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PCOS – Not as simple as you may have thought

Whole Naturopathy / Metabolic health  / PCOS – Not as simple as you may have thought
Naturopathic treatment for PCOS

PCOS – Not as simple as you may have thought

Overview of the disease

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a complex endocrine disorder caused by androgen excess. Androgens are male hormones which can be characterised by significant facial hair and seen in hormonal blood tests. Because the disease can present very differently amongst women, there can be a lot of confusion about what the best treatment to bring these high androgen levels back within their normal range. The disease is characterised by hormonal imbalance, irregular menstruation (often months without a cycle), and sometimes the presence of small cysts on the ovaries. According to Dr. Lara Briden, there are four types of PCOS: insulin-resistant PCOS, inflammatory PCOS, post-pill PCOS, and adrenal PCOS.

Insulin resistant PCOS

Insulin resistance, leading to hyperinsulinemia can cause the increase in androgen production by the ovaries. Excess androgens, such as testosterone, can disrupt normal ovarian function, leading to irregular ovulation. If this is the cause of your PCOS, the first step is to regulate your insulin levels. This is best done with a combination of diet, herbal medicine and nutritional products.

Inflammatory PCOS

Long term inflammation caused by allergies or autoimmune disease can stimulate the ovaries to increase testosterone production. If this is the cause, it may take longer to get your hormones under control, and the process will look different depending on the symptoms. As a naturopath, I spend time at every appointment to look and treat the cause of the problem and well as the current symptoms. So, in this case, treatment would also involve the immune system, and possibly removing allergens.

Post contraception PCOS

If you have recently come off the pill (or other hormonal contraception), you can have a temporary increase in androgens, but this should stabilise and your period return given time. If not, or if you have significant acne, herbal medicine is one of the best ways to regulate your hormones. There are so many herbs that effect oestrogen and androgen levels, and if the problem was caused by the birth control pill, your hormones can be bought under control in a relatively short time.

Adrenal PCOS

Adrenal PCOS is less common and largely genetic. This is best treated with herbal medicine and homeopathy to target the adrenal glands.

PCOS and fertility

For those that do have PCOS and are planning to conceive, allow plenty of time to bring your hormone levels under control. Depending on how long you have had an absent period, and the extent of other disease states, I would aim to have an established cycle at least 6 months prior to conception.

Natural hormonal treatment

If you do have an absent or very irregular period, regardless of the cause, I have seen great results in my clinic in not only returning the cycle back to normal, but also in treating period pain, hormonal acne, and hormonal mood dysregulation.


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