As Ive written several times in this blog, I have polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS. This condition is exactly as it sounds: I have multiple cysts on my ovaries. In past newsletter issues, Dr. Lark has explained that most ovarian cysts are a result of a follicle malfunction within the ovaries.
You see, during normal ovulation, a follicle grows to a certain size and then ruptures, releasing the egg. In the case of an ovarian cyst, the follicle continues to grow, rather than releasing the egg and dissolving, as its supposed to. The result is the cyst either inside or outside of the ovary.
Because the follicle continues to grow rather than releasing the egg, ovulation (the release of the egg), never occurs. As a result is a lack of progesterone (which is produced during ovulation) to offset the estrogen. As a result, you have increased estrogen levels, or estrogen dominance.
Once I understood how my ovaries became polycystic, Dr. Lark explained why they many have become that way and what I could do to overcome it.
She told me that excess weight is one of the main reasons many womens female hormones are out of balancecausing greater incidence of ovarian cysts. Body fat is a well-known producer of estrogen, so a woman with excess body fat is already hormonally skewed towards excess estrogen levels. This sets a woman up for estrogen/progesterone imbalanceand ovarian cysts.
Fortunately, a largely vegetarian diet thats high in fiber and low in fat can get you on the road to a healthier body. Along with a wide variety of organic fruits and vegetables, Dr. Lark suggested that I eat at least one four-ounce serving of cold-water fish each week for protein and essential fatty acids. She also advised me to avoid red and processed meatssuch as beef, bacon, hot dogs, and cold cutswhich can create metabolic upset, making it harder to lose weight.
Next, she said I should increase my intake of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, including cold-pressed olive oil, flax oil, raw seeds and nuts, and fish oil. She also had me add more whole grains to my diet, especially brown rice and quinoa, which have abundant levels of vitamins B and E to help regulate hormone balance.
Lastly, exercise became key. Dr. Lark told me to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, 57 days a week. Exercise raises your whole-body metabolism, melts off fat, and improves circulation for a more normal hormonal profile.
After following her dietary and exercise suggestions, not only did my estrogen levels come into balance, but I began to ovulate regularly. As a result, I gained control over my estrogen dominance and my PCOS.