Women with PCOS don’t ovulate regularly, resulting in irregular periods or amenorrhea (absence of period) and infertility. They may have high levels of testosterone which lead to acne, excessive facial/ body hair growth and head hair loss. On their pelvic ultrasound, ovarian cysts resembling a “string of pearls” can be seen. They also present with blood sugar imbalances and insulin resistance, which are often (but not always) associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes. These imbalances affect egg development and ovulation, and ultimately, fertility.
You may have, perhaps while investigating causes for infertility, stumbled upon this diagnosis. Though it may be discouraging to hear such a diagnosis, do not lose heart! Dr. Yik has helped numerous women with PCOS attain regular periods, reduce acne as well as excessive hair growth and even fall pregnant using natural medicine. PCOS doesn’t automatically spell infertility.
How can natural medicine help?
1) There are medicinal herbs that help women with PCOS promote hormonal balance and ovulation. Various herbs can help to regulate menstrual cycles by supporting release of hormones responsible for stimulating ovulation, reducing high testosterone levels, tonifying the reproductive system and/ or working as an anti-inflammatory. Others may promote circulation to the reproductive system to reduce pelvic congestion and support ovulation. In naturopathic medicine, both Western and Chinese medicinal herbs are combined to suit the individual’s needs and constitution. Since symptoms and their severity are different in every case, see a licensed naturopathic doctor to get properly assessed so the appropriate treatment can be prescribed.
2) Blood sugar imbalances affect egg development and ovulation, and this is one of the reasons why women with this condition find it difficult to conceive. Also, foods with a high glycemic index (causing glucose and insulin levels to spike) affect the development and severity of acne. Metformin is the drug generally given to PCOS patients to control blood sugar imbalances. For women who cannot tolerate the side effects of Metformin or who prefer natural alternatives, D-Pinitol and Gymnema are nutraceuticals that can help.
3) Certain dietary and lifestyle changes can improve symptoms of PCOS including infertility, hair loss, weight gain, absence of regular periods, lack of ovulation, and facial hair growth. Around 60% of women with PCOS are overweight. If you are overweight, bringing your weight down to a healthy level will also lessen PCOS symptoms.