How many female followers do you have on instagram? 20, 50, maybe 80? Or somewhere in the hundreds or even thousands? Well it is highly likely that for every 3 women in their reproductive years, 1 will suffer from polycystic ovaries syndrome (PCOS).
While not all of these women will suffer from Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome (PCOS) 12-21% of women do, with 70% of cases going undiagnosed according to the United Nations’ and The World Health Organisation’s Human Reproduction Programme1 . That is an estimated 116 million women in Australia. PCO is diagnosed as ovaries showing a high density of cysts in an ultrasound. Whereas women with PCOS need to have two of the following symptoms to be diagnosed: PCO, irregular periods, and increased male hormone levels. Both conditions though slightly different can happen to any woman of any age, causing a whole range of problems.
PCO and PCOS can cause irregular and painful periods, infertility, excess sex hormone levels, and in 50% of cases obesity. Diabetes, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, increased risk of psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression are common symptoms as well. All of these problems wreak havoc on a woman’s hormonal system and as a result acne is another common result of PCO and PCOS. DMK’s Head of Education Debbie Dickson has been working as a Skin Revision Technician for over 20 years and in that time, she has witnessed a significant rise of acne cases caused by PCO and PCOS.
‘It used to be only the occasional client that would walk through the clinic doors with these conditions. Now it seems to be every second or third woman who comes to us suffering from acne has Polycystic Ovaries or Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome.’ Earlier this year the ABC conducted a survey of 250 women with Polycystic Ovaries and found that 124 of the women ranked acne as their main concern2. In order to revise acne linked to PCO and PCOS the skin condition needs to be treated holistically and the internal imbalance addressed.
SO WHAT CAUSES PCO AND PCOS AND WHY HAS THERE BEEN A RISE IN CASES IN THE NEW AGE?
There are several factors that contribute to hormonal imbalances that trigger PCO and PCOS, but they all fall under the umbrella of being a stressor. Being exposed to a stressor does not equate to feeling emotionally stressed, though it can occasionally be a bipartisan, stressors put stress on the body’s systems and functions. In today’s society there are so many more stressors, a stressor is anything that disrupts homeostasis in our body or system, for example over exercising is a stressor to our system, recurrent illness, poor diet, not enough or poor sleep and environmental toxins will all induce the same stress response in our system. Stressors trigger the bodies fight or flight response, resulting in the production of excess cortisol and insulin. When the body is exposed to high levels of insulin over long periods of time it builds up a resistance, and one of the main causes of PCO and PCOS is insulin resistance. As the body continues to be exposed to stressors it will start to convert the hormone progesterone into cortisol as well perpetuating the issue. On top of that, progesterone is important for regulating other hormone levels and without stable amounts of it the body’s entire hormonal system becomes unbalanced
So when our bodies are in this constant stress response our adrenal glands produce cortisol, we need cortisol for short periods of time in a fight or flight situation but in our society it is on all the time. Eventually the adrenal glands start to become tired and can’t produce as much cortisol but the body thinks it needs this cortisol to survive, and remember the human body is designed to try to help you to survive no matter what, so it starts to take progesterone and turn it into cortisol. So now progesterone levels are low resulting in estrogen and androgen dominance as progesterone is the balancer of estrogen and cortisol increases the production of androgens. It is the perfect recipe for the increase in PCOs and adult acne. To go one step further estrogen depletes thyroid function and cortisol depletes growth hormone. No wonder people are putting on weight and finding it harder than ever to lose weight, that is a whole other topic.
Looking at this list it is no surprise that the number of women affected by PCO and PCOS is increasing significantly. Processed and genetically modified food is more readily available, cheaper and easier to consume, unbalancing the microbiom. Using medication over altering lifestyle choices is a more popular solution in treating illness, the inappropriate use of antibiotics is a key example of this. Then there are all the chemicals, toxins and pollutants from exhausts, cleaning and hygienic products, plastics, and synthetic fibres. Just think about your morning routine. Sugary cereal that has been sitting in a plastic bag with milk from a plastic bottle in bowl and eaten with a spoon that still has residual from the chemical cleaner. Using soaps, shampoos, face and body creams, and toothpastes that contain unlisted chemicals. All before drying off with a synthetic towel and putting on polyester clothes before heading out the door into the smog laden city. That’s a lot of exposure to stressors before the day has barely started.
COULD YOU HAVE POLYCYSTIC OVARIES OR POLYCYSTIC OVARIES SYNDROME? 70% OF WOMEN WITH PCOS ARE UNDIAGNOSED, HERE’S WHAT TO LOOK FOR.
Australia researchers are making leaps and bounds in helping the world to better understand the conditions and not all the symptoms are untreatable. DMK can help to revise acne caused by PCO or PCOS, by taking a holistic approach working from the outside in. Skin revision programs tailored with diet, lifestyle and supplementation to balance the disharmonies and stress responses. If you suffer from acne cause by Polycystic Ovaries or Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome or know someone who does talk to your DMK Skin Revision Technician about solutions today!
1 Annual Technical Report 2014, https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/171613/WHO_RHR_15.10_eng.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
2 Powell, R. 28 April 2018, Polycystic ovar syndrome: Women tell their stories of the debilitating condition, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-28/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-women-on-life-with-pcos/9607494