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Archive for the ‘PCOS’ Category

Some of you are beyond your earlier years of trying to starting a family. Do you ever wonder what happens with polycystic ovarian syndrome as you get older?

There isn’t much discussion of what happens when you get older.

According to one study from Erasmus University Medical Centre in The Netherlands, there is some good news. They followed 254 PCOS women for up to 7 years.

Based on their research, it appears that as you get older, you’re more likely to have a more normal cycle as well as some reduction in male hormones and a decrease in insulin resistance. These are desirable developments.

However, a Swedish study did not agree with these findings. In this study, 84 middle-aged women with a previous diagnosis were compared to 87 women who did not have PCOS.

The Swedish researchers discovered that 23% the women with PCOS had metabolic syndrome whereas only 8% of the other women had metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome has many similarities to polycystic ovary syndrome, including overweight, belly fat, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, heart disease and high blood fats. Some researchers consider PCOS to be a variation of metabolic syndrome.

We previously reported that other Swedish and Finnish studies showed that, compared to normal women, pre-menopausal and menopausal PCOS women still had more hirsutism (unwanted hair growth), higher male hormone levels, poorer regulation of blood sugar, and more chronic inflammation.

So what’s the bottom line here?

Apparently, some aspects of PCOS may improve but many of the underlying health issues and abnormalities remain.

The best way to minimize PCOS and its consequences later in life is simply to take very good care of yourself. How? By learning and maintaining good health practices.

Good health practices include a healthier diet consisting of mostly whole, fresh foods. Add to this a great deal of physical activity, regular exercise, stress management and reduction, living in the cleanest possible environment, getting enough sleep, and taking selected nutritional supplements as needed.

Sources:
Brown ZA et al, The phenotype of polycystic ovary syndrome ameliorates with aging, Fertil Steril. 2011 Nov;96(5):1259-65.
Hudecova M et al, Prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in women with a previous diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome: long-term follow-up, Fertil Steril. 2011 Nov;96(5):1271-4. Epub 2011 Aug 26.

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Can you believe it?  More environmental factors linked to PCOS! I can. When I first start researching this topic I was finding that more women were being diagnosed with PCO or PCOS later in life unexplained. Typically this was a diagnosis that started in adolescents.  Now women come down with it and don’t even show many symptoms other than an irregular menstrual cycle. Unfortunately that isn’t enough for your OB to investigate further.  It comes more clear when these women try to get pregnant and can’t or have multiple miscarriages…then they actually look further and discover cysts on your ovaries. It is normal to have them, but how many is normal is the question.

We can choose to live in a bubble and not think our environment is effecting us, but there is more and more proof that it is even effecting our reproductive abilities…read further on the studies.

A while back we talked about how the environmental chemical Bisphenol A is associated with PCOS.

Another study, from Nanjing Medical University in China evaluated 108 women with PCOS and 108 women free of the disorder.

They found that risk factors for PCOS were: occupation, education, disposable plastic cups for drinking, cooking oil fumes and indoor decoration. The strongest risks factors were disposable plastic cups for drinking, cooking oil fumes and indoor decoration.

More recent studies from Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine in Poland and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York are strongly suggesting that daily exposure to endocrine-disrupting environmental chemicals is associated with early breast development in girls and precocious puberty.

Three common classes of chemicals — phenols, phthalates and phytoestrogens — are known to interfere with your hormonal system.

These disrupters can be found in numerous consumer products such as nail polishes, cosmetics, perfumes, lotions and shampoos. Other sources include various plastics, coatings on time-released medications, building products and plastic tubing.

Early continual exposure can lead later on to breast cancer, thyroid disorders, diabetes, asthma, allergies, attention deficit disorder, pregnancy and fertility problems, and more.

It’s all a little depressing and overwhelming, isn’t it? No one wants to live a life with out nail polish, cosmetics, shampoos, plastic drinking cups, or pleasant objects in our home made out of petrochemicals.

Regardless of how you feel about it, you’ll have to decide how important it is to you to deal with PCOS. If you plan on becoming pregnant, how important it is to you to reduce your future daughter’s risk of developing PCOS? If you’re a mother, how important to you is the future health of your daughter?

The more important all this is to you, the more action you’ll want to take to minimize exposure to environmental chemicals of all kinds. As a start, think of using glass, ceramic, wood or other natural materials as part of your lifestyle and environment instead of plastics. Use natural or organic products wherever possible.

