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FX Medicine LIVE at the 2018 ATMS PCOS Symposium

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The FX Medicine LIVE team were pleased to attend the 2018 ATMS PCOS Symposium in Sydney on Sunday 16th September. 

The PCOS Symposium was a special event designed to combine the powerful education series from ATMS with specialised integrative, naturopathic trainings in the diagnosis and treatment of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

In Australia, one in 10 women of childbearing age have been diagnosed with PCOS. It is a complex disorder that can have reproductive, psychological and metabolic manifestations that can vastly reduce a woman’s quality of life. Women with PCOS are frequent users of complementary therapies, but to date there has been no specialised training offered to natural medicine practitioners on PCOS (which is often missed diagnostically on both sides of medicine).
The conference aimed to fill a necessary gap by offering a comprehensive day of education to natural health practitioners on the latest medical information practitioners need to help their clients overcome the condition.
The symposium comprised a full day of expert learning from five diversely qualified speakers. A wide range of health professionals attended the event including Naturopaths, Nutritionists, Herbalists, Homeopaths, Integrative Doctors, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Bodywork Therapists. It was a fantastic day of learning and networking and showcased the multi-modality, team-based approach to care that complex conditions like PCOS benefit from. 

FX MEDICINE LIVE: Andrew speaks to Prof Robert Norman

Professor Robert Norman is a specialist in reproductive and periconceptional medicine and a sub-specialist in reproductive medicine at Fertility SA. He was previously Director of the Robinson Research Institute, a major institute within the University of Adelaide, dealing in reproductive and paediatric issues. Professor Norman is currently Co-Chair of the NHRMC Centre for Research Excellence for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and is co-developing international guidelines on PCOS. His research interests are in PCOS, fertility and social aspects of reproduction.

Andrew and Prof Norman discussed:

  • Where are we heading with new drug therapies?
  • Drug, nutrient & lifestyle interventions
  • The promising actions of inositol
  • Research gaps identified: Funding needed. 
  • App: how to find: "ASK PCOS." Apple and Android soon --> monashpcos.com
  • Risks with the OCP
  • Why oral progestins are better
  • Is it possible to pick up PCOS earlier?
  • The transgenerational links of PCOS

FX MEDICINE LIVE: Andrew speaks to Prof Nigel Stepto

Professor Nigel Stepto teaches at Victoria University specialising in clinical exercise science. His work aims to understand aetiologies of metabolic and endocrine diseases from the perspective of dysfunctional skeletal muscle, and to understand how exercise therapy can be used to address these disorders (specifically PCOS). Professor Stepto has developed expertise in research translation and implementation in lifestyle therapy for PCOS. He serves on national and international guideline development groups, turning research into practice via evidence synthesis, advocacy and dissemination of these guidelines to patients and healthcare practitioners.

Andrew and Nigel discussed:

  • What is modified HIT exercise
  • Is flexibility and type of movement important?
  • Group or solo exercise?
  • The opportunities of exercise being built into schooling
  • Fear of injury and a lack of confidence are common in PCOS women

FX MEDICINE LIVE: Andrew speaks to Lara Briden

Lara Briden is a naturopathic doctor with 20 years clinical experience, and a passionate communicator about women’s health. She is the author of the popular book Period Repair Manual (whose second edition has just been released) and has also written dozens of women’s health articles for mainstream media. She’s an avid blogger and a sought-after presenter for international conferences, webinars and podcasts. Briden practices at Sensible Alternative Hormone Clinic with her clinical focus including Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, perimenopause, endometriosis and coming off hormonal birth control.

Andrew and Lara discussed:

  • The problems with Fructose?
  • Fruit vs. fructose 
  • Transgenerational insulin resistance 
  • The importance of reversing insulin resistance prior to pregnancy 
  • Berberine as a metabolic herb
  • Berberine vs. metformin
  • The clinical effect of fibre 
  • Saw Palmetto use in women's health 
  • DIM (diindolymethane)
  • Why we need to be careful not to diagnose teenagers too soon 
  • Immune dysregulation in PCOS

FX MEDICINE LIVE: Andrew speaks to Dr Carolyn Ee

Dr Ee is a GP and Research Fellow at the National Institute Complementary Medicine (NICM), Western Sydney University, and was one of the first practicing medical doctors in Australia to gain dual qualifications in Chinese Medicine. Dr Ee specialises in clinical trials on acupuncture in women’s health and is the current chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Integrative Medicine Specific Interest Group. She also leads the Jacka Foundation Integrative Medicine Program at NICM, which focuses on clinical service delivery, education, and translational research in integrative medicine.

Andrew and Dr Ee discussed:

  • Does influencing sympathetic tone affect PCOS
  • Electro-acupunture: mechanisms of action
  • Interpretting dosage of acupuncture from available research 
  • Why Dr Ee explored modalities outside of general practice
  • Chinese Medicine recognises "burn out" in health
  • Does TCM compliment the functions of a general practitioner 
  • Acute medicine vs. chronic illness 
  • Using acupuncture to control appetite as a strategy for PCOS
  • TCM terminology translated to western terminology. 
  • Slow pathways to diagnosis 
  • Slow adoption of new guidelines 
  • Moving away from "7min Medicine"

FX MEDICINE LIVE: Andrew speaks to Leah Hechtman

Leah Hechtman is an experienced and respected clinician and has been in practice for over 20 years. Hechtman specialises in fertility, pregnancy and reproductive healthcare for men and women. She has completed extensive advanced training and is currently completing her PhD through the School of Women’s and Children’s Health, Faculty of Medicine at UNSW. Her research is exploring ovarian markers in PCOS and Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) women to contribute to the interpretation of ovarian biomarkers and provide appropriate fertility support and guidance for women.

Andrew and Leah discussed:

  • Transgenerational aspects of PCOS
  • Managing insulin resistance and androgens
  • Measuring chemical exposure
  • The global predicaments of toxicants
  • Autism and the association with androgen excess
  • Leah's clinical approach to hunger 
  • Mitochondrial nutrition
  • The impact of core exercises on women with PCOS
  • Being mindful of the costs associated with care

The PCOS symposium was an event by The Australian Traditional Medicine Society. The FX Medicine Team would like to thank them for having us. 


The information provided on FX Medicine is for educational and informational purposes only. The information provided on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional advice or care. Please seek the advice of a qualified health care professional in the event something you have read here raises questions or concerns regarding your health.

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FX Medicine LIVE
FX Medicine LIVE brings you a virtual ticket into some of Australia’s leading complementary medicine conferences. Join us as we talk to the key note speakers, organisers and attendees live at these events throughout the year.