PCOS – Are You Being Treated Based on Your TYPE?


PCOS – Are You Being Treated Based on Your TYPE? 

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common causes of infertility, yet it can often be misdiagnosed or treated incorrectly because there is a wide variation of how the condition can manifest in the woman. Often PCOS is not discovered until the woman tries to get pregnant and she realizes it’s taking longer than anticipated. 

There is no single test to diagnose PCOS, so the diagnosis is generally based on the patient’s collection of associated symptoms:  

  • Increased hair growth: face, abdomen, chest

  • Male patterned hair loss

  • Central weight gain

  • Acne

  • Difficulty conceiving

  • Insulin resistance

  • Oily skin and scalp (dandruff)

  • Skin tags, increased skin pigmentation

  • Depression and anxiety

  • Very high AMH levels

  • Problems with breastmilk production

  • Gestational diabetes

  • Sleep problems such as sleep apnea


Plus 2 out of these 3 symptoms: 

  • Irregular periods or ovulation

  • Polycystic ovaries

  • Increased androgens (“male hormones”)


PCOS can have a wide variation of how it affects the woman. The following are the main 4 types of PCOS I have commonly encountered in my naturopathic practice. 



Typical PCOS: 

Polycystic ovaries

Increased androgens

Irregular periods or ovulation

Struggles with many of the associated symptoms such as increased weight, acne, hair loss, depression and/ or anxiety etc.

This is the most common type of PCOS


Atypical PCOS: 

Usually has polycystic ovaries

Periods may be regular (but ovulation maybe irregular)

May not have increased androgens

Diagnosis may be missed because the patient doesn’t present like a “typical” PCOS patient, May be diagnosed as having Polycystic Ovaries, or PCO (but not the syndrome PCOS)


Androgen dominant PCOS: 

Elevated Androgens with associated symptoms (body and facial hair growth, male pattern hair loss, acne)

Periods may regular (but ovulation may not be regular)

May not have ovarian cysts


Secondary PCOS: 

Caused by other factors such as extended birth control pill use, medical condition (such as thyroid, adrenal issues), inflammation, dietary sensitivities (i.e. Dairy, gluten, soy etc.)

May have irregular periods/ ovulation

May have ovarian cysts

May have increased androgens

Diagnosis may be missed as the patient’s symptoms and conditions may not be considered as a collective whole 


Conventional “treatments” for PCOS

Conventional medicine doesn’t have a cure for PCOS. But there are medications used to manage symptoms or improve fertility. All have short term and long-term side effects and only 1 can address fertility.

Metformin:This is a common medication to treat non-insulin dependent diabetes (aka Type 2 Diabetes) used to help improve fertility in PCOS by addressing insulin resistance. It may be effective for Typical PCOS, but not very effective for the other types. 


Birth Control Pill:Prescribing the pill is the most common first line approach for women with PCOS to “regulate” periods or control their acne. However, extended use of the pill can also cause PCOS to develop.


Spironolactone:This is a common medication for high blood pressure (it’s a diuretic) used to help lower androgen levels in the body. It can help reduce the body hair growth and improve acne. However, it cannot be used in women trying to conceive or who are pregnant. 


Naturopathic Treatment of PCOS: Individualized treatment for your type of PCOS.

Now you know there are many types of PCOS. Shouldn’t your treatment be designed for your type, your symptoms and your needs? 

A naturopathic approach can help regulate your hormones, regulate your periods and improve your fertility in way that corrects your imbalances and helps restore normal hormone levels and cycles. 

To inquire further about naturopathic medicine email or

Jonah Arnold