The 4 Types Of PCOS

pcos type, types of pcos the healthy woman

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

PCOS Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)  is a common hormonal disorder affecting around 10% of women. PCOS can cause irregular periods as well as unwanted physical symptoms.

Common Signs And Symptoms Of PCOS Include:

  • Weight Gain
  •  Facial Hair (Hirsutism)
  •  Mood Swings
  •  Insomnia
  •  Dark Skin Tags
  •  Irregular menstrual cycles
  •  Anovulation

Each woman with PCOS has individual imbalances and root causes that must be managed. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one size fits all approach to treating the disorder. The reason why it’s important to determine your type of PCOS is because it will help you identify exactly what’s going on and find the best treatment option.

This blog will discuss the different types of PCOS and help you discover your type to start your PCOS healing journey.

Which PCOS Type Do You Have?

There are four main types of PCOS, each with its own unique set of symptoms and underlying causes:

Insulin-Resistant PCOS

Insulin is a hormone released after you eat to pick up the sugar broken down from what you ate and put it in your cells for energy. When your cells resist insulin, they cannot accept the sugar in your bloodstream to burn it for energy. As a result, the sugar will store as fat, and the insulin will trigger high testosterone in the ovaries leading to symptoms like irregular periods and ovarian cysts.

Insulin resistance PCOS is the most common PCOS type affecting around 70% of Women with the condition. Insulin resistance is when there are higher levels of insulin than normal in the body – also known as hyperinsulinemia.

This can cause symptoms like uncontrollable cravings, fatigue, or brain fog. High insulin levels drive up androgen levels (male hormones), which cause issues like excess hair, male pattern hair loss, and acne.

Many persons with this PCOS tend to binge eat due to excess cravings, which is not our fault; cravings are because of insulin resistance, not a lack of self-control.

Other symptoms might include poor blood sugar control, which goes up after a meal and then comes crashing down, making you feel like you have to snack all the time.

Ways To Treat Insulin-Resistant PCOS

  1. Avoid high-intensity exercise. High-intensity training can put more stress on your adrenals.
  2. Stress management: Finding ways to manage stress, such as meditation, yoga, or therapy, can be helpful.
  3. Medications: Metformin can help manage insulin resistance, while anti-androgen medications can help reduce the effects of male hormones on the body.
  4. Lifestyle changes: Exercising regularly and following a healthy diet can help improve symptoms of PCOS; eating a low-carb diet rich in healthy fats and quality proteins will help to manage insulin levels.
  5. Supplements: Some women with PCOS benefit from supplements that can help improve insulin sensitivity and regulate menstrual cycles. Some of the best supplements for insulin resistance PCOS are Inositol, Fish Oil, Vitamin D, N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC), Carnitine, Magnesium, Probiotics, PCOS Multivitamins, and Zinc.

Inflammatory PCOS

With inflammatory PCOS, chronic inflammation causes the ovaries to make more testosterone than needed, causing physical symptoms, ovulation issues, and irregular periods. All women with PCOS struggle with inflammation. 

It’s an important factor of PCOS, not just a side effect.

Some common signs of inflammation with this type of PCOS are joint pain, headaches, unexplained fatigue, skin issues, bowel issues like IBS(Irritable bowel syndrome), and cystic acne, weight gain.

This type of PCOS can lead to another if it goes unmanaged. Therefore it is important to focus on healing chronic inflammation because it leads to insulin resistance and can drive PCOS symptoms, like facial hair, acne anxiety, and joint pain.

Treatment for inflammatory PCOS focuses on reducing inflammation and addressing underlying hormonal imbalances.

Here are some possible steps to consider:

  • Address gut health. Healing leaky gut tissue, improving digestive enzymes, balancing gut bacteria, and improving digestive enzymes are all important steps to reduce overall inflammation.
  • Natural anti-inflammatories such as turmeric, omega-3 fatty acid, green tea, and NAC can help to treat inflammatory PCOS. 
  • Remove food triggers. Addressing potential food sensitivities and removing inflammatory foods is important when managing inflammatory PCOS. Certain foods, such as Sugary drinks, Fried foods, Processed meats (ex., sausages, hamburgers, and hot dogs), and Refined Carbohydrates (ex., white bread, pasta, and pastries) can worsen your symptoms.

Adrenal PCOS

Adrenal PCOS is a lesser-known type often misdiagnosed or overlooked. This type of PCOS is caused by the adrenal glands’ overproduction of androgens (male hormones).

The most common symptom of adrenal PCOS is weight gain, but you may also experience acne, hair growth/loss, irregular periods, stress, mood swings, fatigue, and sleep problems.

Chronic stress can worsen symptoms of PCOS and lead to further hormonal imbalances. Finding ways to manage stress, such as meditation, yoga, or therapy, can be helpful.

Treatment of adrenal PCOS normally involves managing the symptoms and addressing the underlying hormonal imbalances.

Ways To Treat Adrenal PCOS

  1. Lifestyle changes: Exercising regularly and following a healthy diet can help improve symptoms of PCOS, including insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances. These changes can also help manage high blood pressure and cholesterol, commonly associated with adrenal PCOS. 
  2. Avoid high-intensity exercise. High-intensity training as this can further put stress on your adrenals.
  3. Medications: Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may recommend medications to help manage them. For example, hormonal birth control can regulate menstrual cycles and reduce the production of androgens. Metformin can help manage insulin resistance, while anti-androgen medications can help reduce the effects of male hormones on the body.
  4. Supplements: Some women with PCOS benefit from taking supplements such as inositol, which can help improve insulin sensitivity and regulate menstrual cycles.
  5. Stress management: Stress means anything that exceeds your body’s adaptive capability and raises your cortisol level, the stress hormone.
    • Chronic stress can worsen symptoms of PCOS and lead to further hormonal imbalances. It’s great to find ways to manage stress, such as meditation, yoga, or therapy
  6. Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove an adrenal tumor affecting the production of androgens.
  7. Getting Enough Sleep

Pill-Induced/ Post Pill PCOS

Pill-induced PCOS is a type of PCOS that can develop as a side effect of stopping some hormonal birth control pills. These pills contain synthetic versions of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. The hormonal imbalances that happen during the adjustment to the stopping of these synthetic hormones can lead to PCOS-like symptoms.

Women who develop pill-induced PCOS may experience symptoms such as irregular periods, weight gain, acne, and decreased libido.

Ways To Treat Adrenal PCOS

  1. Supplements & Herbs: Some supplements can help improve insulin sensitivity and regulate menstrual cycles. For example, inositol is effective in treating PCOS.
  2. Being Patient: In many cases, post-pill PCOS is resolved within a few months to a year after stopping hormonal birth control pills. Therefore, some doctors may suggest waiting to see if symptoms improve before pursuing further treatment.
  3. Make sleep and stress management a priority. Like insulin resistance PCOS, getting good quality sleep and reducing stress levels is important to support overall hormonal balance.

In conclusion, PCOS is a complex condition, and many women may experience a mixture of these types. By understanding the different types of PCOS, treatment plans address the condition’s root cause and improve quality of life. If you may have PCOS because of your symptoms, it is important to talk to your doctor about these symptoms and concerns. Treatment may differ depending on the individual’s symptoms and underlying hormonal imbalances. Working closely with a Doctor or Herbalist is important to choose the best treatment plan for your needs.

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