Ask LUÜNA: PCOS ft. Dr. Katherine Cheng
We've partnered with Dr Katherine Cheng from our friends at OT&P , a trusted health clinic, to break down PCOS, its symptoms and treatments.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is common, but often goes undiagnosed and therefore, unmanaged. It affects between 6 - 12% of women and menstruating people, though this number can vary across populations.
It is said to be caused by a hormone imbalance, and can result in a number of symptoms including irregular menstrual cycles, cysts and fertility challenges. Scroll down to see more about symptoms of PCOS.
PCOS is important to be aware of, as it can also lead to greater risks of diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease or cancer of the uterus.
That said, there are solutions available. With Dr. Cheng's support, we're here to breakdown the symptoms and solutions, empowering you to identify PCOS and find the right support to manage it if needed.
How do I know if I have it?
Symptoms of PCOS can include:
- Irregular or infrequent periods
- Unwanted hair growth
- Thinning hair on the head
- Difficulties getting pregnant
- Weight fluctuations that are difficult to manage
These symptoms can start from a persons very first period, or become more noticeable over time.
For individuals who have experienced these symptoms for a while, the challenge in identifying PCOS can be that these symptoms seem 'normal.' Therefore, it's important to explore any of the above symptoms if they occur on a regular basis, as they could be linked to an underlying hormone condition, including but not limited to PCOS.
What causes it?
PCOS is said to be caused by an imbalance of hormones and thought to be most dependent on three different ones: androgen, insulin and progesterone.
It is believed that genetics, behaviour, lifestyle and environment can all have an impact on PCOS. This can be seen as good news, as it means that positive changes in these areas can help manage symptoms of PCOS when they occur!
How can I treat it?
Every body is different, there's no one treatment that works on everyone, however, Dr Cheng recommends the follow lifestyle changes:
- Regular exercise - at least 30 minutes of brisk exercise daily can help your body stay active and encourage stress relief.
- Balanced diet - avoid consuming excessive amounts of food with high fat and sugar content to reduce risks of diabetes, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease.
- Share your journey with family and friends - be open with your experiences and let loved ones for support you.
If these changes fail to help, we recommend speaking to your doctor about possible medical treatments.
I've just been diagnosed with PCOS, what should I do?
Many people navigating PCOS can feel frustrated and alone. Therefore, it's important that the wider community recognises the emotional toll on individuals experiencing a hormone condition like this one. Support your loved ones by encouraging them to explore their negative symptoms and find the right help for their individual needs.
At LUÜNA, we stress the importance of three things when exploring your hormone health in order to get the best support for your own symptoms and manage your own mental health:
1. Equip yourself with understanding of hormone health through body literacy resources like this one. This will empower you when speaking to individuals and professionals so you don't allow your symptoms to be dismissed as 'just bad period pain.'
2. Find a trusted medical professional who has clear experience and understanding of hormone conditions.
3. Talk openly to select loved ones and those within your community you trust. Having someone to listen is important.
The team at LUÜNA supports our global community to experience each day comfortably and confidently. If you have additional questions, get in touch with us at email@example.com or DM us on Instagram @luuna.naturals - we're here for you.