Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common condition related to a hormonal imbalance in women of reproductive age. It is characterized by high levels of androgens (male hormones) in the body.
Researchers have also linked insulin to PCOS because many women with this condition also have too much insulin in their bodies. High levels of insulin cause the ovaries to produce more male hormones.
Women with PCOS have also been found to have low-grade inflammation, contributing to insulin resistance. Genetics is considered an important factor as PCOS seems to run in families.
The condition leads to issues like changes in the menstrual cycle, cysts on the ovaries and problems getting pregnant.
It can cause symptoms like infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods, excessive facial and body hair growth, weight gain, acne, oily skin, thinning hair or male-pattern baldness, and pelvic pain. The signs and symptoms tend to vary from one individual to another.
This endocrine disorder is also associated with an increased risk for developing insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. Thus, early diagnosis of PCOS is extremely important.
Some simple natural remedies, medications and lifestyle changes can help manage the symptoms and reduce complications.
- Add one teaspoon of cinnamon powder to a glass of hot water. Drink it daily for a few months or until you are satisfied with the results.
- You can also include this spice in your diet by sprinkling cinnamon powder on your cereal, yogurt, cottage cheese, peanut butter sandwich and on other foods.
Flaxseed can also be used to combat PCOS as it helps decrease androgen levels. It contains lignans that increase the production of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) that binds testosterone in the blood, thereby preventing it from wreaking havoc in the body.
Plus, being high in fiber, flaxseed helps slow down glucose metabolism and lower cholesterol levels. The omega-3 fatty acids in this superfood also reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease.
- Mix one or two tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseeds in a glass of water. Drink it daily for a few months or until you are satisfied with the results.
- Also include ground flaxseeds in your diet regularly by adding it to your smoothies, soups and salads.
Spearmint tea can also help deal with PCOS due to its anti-androgenic properties.
- Boil one cup of water in a pan.
- Add one teaspoon of dried spearmint leaves.
- Let it simmer for five to 10 minutes.
- Strain and drink this tea twice daily for a few weeks.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is also beneficial for dealing with PCOS because it helps control blood sugar and keeps your body from producing too much insulin. Less insulin means less testosterone. Plus, it will help you lose weight and improve your overall health.
- Mix two teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a glass of water.
- Drink it daily in the morning and before meals. Continue for several weeks or until you see improvement.
You can gradually increase the dosage of apple cider vinegar to up to two tablespoons per glass, two or three times a day. If the taste is too strong for you, mix the apple cider vinegar with orange or any other fruit juice.
Fenugreek promotes glucose metabolism in the body and improves insulin resistance. This in turn helps balance your hormones. It may also help lower cholesterol, aid weight loss and promote healthy heart functioning.
- Soak three teaspoons of fenugreek seeds in water for six to eight hours. Take one teaspoon of the soaked seeds along with some honey in the morning on an empty stomach. Also take one teaspoon of the seeds about 10 minutes prior to lunch and one teaspoon prior to dinner. Continue this treatment daily for a few weeks or until you see improvement.
- You can also include fenugreek seeds and leaves in your regular diet.
Chasteberry, also called vitex, is another popular herb for relieving the symptoms of PCOS and treating infertility due to a hormonal imbalance. It is a great hormone-balancing herb and is also used as a remedy for menstrual problems.
- Boil a cup of water and add one teaspoon of fresh or dried chasteberries. Let it steep for about 10 minutes. Strain and drink this tea daily for a few weeks or months, until you see improvement. Discontinue its use once you are satisfied with the results.
Holy basil, also known as tulsi, can help reduce the symptoms of PCOS due to its anti-androgenic properties. It will help manage insulin levels and aid in weight loss. Basil is also an excellent stress reliever, and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Consume eight to 12 holy basil leaves daily in the morning.
Follow either of these remedies for a few months.
- Keep your weight in check as it will help reduce the level of male hormones in your body. Losing just 10 percent of your body weight can help bring your periods back to normal.
- Engage in regular exercise to help control your weight and also regulate insulin.
- Incorporate more fiber-rich foods like whole-grain products in your diet.
- Increase your dietary intake of B vitamins, especially vitamins B2, B3, B5 and B6, to help reduce PCOS symptoms.
- Quit smoking; women who smoke have been found to have higher androgen levels.
- Avoid the use of plastics in food consumption, preparation and storage.
- Do not drink water from a plastic container.