Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome / PCOS

--Dr. Conan J. Shaw, Nutritionist - Pittsburgh, PA

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a very common female hormone imbalance. Some sources site it as effecting 5-10% of menstruating females. The principal features are obesity, anovulation (resulting in irregular menstruation) or amenorrhea (lack of menstruation), and excessive amounts of androgenic (masculinizing) hormones that can cause symptoms of facial hair and deep cyst like acne. The symptoms and severity of the syndrome vary greatly among women. While the causes are stated to be unknown, insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity are all strongly correlated with PCOS.

In most PCOS patients there is a shift that causes a slowing of the metabolism. The shift can be subtle enough that it is not identifiable with standard medical testing. Because PCOS is a symptom secondary to a combination of imbalances, blood sugar and hormones, very specific combinations of vitamins, diet change and herbal remedies are used to unravel the metabolic interference.

With diagnostics, blood tests for hormones are not always accurate for identifying a problem and this can make diagnosing functional hormone changes tricky. I specialize in working with the functional changes in your body to correct the cause of the symptoms and remove the presence of abnormal hormone responses.

In working with a nutritionist you will hear the word "functional" quite a bit. What we are referring to is that not all problems show up in your blood work, and there may be a more subtle change in your system that is not bad enough to raise the red flags for your medical doctor. Hormones are a perfect example.

I have enjoyed working with PCOS patients. In 2010 alone, I helped 3 patients with PCOS achieve normal healthy pregnancies and helped 4 others sharing the diagnosis lose significant body weight. All of them lost more than 25 lbs; one patient has lost 72 lbs in 6 months. The joy in this comes from the fact that all of the patients came in with low hopes of success due to what they had read about the disease. The extra level of satisfaction comes in superseding their expectations and watching them understand that they are on control of their health, instead of a diagnosis controlling them.

I look forward to helping you reverse the PCOS trends in your body.

-- Dr. Conan Shaw, Clinical Nutritionist Pittsburgh