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11 Silent Signs You Have PCOS : The Hearty Soul

Ladies – this one’s for you! As you may know, when you begin the journey to your best health and well-being, these healthy lifestyle changes are one of the most gratifying commitments that you can make in your life.

However the journey to vibrant health is never linear, and your path will likely have many ups and downs. This can make for frustrating times, especially when it feels like you’re putting in the effort and good intention, but you’re still not seeing the results that you’ve anticipated and feel that you deserve.

Often times there are underlying reasons why we keep experiencing anxiety and depression, there are reasons why the weight won’t budge, why PMS is a nightmare every month, why your skin is prone to blemishes and breakouts, unwanted hair growth and why you’re having issues with fertility and your menstrual cycle.

It IS possible for you to achieve a clear mind, glowing skin and effortless periods… If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above – are you missing these silent signs of PCOS?

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder in women, it represents a group of symptoms that result from a hormonal imbalance. A diagnosis can be received by women (and girls) at any age after puberty.

PCOS is said to affect up to one in five of us – that’s 20% of women [1]! Yet, there are so many of us who don’t even know we have it, many don’t know anything about PCOS, and worst of all – finding the information we deserve can be frustrating.

Hormones work like little chemical messengers in your body, they determine everything from your mood, to your energy levels, to your weight. Endocrine glands are those which produce hormones, in your body it’s the job of your brain, thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, adrenal glands, gastrointestinal tract, and reproductive glands (ovaries and testes) to produce and regulate hormone levels.

Hormones affect and control so many aspects of your health, yet it can be so easy to overlook just how important they are to our well-being- until your balance is compromised.

What Causes PCOS?

The underlying cause for PCOS symptoms is an abnormally high level of male sex hormones like testosterone when compared to female sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. In a majority of PCOS cases, male sex hormones are high – this can prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg each month as they would when in a state of balance. This is a deep-rooted reason as to why irregular or skipped periods and issues with getting pregnant are common for women with polycystic ovary syndrome.

Female sex hormones need to be balanced with male sex hormones in the proper ratio. Sometimes testing may show that male sex hormones aren’t high enough to be considered as abnormal, however, if female sex hormones aren’t proportionate to the male sex hormones – an imbalance may be the result, and it’s actually the ratio of hormones that seems to be the determining factor in PCOS.

As research continues to reveal more information on the causes of polycystic ovarian syndrome and other hormonal imbalances, it should be known that PCOS is indeed a very complex disorder where genetic factors are involved in addition to lifestyle choices and environmental factors.

Top 9 Common Causes of PCOS


PCOS is commonly regarded as a condition that runs in families, but this doesn’t mean you’re doomed to experience it if you’re genetically predisposed. Having a family history of PCOS is a clear indication that you need to be on top of managing your stress levels, diet and lifestyle choices. Your genetic predisposition doesn’t have to be your fate!


Eating too many high-glycemic foods, such as those with a high-sugar content and refined carbohydrates.


Is it time for a “Stress Detox”?


Exercise needs to be balanced. It can be determenting to exercise both too little and too much.


This includes imbalances, such as Hypothyroidism.


This includes synthetic estrogens, BPH in plastics and packaging, phytoestrogens such as soy, phthalates and some pesticides [2].


Reaching a high body fat percentage from being overweight or obese or having a low body fat percentage from following a heavily restricted diet are both common links to PCOS.


Excess insulin aka the hormone produced by your pancreas which allows cells to use glucose for energy – can cause the ovaries to increase male sex hormone production, which throws off the ovaries’ normal ability to ovulate.


Low-grade chronic inflammation can also stimulate polycystic ovaries to produce more androgens [3].

Recognizing the Symptoms of PCOS

There is no one reason as to why women develop PCOS. It’s also not just one single disorder but instead, at least four or five independent disorders that are all characterized by an overlapping but inconsistent set of symptoms:

  1. High androgen, or male sex hormone levels
  2. Acne
  3. Facial and body hair growth
  4. Hair loss or balding
  5. Irregular or absent menstrual cycles
  6. Excessive or heavy menstrual bleeding
  7. Ovarian cysts
  8. Darkening of the skin in the armpits, back of the neck, or groin
  9. Mood disorders
  10. Obesity and inability to lose weight with a healthy lifestyle
  11. Recurrent Miscarriages

The 5 Classes of PCOS


High androgen levels, irregular or absent ovulation, and a polycystic ovary.


Excess androgens with irregular or absent ovulation (but no polycystic ovary)


Excess androgens with a polycystic ovary (but without ovulatory dysfunction)


Irregular or absent ovulation and a polycystic ovary


Obesity with insulin resistance can lead to excess testosterone and estrogen production. This combination can result in acne, facial hair, and the irregular cycles as seen in PCOS.

