Natural Solutions for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
We are SO excited to announce our new “Ask the Holistic Doctor” series! Here, you can ask any questions regarding wellness and nutrition, especially in regard to pregnancy, postpartum or pediatric health. Dr. Blaire Jarvie Maliwat graduated from Bastyr University with degrees in naturopathic medicine and acupuncture. She also received her masters in nutrition from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and is a registered dietitian. Email your questions for Dr. Blaire to hellomamasteps [at] gmail [dot] com. Your identity will be kept anonymous and your email will never be given out to third parties.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
What is it?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, occurs when there is an imbalance of hormones, notably an excess of androgens (such as testosterone). This condition affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age, resulting in excess hair growth on the face and lower back, irregular menstrual periods, obesity, acne, development of cysts on the ovaries and infertility. PCOS can also result in insulin resistance, leading to Type 2 Diabetes.
What Causes It?
PCOS is “idiopathic,” which is the medical world’s fancy-schmancy term for “we aren’t exactly sure.” However, genetics and environmental exposures may play a role.
What Tests Are Done?
To diagnose PCOS, your doctor will conduct physical and pelvic exams along with a pelvic ultrasound and order blood tests to look at the reproductive hormones. The doctor may also test for diabetes, looking at hemoglobin A1C and fasting blood glucose levels.
What Can I Do to Address It Naturally?
- Diet… Remove gluten, dairy and processed sugars. Of these three, dairy is the most important to eliminate due to the presence of hormones. Since those with PCOS already have an imbalance of hormones, it is best to avoid adding even more to the mix from your food!
- Low glycemic foods: These are foods that won’t cause your blood glucose levels to spike too high; aim for low and medium GI foods. For a full list, go to WHFoods.com.
- Fruit: All fruit is amazing but focus especially on wild blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and apples. These are great as snacks, are high in antioxidants and reduce inflammation. Aim for at least four servings per day.
- Veggies: Any and all veggies, multiple times per day- raw or steamed, as a meal or snack, in a salad or on their own! Aim for one serving at every meal and snack.
- Raw nuts/seeds: Especially chia seeds, flax seed, almonds, pecans, and pistachios, which have omega-3 fatty acids to help decrease inflammation and are a great source of protein to keep you full and aid in weight loss. Aim for a handful of whole nuts daily or 1 tbsp. of ground nuts or seeds.
- Exercise: H.I. I. T (high intensity interval training) + strength training workouts are especially beneficial for women with PCOS, as it appears to not only have a positive effect on body composition but also helps to improve insulin resistance, according to a recent study.
- Supplements & Herbs:
- Myo-inositol: helps to decrease levels of androgens, and to improve insulin sensitivity and ovulatory function.
- Vitamin D: getting your levels up to an adequate level may help to restore ovulation.
- Peony+Licorice: helps to regulate progesterone levels and decrease levels of androgens.
- Saw Palmetto: helps convert testosterone to estrogen.
- Schisandra Berry: helps to support the adrenal glands.
- Holy Basil: helps to support the adrenal glands.
* Be sure to check with your naturopathic physician regarding which herbs and supplements are best for you and what amounts are appropriate. If pregnant or nursing, also consult with your health care provider before taking new herbs or supplements.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not a substitution for medical care. This information and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This post also contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you. We only endorse products we ourselves use and love.