Natural Treatments for PCOS can provide profound changes for women suffering from symptoms such as weight gain, excess hair growth, acne, irregular periods and infertility.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone disorder characterised by the accumulation of what appears to be numerous fluid-filled cysts on the ovaries.
These cysts develop over time as the ova (eggs) fail to mature, then release during the menstrual cycle. This causes multiple immature ova to be visible on ultrasound, which are mistakenly called cysts.
Over the past few years our understanding of how PCOS develops has changed the way this hormone disorder is treated. Natural treatments for PCOS can address the root causes of this difficult condition. Time and time again women are seeing results using a PCOS diet plan, supplements, herbs and lifestyle adjustments.
Lose weight & improve fertility
One thing is for certain, making changes to your diet is essential to address the underlying causes such as insulin resistance. You will start to lose excess weight and improve the chances of falling pregnant.
One study found that 11 out of 12 women who had been overweight and not ovulating conceived naturally after losing weight (this study is found in The Natural PCOS Diet e-book.
As women with PCOS lose weight, hormone levels often start to return to normal. Testosterone levels fall, insulin levels go down, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) levels go up and the symptoms of PCOS start to diminish. Women also report significant improvements in the growth of excess hair and skin tone. Weight loss can have a remarkable effect on ovarian function.
Natural treatments for PCOS reduces chance of miscarriage
In general, women with high levels of luteinising hormone (LH) in the first half of their menstrual cycle seem to have a greater risk of miscarriage.
Interestingly, a study found that the rate of miscarriage dropped from 75% to 18% in women with PCOS who changed their diets and lost weight.
As you can see, diet is a major factor when looking at natural treatments for PCOS.
What is the best diet for PCOS?
A balanced diet using whole foods which stabilize your blood sugar levels is the key. Banishing sugary food is especially important. Foods containing too much sugar cause rapid spikes in your blood sugar levels, placing unnecessary stress on your body. Over time this leads to the development of insulin resistance syndrome.
Insulin Resistance Syndrome is condition marked by poor blood sugar control and weight gain. Insulin resistance is usually an underlying problem in women suffering PCOS, even when they are not overweight.
When the body is insulin resistant, it simply does not remember how to use carbohydrates for energy. It can only store them as fat. The Natural PCOS Diet describes in outstanding detail the most appropriate diet for PCOS. Here are a few basic tips:
- Balance low GI carbohydrates with adequate protein
- Include phytoestrogens in your diet.
- Buy organic foods whenever possible.
- Reduce your intake of saturated fats.
- Limit or avoid dairy.
- Drink two litres of filtered water daily.
- Avoid additives, preservatives and food chemicals such as artificial sweeteners.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Avoid sugar on its own and hidden in foods.
- Include essential fatty acids in your diet.
You will find greater detail of the diet to follow and other natural treatments for PCOS in my e-book, The Natural PCOS Diet.
should also incorporate the use of nutritional supplements, herbal medicine, homoeopathic medicine, acupuncture and of course exercise.
Supplements and PCOS
Many women are lacking important vitamins and minerals for hormone health. If you taking the oral contraceptive pill to regulate your periods, you may have an even greater imbalance between a number of key vitamins and minerals. Correcting this imbalance will go a long way towards treating the root cause of the problem.
Natural treatments for PCOS include the use of nutritonal supplements, specific ones mentioned below:
- A good multivitamin and mineral tablet will provide a ‘little bit of everything’.
- Chromium is essential for insulin’s response on blood sugar, cravings, hunger and weight loss.
- Zinc helps with appetite control, healthy blood sugar balance and thyroid health.
- Magnesium balances blood sugar levels. There is a strong link between magnesium deficiency and insulin resistance. It is an important mineral to include if you are suffering from PCOS.
- Co-enzyme Q10 is essential for energy production and normal carbohydrate metabolism.
- B Vitamins are important for energy production, fat burning and hormone imbalances.
- Diindolylmethane (DIM) helps the liver convert oestrogen into a healthier form. The dose is dependent on body weight
- Amino acids L-arginine and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) have shown in studies to help restore ovarian function. NAC may also improve insulin sensitivity.
- D-Chiro Inositol, a supplement usually derived from buckwheat farinetta is showing promosing results for PCOS sufferes by helping to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism reducing testosterone and increasing frequency of ovulation.
Detailed natural treatments for PCOS such as supplement recommendations are found in The Natural PCOS Diet.
Herbs and PCOS
Herbs are extremely useful in treating PCOS. Making changes and adding supplements to your diet will help control weight and balance blood sugar, while herbs go a step further, targeting any problems involving hormone balance.
Herbs to consider include:
- Chaste tree (Vitex Agnus castus) is one of the most important herbs for PCOS because it helps stimulate and normalise the function of the pituitary gland, which controls the release of luteinising hormone (LH). Chaste tree has been successfully trialled in the treatment of PCOS as well as infertility.
- Adrenal tonics such as Rehmannia, Rhodiola, Siberian Ginseng and Withania support the adrenal stress response and help the adrenal glands return to a state of balance.
- Peony is another valuable herb as it positively influences low progesterone, reduces elevated androgens (testosterone) and modulates oestrogen and prolactin.
- Licorice, especially combined with peony, helps regulate hormones, reduce androgen levels and improve the LH to FSH ratio.
- Maca is an adaptogenic herb known to stimulate the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands to support and balance hormones such as FSH, LH, oestrogen and progesterone. It is indicated for symptoms such as hirsutism, acne, irregular menstrual cycles and even insulin resistance.
- Gymnema is helpful in reducing carbohydrate and sugar cravings.
- Tribulus helps restore menstrual regularity and regulate ovulation.
- Blue Cohosh acts as a uterine and ovarian tonic and a pelvic anti-inflammatory.
- Saw Palmetto, a traditional male reproductive herb used to control excess testosterone, offers promising results for hirsuitism.
- Milk thistle, rosemary, Bupleurum and Schizandra are excellent liver herbs, aiding in the removal of excess oestrogen.
Recommendations of natural treatments for PCOS including herbs are found in detail in The Natural PCOS Diet.
Other natural treatments for PCOS
- Lymphatic drainage may be helpful to reduce congestion. Try massage, skin brushing and exercise such as rebounding.
- Try castor oil packs and linseed packs for pain relief.
- Homoeopathic medicines – your homeopath or naturopath will prescribe the most appropriate remedy for you.
- Try natural progesterone cream. The dose depends on your symptoms and imbalances.
- Acupuncture is helpful for PCOS, Some acupuncture points are used to move blood, break up stagnation and stop pain.
- Aromatherapy can assist and support the reproductive system, and gently contribute to rebalancing your hormones.
NB. Always consult a registered practitioner.
Exercise and PCOS
The introduction of a regular exercise program to improve fitness, insulin resistance and maintain a healthy weight is important. Detailed information on exercise for PCOS is found in The Natural PCOS Diet.