Should I Take Birth Control for My PCOS?

Most women with a diagnosis of PCOS and additionally, many suspected cases that are characterized by irregular periods are told by their doctor to take the birth control pill.

Unfortunately, however, the pill does not actually fix or “stop” PCOS. It only potentially masks the symptoms at best, while the syndrome continues to manifest under the surface – the pill is a band-aid solution at best.

The birth control pill, which is a concoction of synthetic hormones (check back to cause NO.6 on COMMON CAUSES FOR PCOS) does nothing to prevent, cure, or fix PCOS or any other hormone disorder for that matter. While it can be helpful as a management tool for symptoms in some women, the biggest reason it is prescribed is because the medical field lacks other solutions.

In the holistic approach, the goal is to lower inflammation and balance hormone levels through nutrition, supplementation, and lifestyle changes.

8 Lifestyle Tips For Managing PCOS


Create a meal plan that utilizes whole, fresh and organic foods in their most natural form. Avoid the pre-made and packaged foods – instead focus on getting in a variety of vegetables, low-glycemic fruits, clean proteins, microgreens, raw nuts, seeds and healthy fat as the basis of your diet. These are the TOP 4 FOODS TO AVOID FOR PCOS:

Conventionally Raised Animal Products

  • Source out local, organic or pasture-raised poultry, eggs and grass-fed beef that are raised without antibiotics and hormones.
  • Switch to a local, organic or pasture-raised goat, sheep or buffalo dairy. Include the ‘Better Yogurt’ and choose cheeses which are made with raw milk (in moderation).
  • Choose wild caught fish when available (low mercury options are wild salmon, arctic cod, Atlantic haddock, freshwater trout, pollock and Atlantic mackerel)
  • Optionally, you may also follow a plant-based diet

Refined Carbohydrates and Wheat

  • Refined carbohydrates are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. This includes most breads, cereals, white rice, pastas and snack foods
  • Use gluten-free grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, millet and oats in moderation
  • Utilize sprouted ancient grains such as spelt, Ezekiel and kamut
  • Use 100% ancient grain sourdough breads in moderation, avoid products with added yeasts

Refined Sugars and Sweeteners

  • This includes your classic white and brown sugar, artificial sweeteners and even some of the tooted ‘health’ sweeteners such as agave and the many forms of cane sugar.
  • Use these Sweet Substitutions instead, in moderation!


  • Soybeans, edamame, tofu, soy milk, soy protein etc.
  • Since those who have PCOS have high testosterone levels, it would make sense that increasing phytoestrogen consumption would help to mitigate symptoms. Phytoestrogens are plant-based estrogens are not produced by your endocrine system.
  • Soy is the most controversial phytoestrogen and it is found in almost every packaged food.
  • The problem: most soy is genetically modified and highly processed, which can further trigger an overload of estrogen and contribute to a new imbalance which also comes with its own set of symptoms.


Adaptogens are a class of plants that bring the potential to balance every system in the body. These plants must meet the requirements of being generally safe for everyone, helping to manage stress, and balance hormones in order to be classified. Adaptogens can be an essential tool for alleviatiating PCOS symptoms because they support the reduction of inflammation and help to recharge from stress.


  • Ashwagandha – find it in capsule or powder form
  • Reishi Mushroom – find it in capsule or elixir form
  • Chaga Mushroom – find it in capsule or elixir for
  • Cordyceps Mushroom find it in capsule or elixir form


Sleep is precious you-time. You heal when you sleep and it decreases your cortisol and stress levels. You need your valuable sleepy-time to keep your energy levels up for the day. Get those eyes closed by 11:00 pm and aim for at least 8 hours. Track any improvements or areas of concern in your sleep patterns. Need some extra sleep assistance? Reishi Mushroom is one of my go-to’s, it’s like herbal yoga, Reishi may decrease the time it takes to fall asleep, increase total sleep time and promote your energy levels during the day (win-win!).


Don’t skip on the natural and organic spices and herbs. These are a powerhouse for phytonutrients which work in many ways, from decreasing inflammation, supporting liver health and providing concentrated nutrients! Here are your TOP 5 SPICES FOR PCOS:

True Ceylon Cinnamon

  • Not to be confused with cassia cinnamon, which has little benefit. True Ceylon cinnamon is effective for balancing blood sugars – it helps to reduce insulin resistance and restore ovarian function in women with PCOS.
  • Use ½ to 1 teaspoon per day


  • This super spice is the most clinically studied herb for inflammation thanks to its active ingredient, curcumin, which has been linked to many health benefits.
  • Turmeric’s natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties support not only liver health, but the health of every organ and system!
  • Pair turmeric with a source of healthy fat and black pepper for maximum absorption
  • Use whole turmeric root (like you would ginger) or an organic powder.

