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Understanding PCOS: Symptoms and Impacts on Fertility
“Remember that through each stage of the [PCOS] disorder, although we can't cure it, we can manage the symptoms.” - Dr. Jessica Chan.
If you’re a woman between the ages of 15 to 45 you might have heard the term PCOS floating around which stands for polycystic ovary syndrome. PCOS is a very common condition in women that affects their ovaries, overproduction of androgen (male sex) hormones, insulin absorption, and other symptoms. When it comes to fertility PCOS can become a major factor as it affects how often a woman is able to ovulate, reducing her odds of conceiving.
Women with PCOS can experience all different types of symptoms including:
Irregular periods such as infrequent periods or long-lasting periods are a very common sign that women could be suffering from PCOS. Severe acne, excess facial hair or body hair (hirsutism) could also be common in women with PCOS.
Factors Contributing to PCOS: Insulin, Inflammation, and Genetics
Some studies suggest that the prevalence of being overweight or obese in American women with PCOS is as high as 80%. However, when the same researchers looked at women with PCOS outside of the US the prevalence of obesity dropped. The relationship between PCOS and weight is a complicated one and the true cause of PCOS is still unknown. With that being said, doctors and scientists have narrowed down some factors that they believe play a major role in developing PCOS including:
- Insulin resistance: this is when the body’s cells become resistant to insulin, which is the hormone that converts sugar into energy. This can cause the body’s blood sugar levels to rise, or even produce excess insulin. This excess in insulin can increase the production of male sex hormones resulting in a lack of ovulation.
- Inflammation: Low-grade inflammation is when your body’s white blood cells work and fight against toxins, free radicals and infection. Women with PCOS often have low-grade inflammation which also stimulates the production of more androgens.
- Genetics: research suggests that PCOS might be hereditary and passed down.
- Excess Androgens: If the ovaries are producing too many androgens then a woman could develop PCOS, resulting in excess hair growth and acne.
Natural Management of PCOS: The Role of Inositol and Folate Supplements
If you or a loved one are dealing with PCOS then you might feel relieved to know that there are natural supplements for PCOS. PCOS supplements can help manage PCOS symptoms and improve fertility. Elan Healthcare’s Ovofolic is made directly for women’s reproductive health and specifically to combat PCOS symptoms.
Inositol PCOS supplements have been discovered to be an extremely beneficial supplement for managing PCOS. Inositol is also referred to as vitamin B8, but is not really a vitamin but actually a sugar. One of the main roles inositol or vitamin B8 plays in the body is regulating how insulin acts in our body. You can find inositol naturally in foods such as grains, nuts, beans, fresh fruits and vegetables. However, it would be very difficult for women with PCOS to get all the inositol their bodies need to manage PCOS from food alone.
There are a few different types of inositol, and Elan’s Ovofolic has both Myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol, following the 40:1 ratio. The Myo-inositol works to improve ovarian functions while the D-chiro-inositol contributes to mediating insulin activity (mainly in non-ovarian tissues). A recent study found that the 40:1 ratio improved:
- Diastolic blood pressure (pressue in the heart between beats)
- Fasting insulin (level of insulin in your blood)
- Both insulin and glucose levels
- Regular ovulation
It is also found by researchers that myo-inositol plus D-chiro-inositol is able to improve the metabolic profile of PCOS women, therefore, reducing the cardiovascular risk.
Studies (1, 2, 3) also show that inositol works best for managing PCOS when combined with folate. The research found that inositol and folate can reduce the body’s levels of triglycerides in the blood. This can improve insulin function and lower high blood pressure. This is great for fertility because the lower insulin levels can stop a woman's ovaries from over-producing androgens, allowing her to ovulate more regularly.
In one study folate and inositol supplementation helped 62% of participants induce regular ovulation after just 3 months.
Another great benefit of having folate in a female reproductive supplement is because it is a great prenatal promoting healthy fetal development. Folate is specifically known to reduce the odds of a fetus developing neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Combined with inositol, folate can improve insulin function and promote ovulation in 60% of women with PCOS.
If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, you might ask yourself what is the natural treatment for PCOS? You might also look for a natural PCOS treatment to manage your symptoms. In this case, Ovofolic could be just the thing you need. Elan Healthcare produces all-natural products to help women combat PCOS symptoms and to improve their overall reproductive health and even get pregnant with PCOS. At Elan Healthcare we are passionate about helping women and their partners increase their chances of conception and improving their overall health.
1 - Obesity and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. By Sam S. Published Apr 2010.
2 - Genetic Basis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Current Perspectives. By Khan MJ, Ullah A, Basit S. Published Dec 2019.
3 - Combining treatment with myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol (40:1) is effective in restoring ovary function and metabolic balance in PCOS patients. By Monastra G, Unfer V, Harrath AH, Bizzarri M. Published Nov 2016.
4 - The Combined therapy myo-inositol plus D-Chiro-inositol, in a physiological ratio, reduces the cardiovascular risk by improving the lipid profile in PCOS patients. By Minozzi M, Nordio M, Pajalich R. Published Feb 2013.
5 - Inositol Supplementation in the Prevention of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. By Tahir F, Majid Z. Published Sept 2019.
6 - Ovulatory and metabolic effects of D-chiro-inositol in the polycystic ovary syndrome. By Nestler JE, Jakubowicz DJ, Reamer P, Gunn RD, Allan G. Published Apr 1999.
7 - Comparison of two insulin sensitizers, metformin and myo-inositol, in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). By Fruzzetti F, Perini D, Russo M, Bucci F, Gadducci A. Published Nov 2016.
8 - Myo-inositol administration positively affects hyperinsulinemia and hormonal parameters in overweight patients with polycystic ovary syndrome. By Genazzani AD, Lanzoni C, Ricchieri F, Jasonni VM. Published March 2008.
9 - Ovulation induction with myo-inositol alone and in combination with clomiphene citrate in polycystic ovarian syndrome patients with insulin resistance. By Kamenov Z, Kolarov G, Gateva A, Carlomagno G, Genazzani AD. Published Sept 2014.