PCOS Review Newsletter #85

A free health newsletter for women with polycystic ovary syndrome or polycystic ovaries.   Issue #085      July 20, 2009


TABLE OF CONTENTS

1) Overactive Enzyme Contributes to PCOS Hormone Imbalance

2) Ancient Maya Abdominal Massage for Healthier Uterus

3) Reduce Stress with Breathing Meditation


1) ) Overactive Enzyme Contributes to PCOS Hormone Imbalance

Too much of male hormones in your body can lead to infertility, excessive facial or body hair, hair thinning, acne and other problems associated with PCOS.

The male hormone we mostly hear about is testosterone. However, the real culprit is dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. DHT is the biologically active form of testosterone.

DHT is formed when testosterone interacts with an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase.

A recent study at the University of Birmingham in the UK showed that both overweight and normal-weight women with PCOS had higher 5-alpha-reductase activity than women who did not have PCOS.

In other words, if you have polycystic ovary syndrome, it appears you also have a tendency for higher 5-alpha-reducase activity, when in turn makes it easier for you to convert testosterone into the undesirable DHT. The excessive levels of DHT in turn create some of the distressing symptoms of PCOS such as hair loss or facial and body hair growth.

You may be able to suppress 5-alpha-reductase activity with supplements or pharmaceuticals.

One example of a supplement is saw palmetto extract, which inhibits 5-alpha-reductase. It is extracted from the berry of a small palm tree. The fruit of this palm have been part of the diet of natives of the southeastern U.S. for hundreds of years. Saw palmetto extract does not have the side effects that pharmaceuticals may have.

Pharmaceuticals commonly used to inhibit 5-alpha-reductase include spironolactone (Aldactone), and finasteride (Propecia, Proscar).

Source:
Vassiliadi DA et al, Increased 5{alpha}-reductase activity and adrenocortical drive in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Jun 30. [Epub ahead of print]


2) Ancient Maya Abdominal Massage for Healthier Uterus

Taking drugs to solve your problems doesn't always give you the results you were looking for.

We recommend you augment your pharmaceuticals with natural therapies such as healthier diet, regular exercise, stress management, acupuncture, massage and other natural therapies.

Improved blood flow is important for the health of your reproductive system. Excellent circulation provides necessary support for the normal function of internal organs such as ovaries and uterus. It provides nutrients and oxygen, and gets rid of waste products. Impaired circulation causes impaired organ function and can lead to health disorders.

One way to improve circulation is to be physically active. Abdominal massage can also improve blood supply.

We recently came across a very interesting massage technique for improving reproductive health, especially if you have a history of a tipped uterus, pelvic inflammatory disease, fibroids, endometriosis, previous pregnancy, or abdominal surgery.

It's called Arvigo massage, based on an ancient Mayan technique of abdominal massage. This technique is an external non-invasive manipulation that repositions internal organs that have shifted and thus restricted the flow of blood, lymph, nerve and chi.

It can also be used to reduce adhesions from invasive surgeries to the pelvic and abdominal area such as fibroid tumors, endometriosis, cesarean delivery and hysterectomy.

Digestion, urinary and bladder problems may be helped with this type of massage.

Visit the Arvigo massage site if you're interested in learning more.


3) Reduce Stress with Breathing Meditation

An effective way to gain the upper hand over PCOS in the long run is to reduce chronic stress. Chronic stress produces alarm hormones that upset your overall hormonal balance and have been shown to worsen some symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome.

When you're feeling stressed, you may notice that your breathing becomes more rapid and shallow. When this happens, take a few deep, slow breaths.

Then take a little bit of time for a brief breathing meditation. A breathing meditation is a great way to calm yourself and reduce production of stress hormones.

Find a quiet place and get into a comfortable position. You could sit down in a chair or lie down. The important thing is to be comfortable so that you're able to focus solely on your breathing.

Once you're comfortable, close your eyes.

Start to notice your breathing. We breathe so often that we tend to take breathing for granted. So take the time to notice your breathing.

Notice the air filling your lungs. Then notice as you breathe out and the air leaves your lungs.

Repeat the process of noticing your breath.

As you do this, you'll find thoughts coming up. They might be about family, friends, work or anything else. It doesn't matter. It's all part of the process and it is perfectly normal to continue to have thoughts while meditating.

When these thoughts come up, let them drift out with your next breath and bring your mind back to focusing on your breathing.

Continue for as long as you need to.


Thought for Today: "All the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action." -- James Russell Lowell

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