What Happens When You Have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Commonly known as PCOS, when you have polycystic ovary syndrome your ovaries produce more male hormones than normal causing cysts to grow on the ovaries. 


Often, our skin can tell us what is occurring inside our body. For women with PCOS, this may be associated with:


  • Acne
  • Dark patches on the skin
  • Irregular periods
  • Infertility
  • Pelvic pain
  • Excess hair growth on the face and body
  • Weight gain
  • Other skin issues 

You are more likely to suffer from PCOS if you are obese or your mother or sister has it.


How Do You Know If You Have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?


The cause of PCOS is not entirely understood, but all fingers point at hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance making PCOS the most common cause of infertility. 


Besides increasing risks for infertility in women, PCOS can adversely affect a woman’s health by obstetrical complications, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The variation in characteristics of this syndrome makes it difficult to diagnose. The tests usually involve measuring levels of various hormones or an ultrasound of the ovaries. 


Diagnosing PCOS depends upon identifying whether you have:


  1. Androgen excess
  2. Disorders of ovulation 
  3. Polycystic ovaries

Skin manifestations of PCOS:


  1. Considered to be a hormonal pattern, PCOS-related acne hits the lower face, jawline, chin, upper neck. The lesions are deeper and slower to resolve and worsens around the time of periods. 
  2. Excessive hair growth known as hirsutism can be seen in places where hair is usually minimal like the chin, neck, abdomen, chest, back. Women also experience balding or thinning of the hair. 
  3. Some women also suffer from acanthosis nigricans that lead to dark, velvety areas of skin, usually in skin creases. 

How To Treat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?


When you have polycystic ovary syndrome, your first line of treatment begins with small lifestyle changes that can include prevention of excess weight gain and eating healthily. The treatment is individualized by holistic health experts depending on the prevailing symptoms. The focus can be on one of these issues or multiple issues including correcting irregular bleeding from the uterus, restoring fertility, improving the skin manifestations, hair loss, diabetes or cardiovascular disease. 


Associated with psychological, reproductive and metabolic features, PCOS is a common complex condition in women with manifestations across the lifespan. If not treated timely, it can become a major health and economic burden. 


Want to learn more about what happens when you have polycystic ovary syndrome? Get answers to your questions about polycystic ovary syndrome or find a holistic practitioner specific to your needs.

Lifestyle Changes to Improve Your Cholesterol

Before we talk about how to improve your cholesterol you need to know the basics about it in order to make lifestyle changes to improve your cholesterol.


All the cholesterol your body needs is produced by your liver and then you get some more directly from the food you eat including eggs, dairy, meat. 


Sometimes this might add too much cholesterol to your body that uses cholesterol to protect your nerves, make cell tissues and produce certain hormones. A high level of cholesterol in the body can cause negative effects on your health. 


Luckily, there are lifestyle changes to improve your cholesterol.


There are 2 main types of cholesterol:


  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)- The bad cholesterol, you want a low level of this type.
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL- Called good cholesterol, you want the required level of this type.

To improve your cholesterol, you’ll need to lower your LDL and increase your HDL. 


Consider taking these steps to make lifestyle changes to improve your cholesterol.


  1. Maintain Optimum Weight

Being overweight can raise your cholesterol levels so work on yourself to reach your optimum weight as it will help lower your total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.


  1. Eat A Healthy Diet

Eat a rich Mediterranean diet rich in fruits and vegetables as they are naturally low in fat. They are also the best source of fiber, vitamins and minerals for your body. Make sure to pick good fats over bad fats and limit your amount of saturated fats.


  1. Stay Active

An active lifestyle that includes regular exercising helps in raising HDL and lowering LDL. 30 minutes of moderate exercise 4 to 6 times a week should be good enough. 


  1. Adopt Healthier Cooking Methods

Baking, broiling, roasting is healthier cooking ways and also retain the nutrition of the food. Instead of deep-frying try shallow fry or stir fry.


