PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome) afflicts 5 to 10% of women worldwide, maybe more, as it often remains undiagnosed. Infertility isn’t the only problem stemming from PCOS, as related insulin resistance increase the risk of diabetes and heart problems. Other effects like hirsutism, hair loss, weight gain and acne can cause a lot of mental stress and emotional turmoil to affected teenagers and young women of childbearing age.
The hormonal imbalance results in increased production male hormones or androgens in the body. This leads to the formation of cysts, poor ovulation and lowered fertility. This imbalance is responsible for the visible skin and hair disorders. While there is no complete cure for PCOS, a combination of diet, exercise, herbal and natural remedies, and at times medical intervention can help mitigate the effects to a great extent.
This guide comprises of a combination of herbs, home remedy, diet and exercise. Do consult your doctor regarding the use of herbs if you are taking any treatment for PCOS, as some of them can interfere with medicines.
Natural cures for PCOS – Herbs
Tulsi or Holy Basil
The Tulsi plant is widely grown in India and often found in home gardens. It possess anti-androgenic properties which makes it a good option in fighting PCOS. Tulsi helps regulate the insulin levels in the body.
If you are suffering from PCOS, consume 10-12 Tulsi leaves either raw or as a decoction made with boiling water. Tulsi should be consumed in the morning, on an empty stomach. The results are noticeable after two or three months.
You can take Tulsi supplements in the form of pills or capsules or try the Tulsi tea available in many health stores. On the whole, fresh Tulsi leaves and decoctions or teas made from fresh leaves are more effective.
Vitex Extract or Chaste Tree Berry
Many studies have been done on this powerful herb with proven effects. The herb is useful for women suffering from PCOS as it counters the hormonal imbalance and ensures the proper functioning of the pituitary gland. Lower levels of progesterone can lead to miscarriages and Vitex extract plays a pivotal role in preventing them.
The extract made from the fruits of the Chaste Tree can be found in powder, tincture and capsule form. You can use one or two capsules a day, with your meal. A teaspoon of the powder or tincture can be had as a tea, once or twice a day, for three to four months.
This herb does have certain side effects like mild rashes and stomach upsets, with some complaining of increased heart beat rates. Women undergoing fertility treatments or using birth control pills to regulate ovulation should avoid using this herb.
Natural cures for PCOS – Home Remedies
The cinnamon bark aids in reducing insulin resistance. A study done on Cinnamon revealed that it works like a low glycemic index food and slows down the digestion of sugar in the body.
A small bark of cinnamon can be boiled in water and the decoction taken in the mornings on an empty stomach. You can also crush the bark into a coarse powder and have it as a tea.
Natural cures for PCOS – Diet
Low Glycemic Index Food
As women with PCOS tend to be insulin resistant and have elevated blood sugar levels, they need carbohydrates that don’t break down easily. A diet rich in foods with low glycemic index such as vegetable, unprocessed foods, whole grains and fibrous foods should be consumed regularly. This ensures that normal insulin levels are maintained.
High Fibre Foods
Women with PCOS should try and maintain their sugar levels. This is possible by having foods that slow down the digestion and absorption of sugar in the body.
Natural Cures for PCOS – Regular Exercise
Not all PCOS sufferers are overweight but this condition does affect 60% of them. Regular exercise for 5 days a week or 30 minutes of brisk walking everyday can do wonders. This activity not only helps in preventing weight gain but in losing excess weight.
PCOS leads to weight gain and this excess weight in turn aggravates the symptoms, forming a vicious circle. Even a small amount of weight loss can be useful in reducing the severity of PCOS and prevent diabetes and associated health risks. Studies have shown that a combination of aerobics and resistance exercises is highly effective in combating weight gain and insulin resistance.
Photo Credit: http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/polycystic-ovary-syndrome.cfm