PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is one of the most common hormonal disorders in women. According to the CDC, it affects about 5 million US women.
"One in ten women are diagnosed with PCOS and often it's not diagnosed or it's misdiagnosed." Tallene Hacatoryan is a registered dietician who specializes in helping women with PCOS. She knows firsthand, how difficult it can be to manage. "I was diagnosed with PCOS about 10 or 11 years ago, and I went through my own journey trying to reverse my symptoms, and it was quite the struggle."
She and her husband, personal trainer Sirak Kalaygian, are dedicated to helping women manage their PCOS. They have a successful podcast called A Cyster and her Mister, a monthly mentorship program called “the Cysterhood” - and multiple courses.
So what is PCOS? Hacatoryan says it's a hormone disorder that can cause elevated male hormones, irregular menstrual cycles, and ovarian cysts. Doctors usually diagnose women with it, if they have two of those three factors. When it comes to symptoms, Hacatoryan says they vary from “cystic acne, hair loss, ovarian cysts, weight gain, facial hair. The list goes on infertility issues and not being able to ovulate."
Kalaygian, who now focuses on helping their clients lose weight, says there are four common root causes of PCOS. Inflammation, insulin-resistance, adrenal issues, and hormonal birth control, with roughly 70-80 percent of women having insulin-resistance.
According to Kalaygian, "you can have multiple of those root causes or a combination, which can of course make it more difficult."
Hacatoryan adds that "a lot of women who are diagnosed feel like they're not in control of their bodies anymore, and this thing has taken over them, and we should be empowering women to take back control of their bodies because there's lots you can do once you understand the root causes of your PCOS."
Many women with PCOS are told to take birth control to regulate symptoms. But, Hacatoryan says you can also approach it more holistically. In fact, she reversed her own symptoms by sticking to a gluten and dairy free diet, changing the way she exercises and managing her stress.
"I feel like my journey is an example of someone who had all of the PCOS types, and you know managed it effectively."