  1. Switch Your Protein Sources

Meat although rich in protein is also high in cholesterol and saturated fats. Fish, beans, nuts, peas, lentils are other good sources of protein, without cholesterol and fats.


  1. Supplements Are Another Good Option 

Sometimes changing your diet enough isn’t that beneficial. Certain supplements including Omega 3, Psyllium Husk, Plant Sterols can help improve and maintain your cholesterol levels.


  1. Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking improves your HDL cholesterol level and you can experience the benefits quickly as your blood pressure and heart rate recovers, your blood circulation and lung function begin to improve and within a year your risk of heart disease becomes half.


There are no symptoms telling you that you could have high cholesterol. Your body may store the extra cholesterol in your arteries and this build-up called plaque can over time make your arteries narrow and even completely block them. It can also lead to the formation of a blood clot that can block the flow of blood resulting in a heart attack. 


Many times, people don’t find out they have high cholesterol until they’ve had one of these life-threatening events or take a blood test. 


Want to learn more about cholesterol? Get answers to your questions about pregnancy or find a holistic practitioner specific to your needs. 

What is Raynaud’s Phenomenon and how Osteopathy may help?

Practitioner Guest Blog – Annette Orzel, Osteopathic Manual Practitioner


What is Raynaud’s Phenomenon? 


Raynaud’s Phenomenon (RP) is a type of vascular disease in which fingers may turn white, blue or red in response to certain triggers such as cold or stress. This spasm of the blood vessel occurs when there is a decrease in blood flow to the fingers and it can be associated with a “pins and needles” sensation (numbness) or discomfort. 


This disorder of blood circulation may also occur in the toes, and less commonly of the ears and nose. Although painful and frustrating, let’s explore deeper what Raynaud’s Phenomenon is and how Osteopathy may help.


Type of Raynaud’s Phenomenon


There are two types of Raynaud’s Phenomenon referred to as primary and secondary. 


Primary Raynaud’s has no known causes and occurs in patients who do not have another rheumatic disease. While symptoms can be uncomfortable, there is no danger or damage to the body. 


Secondary Raynaud’s is “secondary” to another condition, and can include scleroderma, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory myositis, and Sjogren’s syndrome. Often the onset of secondary RP is usually after the age of thirty.


Cause of Raynaud’s Phenomenon


As stated earlier the cause for this vascular disease is largely unknown. There is a possibility that some blood disorders may cause it by increasing the blood thickness due to excess platelets or red blood cells. Contributing factors may also include abnormal nerve control of the blood-vessel diameter and nerve sensitivity to cold exposure.


Primary Raynaud’s Phenomenon typically affects women under the age of 30, it often begins between the ages of 15-25. Whereas the onset of secondary RP is later in life, usually after the age of 30.


Some risk factors for Raynaud’s include:


  • Frostbite – which may cause damage to the blood vessels
  • Exposure to vibration – including power tools such as chainsaws and jackhammers may cause “hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS)” or “Raynaud’s phenomenon of occupational origin”
  • A connective tissue or autoimmune disease
  • Chemical exposure
  • Cigarette smoking

How Osteopathy May Help with Raynaud’s Phenomenon?


The goal of the osteopathic treatment is to increase circulation to the limbs as to prevent / lesson the frequency of flare ups for the patient. Resolving the lesion or disease process may be possible in the early stages of the disease if the patient continues to actively seek treatment and is aware of the triggers to avoid flare ups.


When assessing a patient that suffers from Raynaud’s Phenomenon it is important to acknowledge how long the disease has been present and if the patient has any other underlying health conditions. If the patient is relatively healthy and has vitality, the compensations throughout the body may be minor and can be easily addressed. Although this disease affects local areas, such as the fingers and the toes, the body may react to this and create lesions in conjunction with the neurological stimulation which decreases circulation to these areas.


Managing the symptoms and improving overall health for the patient is the goal as this is potentially something they will have to live with for the rest of their lives. Plasticity in the muscles is important for good circulation. Plasticity in the muscles is important for good circulation. Lymphatic drainage is important to prevent inflammation and stagnation of fluids, and joint mobility from the spine and the fingers themselves is important to keep the passageway for all of NAVL to flow freely.


