Our PCOS SOLUTION is a DIY lifestyle program to give you the tools you need to reverse your PCOS, insulin resistance, and other hormone imbalances. We have not seen anyone go through the program and not get results.
To get more specific on your individual hormone imbalance drivers, we recommend several lab tests. Here they are in a nutshell.
Functional blood panel for sugar and insulin
These are beyond what your conventional doctor does. The biggest thing we dig for is insulin resistance. This is a spectrum – you can range from higher than normal insulin levels, to prediabetic, or actual diabetes. It’s good to do this because catching it early will make it easier to reverse. And with two thirds of our population on the insulin resistance spectrum, we commonly see this as a driver of hormone imbalance.
We are pretty good at picking this up with a metabolic panel that includes fasting glucose and liver enzymes, a lipid panel that adds LDL-P, fasting insulin and hemoglobin A1c. If there is insulin resistance, checking liver markers is a good idea because you may have a “fatty liver,” which is very common and needs to be addressed.
Why add LDL-P? This is never done in a regular lipid panel. It means LDL particle number and gives good information about whether or not saturated fat agrees with you. Some women have a genetic profile that means saturated fat will cause problems, and these women are not good candidates for a high-fat diet, like keto.
If we are really concerned about a sugar insulin problem, we can also have you do a two hour glucose tolerance test WITH insulin. Usually insulin is not included on these tests, and sometimes glucose performs fine but we need to see what insulin does. Many many women with PCOS and hormone imbalance have sugar insulin problems, even if they are thin.
The Dutch Complete Hormone test
This is a functional hormone test that involves collecting 4 to 5 different quick urine samples at home, spanning a 24 hour period of time. We time this at a specific point in the 2nd half of your menstrual cycle (
We get loads of information from this test. First of all we can determine adrenal function, and if you fall on the spectrum of “adrenal fatigue,” or more accurately called “hypothalamic pituitary adrenal AXIS dysfunction,” or HPA-D for short. It’s really not appropriate to guess about this, because symptoms alone won’t tell us if your cortisol is high, low, or has a disrupted rhythm. It also won’t tell us your DHEA-S status, which is often high with PCOS may be low with other hormone imbalances. Treatment is entirely different based on results.
The Dutch test also gives information about melatonin which is also important to assess HPA-D.
In addition it tells us about all reproductive hormone (testosterone, the different types of estrogens, and progesterone) as well as how they are metabolizing. Often with PCOS there is an estrogen dominant picture, which is important to identify because this can put you at risk for reproductive cancers, AND make you miserable with many hormone imbalance symptoms like PMS and painful periods. It can also cause insufferable perimenopause symptoms when you get to that stage of life. Usually estrogen metabolism problems are related to:
- Too much exposure, which we try to identify and reduce
- Poor liver detoxification, which we can help
- The wrong gut microbes, which we can influence…
Functional stool test for gut function
We like starting with a really good PCR (genetic sequencing) stool test that gives us a good picture of what’s going on with your G.I. microbes.
- Do you have too much of the wrong bacteria, the kind that makes you overweight?
- Are you low in the good kinds that help your metabolism, process estrogen, and make you lean?
- Is there a yeast issue?
- How you process fat.
- If you produce enough digestive enzymes.
- How your digestive immune system is working.
- If you’re making antibodies against gluten.
- If there’s inflammation in your G.I. tract.
The majority of women with PCOS and hormone imbalance have imbalanced gut bacteria and digestive function, and it’s important to get specific about your case rather than just guessing and shooting in the dark. We can get extremely refined with treatment protocols by testing.
SIBO breath test for gut function
In some cases there is reasons to do a breath test for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). This test is done in many conventional G.I. offices. You can also do it at home with a kit – it’s really your preference along with what you have access to. When do we consider this?
- When you have symptoms of bloating.
- IBS – irritable bowel syndrome.
- Chronic constipation or sluggish bowels.
- Consistently loose stool, or stinky gas.
- Difficulty digesting high fibrous foods or FODMAPS.
Food intolerance testing
Food sensitivities are more common than you may realize. Although no test is absolutely perfect because no test can measure all the different ways your body can react to a food, we do rely on the top functional labs that give good results and information about how to proceed. For example, gluten is a common intolerance (and this is a real thing
- All cases of autoimmunity not in remission
- All cases of food intolerance symptoms that are unresolved
So how do you get these tests?
Qualified functional practitioners of different medical disciplines use these tests. You can find one locally to work with from referrals, Internet searches, or going to the Institute for Functional Medicine’s list of practitioners. Also, many practitioners do work remotely through video and telemedicine.
We’d love to hear your comments!