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. The exact cause of PCOS, however, is still unknown. Yet, 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.
Although there is no cure for this problem yet, it can be controlled. Some simple natural remedies, medications and lifestyle changes can help manage the symptoms and reduce complications.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Also, consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Researchers from Columbia University have found that cinnamon supplementation can help improve menstrual cyclicity in women with PCOS. Plus, a pilot study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility indicates that this herb can help reduce insulin resistance in women with PCOS.
- 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.
- Alternatively, you can take this herb in supplement form after consulting your doctor. It is usually suggested to take one capsule (1,000 mg) three times a day.
- You can also include this spice in your diet by sprinkling cinnamon powder on your cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, cottage cheese, peanut butter sandwich and on other foods.
Note: You need not take more than two teaspoons of this spice per day. If you are taking this herb to combat insulin resistance, consult your doctor first as it may lower your blood sugar level.
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.
3. Spearmint Tea
Spearmint tea can also help deal with PCOS due to its anti-androgenic properties. A study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that drinking spearmint tea can help reduce hirsutism, or excess body hair, by reducing free and total testosterone levels and increasing luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels.
- 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.
4. 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.
6. Saw Palmetto
This herb acts as an anti-androgen, blocks 5-alpha-reductase activityand reduces the conversion of the testosterone into a more active form called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This in turn may help prevent hirsutism or excessive hairiness in women with PCOS. It also helps thinning hair grow back.
Naturopaths often suggest this herb for the treatment of PCOS because it helps correct the hormonal imbalance.
Take 320 mg of standardized saw palmetto extract daily for a few months. If you are taking a liquid extract, take one teaspoon per day.
Note: Make sure to consult a licensed naturopathic physician before taking this or any other herbal remedy for PCOS to ensure safe and effective use of the herbs.