Source: PCOS Review

Huang WJ et al, [Analysis of environmental factors and polycystic ovary syndrome], Zhonghua Fu Chan Ke Za Zhi. 2007 May;42(5):302-4.
Wolff MS et al, Investigation of relationships between urinary biomarkers of phytoestrogens, phthalates, and phenols and pubertal stages in girls, Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Jul;118(7):1039-46.
Jurewicz J et al, Exposure to phthalates: Reproductive outcome and children health. A review of epidemiological studies, Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2011 Jun;24(2):115-41.

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If we can’t see it, can’t smell it, can’t hear it and can’t touch it, does it exist?

We can no longer hide our head in the sand and pretend that environmental chemicals have no effect on polycystic ovarian syndrome and our collective health.

The evidence is in. The chemical Genie is out of the bottle. We have a serious problem to solve.

Researchers in the UK and Greece have just published a report. The report says that women with polycystic ovary syndrome have a significantly higher body burden of bisphenol A (BPA) than other women.

BPA, a chemical in our environment, is a known estrogenic “hormone disrupter”.

The study compared 71 women with PCOS to 100 “normal” women. All women were subdivided into lean and overweight groups.

All together, the PCOS women had 1.5 times the amount of BPA in their blood than the other women did.

The lean PCOS women had 1.6 times the amount compared to other lean women. The overweight PCOS women had 1.3 times as much as the other overweight women.

The overweight women tended to have lower BPA levels in their blood than the lean ones. We can speculate that in the overweight women, they have more BPA stored in their fat cells and not as much in their blood. Fat cells are excellent storage sites for many environmental chemicals.

The study also established a close correlation between BPA levels and the level of male hormones such as testosterone. A close association was also shown between BPA and insulin resistance. In other words, the higher the BPA, the higher the male hormones and insulin resistance are.

Please note that high levels of male hormones and insulin resistance are believed to be the reason why you have PCOS.

The study concluded: “Higher BPA levels in PCOS women compared to controls and a statistically significant positive association between androgens and BPA point to a potential role of this endocrine disruptor in PCOS pathophysiology.”

They are implying that BPA appears to be a partial cause of your PCOS.

But there’s more.

What happens if you conceive? What happens to your developing baby?

In lab animals, BPA passes from the mother to the fetus. So BPA is still available to do its damage. Fetuses have a severely limited capability to detoxify chemicals such as BPA. Essentially, your future baby is at increased risk for problems that go far beyond PCOS or infertility.

For example, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill has reported that the 2-year old children of mothers with higher levels of BPA had more disturbed behavior. This was more pronounced in female children than males.

What happens if your new baby is exposed to BPA? If rodent studies are any clue, both your male and female babies will tend to be less fertile when they become adults.

For example, the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina recently completed a study of baby female rats exposed to BPA.

When the female rats became adults, they discovered that their BPA exposure was associated with increased testosterone and estrogen, and reduced progesterone. (This is an unbalanced hormone pattern commonly seen in women who have PCOS).

In addition, the exposed female rats had much reduced fertility. Also, their ovaries had large numbers of ovarian cysts.

We could go on and on about all the health problems created by BPA, to say nothing of the other 80,000 chemicals to which we are exposed.

Let’s cut to the chase. Is there anything you can do about BPA?

There are two things you can do. Reduce your exposure to BPA, and try to get rid of the BPA you already have.

Reduce Exposure

You can reduce your exposure by trying to find out where it is. It is used in a multitude of hard plastic products such as water bottles, food containers, infant bottles and medical equipment and supplies. BPA may also be found in the lining of canned foods and in many other non-obvious products such as thermal-printed cash register receipts and some dental sealants.

Reduce the use of canned foods and eat more fresh food instead. Try to use glass containers instead of plastic for food, water and beverages. Don’t use plastic bottles to feed your baby; use glass instead.

It may be difficult to get rid of the BPA you already have, but it’s worth trying anyway. Your liver can detoxify BPA and send it to the intestines for excretion. However, up to one-half of women with PCOS have livers that are infiltrated with fat, thus possibly slowing down the detoxification process.

We don’t have space here to discuss repairing your liver. However, a healthier diet is a place to start.

Another problem is that, as the detoxified BPA passes down your intestines into the colon, much of the BPA is reabsorbed back into the bloodstream and goes straight back to the liver, where it just came from. This problem is made worse if you tend to be constipated.

However, if you consume a diet that is high in whole foods and fiber, like the one in the e-book, you improve your chances of flushing out the BPA before it can be reabsorbed into the body.

Source: PCOS review

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You won’t hear this from your doctor, but exciting
new research is revealing that plant pigments may
improve the health of your ovaries and help
normalize their function.

If you’re not eating your veggies, this article should
give you a compelling reason to get started!

