PCOS Causes, Symptoms and Using CBD as a Treatment
Sarah: Doctor, My stomach hurts like hell, I have irregular periods, I'm gaining weight like there's no tomorrow even though I'm barely eating a thing. Even if I nibbled a piece of bread, I get severely bloated, and now my bloody hairs started thinning, which I thought only happened to guys??
Doctor: Hmm, you may have something called PCOS.
Sarah: Oh, thank God, I was freaking out. I don't know anyone else who's had these problems. What's PCOS, and what's causing it?
Doctor: Actually, roughly 1 in 5 women in the UK have PCOS. The specific cause hasn't been identified yet, but we suspect it's genetic, and as we don't know the exact cause, we haven't developed anything to treat the issue, however, directly. But listen, I'm sure if we examined everyone's ovaries, we would all have PCOS to some degree.
Sarah: Inside voice (wow that makes me feel so much better!! it's like I don't have PCOS anymore. I'll be going then)
Everything you need to know about PCOS
Countless numbers of women are left frustrated by their doctors and the lack of a permanent solution to PCOS, which is the leading cause of infertility in the world, and bizarrely not many people know about it. Fortunately, our understanding of PCOS is slowly improving, and we do have solutions to treat the effects of PCOS quite effectively.
Being told there is no cure for something can be challenging to hear as you feel like anything else you do is just masking the problem. However, some of the solutions available are very effective, so you shouldn't feel too disheartened.
But first…what's going on in the body?
With Polycystic ovarian syndrome, many people will tell you its best to understand what's happening in your body before you ask about what medication you need to take because the prescriptions are not what you'd expect.
Individuals with PCOS have very high levels of insulin resistance, which is more commonly associated with Type 2 diabetes. When individuals who do not have PCOS eat white carbohydrates, the glucose enters their system and triggers the pancreas to release insulin so that the muscles uptake the glucose and turn it into energy.
When women with PCOS eat white carbohydrates, their blood sugar levels go up, and the release of insulin has stimulated the receptors; however, on the cells do not respond well to the glucose, causing less glucose to be taken up into the cells and converted into energy.
With less glucose being transported to the muscles, there is more glucose floating around in their bloodstream, which will, in turn, stimulate the pancreas to release even more insulin. As they are not converting glucose into energy, they will keep eating and cause their blood sugar levels to become even higher. The body soon realises it needs to do something with all the blood sugar, so convert it into fat, hence the reason PCOS patients put on weight quickly.
When the excess glucose is turned into fat, the ovaries are stimulated to release testosterone. Elevated testosterone levels will inhibit normal female brain function in regards to the ovulation process so patients will stop ovulating and therefore, will not get their period, which makes it difficult to become pregnant or plan to have children because you never know when you will be ovulating.
What can PCOS patients take to help them?
Combination Birth control Pill
PCOS patients will often be prescribed a combination birth control pill. (Oestrogen and Progesterone) These birth control pills stimulate the production of a specific protein that's purpose is to remove testosterone. When testosterone decreases, the symptoms associated with PCOS go away, such as acne, hair loss, and periods become more regular.
For some patients, while the symptoms may improve, they persist, so they often take what's known as Spironolactone. This is more of a treatment for the cosmetic symptoms associated with PCOS and works at the level of the skin, helping to clear up acne and further prevent hair loss.
This is a blood sugar medication, and it causes insulin levels to decrease, which is why Type 2 diabetics are frequently prescribed. When the patients' insulin levels drop, their testosterone levels also reduce, and they begin to get their periods back. A lot of patients who are trying to get pregnant will take Metformin, as the birth control pill option is a no go for them here. So as weird as it sounds, PCOS patients will often be prescribed diabetic medication.
What about lifestyle changes?
Diet can play a significant role in helping to treat PCOS symptoms. Patients should always try and avoid too many sugars and white carbs as a start. It's difficult to prescribe a diet that will be 100% effective because everyone is different, and what works for some may not work for you. Some people will tell you to try a Mediterranean diet as it's great for lowering inflammation, others may suggest the paleo diet, but you will need to experiment.
