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PCOS: What's Your Type?

What is it?

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and is one of the most common hormonal disorders in women today.


As one of the leading causes of infertility due to anovulation (which is an absence of ovulation in your menstrual cycle) or Androgen excess (high levels of male hormones), most doctors still seem to be clueless about it why or how to impact or improve the symptoms you feel each month. So in this article, I will outline the different types of PCOS and my holistic suggestions to help manage the undesired symptoms.


Who does it affect?

PCOS affects 8-13% of women, between the stages of puberty and menopause.


What causes it?

This is a big question. Genetics, hormones, and lifestyle factors play a huge role. Women with PCOS are 50% more likely to have a mother, aunt, or sister with it. It is also more common with women who have Asian, Aboriginal, Caribbean and African descent, but is found within all races. In today’s North American Diet culture full of processed foods, high amounts of sugar and excess carbohydrates along with a lack of physical activity, and high stress in our present society; we are seeing the rates of PCOS soar like never before.


Want to hear something mind-blowing?! 70% of women with PCOS are actually undiagnosed, suffering from the symptoms of this condition without knowing how to manage it, influence it or change it’s physiological outcomes.


Continue reading to find out more about the different types of PCOS and how to get started managing your symptoms holistically.


PCOS Types:


TYPE 1: Insulin-Resistant PCOS

Women with this type of PCOS have a decreased ability to manage blood sugar properly.


Symptoms you MAY have:

- Anovulatory cycles (means you are not ovulating each month)

- Excessive hair growth ie. Hirsutism (especially on the face, below the belly button, on the nipples or elsewhere on the body).

- Thinning hair (Especially on the sides of the head and top of the head).

- Adult acne ( on the face, chin, chest and back.

- Resistant weight loss or weight gain ( especially on the lower abdomen, butt and thigh regions).

- Insulin Resistance (which places you at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes


Suggestions to help manage symptoms:

- Balanced nutrition full of healthy fats and protein and lots of green vegetables

- Increased Fibre consumption (Nutracleanse is a terrific nutraceutical here).

- Stay hydrated - Aim for ½ your body weight in ounces of water daily.


TYPE 2: Inflammatory PCOS

Chronic inflammation can suppress ovulation and stimulate your ovaries to make more androgens (the increase in male hormones in your body).


Symptoms of Inflammation:

- Digestive issues such as IBS or IBD

- Brain fog

- Fatigue

- Joint pain

- Skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis

- Food intolerance


Suggestions to help manage symptoms:

- Balanced nutrition full of healthy fats and protein and lots of green vegetables (increase fibre and fibrous veggies and fruits like Apples)

- Balance your blood sugar

Ladies!!!! Intermittent fasting will not work for you here! You need to eat within 1 hour of waking each day and cut out eating past 7pm.

- Daily physical activity (and no I don't mean you have to run a marathon every day- just get your 10,000 steps in)

- Stay hydrated- Aim for ½ your body weight in ounces of water daily.




Type 3: Adrenal PCOS

This type of PCOS is less common. Women with this Adrenal PCOS will have a high level of DHEAS- an androgen produced in the adrenals (where cortisol is created as well).


Broadcast: If you are the type of woman who runs full tilt every day, does not take time to eat, self care, relax, sleep and breathe. I am speaking to you!


Symptoms include:

- Elevated anxiety

- Rage or increased anger

- Inability to cope

- Overwhelm

- Mood swings

- Insomnia and or sleep disturbances

- Don’t necessarily have insulin resistance, may not have all of the other markers for PCOS (like no excess hair growth, or elevated blood sugar)


Suggestions to help manage symptoms:

- Balanced nutrition full of healthy fats and protein and lots of green vegetables

- Breathing practices

- Walking for exercise vs. hard-hitting workouts. (10,000 steps a day).

- Manage your stress (for tips about stress management check out my blog: https://www.marissasylvesterwellness.com/post/stress-management )


TYPE 4: Post-Pill PCOS

When birth control medications or devices are stopped, most women will begin making hormones again and ovulation returns. But for some women, ovulation suppression could continue for months- or years, resulting in a PCOS diagnosis.


Symptoms include:

- Could have higher androgens

- Could have higher estrogen

- Could be insulin resistant


Suggestions to help manage symptoms:

- Balanced nutrition full of healthy fats and protein and lots of green vegetables

- Detoxification- so take optimal levels of zinc and b6 because these nourish and support the ovaries and calm inflammation.

- Eat cruciferous vegetables because they are chelators (which mean they bind to toxins and pull them out)

- Manage your stress

- Stay hydrated - Aim for ½ your body weight in ounces of water daily.


The thing about PCOS is that all the types look very very similar, but are different in very subtle ways.


How do you know if you have it?

I’d recommend working with a really really good naturopath, a holistic-minded hormone specialist, and a holistic nutritionist. Assemble your team!


Did you notice the common thread in all of the PCOS suggestions?

Balanced nutrition, full of healthy fats and protein and lots of green vegetables. Prioritize eating for blood sugar balance and getting enough Fibre.

There are no cookie-cutter diets for a woman with PCOS. This is because we are all biochemically unique, so I highly recommend hiring a Holistic Nutritionist to help you develop a dietary lifestyle!


My hope is that you have a better understanding of the different types of PCOS and the things you can do today to help manage the symptoms from a holistic perspective. If you need help managing your PCOS symptoms and are looking for nutritional support, please reach out- I’d love to connect with you.


Marissa Sylvest, BN

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