Black Cumin

  • This anti-inflammatory spice is also a source of iron and works to regulate glucose levels and tolerance.
  • Add black cumin seeds to your cooking or take black cumin seed oil daily.


  • This spice has anti-inflammatory and emmenagogue properties. It is the emmenagogue property that makes this a popular home remedy for regaining a menstrual cycle and relieving PMS pain and discomfort.


  • In the same family as turmeric, ginger root also has powerful antioxidant properties making it a great spice for women with PCOS who often suffer with stress and high cortisol levels.
  • Ginger benefits the immune system, digestion and blood sugar balancing
  • Use ginger in it’s natural whole root form


Apple cider vinegar has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity in several studies [4]. For your best results, consume 1-2 tablespoons of diluted organic, raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar per day. Dilute with water or a cold-pressed vegetable juice or add it to your salad dressings!


Exercise is a part of every healthy lifestyle scenario. You don’t need a gym membership and a high-intensity workout class to be active. For most, we just need to spend more time walking through nature and taking time to stretch with gentle and restorative yoga poses. Aim to get in 10,000 steps per day, spend at least 15-minutes in the sunlight (weather permitted) and make time for movement!


This includes everything from eliminating plastic wherever possible and switching to glass, using biodegradable cleaning products, clean self-care products and beauty products. Many of the chemical ingredients in these listed item are potentially harmful and contain endocrine disrupting chemicals.


Stress relates back to every aspect of our health and well-being, ensure that you take the time to Recharge so that you can thrive & be vibrant. Make time for practices like yoga, mindfulness and meditation, spend more time in nature, take a detox bath, make time to dry brush, get a massage, turn off Netflix and read a book or catch some extra Zzz’s.

Helpful Supplements for PCOS


This hormone-vitamin plays many roles in the body, it’s well known for its responsibility in immunity, bone and teeth health – but it does much more than that, a vitamin D deficiency is linked with insulin resistance, ovulatory and menstrual irregularities, obesity and decreased fertility (PCOS in a nutshell!) [5].

25-Hydroxy Vitamin D Blood Test: Your levels for should be above 50 ng/ml and no higher than 100 ng/ml. Being at the low end of this range may leave you feeling sub-optimal. Studies have shown that taking 4,000 IU of a vitamin D3 daily, to be a safe level for maintaining healthy levels. When the season permits, getting in 10-20 minutes of unprotected sunshine per day is ideal for natural production.


Everything is connected to gut health. Let’s get going on Better Digestion. Herbs which have a bitter taste, such as those in the Canadian Digestive Bitters work to naturally stimulate and promote enzyme production and healthy bile flow. Bitters work wonders for the liver, and the liver is your superstar detoxification organ! When your liver is feeling sluggish, it isn’t as efficient at balancing hormones, detoxifying the blood, and metabolizing fats. Unfortunately, as far as ‘tastes’ go, we are more accustomed to sweet and salty flavors, and we lack a proper balance. We need all of the ‘tastes’ for better health: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent.

Use dandelion greens, arugula, kale, rapini and mustard greens in your cooking or try out the St. Francis Canadian Bitters Tincture which contains bitters such as globe artichoke, dandelion, burdock, ginger, black walnut and more.


This tincture made by A.Vogel is one of my favorite daily tonics – this product contains over 50 fermented herbs and it is the perfect daily booster; filled with natural B-Vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, minerals and more!. Since this is a fermented product, it has excellent absorption potential and is much more bioavailable than any multiple-vitamin which will typically be made up of man-made synthetic nutrients (in miniscule amounts) and unwanted binders and fillers. The therapeutic blend in BioStrath pertains countless properties and noticeable results for your energy, balance and vibrancy.

Lifestyle Tips for Managing PCOS | Infographic


  1. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (pcos) | Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment Options:
  2.  Evanthia Diamanti-Kandarakis-Jean-Pierre Bourguignon-Linda Giudice-Russ Hauser-Gail Prins-Ana Soto-R. Zoeller-Andrea Gore –
  3. Antoni Duleba-Anuja Dokras –
  4.  Vinegar Improves Insulin Sensitivity To a High-carbohydrate Meal in Subjects With Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Carol Johnston-Cindy Kim-Amanda Buller –
  6. Ming-Wei Lin-Meng-Hsing Wu –

Read More

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