PCOS can be a terrible condition. It can make you infertile, overweight, spotty, fatigued and hairy-er. For many women suffering with it they feel depressed and un-feminine. Here's an excerpt from my free guide to PCOS.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder of the endocrine system affecting 5-10% of the population. As the name implies it is characterised by many cysts (follicles) being found inside the ovary. These are follicles which do not reach maturity. They can be seen clearly on ultrasound and usually make the ovary an irregular shape on the outside too. The ovary contains many undeveloped cysts but this isn’t actually that unusual. It seems to occur in as much as 20% of women. But I do wonder if it is even more frequent than that, and we just don’t know it. On the other hand, PCOS is an endocrine disorder because it is also accompanied by too much androgen and usually insulin resistance leading to irregular ovulation and menstruation. Only 7-8% of women with polycystic ovaries will have PCOS but 70-80% of women who don’t ovulate will have PCOS. 80% of women who have excessive hair growth and no changes to their period have PCOS. Therefore,PCOS has implications for fertility. It can increase your chances of cardiovascular disease too. But with some dietary and lifestyle changes it can be a perfectly manageable condition.
Banana Smoothie for PCOS
This delicious smoothie is packed full of fibre which helps increase sex hormone binding globulin to help balance the hormones (Szczuko, 2016).
1.5 cups of almond milk
1 tbsp of peanut butter
1 cup of kale
Depending on what bothers you most and what is worst for you, different drugs are available. Metformin to help with insulin resistance, the contraceptive pill to regulate your period, possibly Androcur to reduce excessive androgens and for those trying to get pregnant; Clomid to stimulate ovulation. When these work for you, it's great. But sometimes I have patients who don't want to use these drugs, or have found the side-effects worse than the benefits.
In my opinion, diet is the best, most sustainable way to deal with insulin resistance naturally. Eating a low GI (glycaemic index aka. weight watches) diet has been shown to improve PCOS (Marsh, et.al., 2010). But there are also many herbs which have been used traditionally to balance the hormones for centuries. Because of the complexity of the condition it's difficult to say which herbs would be useful for the hormonal imbalance in an article like this. But a patient of mine said after 3 months of treatment:
Natasha has helped me to approach my menstrual problems in a holistic way. Her style of treatments is very unique - she gave me plenty of information regarding my cycle, the influence of diet and everyday stress on it, as well as prepared custom made herbal tinctures, according to my personal ailments. With slight amendments to my lifestyle and diet, as well as the help of herbs, I could notice improvements in my cycle regularity, skin appearance and mood swings. I have learned to embrace the traits of each part of my cycle and to make peace with myself and my body throughout the month. I cannot recommend Natasha highly enough as a herbalist and women's health specialist!
While this is only one account it is important to remember we are all individuals and each person might experience different things when taking herbal medicine. I've put together a basic guide to get you started which you can access by clicking below. If you want to learn about the herbs which might be of use you can either hop on the phone to have a chat about treatments or consider the online course for having a better period.
Marsh, K., Steinbeck, K., Atkinson, F., Petocz, P. & Brand-Miller, J. (2010) Effect of a low glycemic index compared with a conventional healthy diet on polycystic ovary syndrome. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. [Online] Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/92/1/83.short. [Accessed: 19 September 2017]
Szczuko1, M., Skowronek1, M., Zapałowska-Chwyć2, M. & Starczewski2, A. (2016) Quantitative assessement of nutrition in patients with the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). National Institute of Public Health. [Online] Available at: http://agro.icm.edu.pl/agro/element/bwmeta1.element.agro-aa12b997-29ff-428c-9ca7-1a51d1018361/c/RPZH_2016_Vol_67_No_4_pp._419-426.pdf [Accessed: 19 September 2017]