“Mom,” “Mother,” “Maa,” “Aaii,” – different languages but have the same feeling. Every girl’s dream is to become a mother some day. But this dream is not easy for everyone as it has been found that nearly 10% women are suffer from a common problem known as PCOS or specifically speaking Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
What is PCOS?
PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is a condition that imbalances a woman’s hormonal level. In this condition, women develop cysts in their ovaries. This hormonal disorder affects women in childbearing age i.e. aged from 16 to 44.
Women with PCOS produce a surplus of androgens (male hormones), and the hormonal levels of estrogen (female hormones) and progesterone are lower than usual. This excess of androgens either causes facial hair growth or baldness i.e hair loss.
In 1972, Antonio Vallisneri, an Italian physician, first described this syndrome. The word “Polycystic” means “many cysts” that grow in the outside wall of the ovary due to many small, fluid filled sacs growing inside the ovary. It is basically a syndrome or symptoms that affects the ovary during the ovulation period.
Symptoms of PCOS
Here are some of the most common symptoms of PCOS –
- Formation of several cysts in the ovary
- Excessive hair growth (on face, chest, back, etc.)
- Skipped or irregular periods
- Obesity or weight gain
- Patches in skin
- Oily skin
- Chronic stress
Effects of PCOS
1) Infertility: PCOS causes infertility because the growth and release of eggs by ovaries (ovulation) is affected due to hormonal imbalance.
2) Metabolic Syndrome: Around 80% of women suffer from obesity or overweight in PCOS, the excess weight increases blood sugar, blood pressure and even cholesterol. Altogether, this causes metabolic syndrome which led to heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
3) Endometrial Cancer: Due to irregular ovulation, the uterine lining can build up which generally sheds during normal periods, which even increases the chance of endometrial cancer.
4) Sleep Apnea: This is nothing but breathing problems caused during night while sleeping. Generally, it is common in women who are overweight but the risk is more if you suffer from both PCOS and overweight.
5) Depression: Many women with PCOS end up with depression and anxiety due to unnatural symptoms like unwanted hair growth, weight gain which affects their mental well-being.
How to Cure PCOS Naturally?
Although, PCOS cannot be cured permanently by treatment or through medication, but the symptoms can be managed through natural ways which can help you in the long run. Here are some best ways to treat PCOS naturallly –
1) Weight Loss Through Regular Exercises
The best way to control PCOS is by being healthy, which can be done through regular exercise. A small change makes a huge difference as even losing 5% of body weight may help in relieving PCOS symptoms significantly.
Exercises like walking, jogging and running can help to burn calories and complement it with regular exercises to lower the blood sugar level and maintain the insulin balance in your body.
2) Healthy Diet
Following a proper and healthy diet plan is an important step. You can take help of a dietician to get a proper diet plan and follow it daily to control the PCOS symptoms. As women with PCOS tend to have high blood sugar level, following a healthy diet plays an important role in managing PCOS. Break large meals into smaller meals and take it at regular intervals instead of having large and irregular meals.
Avoid sweet and junk food to reduce fat. The total calorie intake of the day can be mathematically broken down to
- 980-calories in breakfast
- 640-calories in lunch, and
- 190-calories in dinner
3) Include Herbs
Herbs are also found to be equally effective to control PCOS as they help with hormone regulation, insulin resistance and inflammation. Some of the commonly used herbs are:
- Cinnamon: It helps in treating metabolic complications in PCOS. It has an adverse effect on insulin resistance and also help regulate menstruation in women.
- Turmeric: Curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric plays an important role in decreasing insulin resistance and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.
- Maca Root: Its roots are used as a traditional herb to boost fertility and libido. It also treats depression, which is also a common symptom of PCOS.
- Basil: The “queen of herbs” which is also known as Tulsi helps to reduce blood sugar level, prevents weight gain and also lowers cortisol levels.
- Licorice Roots: Licorice roots contains a compound known as glycyrrhizin, which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and reduces inflammation.
4) Minerals Intake
Insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, two major symptoms of PCOS, can be cured by the intake of the minerals listed below.
- Chromium: Unbalanced Body Mass Index (BMI) can be balanced through Chromium intake. It mainly stabilizes insulin resistance.
- Magnesium: This mineral is generally deficient in women, which leads to insulin sensitivity and nerve excitability which further leads to stress and often sometimes to depression for women with PCOS. Magnesium deficiency is also often associated with Type 2 diabetes and insulin sensitivity, which raises the risk of heart disease. Blood Sugar and insulin level can be improved by taking 300 mg of magnesium at bedtime.
- Zinc: The main role of zinc is to boost fertility and the immunity system. You can wither take zinc supplements or better take it through natural foods such as redmeat, nuts, beans and seafood.
- Vitamin B9: Vitamin B9 or Folic acid is an essential vitamin for a woman with PCOS as it improves fertility.
