Whether you have just been diagnosed with PCOS or you have had it for a long time, it’s important for you to understand that there are natural ways to manage it. Education is key, only when you know that you’re dealing with, will you be able to know exactly how to go about tackling PCOS and living free of the symptoms.
What is PCOS
In PCOS, ovarian cysts occur when ovulation doesn’t occur as it is supposed to. In every cycle each ovary stimulates a number of follicles to develop, one of which will release an egg at ovulation. In PCOS, the follicles are stimulated to grow normally, but they do not respond to the hormonal cue to release an egg at ovulation. Instead they continue to grow and form cysts within the ovary. PCOS is fundamentally an endocrine disorder. This means that there is an imbalance in the hormone pathways which can have a far-reaching impact on the body.
Symptoms of PCOS
While you may be familiar with the symptoms of PCOS all too well, here’s a closer look as to what the symptoms entail. Not everyone will have all these symptoms, but for the most part, most of my PCOS patients have two to three of the following symptoms at minimum.
- Hirsutism (increase facial hair)
- Hair loss or male pattern baldness
- Infertility or an irregular menstrual cycle
- Inability to lose weight
- Blood sugar dysregulation
Natural Treatment for PCOS
While dealing with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is definitely a multi-faceted issue, and each woman has their own symptoms and root causes, these are a few suggestions I use as part of my patient’s protocol.
Dairy has been shown to have a hormone called IGF-1 which mimics sugar balance in the body. This causes an increase in blood sugar dysregulation and therefore testosterone levels, making PCOS worse. This includes milk or cheese products.
The protein found in bread called gluten tends to cause inflammation in the body contributing to blood sugar resistance. This means that your body needs more hormone to deal with the carbohydrates that you eat. And this means more testosterone.
Balance Blood Sugar
Women suffering from PCOS tend to have irregular functioning beta islet cells of the pancreas. These beta cells are responsible for detecting glucose in the blood while signally the pancreas to allow it to be absorbed. Basically, the beta cells over respond. This then impacts the already sensitive ovaries, causing them to produce too much testosterone. All women produce testosterone, but women with PCOS produce too much of it. Too much testosterone then will lead to a lot of those pesky symptoms such as acne, hirsutism and an irregular menses. So, to get PCOS under control, we have to address the sugar imbalance first. Processed sugars actually quench the B-vitamins in the body, so a daily B-vitamin can help balance blood sugar levels. And a favorite herb I recommend to my patients (to enhance sensitivity) is berberine.
Detox Your Liver
Your liver is responsible for taking excess and old hormones out of the body. If it’s overworked because of over consumption of processed and sugary foods, it won’t be able to keep up and do all of its work – so the excess and old hormones remain circulating in the body. The Liver Flush IV™ is a wonderful, quick and easy way of giving your liver the love it needs. Also a few times a year, consider doing an oral detox to gently cleanse the body. Increasing your consumption of liver friendly foods like lemon, beets, and garlic into your diet is a good start.
Balance your Hormones
Estrogen is stored in fat, so the less we have, the lower our risk of being estrogen dominant and allowing progesterone to do it’s job better. If after testing my patients I find that estrogen is the culprit, I often recommend DIM. This helps the liver convert estrogen into a healthier form.
Plant medicines can be incredibly powerful medicines, especially when it comes to supporting hormone balance. Saw palmetto is an effective hormone balancer because it decreases the conversion of testosterone to its more powerful form. This makes saw palmetto an excellent choice in the treatment of acne, hair loss, and facial hair growth. Another favorite herb I use in my Practice is Chaste Tree. It is one of the best known botanicals for PCOS. This is because along with Vitamin B6, it balances prolactin levels and raises progesterone levels. It can also restore regular ovulation! An honorable mention must go to Inositol. This is because it decreases blood sugar resistance, decreases testosterone levels and helps to promote regular ovulation. It is a super-star for PCOS treatment!
As women with PCOS lose weight, hormone levels often start to return to normal. Testosterone levels fall, 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. Find a way to move every day. And make sure you do weight resistance exercise at least 3-5 days a week. Muscle cells are one of the body’s main consumers of glucose. Growing more muscle cells through strength training helps keep your blood sugar at a healthy level. Exercise makes muscle cells more sensitive to blood sugar. The result? Your pancreas needs to produce less hormone to keep your metabolism running smoothly. A recent research study found that exercise changes the expression of genes that are thought to cause PCOS-related blood sugar resistance.
Where to Begin
Addressing the root cause of symptoms is the first step. All of the PCOS research comes to a similar conclusion, the best thing that any woman with PCOS can do is take control of her health and her environment. While it may seem overwhelming, remember you are not alone. My years of expertise have helped so many women gain control of their PCOS and live happy, well-balanced lives. This means achieving regular periods, reaching their ideal weight, embracing a beautiful body with a confidence that no-one can take away! I am here to help you with every step of your journey.