Healing PCOS Naturally
Have you heard of PCOS? If so, did you know that PCOS is one of the most common conditions that affect women’s reproductive health? Maybe you have recently been diagnosed with this syndrome or know someone who has. If you are trying to conceive, it can often be discouraging to find out something is disrupting your reproductive system. In this article, we will break down what PCOS is and give you some guidance to help you manage your symptoms.
What is PCOS?
PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. During a normal menstrual cycle, the reproductive hormones help to grow follicles. Usually, one follicle would take over and become the “dominant” follicle to be mature enough for ovulation. With PCOS, however, the follicle may grow, but the matured follicle never releases the egg for ovulation. Eventually, that unreleased egg becomes cyst-like. These can happen with each consecutive cycle, resulting in an accumulation of small cysts in the ovaries.
What causes PCOS?
The female’s reproductive system works off a delicate balance of hormones including estrogen, progesterone, and luteinizing hormones. There is also a correlation between PCOS and cortisol, testosterone, and even insulin levels. Even when the balance of hormones is slightly off, PCOS symptoms can be developed.
The link between genetics and PCOS is still not well understood. It remains controversial and unclear. However, it is known that some genes are either directly or indirectly related to PCOS. A family history of PCOS might put you at a higher risk of PCOS.
There are also several environmental factors that can contribute to PCOS. Most of these come from diet, nutrition, lifestyle, and environmental toxins. Eating a well-balanced diet can help keep your hormones in check as well as limit your exposure to certain environmental toxicities. We will discuss what toxins to be aware of and what to eliminate below in our recommendations below.
What are PCOS symptoms?
PCOS is a very complex and common disorder. PCOS is a unique syndrome because of the wide range of symptoms it can present, and no two cases are exactly alike. Due to the mixed symptoms, many cases are left undiagnosed, or it isn’t discovered until later in life. These features can be psychological, reproductive, physical, as well as metabolic.
- Psychological Features- stress, worry, anxiety, or depression.
- Reproductive Features- Irregular menstrual cycles, painful periods, hormonal imbalance, several small cysts in ovaries, infertility, pregnancy complications.
- Physical Features-Excessive and unwanted hair on face and body, thinning of hair on the head, acne especially on the upper neck and jawline, dark-colored patches on the skin.
- Metabolic Features- Insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, prediabetes, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular risks
What PCOS pattern are you?
We treat many patients struggling with PCOS. As mentioned, PCOS can present with a variety of symptoms. But there are common patterns we often see in the clinic based on Traditional Chinese Medicine’s diagnosis.
One of these might ring true for you or you might have a mix of each pattern.
- High Anxiety and Stress: Anxiety, stress, worry, sleep disorders, PMS, Neck and shoulder pain, and headaches.
- Fatigue (Metabolic Factors): Low energy, lethargy, heavy feeling, bloating, digestive issues, no appetite, craving sweets, weight gain.
- Coldness in the lower body: Easily feel cold, cold hands but mostly cold feet, cold lower abdomen, and hip upon palpation, vaginal discharge, frequent night urination, period cramping alleviated with a heating pad.
- Coldness in the lower body and Heat in the upper body: Acne, balding on the scalp, red face, and ears, emotional, anxiety, easily irritated, dream disturbed sleep, insomnia in conjunction with cold symptoms in the lower body.
What can help alleviate your PCOS symptoms?
- Try to relax by gratitude journaling, reading, yoga, and meditation.
- Expose yourself more to nature to improve your mental and physical health.
- Sleep 8 hours per night and plan to go to bed before 11 PM.
- Schedule your mealtime consistently throughout the day to maintain your blood plasma glucose level.
- Start with a hot breakfast. Avoid cold foods or ice drinks at the beginning of the day.
- Take a short walk 15 minutes after your meal to help insulin resistance.
- Exercise at least 3x/week and 2.5 hours per week including light walks, yoga, pilates, and cycling to moderate intensity.
- Keep feet warm by covering them with socks and by enjoying a foot spa. Do not walk around barefoot on cold floors.
- Eliminate environmental toxins that are hormone-disrupting such as BPA, PFAs, Phalates, PBDEs, and PCBs.
3. Natural Remedies
- Supplements: Myo-inositol, Vitamin D, N-Acetyl Cysteine, L-Arginine, Fish oils
- Herbs: Cinnamon bark, Berberine, Ashwagandha, ginger, turmeric, ginseng. * Please contact your licensed acupuncturists for use and dosage.
- Traditional Chinese Medicine & Herbal Formulas: These are customized formulas that are tailored to each patient’s symptoms. *Please contact your licensed acupuncturists for an herbal consultation.
- Track ovulation by charting basal body temperature(BBT) as well as ovulation urine test strips.
- Get your luteinizing hormone checked. This hormone helps detect if ovulation has occurred.
- Get your blood plasma glucose checked. Pre-diabetes and diabetes are very common in patients with PCOS.
- Acupuncture: Nourishes blood and energy flow to the reproductive organs, calms the mind, and helps restore hormonal balance.