AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Women in the fight to save their lives from diabetes, heart disease and cancer spent a day in Atlanta putting together the pieces of the puzzle to their health.  Polycystic Ovary Syndrome impacts one in 10 women at the age to have children.  Hundreds of women attended the 2016 PCOS Symposium, sponsored by PCOS Challenge Inc. and hosted by Omega Phi Alpha National Service Sorority, where dozens of health professionals gave key advice about living with the disorder.

“Think about a place that brings you peace,” Maria Horstmann told a group taking deep breaths with their eyes closed during her ‘Fitness for PCOS: Strategies for Improving Insulin Sensitivity and Fat Loss’ workshop.

The same body that can offer a moment away from bad health is the same body that can cause a lifetime of havoc for some women.

Kenya Nichols is one of those women.

“I think with me it’s the infertility,” she told NewsChannel 6.

Jamie Hope is too.

“I started having symptoms in college and by the time I graduated I had gained over 100 pounds,” she told us.

Hope attended the symposium for the first time from Aiken South Carolina.  She’s hoping advice about PCOS meal planning and medical tips will reverse life as she knows it.

She added, “That was really interesting hearing what vitamins and supplements, not just medications, but other things you can do to be healthy. I went to an emotional wellness seminar because depression and anxiety are part of this syndrome.”

Hope also battles infertility like Nichols.

“Wanting to have children, but not being able to and actually going through the process of taking medication to try to have kids.  That got a little overwhelming for me so I just decided if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen and if it’s not, it’s not. I discontinued the medication.  I have a fur baby though,” she said.

Dr. Felice Gersh, an integrated medicine physician from California, explained microbiome or bacteria in the gut area that worsens when food with chemicals are added.  She said it impacts the entire health.

“Women with PCOS have tremendous difficulty burning fat because of these high levels of insulin.  So, it all comes back to the gut.  If you can reestablish through eating high fiber, it’s always what you do eat and what you don’t eat,” she explained.

Daria Lizneva, Assistant Research Scientist for Augusta University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, informed women about two first time studies in Russia and Africa.  She said Ghana is where nearly five thousand women will help us understand PCOS in the future.

“It helps us to understand the diversity of PCOS phenotype in terms of African American compared to African,” she said.

PCOS weekend concluded with the Bolt for PCOS 5K Run/Walk.  More than 200 registered for PCOS Challenge’s first PCOS 5K, including virtual walkers around the country.  Polycystic Ovary Syndrome patients and their supporters ran and walked through the campus of Georgia Institute of Technology for more than three miles.  PCOS Challenge, Inc. raised more than $34,000.  The money helps the organization provide more education to women and girls suffering from the disorder through workshops and radio broadcasts.


ATLANTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Hundreds of women fighting a hormonal disorder found new ways to treat it and live better lives. The 2016 PCOS Symposium took place at Georgia Tech in Atlanta today.  The annual event is sponsored by PCOS Challenge, Inc., the largest PCOS support group for women and girls living with the metabolic disorder.  A group of women from the CSRA joined several other women throughout the southeast and health professionals from around the world to get help with the disorder that impacts one in 10 women of childbearing age.  Polycystic Ovary Syndrome causes some women to have infertility issues, weight gain and can lead to Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease and endometrial cancer.

Jamie Hope, who traveled to the event from Aiken, S.C., said she finally has answers to all of her problems surround PCOS.

“The main problems I’ve had were menstrual irregularities and obesity. I’ve had a little bit of issue with hair loss, but I have medication that helps with that now. Really, the weight has been the hardest part for me and just not being able to have children, which is devastating,” she said.

Women and some spouses learned how insulin resistance impacts PCOS and how simple things like eating a strict diet and exercise can help lessen some symptoms.

A 5K run/walk will round out the event Sunday in Atlanta.

NewsChannel 6’s Renetta DuBose is attending the symposium and she will have more information from the event.