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What Does A PCOS Belly Look Like?

An imbalance of hormones is commonly associated with PCOS, resulting in infertility, weight gain, and acne. A woman with PCOS may also get a "PCOS belly." 

The PCOS belly occurs when her ovaries are enlarged, resulting in a protruding stomach. It can cause the stomach to become bloated and round due to the increased production of the male hormone testosterone in the ovaries.

What is PCOS?

PCOS is a hormonal disorder typically occurs in women during their childbearing years (15 to 44). The condition affects a woman’s ovaries, the reproductive organs that produce estrogen and progesterone, the hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. 

The ovaries also produce some male hormones called androgens. It is evident by irregular ovulation, irregular egg development, irregular or missed periods, infertility, excess hair on the face and chin, acne, weight gain, and thinning of hair.

PCOS is a “syndrome” or a collection of symptoms. Among them are:
  • Cysts in the ovaries
  • High levels of male hormones
  • Irregular or skipped periods
Many small, fluid-filled sacs grow inside the ovaries. The word “polycystic” means “many cysts.” The presence of high levels of male hormones disrupts a woman’s menstrual cycle, which is why PCOS sufferers get fewer periods than usual.

Type 2 diabetes is a risk for women with PCOS since they can make insulin, but can’t use it effectively, making them insulin resistant.
Infographic of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome - showing Ovaries and female reproductive system

Who is most likely to suffer from PCOS?

It is prevalent among women in their 20s and 30s having difficulties getting pregnant. However, it can occur in women of any race or ethnicity after puberty.

What causes PCOS?

  1. Insulin Resistance

    Approximately 70 percent of PCOS patients have insulin resistance. Obesity is a major cause. Both obesity and insulin resistance can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes.
  2. Inflammation

    Women with PCOS often have increased levels of inflammation in their bodies. Being overweight can also contribute to inflammation.
  3. Hormone Imbalance

    PCOS is associated with an imbalance in certain hormones, including:
  4. Genetics

    PCOS sometimes runs in families. If you have a relative with PCOS, such as your mother, sister, or aunt, your chances of developing it are greatly increased.

What are PCOS symptoms?

  1. Unwanted hair growth

    Having hair on the face, chin, breasts, stomach, or other body parts that men usually have hair on.
  2. Loss of hair

    Having hair on the face, chin, breasts, stomach, or other body parts that men usually have hair on.
  3. Acne or oily skin

    A hormonal imbalance caused by PCOS can cause acne and oily skin on the face, chest, and upper back.
  4. Skin darkening

    You may see thick, dark patches of skin on the neck, arms, breasts, back of the neck, and groin.
  5. Constantly feeling tired or unable to sleep

    Insomnia and poor sleep are common concerns for people with PCOS. Even though you slept, you do not feel rested when you wake up. You may have a sleeping disorder called sleep apnea.
  6. Headaches

    The surge in hormone levels associated with PCOS can also cause headaches.
  7. Heavy periods

    In addition to heavy bleeding and irregular periods, PCOS negatively impacts menstruation.
  8. Irregular periods

    Sometimes women skip their periods or don’t get them at all.
  9. Increase in weight

    Weight gain is typical among PCOS sufferers. The symptoms may worsen if they are overweight. Shedding even just a few pounds may improve the timing of your periods.
  10. Having difficulties getting pregnant

    Irregular menstrual cycles may make it difficult for women to become pregnant.
women looking at a pregnancy test unhappy with result

How to identify PCOS

PCOS can mimic symptoms of other conditions which can cause similar symptoms, so having at least two may mean you have it:
  1. Irregular menstrual cycle
  2. Blood tests showing high levels of androgen (male hormones) or symptoms like acne, male-pattern baldness, or extra hair growth on your face, chin, or body
  3. An ultrasound exam shows cysts in your ovaries
The following steps will be performed by your healthcare provider before diagnosing PCOS:

Physical Exams

Doctors may measure your blood pressure, BMI (body mass index), and waist size. They may also look at your skin to check for extra hair growth, acne, and discolored skin, which can all happen if you have PCOS.
  • PELVIC EXAMS—A pelvic exam might reveal signs of extra male hormones (for example, enlarged clitoris) as well as swollen ovaries.
  • PELVIC ULTRASOUND—Sound waves are used to examine your ovaries for cysts, as well as to examine your endometrium (uterine lining).

