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PCOS, are Holistic Treatments Available?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder affecting 6% – 12% of women during their reproductive years. Regulating insulin and hormones are key to treating PCOS.

Signs and Symptoms

While not uncommon, PCOS is not easily diagnosed. Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome include:

  • Infertility
  • Infrequent or prolonged menstrual cycles
  • Ovaries may be enlarged and contain follicles that surround the eggs, resulting in the ovaries failure to function normally. Not every patient with PCOS will have polycystic ovaries.
  • Dark or thick patches on the back of the neck, armpits and under breasts.
  • Excess male hormones (androgen) results in physical symptoms including belly fat, excess facial hair, severe acne, male pattern baldness.


No definite cause is known for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, some factors are more likely to play a role in the development of PCOS. These include:

  • Insulin Resistance. A hormone produced in the pancreas, Insulin allows cells to use sugar, if cells become resistant to insulin, the amount of blood sugar in your system rises and may increase androgen production. Caused by autoimmune disorders like Type 1 diabetes or metabolic syndromes, excess body fat and low levels of physical activity, insulin resistance is a very important biomarker to be aware of. To avoid insulin resistance maintain a healthy lifestyle including physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight and practicing good sleep hygiene.
  • Low grade chronic inflammation may cause PCOS. Chronic Inflammation may be due to genetics, stress, inflammatory diet or exposure to environmental toxins.
  • Heredity, certain genes may be linked to PCOS.
  • Heavy metal toxicity may contribute to the development of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is often diagnosed when a patient is dealing with infertility, while there is no single, specific diagnostic test, your medical practitioner may recommend:

  • Ultrasound to check the ovaries and uterus
  • Blood tests to check hormone levels, glucose tolerance levels and cholesterol panels.
  • Pelvic exam


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can have serious complications including:

  • Infertility
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Severe liver inflammation
  • Metabolic syndrome this is a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Obesity

What You Can Do About PCOS

While a diagnosis of PCOS may seem daunting, fortunately there are lifestyle changes and non- pharmaceutical choices you can make to help ease symptoms.

  • For some patients losing 5% of their bodyweight helps symptoms like irregular periods, elevated blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
  • Eat whole foods and balance carbohydrates with protein to help insulin resistance. Focus on protein from plant based sources such as nuts, legumes and whole grains, rather than eating only animal based protein.
  • Eat anti-inflammatory foods found in the mediterranean diet which include, olive oil, tomatoes, leafy greens, fatty fish (like salmon, sardines, and tuna), tree nuts, berries, cherries, broccoli, avocados, green tea, grapes, mushrooms and dark chocolate.
  • Adding iron rich foods to your diet, for example, spinach, eggs and broccoli are great iron sources.
  • Adding regular moderate cardiovascular exercise like jogging, walking, cycling and swimming helps boost metabolism and increase cardiovascular performance. Bodyweight strength training increases lean muscle to help regulate insulin. Yoga can help build the mind body connection to help handle stress levels.
  • Sleep, chronic sleep deprivation can lead to high levels of cortisol, leading to increased inflammation which can affect PCOS. Furthermore, sleep deprivation is closely linked to obesity and insulin resistance.

Supplement Support for PCOS

In addition to the dietary, physical fitness and sleep changes that you can make as part of your PCOS treatment plan, dietary supplements are useful to help handle PCOS symptoms. Supplementation along with the consultation of expert medical advice, assures you are taking the proper supplement for your symptom profile. Medical supervision should ensure that the supplementation does not interact with any other medications you may be taking.

Supplements that are useful to help ease the symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Inositol is a B vitamin that may help improve insulin resistance.
  • Zinc boosts the immune system and may improve excess hair growth.
  • Evening Primrose Oil helps ease period pain and irregular menstruation.
  • Vitamin D
  • Cod Liver Oil
  • Berberine
  • Ashwagandha balances cortisol levels
  • Holy Basil works to reduce blood sugar, prevent weight gain and lower cortisol levels
  • Licorice root metabolizes sugar
  • Tribulus supports healthy menstruation
  • Probiotics support gut health and can reduce inflammation.

In Conclusion

A diagnosis of PCOS is frustrating and scary. You can take control of the diagnosis. Seek professional medical help and take proactive steps to support your lifestyle choices and consequently, ease your symptoms.

Author Info

Arthur Cushing