Many plant foods are high in red, yellow and
orange pigments called “carotenoids”.  They are
especially abundant in yellow-orange vegetables
and fruits, and dark green, leafy vegetables.

Carotenoids provide antioxidant protection, improve
cell-to-cell communication and support the immune
system, in addition to other functions.

Carotenoids appear to protect the ovaries against
damage from free radicals, which are unstable
elements in your cells.  One study has noted that
women with more consistent levels of carotenoids
were more likely to become pregnant with in-vitro
fertilization (IVF) than other women..

Several studies have suggested that free radical
activity may interfere with the corpus luteum’s
ability to produce steroid hormones such as
progesterone.  Carotenoids may help to control
some of this free radical activity since they are
well known as antioxidants.

And thus increased intake of carotenoids may help
to increase progesterone production.  This has
been demonstrated in an animal study.

Carotenoids may also be helpful for controlling
insulin levels and reducing risk of diabetes.

Carotenoids also appear to reduce your risk of
ovarian cancer.

The available research clearly indicates that
dietary carotenoids will contribute to improved
ovarian health and function.

Refer to chapters 8.8 and 8.10 of “The Natural Diet
Solution for PCOS and Infertility” ebook for lists of
vegetables and fruits that are high in beneficial
carotenoids.

Increase your carotenoids and your ovaries will
thank you!  Your PCOS problems could diminish
too.

 

Source: PCOS Review

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A while back I was asked this question: “Do you have any ideas that deal with talking to your spouse/husband about infertility and PCOS?”

“My husband knows I have this condition, but really does not understand how/why it is affecting me. He seems to think that since it’s my problem (and not his) he does not need to concern himself with it.”

“What he does not realize is that I need his support to get through this, but how can I get his support if he does not understand what’s happening to me. I really could use some advice on how to talk to him about it. Thank you.” — Client

This is an excellent question. An understanding and accepting spouse or partner is a critical factor in your successful journey toward better health. Yet little is said about it.

I certainly don’t have all the answers. But here are a few thoughts.

1) You can lead a horse to water but can’t make him drink.

Some men have the maturity and interest to be deeply concerned and supportive of their mate’s health. Some don’t. Most men don’t focus on their own health, so it’s no surprise they would not focus on the mate’s health.

If a spouse is not mature enough to be supportive, develop your own support group independent of him.

2) Explain to him that infertility and PCOS is a very serious condition.

You might ask him to imagine how he would feel if he had a serious disease, such as prostate cancer. If he had prostate cancer, would he like to have YOUR understanding and support?

If he understands that you need his support, you can start to educate him about PCOS and your particular diagnosis. You could take the information you have gathered from your research.

Explain that you have a very serious matter on your hands, which can severely reduce the quality of your life, your happiness, and your health. For example, some possible consequences of  polycystic ovary syndrome are depression, impaired lung function, liver trouble, acne, infertility, obesity, hair loss, hirsutism, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Tell him that cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer of women and that women with PCOS have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than other women.

Explain that you are in an “at-risk” group for health problems. You might ask him how important it is to him for you to avoid heart disease. How important is it to him for you to avoid diabetes? Or depression? Does he want a wife who is healthy and attractive, or who is chronically ill? And who might have a shortened lifespan? Find a way to ask questions like this without making him feel defensive.

Further explain that there is no cure for this disorder and that most doctors don’t have an effective logg-term solution. So your long-term health is in your hands, not the doctor’s.

PCOS is partly driven by your genetic inheritance. Therefore you have to counteract this genetic tendency. The best way to counteract your genetic tendency is to eat a very healthy diet, get lots of regular exercise, and avoid chronic stress (as described in this ebook). Tell him there are no magic pills out there for PCOS. The only solution is to have the persistence to develop and maintain exceptionally good health and lifestyle habits.

3) Share your feelings about PCOS with him. Does he know what you’re experiencing inside?

4) Ask for his cooperation in very specific ways.

Start with something small. Make it easy for him to cooperate and praise him for his cooperation.

If he likes to eat half a gallon of ice cream after dinner, ask him to not offer you a bowl of ice cream. You can skip dessert, or if you want dessert with him, have some berries and raw nuts.

Or, invite him to join you in a walk around the neighborhood. You get the benefit of exercise and so does he. It’s also an opportunity to spend some uninterrupted time together.

Incrementally add more things about which he can be cooperative and supportive.

Be sure to offer generous praise and thanks when he does support you. Tell him it means a lot to you and you really appreciate and love him for it.

Build on small successes.

5) The future health of your children is at stake.