- Calcium and Vitamin D: Deficiency of vitamin D is a very common in women with PCOS which is vital for the endocrine system. Together Calcium and Vitamin D helps to control irregular periods and also balances the ovulation.
- Selenium: According to the United States Office of Dietary Supplements, Selenium is a trace mineral that helps in healthy functioning of immunity system and fertility.
5) Natural Supplements
Natural supplements are the best alternative to any kind of medication as they have no side effects. Natural supplements help to reduce the testosterone level and improve the insulin resistivity in women with PCOS. Here are some of the natural supplements which you can use:
- Flax Seeds: Woman suffering with PCOS can take flax seeds as it helps to increase the sex hormone, reduce androgen, and insulin levels. Besides this, it also helps to lose weight if it is taken as a daily dosage of 2 tablespoons per day.
- Reishi Mushroom: It mainly produces an enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone and also helps in reducing stress.
- Chasteberry: Chasteberry or more commonly Vitex, lowers the prolactin levels by maintaining a balance between the menstrual hormones.
- Spearmint Tea: Spearmint Tea for PCOS helps to lower the testosterone hormones, which control the facial hair growth. From a study of 30 days, it has been found that two cups of Spearmint Tea a day reduces facial hair, but for the best results, it is advised to continue it for a few months at least.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: It deals with the insulin sensitivity and inhibits androgen production in women with PCOS. According to a study, a group of seven women with PCOS were advised to take apple cider vinegar. After 40 days, 4 out of 7 women resumed ovulation and had a reduction in Luteinizing Hormones (LH)/Follicle stimulating hormones (FSH). So it is advised to take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per day, but not directly as shots, instead take them as salad dressings or in sauces.
6) Other Supplements
You can also try these additional supplements which are beneficial in PCOS –
- Cod Liver Oil : Vitamin A and Vitamin D are the main minerals present in the Cod liver oil. Cod liver oil intake can help in fat reduction and menstrual regularity.
- Primrose oil : Primrose oil for PCOS enhances the cholesterol levels and reduces acne, stress, and depression. It acts as a pain relief in periods and also helps in irregular menstruation.
- Omega 3 : Omega 3 generally refers to the fatty fish oil, which helps decrease the androgen (male hormones) levels in women with PCOS. It also helps in reducing the abdominal fats. According to research, you can take 3 grams of Omega 3 a day for 8 weeks.
- Inositol : Inositol comprises of vitamin B that improves insulin resistance and also helps in case of fertility in women with PCOS.
- Berberine : Berberine is commonly used in chinese medication for insulin resistance. It also boosts metabolism and balances the body’s endocrine responses.
7) Stress Free
Stress is the biggest enemy of PCOS. The PCOS patients should follow this basic routine described below to get rid of stress –
- Yoga & Pranayam – You should do Yoga and Pranayam on a regular basis. “Surya namaskar” is known as an all-rounder exercise and helps a lot in burning excess fat.
- Me Time – Be with nature, away from your smartphone or laptop and spend some “Me time.” to help your brain and mind to be stress-free.
- Meditation – Make a regular habit to do guided meditation. Guided meditation will help you to de-stress and control anxiety and depression.
- Follow Passion – Try to get engaged with your passion, it will add a fresh air to your life. It will energize you and help you to get out of the same boring life.
- Be with Loved ones – Spend time with family, friends and loved ones. Hang out with them to your favourite place, and spend some quality time. Listen to your favourite tunes that can help you release stress.
PCOS is a common disorder and even celebrities suffered from PCOS including Bollywood actress Sara Ali Khan who suffered from PCOS due to her overweight during her college days. Apart from her, there are many other celebrities who suffered from PCOS including Sonam Kapoor, Victoria Beckham and Daisy Ridley.
Although there is no cure for PCOS, a number of conventional and alternative treatments can manage the symptoms of PCOS in the long run. The above discussed methods can help you a lot but in case of emergency, it is always advised to consult your doctor, and you should remain in touch with them in case any complication.
Q1) Can a woman with PCOS get pregnant?
Ans: Women suffering from PCOS can conceive, but it may take some time as they might be experiencing irregular periods. By adopting a healthy diet and doing exercises regularly, you can reduce the symptoms and increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Q2) Is PCOS a genetic disorder?
Ans: Generally PCOS is a hormonal disorder, but in some cases it has been linked to genetic factors as well. You are more likely to have PCOS, if your mother suffers from it.
Q3) Can I take Metformin for PCOS?
Ans: Metformin are used to treat infertility and pregnancy complications associated with PCOS. Women with PCOS often have low ovulation rates and irregular menstrual cycles, making it difficult to conceive. Metformin can stimulate ovulation, regulate menstruation, and increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Q4) Are Endometriosis and PCOS similar?
Ans: Endometriosis and PCOS are different but both deal with the syndrome of hormonal imbalances and inflammation. They are also known to contribute to infertility. But when misdiagnosed they can co-occur, so it is always advised to consult a doctor when it is related to gynecological problems.