Understanding and Addressing PCOS: Beyond the Symptoms to the Root Cause

By Dr Olivia Naturals Support • March 01, 2024

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is increasingly becoming a common health concern, affecting a wider demographic than ever before. This shift is alarming and prompts an urgent need to understand the underlying causes and effective management strategies. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the complexities of PCOS, the critical role of insulin resistance, and why addressing the root cause is paramount for effective treatment.

The Rising Prevalence of PCOS

PCOS is no longer confined to a very specific group; its prevalence is expanding, affecting more individuals across various demographics. This trend is concerning and highlights the necessity for increased awareness and understanding of the condition.

Insulin Resistance: A Key Player

One of the primary factors contributing to the surge in PCOS cases is insulin resistance. High insulin levels, particularly anything over a value of 7, are a significant concern. It's not uncommon for individuals to discover their fasting insulin levels reaching the 20s and 30s upon testing, which is alarmingly high. This excess insulin interferes with hormonal balance, particularly affecting testosterone levels.

Hormonal Imbalance and PCOS

The interplay between high testosterone, low progesterone, or being androgen dominant (characterized by high DHEA levels) is crucial in understanding PCOS. These hormonal imbalances are often the result of blood sugar fluctuations or elevated cortisol levels. Such insights might seem overwhelming, but they underscore the complexity of PCOS and the importance of addressing its root causes.

The Conventional Approach to Treatment

Commonly, the treatment regimen for PCOS includes the prescription of metformin and birth control. Birth control, containing synthetic progesterone, works by suppressing testosterone levels. While this approach might offer temporary relief by managing symptoms like cyst formation, it fails to tackle the underlying issue—high insulin levels and hormonal imbalance.

The Problem with Symptom Management

Relying solely on birth control and metformin to manage PCOS is problematic. This strategy does not address the root cause of the condition. Consequently, when individuals discontinue these medications, the unresolved underlying issues resurface, often more aggressively. It's not unusual for symptoms, including cyst formation, to return with a vengeance within three to six months after stopping birth control and metformin.

Getting to the Root of PCOS

Understanding PCOS requires a holistic approach that goes beyond symptom management. It involves investigating and addressing the foundational issues contributing to the condition, such as insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances.

Addressing Insulin Resistance

A crucial step in managing PCOS effectively is getting blood sugar levels under control. This not only helps in managing the condition but also in preventing the cascade of issues resulting from high insulin levels. Lifestyle modifications, including diet and exercise, play a significant role in regulating insulin and, by extension, managing PCOS symptoms.

Hormonal Balance

Achieving hormonal balance is essential. This involves understanding the delicate interplay between various hormones, including testosterone, progesterone, and DHEA. Medical interventions may be necessary, but they should aim at restoring natural hormonal balance rather than merely suppressing symptoms.

Beyond Birth Control and Metformin

While birth control and metformin may be part of the treatment plan for PCOS, they should not be the sole focus. Effective management of PCOS requires a multifaceted approach that includes lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments, stress management, and targeted medical interventions aimed at the root cause of the condition.

The Importance of Personalized Care

Every individual's experience with PCOS is unique, making personalized care crucial. Understanding one's specific hormonal profile, insulin sensitivity, and other health markers is essential for developing an effective treatment plan. Collaboration with healthcare providers who are willing to look beyond the conventional treatment modalities and address the individual's unique needs is key.


PCOS is a complex condition that requires a comprehensive understanding and approach to management. Addressing insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances, rather than merely managing symptoms, is crucial for effective treatment. By adopting a holistic and personalized approach to care, individuals with PCOS can achieve better health outcomes and quality of life. The journey to managing PCOS is not straightforward, but with the right knowledge and support, it is possible to overcome the challenges it presents.