Author, Annette Orzel, Osteopathic Manual Practitioner


Annette Orzel is an Osteopathic Manual Practitioner in Hamilton, Ontario. She completed her osteopathic education at the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy in 2020. Prior to osteopathy, she graduated from McMaster University with an undergraduate degree in BSc. Honours Kinesiology. She’s always had an interest in anatomy, physiology and biomechanics, so it only made sense to follow her passion for the human body by pursing a career in Osteopathy. 


Want to learn more about Annette? Check out her profile or follow her at @annette.osteo

Top 10 Tips To Prepare for Pregnancy

Couple With Pregnant Woman

Making this decision to have a baby is in itself a huge milestone. Congratulations! Now let’s get to tips to prepare for pregnancy.


The decision of trying to have a baby means you are mentally and emotionally prepared, what remains is to prepare your body for pregnancy and our holistic health experts are here to help you with commonly asked questions on pregnancy and top tips to prepare for pregnancy.


  1. What are your odds of getting pregnant?

In any particular month, the odds that a woman will become pregnant really depending on a number of factors including age.


Here are a few things that can affect your chance of getting pregnant:


  • Your chances of conceiving fall after you reach age 30, decreasing as you age.
  • An irregular cycle makes it difficult to know the ideal time to have sex as it makes it tricky to calculate when you’re ovulating.
  • You are less likely to get pregnant if you have less sex.
  • Medical conditions can affect your chances of getting pregnant.
  • If you haven’t gotten pregnant after trying to conceive for more than a year, talk to your doctor about it.

  1. Understand your menstrual cycle

Your cycle begins on the first day of your period and ends on the day before the next cycle begins. A cycle can take 21 to 35 days or even more. Many women don’t have regular cycles but it doesn’t mean anything is wrong.


  1. How often should you have sex?

According to recent studies, the chances of a sperm to fertilize an egg is pretty small; only 3-5 days leading up to ovulation and the day of ovulation. Your best chances of getting pregnant are 1-2 days prior to ovulation. 


You should have intercourse every other day starting the week before ovulation or after the end of your period. Have sex at least 2-4 times every week.


  1. How long does it take for the effects of birth control medication to subside? 

As soon as the pill’s hormones are out of your system you can become pregnant, it could be immediately after going off the pill or take some time. However, it may take a few months before ovulation begins normally again.


  1. Up your nutrients & vitamins 

Include a variety of whole grains, fruits and vegetables that are rich in iron and calcium in your every day diet. Reduce your unhealthy-fat intake and consider taking a multivitamin supplement. 


  1. Does your lifestyle support healthy pregnancy?

Healthy lifestyle choices when preparing for pregnancy are essential and that include:


  • A healthy diet and regular physical activity
  • Managing stress
  • Addressing your weight before you conceive
  • Avoid the use of alcohol, smoking and illegal drugs

  1. Destress and rejuvenate

Stress boosts your cortisol levels, which suppress ovulation and decreases sperm count and sex drive affecting adversely on your chances of getting pregnant. It also tightens your body, which can stagnate energy and constrict your blood flow. 


Practice mindfulness, yoga, meditate, take a relaxing bath or nature walk, write it down, find your own way to cope up with stress.


  1. Visit your doc for a full checkup

Check in with your holistic health practitioner to together create a health baseline for a healthy and happy pregnancy.


  1. Work on your mental health

How we think, feel and act as we cope with our life generally defines our mental health. To be at your best, you need to feel good about yourself and your life. Everyone goes through the feelings of being worried, anxious or sad sometimes, it is when these feelings do not go away and interfere with your daily life then you need to take action by seeking help.


  1. Stay happy and positive

Our mind is a powerful tool and we should use it to add positivity and happiness in our life. Create an environment of happiness and positivity around you so you are relaxed and enjoy one of the best periods of your life.


Want to learn more about preparing for pregnancy? Get answers to your questions about pregnancy or find a holistic practitioner specific to your needs.