Tests

  • BLOOD TESTS—A small amount of blood will be drawn from a vein in your arm by your physician. Testing for androgen hormones and other hormones associated with common health problems will also be checked.
    Lab tests will measure the levels of these hormones:
    1. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)-affects your ability to get pregnant
    2. Luteinizing hormone (LH)-encourages ovulation
    3. Testosterone-sex hormone would be higher in women with PCOS.
    4. Estrogens-group of hormones that allow women to get their periods
    5. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone test that can determine if a woman is pregnant.
    6. Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH)-This tests your ovaries and lets you determine how far you are from menopause.
    To further determine your overall health and chance of having other conditions, doctors perform other tests such as:
    Lipid profiles check your cholesterol and triglycerides. PCOS can make you more likely to develop heart disease.
    Glucose tests help to see if you have diabetes. More than half of women who have PCOS get this disease.
    Insulin: Your doctor will want to find out how well your body responds to insulin, which helps control your blood sugar level.
Doctors may measure your blood pressure, BMI (body mass index), and waist size. They may also look at your skin to check for extra hair growth, acne, and discolored skin, which can all happen if you have PCOS.
  • BLOOD TESTS—A small amount of blood will be drawn from a vein in your arm by your physician. Testing for androgen hormones and other hormones associated with common health problems will also be checked.
  • Lipid profiles check your cholesterol and triglycerides. PCOS can make you more likely to develop heart disease.
  • Glucose tests help to see if you have diabetes. More than half of women who have PCOS get this disease.
  • Insulin: Your doctor will want to find out how well your body responds to insulin, which helps control your blood sugar level.
Woman pinching her belly depicting What does a PCOS Belly Look Like

What does a PCOS belly look like?

Some women may experience weight gain around the mid-section. Areas around the ovaries may tend to feel somewhat hardened or firmer than other areas of the stomach. 

Treatment and Care

Taking care of PCOS will often include some lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise. A healthy diet can help reduce the severity of the symptoms by improving insulin resistance and reducing excessive levels of male hormones. Daily activity, low sugar intake, and a low-inflammatory diet may also lead to weight loss.

Let’s look into the more natural and holistic approach.
women getting good sleep to help against PCOS

Lifestyle and Home Remedies

  1. Eating a balanced meal – Keeping your blood sugar levels in check is crucial to treating PCOS, so an assessment of your diet is essential.
    • Reduce sugar intake
    • Eat more fiber
    • Increase consumption of healthy fats
  2. Have enough sleep – It is essential to get enough sleep for optimum health. Stress, anxiety, and insomnia make achieving that level of sleep challenging. The CDC recommends an average of 7 to 8 hours as the number of hours of sleep necessary as we age.
    • Do breathing exercises.
    • Be sure that all electronics are off at least an hour before bed.
    • Consider investing in quality bedding.
    • Maintain a cool temperature inside the room.
  3. Consider low-impact and strength exercises – Keep cortisol levels low and manage stress with low-impact activities like yoga, Pilates, and walking.
    The benefits of strength training include improving blood sugar levels and helping your cells respond to insulin. Furthermore, it increases lean muscle mass, and the more muscles you have, the more calories your body burns when at rest.

    Doing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Physical Exercise 3-5 times a week can help combat testosterone-related symptoms such as acne, hair loss, and unusual facial hair growth. Many women with PCOS also struggle to lose weight, putting them at risk for various health issues, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, stroke, and heart disease.
  4. Limit alcohol consumption – To reap the antioxidant benefits of resveratrol, women should drink no more than one drink per day, and if they do, red wine is the best option because of its low sugar and low-calorie content.
  5. Stress management – Spending a few hours a day unplugging electronics to be more present at the moment.
    1. Creating boundaries and saying no to loved ones and social outings.
    2. Relaxation can be achieved in many ways, including meditation, warm baths, reading, or going for a walk.
  6. Maintain a healthy gut – Unbalanced gut bacteria can adversely affect your mental health, immune system, and heart. When managing PCOS it is essential to maintain beneficial gut bacteria because it is known to metabolize estrogen. Taking prebiotics, probiotics and eating lots of fiber can promote optimal gut health. You may find the following products to be helpful:
  7. Adding natural herbs and supplements will make your diet more complete – It has also been found that herbs and supplements can effectively treat symptoms associated with PCOS. By using herbs and supplements, blood sugar is maintained, inflammation is treated, and hormones are supported.

    To regulate insulin and boost ovulation, Myo-inositol is recommended. A 2015 clinical trial showed 61.7 percent of women could ovulate after taking Myo-inositol, while 38.3 percent resisted the treatment. Myo-inositol can help restore your menstrual cycle.

    Several supplements can support your fertility and immune system, including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D3 to assist in fertility support, enteric-coated probiotics for healthy guts, vitamin B5 to support your adrenals, and vitamin B6 to help produce progesterone.

    A potential benefit of n-acetylcysteine may also apply to individuals with PCOS. According to research, the supplement improves insulin resistance and supports hormonal balance.
  8. Chinese medicine and acupuncture – There are also many benefits to using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). A key aspect of Chinese Medicine is its objective to determine which underlying mechanism creates the conditions for PCOS to appear. It is called differential diagnosis.
    The provider focuses on lifestyle and nutrition changes, such as eating healthy to avoid inflammation, incorporating herbs specially chosen, and removing endocrine disruptors.
Acupuncture can also nourish and revitalize the kidneys and blood as acupuncture clears excessive dampness from the uterus and other female reproductive organs.

The use of electric stimulation can be used in addition to needles to assist with ovulation.