If you haven’t started a family, explain to him that because of PCOS, your future children have an increased risk of developing health problems as they mature.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is thought to start in the womb. It affects both male and female babies. So if he wants to have healthier, happier children, then you want to get your hormones into better balance before you conceive. One crucial way to get your hormones into a healthier balance is to adopt good health practices.

PCOS is not just a little temporary problem with your ovaries. It is a systemic disorder that requires life-long attention.

6) Your spouse’s health can also be improved.

You could also let him know that if he chooses to participate in your improved health practices, he will improve his health and longevity.

In conclusion, patiently educate him as to what you’re really dealing with. This process may take months or even years.

Ask for assistance in simple, clear ways that he can understand and can fulfill. Don’t make him feel guilty or pressured. Avoid criticism. Be liberal with thanks and praise when he does anything that is supportive.

And finally, PCOS is a family issue simply because every family member will be affected.

Source: PCOS review

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A cause of miscarriage and other pregnancy complications has been identified by the University Magna Graecia in Italy.

The researchers compared 73 pregnant women with PCOS and 73 pregnant women who did not have PCOS. They measured the flow of the artery that supplies blood to the uterus during pregnancy. They discovered that the PCOS group had reduced or abnormal blood flow to the uterus, which substantially increased the risk of pregnancy problems.

What might be a reason for the abnormal blood flow?

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome are more likely to have a condition called “endothelial dysfunction”. Endothelial dysfunction means that the cells in your artery walls are not working properly. This condition is an “early warning” sign of future, more serious cardiovascular problems such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

What might you do about it?

Eat a healthier diet. Avoid unhealthy fats and eliminate all refined sugars from your diet. (If you don’t know what an unhealthy fat is, read the “Fats and Oils” section of The Natural Diet Solution for PCOS and Infertility ebook.

Of course, regular exercise is highly advisable.

There are also certain nutritional supplements that may help. For example, a report from the University of Indiana School of Medicine indicates that L-carnitine can reduce endothelial dysfunction in some people, especially if they have a weight problem.

Source: PCOS Review

Sources: Melnik B et al, Role of insulin, insulin-like growth factor-1, hyperglycaemic food and milk consumption in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris, Exp Dermatol. 2009 Oct;18(10):833-41
Danby FW, Acne, dairy and cancer: The 5alpha-P link, Dermatoendocrinol. 2009 Jan;1(1):12-6
Melnik B, Milk consumption: aggravating factor of acne and promoter of chronic diseases of Western societies, J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2009 Apr;7(4):364-70
Melnik B, Milk–the promoter of chronic Western diseases, Med Hypotheses. 2009 Jun;72(6):631-9

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Did you know that over 80,000 chemicals have been released into our environment? It’s scary that no one has tested all of these 80,000 chemicals to determine their effect on your health. No one has performed medical studies to find out how all these 80,000 chemicals interact with each other or how they interact inside your body, or what their combined and cumulative effect is on your health.

Folks, we are in the middle of a chemical crap shoot. No one knows how this will turn out. But the limited research so far is mostly bad news.

Here is a recent example: a chemical called “bisphenol A” and its possible relationship to PCOS.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is sometimes referred to as an “endocrine disruptor” or “hormone disrupter”. This chemical is found in numerous consumer plastic products and canned foods to which you are exposed.

The University of Buenos Aires in Argentina recently completed a study of rats exposed to BPA. The researchers exposed baby female rats to BPA.

When the female rats became adults, they discovered that their BPA exposure was associated with increased testosterone and estrogen, and reduced progesterone. This is an unbalanced hormone pattern commonly seen in women who have polycystic ovary syndrome.

In addition, the exposed female rats had much reduced fertility. Also, their ovaries had large numbers of ovarian cysts.

If it can happen to a rat, can it happen to you? Think of the rats as canaries in a coal mine. If the canary dies, the miners are in trouble. One recent study showed that 99% of pregnant women had at least one urine sample with detectable levels of BPA. That’s 99 of every 100 women!

Even though it’s invisible, you can start by reducing your exposure to BPA. It is used in a multitude of hard plastic products such as water bottles, food containers, infant bottles and medical equipment and supplies. BPA may also be found in the lining of canned foods and in many other non-obvious products such as thermal-printed cash register receipts and some dental sealants.

We suggest that you reduce the use of canned foods and eat more fresh food instead. Try to use glass containers instead of plastic for food, water and beverages. Don’t use plastic bottles to feed your baby; use glass instead.

Finally, it is critical that you improve the quality of your diet. Why? Because a diet that is free of chemicals as a diet can be is the best option.

Source:
Fernandez, MO et al, Neonatal Exposure to Bisphenol A and Reproductive and Endocrine Alterations Resembling the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in Adult Rats

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