCOS, and post-pill PCOS. Take the quiz HERE to discover which type you have and get started on a path to healing.
Small, incremental changes in your diet and lifestyle will make a huge impact. Of course, your quiz results are not a diagnosis. It’s always best to go to your doctor to confirm and make sure. But your results will help you understand what’s happening inside your body so you can feel empowered to talk to your doctor about a plan to reverse your PCOS symptoms.
Everyone needs a different type of protocol because their symptoms vary in degree. So don’t worry if your symptoms list doesn’t exactly fall into one of these categories. PCOS is a spectrum and a syndrome. This means there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Everything that’s recommended in this article may not be for everyone.
With inflammatory PCOS, the tell-tale symptoms will be weight loss plateau, feeling fatigued most of the time, bloating, cystic acne, rashes, and joint pain (almost an arthritic-type pain).
You may also experience irritability and even feelings of anxiety after eating, stomach aches, and brain fog.
The two types of inflammation are acute and chronic.
Acute inflammation is similar to hitting your elbow on the edge of a doorway. You’ll feel immediate pain as the area gets red and swollen. Your body is sending white blood cells to go and protect that area.
Chronic inflammation is when this flow of white blood cells is constantly happening in your body. For example, eating foods that contain gluten or harmful substances creates a battleground for inflammation that’s constantly happening and that can create a lot of stress on your system.
Your body is trying to protect and heal you by releasing these messengers such as inflammatory cytokines. This signals your ovaries to secrete more testosterone. These signals also act directly on fat cells and cause insulin resistance.
The best way to start treating this type of PCOS is to identify ways to reduce inflammation such as going gluten-free for at least 30 days to see if this helps your symptoms improve.
When you eat gluten, it activates a protein in your body called zonulin.
Zonulin regulates the tight junctions in your intestinal walls, and gluten causes zonulin to start stretching out those tight junctions. When the intestinal walls become loosened they develop small holes.
Those holes allow gluten and harmful substances, such as bacteria, into your bloodstream.
When your body recognizes these substances entering your bloodstream it sends the white blood cells as a defense and that’s when you’ll experience bloating.
Chronic low-grade inflammation with hirsutism also makes the cells eventually become insulin resistant. Women with hirsutism (PSU) are more prone to this because of genetics and increased baseline inflammation. Another thing that can help reduce inflammatory PCOS is vitamin D. One of the best supplements is from Theralogix (use code 292660 for 15% off). Make sure you check with your physician to see if your vitamin D levels are at a normal level and ask if taking a supplement could help.
INSULIN RESISTANT PCOS
Insulin resistance manifests as uncontrollable weight gain via high levels of insulin, which is one of the most significant symptoms of PCOS. There are ways to evaluate and test your insulin levels, like a fasting insulin test. This test measures the insulin levels in your blood after around 8 hours of fasting. A healthcare professional will collect a blood sample from you and send it to a lab for analysis. Consult your doctor if you suspect you have an insulin issue.
If you have insulin-resistant PCOS you may be immediately hungry after eating, experience anxiety after eating, and feel irritable. You may also suffer from cystic acne, which is caused by insulin triggering testosterone production. When testosterone gathers around oil glands it causes inflammation and breakouts.
Insulin resistance triggers about 80% of the PCOS symptoms most women experience. Metabolic dysfunction is where insulin resistance happens, which is the true root cause of PCOS.
When a person is insulin resistant the brain creates a new normal set point for the body’s weight. It wants to hold on to fat stores. For every pound that we lose, our metabolism slows down more in an attempt to regain the lost body mass. When this happens the thyroid hormone also drops. Additionally, our cell metabolism slows down, our appetite increases, and fat is stored with more efficiency for every lost pound.
As a result, when we go on diets that are super restrictive and stressful we end up losing weight only temporarily. Regaining the weight (plus more), ultimately damaging our metabolism.
Women with PCOS are genetically predisposed to insulin resistance. There’s nothing you can do to change this. But being aware of how your body works empowers you to be able to take the correct steps to manage a healthy weight.
Tips to keep in mind are avoid snacking too much throughout the day (this causes random spikes in blood sugar, which causes more insulin resistance), and making sure you’re choosing foods that aren’t drastically impacting your blood sugar levels.
