Understanding PCOS – Tips for managing and improving health

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal disorder in females of reproductive age. This prevalent syndrome is in fact a diverse disorder with different underlying biological mechanisms and is characterised by androgen excess and absent or irregular menstrual cycles. In simple terms, PCOS is an umbrella term which includes the most clinically recognised symptoms of irregular periods, acne, facial hair growth (hirsutism), insulin resistance and weight gain. Unfortunately, women with PCOS have an increased risk of developing conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and infertility, due to the lack of attention to the above underlying biological mechanisms. In fact, more than half of women with PCOS develop type II diabetes by the time they’re 40! It follows that the condition is associated with drastically reduced quality of life and that is where I can help immensely!


Conventional treatment commonly involves prescription of the oral contraceptive pill or metformin to treat insulin resistance. However, these medications carry unwanted side effects. Fortunately, there are many natural treatments available which can help to manage the symptoms of PCOS and improve overall vitality and wellness.



Lifestyle modification for PCOS

Lifestyle is a great place to start and making certain lifestyle changes has been shown to effectively improve PCOS symptoms. This includes adopting a healthy balanced diet, regular movement and stress management. A diet that is low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fibre can work to regulate blood sugar levels which is important for women with PCOS. Exercise has also been shown to moderate insulin levels and is essential for managing PCOS symptoms. Additionally, mind-body techniques such as yoga, meditation or mindfulness reduce stress levels and enhance overall wellbeing


Savvy supplements to reduce PCOS symptoms

Inositol has an enormous amount of research behind it for the treatment of PCOS. Inositol occurs naturally in the body, and can be found in many foods, particularly grains, nuts and fruit. Studies have shown that ovulation rates and menstrual cycles improved with inositol in women with PCOS. Inositol has additionally been clinically trialled for weight loss, anxiety, insomnia and premenstrual mood symptoms. Clinical recommendations of two to four grams per day of inositol have been linked with symptom improvement. The absorption of inositol can be impaired by sweeteners such as sorbitol, therefore it is best taken with a wholefood diet.


Chromium has been shown to improve insulin activity in the body.


I often prescribe a combination of herbs including liquorice and peony for the management of symptoms associated with PCOS. This herbal combination helps to convert testosterone (which is increased in PCOS) to oestrogen, working to support hormonal regulation, in addition to moderating inflammation and reducing elevated blood glucose, insulin and blood lipids.


PCOS is a common hormonal disorder, with various biological drivers. Targeting the drivers of your PCOS symptoms through a tailor made treatment plan can work to reduce these symptoms, improve overall health, decrease the risk of related conditions such as diabetes, and ultimately augment your quality of life.


Contact me now to regulate your periods, lose weight and improve your overall quality of life!