Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder in women and is associated with infertility, type 2 diabetes, mood disorders, fatty liver, sleep apnea, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome and heart disease. PCOS is often characterized by insulin resistance and is considered the leading form of endocrine disruption in women of reproductive age.
With PCOS ovaries can create a “functional ovarian cyst”, a sac forming on the surface of an ovary around a maturing egg. If the egg isn’t released or the sac fills with fluid surrounding the egg, it becomes a cyst. The term “polycystic” means that there are multiple small cysts.
It’s been shown that a class of androgens, known as 11-oxygenated C19 steroids, contribute significantly to androgen excess in women with PCOS. There is also a strong genetic component to developing polycystic ovaries.
In women with PCOS, the ovaries start making more male sex hormones called androgens, which can cause symptoms like extra facial and body hair, male pattern baldness, acne and mood swings.
PCOS symptoms can also include:
- High testosterone levels
- Low sex drive (libido)
- Menstrual cycle disruption
- Oligomenorrhea (irregular periods) or amenorrhea (missing periods)
- Weight problems
Fixing the hormonal imbalances that cause PCOS are different for every woman. Diet, lifestyle, stress, exercise and a multitude of other factors all contribute to a woman’s reproductive system. Here are some of the best natural remedies to reduce PCOS symptoms:
- Improve Your Diet – Reducing carbohydrate intake improves insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS and an anti-inflammatory die consisting of vegetables, fruits, grass-fed/pasture-raised meats, wild-caught fish (like salmon), nuts/seeds (like chia, flax, hemp, almonds and walnuts) and unrefined oils/fats (including coconut oil, olive oil and avocado) all reduce some of the metabolic symptoms of PCOS and can result in weight loss.
- Get some sleep – it’s absolutely necessary for cell regeneration and hormone production. Women with PCOS are more likely to have sleep disturbances and cause an overproduction of melatonin and increased levels of cortisol.
- Exercise – But don’t over-do it. Women’s bodies are more susceptible to negative hormonal changes when exercise is pushed beyond healthy levels.
- Avoid Exposure to Endocrine disruptors like plastics (BPA, DEHP and DBP), pesticides, dioxins and other harsh chemicals that can disrupt hormonal balance.
- Vitamin D – Most women with polycystic ovary syndrome are deficient in vitamin D. Supplementing vitamin D can improve insulin sensitivity, increase weight loss success, slow the formation of ovarian cysts, regulate periods, minimize inflammation, reduce oxidative stress, lower cholesterol, lower high triglycerides and reduce androgens in the bloodstream.
- Other supplements that have been studied and seem to be effective for polycystic ovary syndrome include magnesium, zinc, calcium, Omega-3s, chromium, N-acetylcysteine and folic acid.
PCOS can be complex and not every woman will respond the same to every type of treatment. Your healthcare provider should diagnose and supervise treatments that are specific for the patient’s individual needs.