Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome affects 5-10% of women of childbearing age. Cysts develop on the ovaries as a result of eggs failing to fully mature and subsequent failure to ovulate. Since no egg matures or is released, ovulation does not occur and the hormone progesterone is not made.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
The symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome include:
- High levels of male hormones, also called androgens, such as DHEAs, androstenedione, DHT, and testosterone
- An irregular, prolonged or absent menstrual cycle
- There may or may not be many small cysts in your ovaries. Note: you do NOT have to have cysts on your ovaries to have PCOS
- Infertility or inability to get pregnant or maintain a pregnancy
- Acne, oily skin or dandruff, particularly cystic chest, jawline and back acne
- Pelvic pain
- Weight gain or inability to lose weight
- Insulin resistance
- Head hair loss
- Excessive facial or body hair
- Acanthosis nigricans (darkened skin under the arms, on the neck, hands, knees)
What Causes PCOS?
That’s a good question. About 60% of women with PCOS have a problem called insulin resistance. This causes them to produce too much insulin. Higher levels of insulin then appear to lead to higher production of male hormones or androgens. In the remaining 40%, there is a different reason why their ovaries are not releasing eggs regularly. There are a number of factors that cause this: high prolactin, low thyroid, HPA axis dysfunction, autoimmune disorders, and premature ovarian failure. Our naturopathic doctors order extensive blood work to determine the root cause of your PCOS and then help you correct those issues to get you ovulating normally, reduce the symptoms of PCOS and restore fertility.
Is there a natural treatment for PCOS?
In 60% of the women with PCOS, it is the result of a whole cascade of hormone imbalances that can be traced back to blood sugar instability and excess insulin. Diet, exercise, supplements, herbs and stress reduction can be used to correct blood sugar imbalances, lower insulin levels, restore healthy ovulation and progesterone production and remove any excess of reproductive hormones. Our naturopathic doctors will formulate a custom program for your specific reasons for having PCOS.
Purchase the PCOS Treatment E-book here: http://www.myknowledgegenie.com/PCOS
By Dr. Pamela Frank, Naturopathic Doctor, updated Jan. 6, 2020
Natural Treatment for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: Research
These are just some of the natural treatment options for PCOS that our ND’s have at their disposal. They can custom-tailor a PCOS diet and supplement plan to your exact needs.
Acupuncture and physical exercise were found to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in women with PCOS. Source: BMC Complement Altern Med, 2013 June 13; 13(1): 131.
Non-randomised acupuncture studies in PCOS have been associated with a low adverse events rate, no increased risk of multiple births, and no large costs, unlike in vitro or surgeries. Source: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Aug 10;(8):CD007689.
A low glycemic index diet may decrease long-term health risks, such as endometrial cancer in polycystic ovarian syndrome patients. Source: BMC Res Notes. 2011; 4: 53.
Replacement of carbohydrates with protein in diets improves glucose metabolism and weight loss in PCOS women. Source: Am J Clin Nutr January 2012 vol. 95 no. 1 39-48.
Researchers found that many women with polycystic ovary syndrome are not maintaining the healthy diet and sufficient physical exercise that optimise symptom management. Source: Eur J Clin Nutr, 2011 June 1.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome patients ingesting a high protein diet experienced greater weight loss and body fat loss than the standard protein diet. Source: Am J Clin Nutr, 2012 Jan; 95(1): 39-48. Epub 2011 Dec 7.
Supplementation with magnesium plus vitamin B6 led to the greatest decrease of PMS symptoms compared to just magnesium alone and placebo. Source: Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2010 December; 15(Suppl1): 401–405.
Phytoestrogens in soy products appear to have a protective effect on metabolic and hormonal abnormalities in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Source: Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, Volume 16, Issue 3, pages 297-302, March 2011.
Normalization of menstrual cycles and ovulation could occur with modest weight loss as little as 5% of the initial weight. Source: International Journal of Womens Health, Volume 3, Pages 25-35, 2011.
Vitamin D supplementation effectively influenced symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome showing improved weight loss and menstrual regularity. Source: Complement Ther Clin Pract, 2012 May; 18(2):85-8.
Low-frequency electro-acupuncture was found to be more effective than physical exercise at improving hyperandrogenism and oligo/amenorrhea.
Source: Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Jan;300(1):E37-45.
Supplementation of 2 g of polyunsaturated fatty acids led to the greatest reduction in PMS symptoms compared to 1 g administration and placebo. Source: Reprod Health. 2011; 8: 2.
Researchers found a relationship between fat distribution, adipocyte dysfunction and altered inflammatory markers in patients with PCOS. Source: Mediators Inflamm. 2010; 2010: 758656.
Supplementation with the isoflavone Genistein may prevent cardiovascular and metabolic disorders in PCOS patients by improving reproductive hormonal and lipid profiles. Source: J Res Med Sci. 2011 March; 16(3): 297–302.
Insulin resistant PCOS patients exhibited increased IL-6 serum inflammatory cytokines, suggesting they have an altered immune response to inflammatory stimuli, likely contributing to the onset of low-grade inflammation. Source: Mediators Inflamm. 2011; 2011: 389317.
Calcium and vitamin D supplementation effectively influenced symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome showing improved weight loss, follicle maturation, and menstrual regularity. Source: Complement Ther Clin Pract, 2012 May; 18(2):85-8.
Myo-inositol may prevent gestational diabetes in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Source: Gynecol Endocrinol, 2012 Jun; 28(6):440-2.
In pregnant women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, myo-inositol administration may prevent gestational diabetes. Source: Gynecol Endocrinol. 2012 Jun; 28(6):440-2. Epub 2011 Nov 28.