PCOS, in full, Polycystic Ovary syndrome, is a condition that affects women when the hormones are out of whack. It is also characterized by a high concentration of male hormones (known as androgens) in the body. This condition is common in women who are in their childbearing age.
Since this is an endocrine system disorder, affected women may experience difficulties getting pregnant. Other symptoms of PCOS include irregular or prolonged menstrual flow, excessive growth of hair, obesity and severe acne. When an ultrasound exam is made, many women with PCOS are seen to have enlarged ovaries, sometimes showing a collection of fluid-filled cysts.
While the precise cause of PCOS is unknown, the condition has been linked to a genetic predisposition as the disorder seems to run in families. Early treatment and medical intervention can reduce the severity of the symptoms and get a woman back on the road to recovery.
What’s more, early diagnosis helps reduce the risk of associated disorders such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Even though there is no medical cure for the condition, there are a number of home remedies that may be used to provide relief from the symptoms and prevent potentially adverse complications.
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 2 Tablespoons of ground flaxseeds and 1 glass of water.
One of the best home remedies for the natural management of PCOS is flaxseeds. These seeds are used to fight against the condition because they help reduce the concentration of androgens in the female body. The remedy works because it contains lignans. When consumed, the lignans increase the synthesis of a chemical compound whose sole function is to bind the testosterone in the body.
In doing so, the flaxseeds help reduce the severity of the symptoms. What’s more, the seeds are high in fiber that not only reduces the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream, but also lowers the rate of glucose metabolism. This action plays a key role in the home treatment of PCOS because it reduces the spike of blood sugar levels therefore ensuring the affected woman is less predisposed to diabetes and heart disease. Flaxseeds are very simple to prepare at home.
- Place two tablespoons of the ground flaxseeds in a glass and pour in hot water.
- Stir and drink this mixture daily for a couple of weeks or until you start to note improvements in the presented symptoms.
- The other alternative is to grind the seeds and add to your regular diet, whether to salads, soups, yogurt, cereals or smoothies.
Time Required: 5 Min
What You Need: 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder, 1 glass of hot water and cinnamon supplements (optional).
Research indicates that adding cinnamon to one’s daily diet can help a great deal with an irregular menstrual cycle that is one of the main symptoms of PCOS. Different studies have pointed to the possibility of cinnamon reducing the extent of insulin resistance in the body, thus lowering the chances of developing diabetes. The most important thing to note is that the recommended intake of cinnamon spice is 1 tablespoon daily. Caution must be exercised if one is taking the remedy to counter insulin resistance as this may actually cause your blood sugar levels to take a dangerous dip with potentially serious side effects.
NOTE: consult your doctor before using the cinnamon supplements especially if you are on medication.
- Place 1 teaspoon of the ground cinnamon in a glass and pour in the hot water.
- Stir the resulting mixture and drink this daily for a couple of weeks as you monitor the progress made.
- The other option is to take herbal cinnamon supplements, but you must do this following a doctor’s consultation.
- Lastly, you may opt to sprinkle the cinnamon powder on your favorite foods such as cereals, sandwiches, yogurt and oats among others.
3. Spearmint Tea:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 1 Teaspoon of dried spearmint leaves, 1 cup of water and a strainer.
One of the simplest ways to deal with the symptoms of PCOS is to increase your intake of spearmint tea. This tea’s active ingredients are known to have anti-androgenic properties that help reduce the amount of testosterone in the body. This, effectively, assists in maintaining a proper balance of the hormones in the endocrine system. Another benefit of using spearmint tea is that it has been shown to help reduce the extent of hirsutism. Hirsutism is a condition that is characterized by excessive body hair, and is in fact, one of the symptoms of PCOS. Prepare a simple cup of spearmint tea to provide relief from PCOS. Spearmint leaves are available at your local grocery store.
- Place 1 teaspoon of dried spearmint leaves in a pan and add 1 cup of water.
