4 Types of PCOS: A Guide To This Common Condition
There are 4 types of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This means that there is a particular element that is causing the imbalance and driving particular PCOS symptoms. Knowing which element is driving your symptoms or referring to your PCOS “type” will help you communicate your needs and may help you better understand how to eliminate your symptoms. Some women may have more than one imbalance and could fall under two or more different types of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).Before we get into the 4 types of PCOS...
What is PCOS?
How do I know I have PCOS?
There is no definitive test to determine PCOS at this time, however doctors use a variety of different things to determine your PCOS diagnosis. Your doctor will commonly ask you about the symptoms you've experienced, your period history, and your family history before other tests such as a pelvic exam, pelvic ultrasound, blood tests, hormone panels etc.Typically, a doctor will diagnose you with PCOS if you have one of the following symptoms:
Irregular or absent periods
Higher levels of androgen (male hormones) shown in blood tests
Display symptoms like acne, male-pattern balding, or hirsutism (extra hair growth on your face, chin, or body)
Cysts in your ovaries shown on ultrasound exam
There are 4 types of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome):
This means that there is a particular element that is causing the imbalance and driving particular PCOS symptoms.
The 4 types include:
- Insulin Resistant PCOS
- Inflammatory PCOS
- Adrenal PCOS
- Post Pill PCOS
Let's get into more details on each of the types of PCOS and how to best treat symptoms associated with your specific type of PCOS.
1- Insulin Resistant PCOS (IR)
How to treat Insulin Resistant PCOS (IR) comes down to improving your insulin sensitivity which can be achieved by the following:
Regular exercise such as walking throughout the day to help your body burn sugar, build muscle, and improve your insulin levels.
Focus on a diet rich in protein and fat to balance blood sugar levels. Try to avoid any processed foods, high sugar foods and overall lower your carbohydrate intake.
Reduce stress and get a good night sleep. This is often overlooked or ignored but these two can go hand in hand with managing your blood sugar and insulin levels.
Get the right key nutrients! I can be hard to get the nutrients you need through food and so using a supplement like Ovary Good which was designed to help balance your hormones naturally can be extremely helpful.
2- Inflammatory PCOS
The second of the 4 types of PCOS is Inflammatory Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome which can cause symptoms such as digestive issues like IBS (irritable bowl syndrome), unexplained fatigue, headaches, joint pain, skin conditions and even food sensitivities.Inflammatory PCOS is long-term chronic inflammation, causing your body to be on alert 24/7.
Where as normally, your body releases short-bursts of inflammation to counter wounds and protects your body from infection. There is a way to test for Inflammatory PCOS, ask your doctor for a blood test which shows CRP.
Typically, you will see raised inflammatory markers on a blood test, such as a high CRP (C reactive protein) above 5. Other tests such as fasting glucose and insulin are in the normal range, but can sometimes be affected as inflammation can affect these numbers.
Treating Inflammatory PCOS:
Gut health is an essential element to finding results. Research ways to repair leaky gut tissue, balance gut bacteria, improve digestive enzymes and eliminate pathogenic bacteria. These steps will reduct overall inflammation.
Eliminate triggering foods. Keep a food journal to better understand what foods are causing inflammatory responses or work with a nutritionist to better understand which foods to avoid. Removing inflammatory foods and foods that you are potentially sensitive to will help address your inflammation.
Add in natural inflammatory foods such as omega 3 fatty acids and turmeric as well as antioxidants like NAC (which can also be found in S’moo Ovary Good).
3- Adrenal PCOS
The third of the 4 types of PCOS is Adrenal PCOS. Adrenal PCOS can often seem similar to Insulin Resistant PCOS as it has similar symptoms. However, even if you have similar symptoms, when tested for elevated testosterone, androstenedione (from your ovaries) and DHEAS (from adrenal glands) — which most women with PCOS will have. Adrenal PCOS will only test for elevated DHEAS while having normal levels of testosterone and androstenedione.
Adrenal PCOS accounts for only 10% of women who are diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
Here are some things you can do to help your Adrenal PCOS symptoms:
Avoid high intensity exercises as it can put stress on your adrenals. Focus on less intense exercises like power walking or yoga.
Try to avoid caffeine from drinks like tea and coffee.
Start finding ways to manage stress through activities like yoga, meditation, mindfulness and journaling.
Find herbs and supplements to support your adrenals such as vitamin B5, vitamin C and our favorite magnesium (which you can find in S’moo). Herbs such as Withania, Rhodiola and Licorice.
4- Post-pill PCOS
The last of the 4 types of PCOS is Post Pill PCOS. Getting off of birth control pills can actually cause a large fluctuation in your body. This temporary surge in androgens post-birth control pill is enough to qualify for a PCOS diagnosis.
That’s right! The best part of this is your symptoms are temporary and part of your bodies reaction to a withdrawal of drugs (your birth control). If you didn’t have these symptoms (acne, irregular periods, and excess hair growth) before getting on the pill, it’s likely causes from getting off the pill.
Treating Post-Pill PCOS:
The number 1 way to treat Post Pill PCOS is time! Give your body the time it needs to find balance and support it with the right nutrients through food and supplements while it finds balance. Many women have found success getting back on track faster by taking Ovary Good - Hormone Balance Powder. You can also add vitamin E, vitamin B6.
Work on your sleep and stress management to support your overall hormone balance.
It’s important to monitor your process for a few months to see if things go back to normal, and during that time you might consider another type of PCOS. A great way to keep track is through our PCOS Symptom Tracker which you can find here!
You aren't Alone
Don’t let PCOS get you down, just remember you aren’t alone and no matter how complicated things seem, you can find balance again. Get support at the S’moo Babes App which is completely free & safe space to meet other women working through Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
This content is strictly the opinion of S'moo and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither S'moo nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.