PCOS Review Newsletter #120

A free health newsletter for women with polycystic ovary syndrome or polycystic ovaries.   Issue #120      November 28, 2010


1) Eating White Rice Not Advisable for PCOS

2) Urinary Testing for PCOS

3) Male Hormone May Cause PCOS Urinary Problems

1) Eating White Rice Not Advisable for PCOS

Some of you eat a lot of white rice, while others don't. Does it make any difference?

The fact is that what you eat has a huge impact on polycystic ovary syndrome. Rice is one example.

The National Center for Global Health and Medicine in Japan has just reported that women have an elevated risk of getting diabetes if they eat a lot of white rice. The center studied 33,622 women and found that those who ate the most white rice had 2.5 times the risk of developing diabetes as compared to those who ate the least amount of white rice.

This is relevant to you because diabetes and PCOS have a common root cause, namely insulin resistance. So, if white rice increases the risk of diabetes, it's logical to think that the same is true of PCOS.

The reason that white rice is a problem is that it's a refined carbohydrate. In contrast, brown rice is unrefined.

Refined carbohydrates cause your blood sugar and insulin hormone to go out of whack. As a result, all kinds of metabolic processes in your body are disturbed. In addition, this disturbance throws your other hormones out of balance.

No matter whether you are lean or overweight, any refined carbohydrate won't help you to control and minimize polycystic ovary syndrome. In fact, these carbs take your further away from a solution.

This is why The Natural Diet Solution for PCOS and Infertility e-book does not include any refined carbohydrates at all, including rice.

If you habitually eat white rice, we strongly recommend that you switch to brown rice instead as a start.

We also propose that you phase out all refined grains. If your symptoms don't improve, consider removing all grains from your diet.

Source: Nanri A et al, Rice intake and type 2 diabetes in Japanese men and women: the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study, Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Dec;92(6):1468-1477

2) Urinary Testing for PCOS

PCOS is the most common hormone disorder among women of reproductive age, with a prevalence of 4-12% in the U.S.

The approach to laboratory evaluation of PCOS varies widely without consensus. It largely remains a diagnosis of exclusion.

Strong evidence of polycystic ovarian syndrome can be obtained from biochemical markers and by ultrasound.

Biochemical markers will measure hyperandrogenism (excessively high male hormones), imbalanced cortisol metabolism, and insulin resistance. An ultrasound will reveal polycystic ovaries.

This data can then guide treatment choices.

A number of labs offer urinary testing to evaluate these hormonal imbalances.

Hormones and related chemicals eliminated in the urine correlate well with tissue levels of these substances and can give the practitioner and patient a window into understanding and dealing with specific imbalances.

One example is 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme involved with androgens such as testosterone and DHT (dihydrotestosterone). These are often elevated in women with PCOS and are central to the imbalances associated with this condition.

In the ovary, the excess androgen production is stimulated by insulin.

Insulin resistance further amplifies this hormone imbalance and is associated with worsening of ovarian function.

Androgen excess affects the adrenal glands, causing them to release more cortisol and thus increasing blood sugar and worsening blood sugar imbalances found in women with PCOS.

Further, urinary testing can determine tissue levels of cortisol, testosterone, androsterone, as well as female hormones estrogen and progesterone. These may be more accurate and specific than blood tests for these hormones.

Comprehensive urinary steroid hormone testing can identify specific hormone and enzyme levels which help us understand the specific imbalances in each woman with PCOS as well as guiding specific treatment choices to restore balance to the endocrine system.

If you are working with a naturopathic physician or other healthcare provider, ask them if this type of testing may be right for you.

Carl Hangee-Bauer, ND, Lac
Clinic Director, San Francisco Natural Medicine

3) Male Hormone May Cause PCOS Urinary Problems

One of the most frustrating aspects of having polycystic ovary syndrome is that it has so many diverse, apparently unrelated symptoms. Here's a short list of symptoms.

Possibly you sought medical help for one of these symptoms before you even knew you had PCOS.

To this list, we now need to add a new symptom: urinary problems.

This problem was uncovered by the University of Kahramanmaras Sutcu Imam School of Medicine in Turkey. They studied 140 women with PCOS. The women were surveyed about urinary urgency, incontinence, need to urinate at night, bladder or pelvic pain, and pain during intercourse.

The researchers discovered that there was a correlation between their testosterone levels and their urinary symptoms.

A very high proportion of women with polycystic ovary syndrome have abnormally high levels of testosterone. So if you're experiencing urinary or bladder problems, this hormone could be at least partly responsible.

In other words, if you're having trouble with your bladder and your doctor has not found an infection or other clear cause, it could be that your high levels of testosterone are contributing to the problem.

What to do? There are multiple reasons why your testosterone is high. But there are at least three self-help measures you can take to bring your hormones (including testosterone) into better balance.

First, consume more whole foods and minimize processed, manufactured foods of all kinds. Second, reduce your exposure to chronic stress. And third, get regular exercise and be physically active.

Beyond self-help actions, you can consult with your doctor about getting hormone lab tests and discussing treatment options.

Source: Sahinkanat T et al, The relationship between serum testosterone levels and bladder storage symptoms in a female population with polycystic ovary syndrome, Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2010 Nov 25. [Epub ahead of print]

Thought for Today: "Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams." -- Og Mandino

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