Could inflammation hold the Key to understanding PCOS?
Many studies are currently looking into the role that inflammation plays in PCOS. PCOS patients are known to have higher levels of four different kinds of inflammatory markers (physical indicators of inflammation). Even patients who have PCOS but don't have problems with weight gain show the heightened levels of inflammatory markers, meaning it may be the one commonality between all PCOS patients and therefore, an excellent place to start looking at when exploring potential treatments.
Inflammation is a vital part of the immune system's response to injury and infection. It is the body's way of signaling the immune system to heal and repair damaged tissue, as well as defend itself against foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria.
Inflammation and weight gain
Higher levels of inflammation can lead to increased weight gain, and here's why. It can influence the activity of Leptin, a hormone involved in producing the feeling of satiety (feeling full) Leptin is provided in our fat cells. It signals the brain to decrease appetite and increase our metabolism. However, if you become Leptin resistant, it's harder to notice when you are full, which can cause you to consume more food and put on more weight.
Inflammation can also wreak havoc with our fat metabolism. Lowering our ability to burn the type of fatty acids known as FFA's (Free fatty acids), the excess FFAs then 'spillover' into our liver, pancreas, and skeletal muscles, causing damage where they don't belong. This is called Lipotoxicity, and it further exacerbates inflammation.
As our brains can't use fat as energy, we consume even more food and then put on even more weight.
Inflammation and insulin resistance
Studies in human obesity and insulin resistance have revealed a clear association between the chronic activation of pro-inflammatory signaling pathways and decreased insulin sensitivity. For example, elevated levels of inflammatory markers: tutor necrosis factor-α (TNF), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and interleukin (IL-8) have all been reported in various diabetic and insulin-resistant states [14–18]. Also, the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP), a non-specific acute phase reactant, is commonly elevated in human insulin-resistant states .
CBD for PCOS
CBD may provide a solution to many of the symptoms of PCOS. Being a potent natural anti-inflammatory, CBD can reduce levels of inflammation, thereby reducing the amount of insulin resistance. (Up to nearly 20%)
CBD is also a natural pain reliever and could, therefore, help with the cramps many women complain of as a side effect of PCOS.
The improved mood is another commonly discussed benefit of taking CBD oil. Due to its ability to interact with serotonin in the brain (wellbeing neurotransmitter).
Is CBD Oil Legal In The UK?
CBD Oil is entirely legal in the UK. The FSA approved the sale of CBD Oil years ago. Because CBD is non-intoxicating, it means you can consume CBD Oil and experience its benefits to your ECS, such as reduced pain, lowered inflammation, better sleep, and reduced stress and anxiety levels, to name a few.
The only guidelines you need to be aware of are these:
1. CBD is legal in the UK as long as it does not contain more than 0.2% THC, which is a controlled substance under the Misuse Of Drugs Act 1971.
2. CBD is Legal in the UK provided that it is derived from an industrialised Hemp strain that is approved by the EU or comes from outside the EU.
To learn more about the legal status of CBD, read our article that covers everything you need to know about the legality of CBD in the UK.
Suggested Read: Will CBD Fail A Drugs Test?
Where Can I Buy a High-Quality CBD Oil in the UK?
Make sure you are getting the best quality full-spectrum CBD Oils to ensure you are getting the maximum effects possible from your Oil. Buy an Enhance CBD oil as our oils have been carefully sourced and are extracted in the UK to give you the freshest Oils. Using supercritical CO2 extraction meaning, you receive all the natural and beneficial parts of the hemp plant without any nasty chemicals.
Want to get even more out of your CBD experience? Buy our flavored CBD OIls today and enjoy the delicious natural flavours on top of the attractive benefits CBD oil can bring to your wellbeing. Experience CBD the way nature intended with Enhance CBD.