Acupuncture can also nourish and revitalize the kidneys and blood as acupuncture clears excessive dampness from the uterus and other female reproductive organs.

The use of electric stimulation can be used in addition to needles to assist with ovulation.

Do You Have PCOS?

A PCOS belly can look different for every woman. Others may have a more subtle belly, while others may have a large, protruding stomach. 

If you think you may have PCOS, you should consult a doctor regardless of size or shape. Symptoms and overall health can be improved by a variety of treatments.
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Functional medicine is an approach to healthcare that focuses on identifying and addressing the root causes of disease. Unlike traditional medicine, which often treats symptoms without addressing underlying problems, functional medicine seeks to understand the body and identify imbalances contributing to illness. Functional medicine practitioners use various tools, including nutrition, lifestyle changes, and supplements, to help their patients achieve optimum health. The root cause is a term used in healthcare to refer to the underlying cause of a disease or condition. A root cause may be genetic, environmental, or lifestyle-related. Identifying and addressing root causes is a key component of functional medicine.

Who is a typical patient you see?

We see a variety of individuals looking to upgrade their health and well-being. Our patients vary from complex health issues to the average person who doesn’t feel right. We help patients with chronic diseases such as autoimmune disease, heart disease, fatigue, insomnia, diabetes, arthritis, high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, anxiety, depression, brain fog, mood disorders, and more. Dr. Truc assists patients in getting off medication safely and healthily that is best suited for the individual.
Our advanced diagnostic testing, combined with Dr. Truc’s Functional Integrative approach, reveals the root cause of these issues.We see a variety of individuals looking to upgrade their health and well-being. Our patients vary from complex health issues to the average person who doesn’t feel right. We help patients with chronic diseases such as autoimmune disease, heart disease, fatigue, insomnia, diabetes, arthritis, high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, anxiety, depression, brain fog, mood disorders, and more. Dr. Truc assists patients in getting off medication safely and healthily that is best suited for the individual.
Our advanced diagnostic testing, combined with Dr. Truc’s Functional Integrative approach, reveals the root cause of these issues.

What can I expect in a wellness consultation?

We see a variety of individuals looking to upgrade their health and well-being. Our patients vary from complex health issues to the average person who doesn’t feel right. We help patients with chronic diseases such as autoimmune disease, heart disease, fatigue, insomnia, diabetes, arthritis, high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, anxiety, depression, brain fog, mood disorders, and more. Dr. Truc assists patients in getting off medication safely and healthily that is best suited for the individual.
Our advanced diagnostic testing, combined with Dr. Truc’s Functional Integrative approach, reveals the root cause of these issues.

I’m not sick. Should I still schedule a consultation?

Prevention is the best medicine, especially when it comes to your health. Most people believe that illness occurs in the body when you get older; this is not true. By taking steps to prevent disease and injury today, you can stay healthy and avoid costly medical bills later on down the road. Unhealthy habits create chronic inflammation in the body, leading to later illness.

How do I schedule an appointment?

Dr. Truc offers a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation to answer any patient's questions or concerns regarding their health ailment and go over the services provided at Conscious Medicine. We look forward to connecting with you and scheduling a call today

Do you accept insurance?

We do not accept insurance. You can pay by credit card, debit card, HSA/FSA debit card, or care credit. You are welcome to submit the superbill for possible reimbursement from your insurance company. This document itemizes the services rendered and provides the insurance company with the information they need to process your claim. Many of our patients get up to 70% reimbursed.
We do not take any part in submitting claims or calling insurance companies, which is 100% the patient’s responsibility. We do not bill or participate in Medicare for any of our services.

Why don’t you accept insurance?

Unfortunately, insurance companies often dictate patients' care, limiting the effectiveness of treatments and time spent with our patients. Reimbursement rates are often too low to cover quality care costs. The administrative burden of dealing with insurance companies can be significant, which takes away from time that could be spent providing care to patients. We believe in providing the best possible care to our patients by spending as much time as necessary with each patient with personalized treatment plans to ensure their needs are met.

Are lab tests covered by insurance?

Lab tests are not covered by insurance. Many insurance plans, especially those provided by employers, only cover tests that are considered "medically necessary." You are welcome to check with your insurance supplier to see if they will reimburse you for out-of-network labs.
Lab tests are necessary because they can help diagnose many conditions, from uncomplicated infections to more severe diseases. They can also tell us how well your organs work and help us monitor your overall health.

Where can I get my lab testing done?

Our most commonly recommended lab test for stress management is a non-invasive test done in the comfort of your home with ease.

Some labs may require bloodwork which we offer at our Conscious Medicine office. If the distance is an issue for lab testing, we are happy to assist you in finding a facility closer to where you live. At Lab Corp, you can schedule an appointment directly with their facility.

*To follow CDC sanitation and safety protocols, we only accept one patient at a time in our office, wear proper PPE, and disinfect them.*

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Yes! All of our consultations are done virtually by phone or internet via Zoom Calls.

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