Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, what can I do?
I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), what can I do? PCOS is a multifactorial, metabolic, endocrine and reproductive disorder. Approximately 25% of Australian women have Polycystic Ovaries however only 7-8% have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). It is usually found in women who are overweight and is caused from insulin resistance (hyperinsulineamia). It is present in 5-10% of women and is a major cause of infertility. Insulin resistance is a common finding among patients of normal weight as well as overweight patients. Those with PCOS with no clinical features usually have normal fertility without insulin resistance (and may not progress any further).
‘Polycystic ovary’ refers to the follicles found in the ovary. There may be multiple small follicles found and the ovary is usually enlarged in volume.
The risk factors involved include: strong family genetic history (does anyone else in your family have this?), increasing age, abdominal weight gain through insulin resistance (poor uptake of glucose into each cell which can lead to type II diabetes), lack of exercise, smoking, eating disorders according to research. Thyroid problems may make PCOS symptoms worse and women with PCOS have a high prevalence of autoimmune thyroid conditions. It is therefore advisable to have your thyroid checked if you have this condition. Approximately 30% of women have raised liver enzymes, diabetes and insulin resistance also increase the risk of non-alcoholic liver disease. Hyperinsulinaemia may inhibit the production of SHBG in the liver.
Stress reduction important in regulating LH & FSH function (sex hormones) in the treatment of PCOS. Women with PCOS exhibit abnormalities in cortisol metabolism. It is important in PCOS (as it is multifactorial) to focus on both the regulation of reproductive and adrenal hormones. It is also vital that any woman with this condition or polycystic ovaries seeks help.
6 Naturopathic ways to heal PCO or PCOS
- Basal metabolic temperature needs to be taken upon rising
- Charting menstrual cycle patterns is helpful
- Regulate blood sugar levels throughout the day to stop cortisol surges to maintain cortisol metabolism. This is done through healthy whole fresh foods with plenty of fresh vegetables and some fruit with quality protein throughout the day
- Ensure stress reduction through lifestyle suggestions such as meditation, walking in nature, yoga, stretching and tai chi
- Minimise alcohol and remove smoking
- Increasing omega-3 fatty acids in the diet along with fish, increasing fibre, phytoestrogens, eating breakfast can all assist
There are several medicinal herbs that can assist to regulate sex hormones, regulate sugar balance, reduce inflammation, provide antioxidant status and assist adrenal stress.
These include Vitex agnus-castus, Cimicifuga racemose, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Cynara scolymus, Paeonia lactiflora and Serenoa repens to name a few.
If you know someone who is suffering this condition know there is much that can be done. Seeing an experienced practitioner is a great place to start.