A few more tips for combating Insulin Resistant PCOS are:
- Prioritizing exercise with slow, weighted workouts (aim for 75 minutes a week to start) and avoiding high intensity exercise that may cause stress on the system.
- Getting good sleep at night
- Incorporating Ovasitol into your supplement routine (use code 292660 for 15% off)
Exercise has a trickle-down effect that can improve your overall health. Excess weight can cause a host of conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Even just 15 minutes of exercise per day will make an enormous difference in your inflammation levels, insulin resistance, self-confidence and mood issues, and overall health.
Choose fun workout programs (like the ones featured in our membership program) that you can do at home that targets legs, booty, belly, and core strength.
ADRENAL FATIGUE CAUSED BY PCOS
Remember that stress hormones can contribute to weight gain and retention. So if you’re tired, take a nap. Powering through adrenal fatigue is only going to hurt your long-term healing goals. When a woman experiences stress, whether physical or emotional or inflammatory, she ends up creating high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and thus a possible hormonal imbalance. Over time the adrenal glands on top of the kidneys can no longer keep up with the body’s demand for cortisol.
Cortisol isn’t good for PCOS because it’s a precursor for progesterone: a hormone necessary for ovulation. Reducing stress, getting enough sleep, and meditating for just 10 minutes a day can reduce stress. This allows the body to produce the necessary hormones for a healthy menstrual cycle. If you’re having trouble getting good quality sleep, consider reducing your caffeine intake, taking melatonin, or CBD (15% off).
YOUR THYROID AND PCOS
Routinely checking your thyroid levels can help you create new, easy-to-accomplish health goals without getting overwhelmed by dealing with every symptom at once. If you take an at-home lab kit test and see that you’re within range (even if it’s the lower end of the functional range), detecting even the slightest bit of hyperthyroidism early can help you keep those symptoms from getting out of control.
Your daily food intake can also have a major impact on your thyroid levels. For example, eating leafy greens like kale, broccoli and brussels sprouts can weaken and suppress your thyroid if consumed in excess. Because they’re cruciferous vegetables. Work on creating a ‘rainbow’ array of fruits and veggies to ensure you get a range of nutrients and high-quality fiber. Also consider avoiding processed foods, and consuming plenty of fish oil and vitamin b5 to reduce inflammation throughout the body and support overall endocrine system health.
Being consistent about any daily supplements and multivitamins prescribed to you by your doctor, and keeping track of your testing results, is a crucial part of reversing PCOS symptoms.
Consider getting blood work tests after 3, 6, or 12 months to track your improvements. And review what needs to be changed. Seeing your symptoms slowly but surely improving will help make healing a fun experience!
After recently taking a lab kit test, my practitioner told me I wasn’t getting proper micronutrients to support my thyroid. This hypothyroid issue was slightly affecting my progesterone levels, which were also on the lower end. In some cases, this can cause your menstrual cycle to not be consistent every month.
Consistently taking vitamins and supplements that support the results from your lab kit test will start to make an impact on your body’s overall health. Since our bodies can easily change as time goes on, making sure you have fresh results to learn from can help support your long-term health goals.
As with any supplement, talking to your doctor about what works best for you based on your lab results is crucial. And if you’re looking for support and sisterhood as you go through these experiences remember that you can join the largest PCOS support group in the world right now! Check out the membership HERE.
Binding globulin, known as the ‘sex hormone,’ cleans up the androgens in your body.
When you have low levels of thyroid you have low levels of the sex hormone. And that can lead to hyperandrogenism, hair loss, excess hair growth, and acne due to high levels of androgens/male hormones (i.e. testosterone).
Gluten contains a protein called gliadin which your body can easily mistake for a thyroid molecule in a process known as molecular mimicry. If your gut is irritated and inflamed, because of gluten sensitivity, then the gliadin protein can enter your bloodstream. And your immune system mistakenly identifies the gliadin as an intruder and attacks it by producing antibodies. Once these antibodies are formed they can also attack your thyroid gland.
If you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune condition, or if you have hypothyroidism, you’re causing your body to attack itself as a form of self-defense every time you eat gluten.
Going gluten-free will help clear up a vicious cycle of symptoms. So consider giving this lifestyle change a try to see long-lasting health improvements for your PCOS.