PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome can make it difficult or nearly impossible to conceive naturally. Many women with PCOS ultimately need to use some kind of western intervention like clomid with IUI (intra uterine insemination) or even have to resort to IVF (in vitro fertilization). It doesn’t have to be this way. There are some simple dietary changes and natural treatments that can alleviate many of the symptoms of PCOS (acne, excess hair growth, weight gain) as well as regulating the cycle and getting pregnant without western intervention.
PCOS, obesity and insulin resistance go hand in hand. Insulin raises testosterone levels which can wreak havoc on the menstrual cycle. Fat cells also secrete their own androgens (estrogen and testosterone) which can cause multiple problems in regard to fertility. One of the most powerful things a PCOS patient can do to lose weight and balance insulin levels is to eliminate fast carbs. This means totally eliminating sugar, high fructose corn syrup, fruit juices as well as refined grains like white rice and pasta/white bread. A diet rich in lean protein, lots of fresh vegetables, and slow carb grains like quinoa, couscous, barley, and oats is ideal. Whole fruits are fine but portions should be small.
Inositol is a member of the B vitamin family but is not considered a vitamin because the body can make inositol on it’s own. Interestingly patients with PCOS have been shown to excrete higher levels of inositol while insoitol supplementation in PCOS patients has been shown to increase the probability of ovulation, improve egg quality and reduce acne and hirsutism.
Try to minimize exposure to BPAs or polycarbonates found in plastic food containers. Studies have shown BPA levels to be elevated in patients with PCOS. Consume canned food with labels that say “BPA free”. Only glass containers should be used for food storage and especially for warming up leftovers in the microwave.
A board certified acupuncturist/herbalist can be instrumental in helping with hormone balance and regulating periods in PCOS patients. Acupuncture is effective in helping to balance estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels as well as thickening the uterine lining for implantation. Acupuncture is also fantastic for mitigating the effects of stress which can profoundly effect the menstrual cycle and fertility.