Updated: Oct 22, 2021
PCOS is an all-encompassing pathology that is poorly understood. What we DO know is that estrogen resistance is somewhere within the root cause of all the symptoms. In other words, if you have PCOS, your body is likely making sufficient estrogen BUT your cells have their doors locked to accepting it. This causes excess estrogen to remain circulating in your body. As a direct side effect of having too much circulating estrogen, your body converts a large portion of it into testosterone. Hence, the male voice, jawline acne, abdominal weight gain, insulin resistance (type II diabetes), shrinking breasts, and facial hair. In addition to balancing hormones, It's important to address lifestyle, diet, and supplemental modifications early on to avoid further pathologies linked to longterm PCOS such as anxiety, hypothyroidism, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and endometrial cancer.
It doesn't have to be. We promise! Whereas the conventional medical realm has limited options to stop the madness...alternative medicine shines! Today we're going to start simple by addressing anxiety linked to PCOS. Aside from weight loss, this is by far the most common complaint I hear from my girls with PCOS. "I'm stressed all the time. For no good reason."
Friends, you're not alone. And you're not crazy. There is a huge correlation between PCOS and anxiety. Your body is likely making more cortisol than normal, attributing to both anxiety and depression. If this is you, here are 3 Clinical Pearls to Calm Your Hormonal Nerves:
Green Tea - Staying away from high doses of caffeine is crucial to mitigate anxiety. A beautiful compromise for patients with PCOS (and anyone else struggling with anxiety) is one cup of green tea per day. The caffeine content is mixed with a naturally occurring amino acid called L-theanine that creates a calming effect. In addition to promoting a focused calm mindset, green tea acts as a mega anti-inflammatory agent to mitigate the progression of diabetes, infertility, and high cholesterol down the road. Cheers!
Eat protein with every meal - This is one of the simplest lifestyle modifications you can make if you have PCOS. Blood sugar irregularities are common amongst patients with PCOS (for reasons that would bore you if we dove into it here). All you need to know is that anxiety occurs if your blood sugars drop too low. To eliminate this factor, simply add healthy proteins or fats to your meals. For example, if you are having an apple as a snack, make sure to pair it with an organic nut butter. If you're looking for a clean vegan protein powder, this is my go-to.
Phosphatidylserine - This fatty substance is vital for cognitive function. Although we see it used more often in patients with dementia and Alzheimer's, 200mg per day has been shown to help normalize cortisol in chronically-stressed individuals regardless of age. With neuro-protective mechanisms to boot, why not?!
In addition to the three clinical pearls above, it's important not to forget simple forms of stress management. Rather than reaching for a supplement immediately, try a minute of self-soothing exercises first: yoga, prayers, deep breathing, meditation.
Until next time,
Dr. Chelsea Leander ND, RH (AHG)
Hellhammer J, Vogt D, Franz N, et al. A soy-based phosphatidylserine/ phosphatidic acid complex (PAS) normalizes the stress reactivity of hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal-axis in chronically stressed male subjects: a randomized, placebo-controlled study. Lipids Health Dis. 2014;13:121.
Monteleone P, Maj M, Beinat L, et al. Blunting by chronic phosphatidylserine administration of the stress-induced activation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis in healthy men. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1992;42(4):385-388.
Papalou, Olga, and Evanthia Diamanti-Kandarakis. "The role of stress in PCOS." Expert review of endocrinology & metabolism 12.1 (2017): 87-95.
This information is generalized and intended for educational purposes only. Due to potential individual contraindications, please see your primary care provider before implementing any strategies in these posts.