Have you ever been told that conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and thyroid have no cure? A common myth is that you have to just take tablets for the rest of your life. However, functional medicine is the light at the end of the tunnel.
PCOS and hypothyroidism are the most common endocrine disorders seen in Indian women. Most PCOS patients develop hypothyroidism and show symptoms that are common to both diseases. Why does this happen?
This blog will help you understand the relationship between both disorders, functional medicine treatment for hypothyroidism and PCOS.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a disorder of the endocrine system. It can lead to inflammation that affects your hormones and menstrual cycle.
The exact cause of PCOS is still unknown, but factors like high-level insulin, high level of androgens, or heredity might play a significant role.
The characteristic symptoms of PCOS are:
- Cysts in the ovaries
- Irregular, missed, or painful periods
- Heavy bleeding
- Excessive hair on the face, chin, breasts, and back.
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Acne (Face, upper back, or chest) If you suffer from PCOS, you are not alone. The prevalence of PCOS in India ranges from 3.7 to 22.5%.
What Is Hypothyroidism?
The thyroid gland located at the base of the neck affects multiple bodily functions such as weight, body temperature, and metabolism. Thyroid disorders can affect anyone.
When the thyroid secretes inadequate hormones it is known as hypothyroidism. Anyone can have hypothyroidism. A recent study shows over 42 million people in India have some thyroid problem.
Thyroid dysfunction can occur due to several reasons- Hashimoto thyroiditis (HT) being one. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the thyroid glands and causes inflammation. It is the most common cause of hypothyroidism.
Checkout the common symptoms of hypothyroidism here - Hypothyroidism guide: symptoms, causes, treatment & medication
The Bidirectional Relationship between PCOS and Thyroid
PCOS and thyroid conditions have a bidirectional relationship. However, the exact link between them is still being explored.
Research states that women with PCOS are three times more likely to suffer from Hashimoto’s thyroid disease. Your body makes antibodies that attack the thyroid gland by mistake and cause inflammation. The ovaries' exposure to such antibodies can lead to destruction of the ovaries and infertility.
Polycystic ovaries can be considered a symptom of hypothyroidism. That is why most thyroid doctors and functional medicine experts try to rule out PCOS by asking you to do tests. PCOS and HT patients need to remain in constant observation and undergo periodic screening tests. These are the only ways to determine the perfect functional medicine treatment for hypothyroidism and PCOS.
PCOS and hypothyroidism conditions also share common symptoms, such as period irregularities, increased insulin resistance, mood disturbance, weight gain, and dysregulation of the immune system.
How Can Functional Medicine Treat PCOS and Hypothyroidism Successfully?
The functional medicine approach is usually based on identifying the disease's root cause and treating it to improve overall health.
For functional medicine treatment for PCOS and hypothyroidism, it is crucial to look into the cause of the disease like inflammation, insulin resistance, leaky gut, and increased cortisol levels. Only suppressing the symptoms will not cure the disorder(s).
Here are a few functional approaches for PCOS and hypothyroidism treatment.
Improve Your Gut Health
Hypothyroidism or not, the gut plays a vital role in balancing your hormones and maintaining a healthy environment for the growth of good gut bacteria. So, improving your gut health can help reverse both disorders.
List of foods to build your gut health:
- Eat fiber rich food such as fruits, beans, whole grains (without gluten) and fresh vegetables
- Limit food and drinks that irritate the gut such as deep fried food, caffeine and alcohol
- Include probiotics such as Sauerkraut, Kimchee and kanji.
Speak to a functional medicine expert and dietician for a fully personalized PCOS and thyroid diet chart.
Balance Your Lifestyle
Suppose someone asks you how your day is going. What would you say? You might say you’re stressed, busy, overworked, exhausted, or just list out everything that you have to do. In this daily grind, a balanced lifestyle takes the backseat.
However, your thyroid and PCOS treatment won’t work until you change this pattern. Here’s what you should do instead:
- Daily yoga, meditation, or mild exercise to reduce stress.
- A restful night’s sleep of 6-8 hours every night
- Avoid vigorous exercise and binge eating.
Maintaining Healthy Weight
Weight gain is common in hypothyroidism and PCOS. Around 90% of people with these issues have Googled "how to lose weight with hypothyroidism?"
But do you really feel Google is the best place to get advice for your precious health? How can a search engine understand your unique body functions, metabolisms and symptoms?
Trust the advice of trained experts instead who can provide personalized PCOS and thyroid diet plan to give you real results.
Keep an Eye on Blood Sugar Levels
Insulin is a hormone that regulates the blood sugar level. Body cells do not properly respond to insulin in insulin resistance which is a part of PCOS. This means higher blood sugar levels and weight gain.
Besides, several studies have concluded that increased insulin levels affect thyroid hormone production. This means that controlling blood sugar and insulin levels is a major concern for patients with hypothyroidism and PCOS.
What Can We Do Balance Blood Sugar Levels:
- Follow a high-fiber, protein-rich diet with good fats.
- Avoid eating processed and sugar-laden foods like sweets, soda, pastries, and cookies.
- Add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet.
We all know PCOS and thyroid are inflammatory conditions. It is crucial to follow an anti-inflammatory diet to reduce inflammation.
You can include the following in your anti-inflammatory diet for PCOS and thyroid disorder:
- Fishes like tuna and salmon
- Vegetables, like spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, and kale
- Fruits, such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, oranges, and cherries
- Nuts (almonds and walnuts) and seeds
- Olives and olive oil
Seek the Right Medical Help to Treat PCOS and Thyroid
According to a study conducted by Jeevam Health, 79% of people have symptoms even after taking hypothyroidism and PCOS medications. This means that conventional medicine alone is not enough.
This is where functional medicine comes in. Functional medicine treatment for hypothyroidism is comprehensive and holistic since it includes medication as well as lifestyle changes.
Functional medicine treatment for PCOS investigates several causes including thyroid and insulin levels. It not only treats the symptoms, but treats the root causes to reverse cyst formation in your ovaries.
PCOS and hypothyroidism often occur together and that can be frustrating for patients. However, you can feel healthy, happy, and stress-free with the right functional medicine treatment plan. Adopting a lifestyle that includes a healthy diet, exercise, good sleep, and relaxation practices can help you overcome all symptoms and reverse the disorders.
So get in touch with a functional medicine doctor to get started on your treatment and reverse the damage done. Want personalized treatment and to say goodbye to your worries? Reach out to us at Jeevam Health. Join Jeevam Health today!