Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is defined as a hormonal disorder causing enlarged ovaries that may or may not include small cysts on the outer edges. Symptoms look like menstrual irregularity, excess hair growth, acne, and obesity. It is not completely understood as to what causes PCOS in Western practices most treatments include birth control pills, medications and additional hormones. Yet if you read the inserts of these drugs mentioned, one of the common causes of PCOS is the birth control pill.
PCOS affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. The reason that PCOS is so important to diagnose and treat from the root imbalance is that it is associated with many other complications that include diabetes more than half of women with PCOS will have diabetes or pre-diabetes (glucose intolerance) before the age of 40, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol, sleep apnoea, depression and anxiety, and endometrial cancer.
In TICM, PCOS is said to develop from patterns of disharmony of the Kidney, Spleen and Liver channels.
Kidney: houses the reproductive systems and genetics. Irregular or absent menstrual periods, absence of ovulation stems is the product of Kidney deficiency.
Spleen: processes our food into nutrients, controlling our weight. Those with insulin resistance have Spleen deficiency because the organ system is unable to metabolise the vitamins and minerals from foods, as well as changing and carrying body fluids. There most likely is an accumulation of dampness here leading to excess weight.
Liver: stores/regulates our Blood and hormones which can result in unwanted hair. Excessive heat in these meridians or channels of the body also triggers the acne component of PCOS.
There does seem to be a link between insulin resistance and PCOS. Insulin is a hormone that our pancreas secretes to help us metabolise sugar. When someone is insulin resistant they do not use the insulin as efficiently and the Pancreas has to secrete more insulin to control the blood sugar causing an excess of insulin. It is believed that one possible cause of PCOS is that the extra insulin causes the ovaries to produce more male hormones known as androgens.
This is why symptoms can include excess facial hair and acne. Also one of the drugs used to treat PCOS, Metformin, is a drug for type 2 diabetes that lowers insulin levels. FDA recently admitted that Metformin actually is a cause for cancer, please see me previous post on this drug.