How can you treat PCOS and Thyroid using functional medicine?
Suhana Siddika
Suhana SiddikaNovember 24, 2021

Have you ever been told that PCOS and Thyroid together have no cure -- and you have to gulp large pills throughout your life? While many people assume that PCOS and hypothyroidism is incurable-- functional medicine seems like the light at the end of the tunnel.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome-- commonly known as PCOS-- and thyroid disorders are the most common endocrine disorders seen in women. But, most PCOS patients develop hypothyroidism and show symptoms that are mutual to both diseases. But does that mean they are interlinked? PCOS and Thyroid

This article will help you understand the relationship between PCOS and thyroid and cure them with functional medicine.

But before jumping to PCOS treatment and the cure -- let’s talk about basics.

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome - commonly known as PCOS-- is an inflammatory condition that affects your hormones and menstrual cycle.

But what do the ovaries do? The ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone — hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. The ovaries also produce a small amount of male hormones called androgens.

They also release eggs to be fertilized by a man’s sperm--the release of an egg each month is called ovulation.

Hormones such as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) control ovulation.

FSH stimulates the ovary to produce a sac-like structure that contains egg-- known as follicle — and then LH triggers the ovary to release a mature egg.

Do you wonder why PCOS is called a “syndrome”? It’s called so because it’s a group of symptoms that affects the ovaries and ovulation.

The characteristic symptoms of PCOS are:

  • Ovary cysts
  • Increased levels of androgen
  • Irregular periods or painful periods
  • Heavy bleeding

In PCOS, the follicles contain immature eggs-- that never mature enough to trigger ovulation.

The lack of ovulation affects estrogen, progesterone, FSH, and LH-- the Progesterone levels are lower, androgen levels higher.

If you suffer from PCOS, you are not the only one--- with PCOS affecting 15% of the people in India. While the traditional PCOS treatment focuses on reducing the symptoms; most of the patients still show symptoms even under medications.

Side effects of PCOS: Acne Infertility Undesired weight gain

What is a thyroid disorder?

The butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck affects bodily functions such as weight, body temperature, etc. But, when the thyroid hormone secretes excess or very little hormone -- it is known as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, respectively.

Hypothyroidism is one of the most common types of endocrine disorders affecting women in India. Some of the common symptoms of hypothyroidism include- fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, etc. It affects half of the population in India while many of them go undiagnosed for a long time.

However, thyroid weight gain is of prime concern as it’s really difficult to lose weight with hypothyroidism.

The dysfunction of the thyroid can occur due to several reasons- Hashimoto thyroiditis being one. Hashimoto's Thyroiditis is a condition where the immune system attacks the thyroid glands. Untreated hypothyroidism can lead to several complications such as celiac disease and other health complications over time. So, it is essential to know the common symptoms, causes, and treatment of the disease to detect it as early as possible.

Some of the other common causes of hypothyroidism include - leaky gut, inflammation, etc. But functional medicine aims to address the root cause and treat the disease.

The bidirectional relationship between thyroid and PCOS

While there is not much evidence about how these two conditions are related, it is clear that there is a bidirectional relationship. For example, research states that women with PCOS are three times more likely to suffer from Hashimoto’s thyroid disease than the general population.

At the same time, polycystic ovaries can be considered a symptom of hypothyroidism. That is why most thyroid doctors and functional medicine experts rule out the disease by asking you to do tests. As stated earlier, hypothyroidism weight gain can be mistaken as that of PCOS, while PCOS and hypothyroidism together can cause the same.

PCOS and hypothyroidism conditions also share common characteristics, such as period irregularities, increased insulin resistance, and dysregulation of the immune system, making its diagnosis critical.

How can you cure hypothyroidism and PCOS with functional medicine?

Hypothyroidism and PCOS have a lot in common. So, it’s crucial to address the root cause and treat it to improve your health. PCOS or hypothyroidism, functional medicine looks deep into the cause of the disease rather than suppressing the symptoms.

Here are a few functional approaches that can help you heal your disease-

  1. 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 gut bacteria. So, keeping it healthy and healing the gut can help reverse your PCOS and hypothyroidism.

To do that, you can include the following food items in your diet -

  • Eat fibre rich food such as fruits, beans, etc
  • Limit gut irritants such as caffeine and alcohol
  • Include probiotic rich food such as Sauerkraut, Kimchi etc.

Remember-- your gut is your second brain. And, sometimes, you require expert intervention to heal and treat your diet. So, reach out to a thyroid specialist or gynecologist and get yourself personalized hypothyroidism or PCOS diet plan for better results.

Thyroid weight gain is so common that about 90% of people search for how to lose weight with hypothyroidism. So, getting a personalized diet for PCOS and thyroid would be the best for you if you want thyroid weight loss.

  1. Exercise

Improving your lifestyle and exercise has a tremendous effect on one’s health. So, it’s a must for you to improve your lifestyle and make your life better. Your thyroid weight loss diet won’t work if you don’t move your body. So the best way to lose weight with PCOS and hypothyroidism is to do exercise and follow a weight loss meal plan.

Here’s what you can do-

  • Do yoga, meditation, and mild exercise accordingly
  • Have 6-8 hours of sleep every day
  • Avoid vigorous exercise and binge eating
  1. Seek medical help

Finding the right cure for your disease can be frustrating sometimes. According to a study conducted by Jeevam Health, 79% of people have symptoms while undergoing PCOS treatment taking hypothyroidism medications-- which means that conventional medicine fails to address the root cause of the disease.

So, reach out to a functional medicine expert for a diagnosis of your root cause. Also undiagnosed can lead to complications such as not getting pregnant with PCOS and hypothyroidism. Your functional medicine doctor will ask you to do several tests and look deeper into your medical history to address the issue. And then, the doctor will move forward with a personalized treatment plan curated for you.

  1. Diet and nutrition

Did you know that 85% of PCOS cases are linked with high insulin? So, our prime focus should be on decreasing the insulin levels in the body--- which means following a low carb diet. However, you must consult a doctor or a nutritionist before following any diet.

Besides, several studies have concluded that increased insulin levels affect thyroid hormone production. This makes insulin resistance reversal a major concern for the patients.

So, if you are a thyroid patient, your doctor might ask you to follow an anti-inflammatory diet to diminish your symptoms.

Conclusion

PCOS and hypothyroidism can be a tough battle but not unachievable. You require a personalized treatment plan that can aid in thyroid and weight loss and advice from a functional medicine doctor to get started and reverse the damage done.

But, along with medicine, you must be mindful of what you eat. Follow an anti-inflammatory diet that does not irritate your gut. Don’t forget to exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Want personalized treatment and say goodbye to your worries? Reach out to us.

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