The 4 types of PCOS and how to manage them- naturally - PCOS to Wellness US

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by Brigitte Warne May 29, 2024 4 min read

Living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can be incredibly challenging, but knowing that you’re not alone and that there are natural ways to manage your symptoms can not only be empowering, but it can also be life changing (this was the case for me anyway!). As someone who has been through the struggles of PCOS, I understand how overwhelming it can feel. I am going to deep dive into the four main types of PCOS—Insulin Resistance PCOS, Post-Pill PCOS, Adrenal PCOS, and Inflammatory PCOS, and discuss realistic, effective and holistic ways to manage each type. 

1. Insulin Resistance PCOS

Overview: 

  • This is the most common type, affecting about 70% of women with PCOS.
  • Excess insulin can cause the body to produce excess androgens, leading to symptoms like stubborn weight gain around the abdomen, acne, and hirsutism.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Weight Gain: Especially around the abdomen, which is often stubborn and difficult to lose.
  • Skin Changes: Dark patches of skin, known as acanthosis nigricans, often found on the neck, groin, or underarms.
  • Hair Growth: Excessive hair growth (hirsutism) on the face, chest, and back.
  • Acne: Persistent acne, particularly along the jawline and lower face.
  • Hair Loss: Thinning hair on the scalp (androgenic alopecia).
  • Menstrual Irregularities: Irregular or missed periods due to hormonal imbalances.

Natural Management Strategies:

  • Diet: Embrace a low glycemic index (GI) diet filled with whole foods.
    • Include: Non-starchy vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli), lean proteins (chicken breast, turkey, tofu), healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, nuts), and complex carbohydrates (quinoa, sweet potatoes, brown rice).
    • Avoid: Refined sugars, white bread, sugary snacks, and processed foods.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity, especially strength training and aerobic exercises, can improve insulin sensitivity and help manage weight.
  • Supplements: Consider inositol and chromium supplements, which can enhance insulin sensitivity and help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Herbal Teas: Our Chaihood and Cysterhood teas contain herbs like lemon balm and ceylon cinnamon, known for their blood sugar-regulating and hormone balancing properties and can be a comforting daily ritual.

 

 

2. Post-Pill PCOS

Overview:

  • This type occurs after stopping the contraceptive pill and can cause symptoms such as acne, hair loss, hirsutism, and irregular menstrual cycles.
  • Typically, Post-Pill PCOS is temporary, lasting 3-6 months after stopping the pill. It’s likely this type if you did not have signs of PCOS before starting the pill.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Acne: New or worsening acne after stopping the contraceptive pill.
  • Hair Loss: Increased hair shedding or thinning on the scalp.
  • Hirsutism: Excessive hair growth in areas like the face, chest, and back.
  • Menstrual Irregularities: Irregular or absent periods after discontinuing the pill.
  • Ovarian Cysts: Presence of multiple cysts on the ovaries, detectable via ultrasound.

Natural Management Strategies:

  • Diet: Focus on a nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory diet.
    • Include: Leafy greens (spinach, arugula), berries (blueberries, strawberries), fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), and nuts (almonds, walnuts).
    • Avoid: Inflammatory foods like processed meats, fried foods, and sugary beverages.
  • Lifestyle: Ensure you get adequate sleep and practice stress management techniques to support hormonal balance.
  • Herbal Teas: Our Zenhood and Cysterhood teas include herbs like ladies mantle, spearmint, lemon balm and turmeric root, which support menstrual regularity and hormonal health, offering a soothing (and enjoyable!) way to ease symptoms.

 

 

3. Adrenal PCOS

Overview:

  • This type is driven by an abnormal stress response and is typically marked by elevated DHEA-S levels, with normal testosterone and androstenedione levels.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Elevated DHEA-S: High levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) with normal testosterone and androstenedione levels.
  • Stress Response: Symptoms often worsen during periods of high stress.
  • Hirsutism: Excess hair growth in areas such as the face, chest, and back, although less severe compared to insulin resistance PCOS.
  • Acne: Persistent or worsening acne.
  • Fatigue: Chronic fatigue, often exacerbated by stress.

Natural Management Strategies:

  • Stress Reduction: Engage in stress management techniques like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises to calm the mind and body.
  • Adaptogens: Incorporate adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha and skull cup and tulsi (holy basil), found in our Zenhood Tea, to help regulate the stress response and support adrenal health.
  • Sleep: Prioritise quality sleep to help regulate cortisol levels, which is crucial for managing adrenal PCOS.
  • Diet: Include foods rich in magnesium and vitamin B6.
    • Include: Nuts (almonds, cashews), seeds (pumpkin, sunflower), leafy greens (spinach, kale), and whole grains (oats, quinoa).

4. Inflammatory PCOS

Overview:

  • This type is driven by chronic inflammation and may manifest as headaches, joint pain, unexplained fatigue, skin conditions, and gut issues.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Chronic Inflammation: Low-grade inflammation that can manifest in various ways.
  • Headaches: Frequent or chronic headaches.
  • Joint Pain: Unexplained joint pain and stiffness.
  • Fatigue: Persistent, unexplained fatigue.
  • Skin Conditions: Issues like eczema, psoriasis, or other inflammatory skin conditions.
  • Gut Issues: Digestive problems such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.
  • Menstrual Irregularities: Irregular periods or heavy menstrual bleeding.

Natural Management Strategies:

  • Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Focus on foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber.
    • Include: Fatty fish (salmon, sardines), Avocados, nuts and seeds (chia seeds, flaxseeds), colorful vegetables (bell peppers, tomatoes), and fruits (berries, oranges).
    • Avoid: Processed foods, trans fats, and excessive caffeine and alcohol.
  • Gut Health: Support gut health with probiotics and fermented foods.
    • Include: Yogurt (with live cultures), sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.
  • Herbal Teas: Our Chaihood Tea includes anti-inflammatory herbs like turmeric and ginger, which can help reduce inflammation and provide comfort. (alternate it with our Cysterhood blend for even more potent results)
  • Lifestyle: Engage in regular, moderate exercise and avoid exposure to environmental toxins that can contribute to inflammation.

Understanding your PCOS 'type' (or types as we can often have more than one) is a really important step in finding the most effective and targeted management strategies. By making lifestyle changes, being mindful of diet and incorporating natural herbs and supplements, you can take control of your health and improve your quality of life. Remember, you're not alone on this journey—many women have found relief through these natural approaches, and you can too.

Ready to take action? 

Try our range of organic hormone balance teas and join our supportive community of women committed to managing PCOS naturally. You can check out the thousands of real and inspiring reivews here 

xx Brig 

 


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