Treating Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the most common female endocrine disorder, affecting 10% of women of reproductive age, yet it is frequently overlooked.

PCOS is believed to be responsible for as much as 70 percent of infertility issues in women! It also has notable metabolic sequelae, including an elevated risk of insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, and attention to these factors is important.

Signs and Symptoms of PCOS

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Absent period
  • Anovulatory cycles
  • Abnormal mid-cycle bleeding
  • Excessive or heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Alopecia (balding)
  • Hirsutism (excessive body hair)
  • Acne
  • Insulin resistance
  • Acanthosis nigricans – a darkening of the skin in the armpits, back of the neck, or groin
  • Polycystic ovaries
  • History of ovarian cysts
  • Mood disorders
  • Obesity or changes in weight, especially weight gain and trouble losing weight
  • Trouble conceiving, infertility or recurrent miscarriage

    A holistic approach to PCOS addresses not just the patient’s immediate symptoms and risk management, but also the impact of the syndrome on her mental state and sense of self. A good place to start is by doing everything you can to balance hormones naturally. Below are a few suggestions:

    Diet and Weight Management

    50% to 70% of women with PCOS are obese and should be informed that even 5% to 10% weight loss of body mass is associated with significant improvement in clinical metabolic and hormonal markers.

    Certainly, the “right diet” is a bit different for everybody. But for overweight women dealing with insulin resistance, following a diet aimed at healthy weight loss that’s low-glycemic, low-sugar and nutrient-dense helps. For women who have adrenal fatigue or low thyroid issues, resting and focusing on eating more balanced, nutrient-dense calories, including healthy carbs, can be a better approach.

    Remove common allergens or sensitives, toxins, and chemicals, including:

  • too much alcohol or caffeine
  • most sources of sugar and sweeteners
  • packaged and processed foods
  • hydrogenated and refined vegetable oils (soybean, canola, safflower, sunflower and corn)
  • common sensitivities, including conventional dairy products and gluten
  • avoid non-fermented soy

    Exercise

    Exercise is an important lifestyle approach in PCOS, with diverse benefits such as improved ovulation, reduced insulin resistance, preservation of lean body mass and weight loss.
    However, if you have a predisposition to developing hormonal imbalances, you need to find which amount of exercise works best for you and don’t over do it.

    Remove toxins

    Avoid exposure to endocrine disruptors such as chemicals in skin/personal-care products and household cleaning products, avoid pesticides and xenoestrogens, including bisphenol A and phthalates used in plastic and aluminum cans.

    Complementary Therapies

    
Acupuncture may reduce sympathetic nervous system tone and improve menstruation. It has additional benefits for stress reduction and mood. 

Mind-body therapies can help women cope with stress, depression, and anxiety related to PCOS.

    Supplements and Herbs

    Below are supportive supplements and herbs commonly used for PCOS. Discuss with your holistic health practitioner before taking any of these:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Inositol Family
  • Chromium
  • Vitamin D
  • N-Acetylcysteine
  • Systemic Enzymes (Vitalzym®)
  • Cinnamomum Cassia
  • Licorice
  • Chaste Tree Berry
  • Ashwagandha
  • Holy basil
  • Maca root

    PCOS is a complex female health issue. It consists of many different health concerns and risks. If permanent diet and lifestyle changes are implemented, these risks and health issues may become obsolete. You have the ability to change your circumstances!

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