One symptom that is hardly discussed is water retention and bloating caused by PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome. PCOS affects up to 20% of women and up to 30% of those women have what is called hyperaldosteronism; which means aldosterone is higher than normal.1,4 Aldosterone is a signal the body uses to manage proper water balance. Many women with PCOS suffer from weight gain, but few doctors will address weight gain or appearance of weight gain from rises in aldosterone.2 Usually, water retention can be differentiated by true weight gain when the fluctuations in weight changes in a shorter period of time and appear to go up and down more frequently. Many women may complain that their clothes don’t feel right, or they might complain that they feel puffy.
High aldosterone goes beyond vanity however. Aldosterone can incite inflammation in the body, enlargement of the heart and blood vessel disease.2 Meaning, high aldosterone, not only leads to water retention but can lead to cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attack.
Sally came to my office after seeing several specialists and doctors. She was just so stressed about her health; all her tests were “normal” or they would say it was expected given her diagnosis of PCOS. She was bloated all the time, though the severity of bloating seemed to vary throughout the month. She had joined several exercise groups and tried different diets, but nothing changed- she just felt more and more discouraged. Her clothes didn’t fit the same despite all her efforts. She had been married 1 year and was disappointed she couldn’t wear her wedding rings any longer.
After an initial appointment, a full PCOS blood panel that included aldosterone was completed. Among other things, the tests showed high aldosterone. She had never had the test done, and finally felt like there were some answers and that it wasn’t just all in her head. Within 4 weeks of naturopathic treatments, the bloating and water retention significantly decreased, she saw changes in her body shape and her clothes fit better. Best of all, she could wear her wedding ring again!
Some other symptoms of high aldosterone can include3:
- vision problems
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- low potassium
- muscle cramps
- increased thirst
- increased urination
- muscle weakness
Not only can naturopathic therapy help water retention, but it can help other symptoms of PCOS such as acne, abnormal hair growth, hair loss and infertility. A naturopathic physician can help navigate symptoms of PCOS and high aldosterone and help by ordering the right tests to get you on the right track. Schedule your free, 15-minute consultation with Dr. Barraza today.
1 Decio Armanini, Alessandra Andrisani, Luciana Bordin & Chiara Sabbadin (2016)Spironolactone in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome, Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, 17:13, 1713-1715, DOI: 10.1080/14656566.2016.1215430
2 Barber TM, Hanson P, Weickert MO, Franks S. Obesity and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Implications for Pathogenesis and Novel Management Strategies. Clin Med Insights Reprod Health. 2019;13:1179558119874042. Published 2019 Sep 9. doi:10.1177/1179558119874042