- Bring the mixture to boil for a couple of minutes.
- Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes before straining.
- Drink this tea twice daily to alleviate the symptoms of PCOS and help with the process of recovery.
4. Fenugreek Seeds:
Time Required: 10 Min prep and 8 to 10 Hrs to soak.
What You Need: 2 Tablespoons of fenugreek seeds, 1 glass of water and 1 tablespoon of honey .
Fenugreek seeds have immense health benefits for women struggling with PCOS. One of the symptoms that manifests with this disorder is insulin resistance, which is where these seeds come in handy. By promoting metabolic reactions that breakdown glucose and improve insulin resistance, fenugreek seeds are able to keep the hormones in check. Other benefits of using these seeds include weight loss, reduced cholesterol levels as well as the healthy functioning of the cardiovascular system. You will need a few minutes to prepare the remedy, but soaking will take about 8 hours. For convenience sake, the seeds may be soaked overnight.
- Boil some water so that it is just warm enough to improve the soaking process.
- Place the flaxseeds in a bowl and pour the warm water in so that the seeds are fully covered.
- Let the seeds soak from anywhere between 8 hours and 12 hours (overnight).
- After this time has elapsed, take 1 tablespoon of the soaked seeds and add some honey before consumption.
- It is advisable to take this remedy on an empty stomach, so you may want to use this remedy early morning before taking breakfast.
- Take another tablespoon of the soaked seeds just before meals during the day.
- If this is not possible, simply add the fenugreek seeds to your regular food intake.
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Teaspoon of chasteberries (whether fresh or dried), 1 cup of water and a strainer.
Taking chasteberries is one of the recommended remedies for the management of PCOS. Sometimes referred to as vitex, these berries are loved for their hormonal-balancing attributes. When consumed on a regular basis, the berries are able to regulate menstrual periods while keeping the hormones in check. You may use fresh or dried chasteberries depending on what is available. The supplemental form of this herb may also be used in place of the berries, but for the proper dosage and efficiency of the same, this must be done following consultations with your doctor.
- Boil 1 cup of water and proceed to add the chasteberries.
- Cover the cup and let the berries steep for 15 minutes.
- You will then follow this up with straining the mixture before enjoying this tea.
- Take this remedy once daily until you are content with the progress made.
- If you opt for the chasteberries supplement, make sure you talk to your doctor about it.
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Teaspoon of licorice root (dried), 1 cup of boiling water, strainer and supplements (optional).
Licorice is a herbal remedy recommended for the natural treatment of PCOS as it helps with the reduction of testosterone levels in the body. The presence of the active ingredient in licorice, glycyrrhizin, allows for the inhibition of an enzyme required to synthesize testosterone. Through this mode of action, licorice is able to reduce the concentration of androgens in the body, and therefore reverse the symptoms of PCOS. Other benefits of using licorice include liver detoxification for the metabolism of estrogen, improvement of ovulation as well as the management of excessive body hair.
- Place a teaspoon of the dried licorice root in a cup of boiling water.
- Allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes before straining.
- Take this tea thrice daily.
- You may also use the supplemental form of licorice, but ensure you get your doctor’s advice on the way forward for the proper dosage.
NOTE: Licorice root is not recommended for those suffering from kidney disease, hypertension or diseases of the liver.
7. Take Foods with a Low Glycemic Index:
Time Required: Varies depending on the foods to be prepared
What You Need: Balanced diet and foods with a low glycemic index
One of the most common complications that arise from PCOS is the increased risk of diabetes as a result of insulin resistance. When the body is resistant to insulin, there is an increased concentration of the hormone. This impacts the process of ovulation negatively by preventing the maturation of the egg, and therefore delaying its release from the ovaries. In addition to this, insulin resistance also makes it hard for implantation to occur in the uterus, reducing the chances of a successful pregnancy. All of these factors have a great effect on a woman’s fertility, which is why it is important to address the diet bit. Below are tips on eating a balanced diet and focusing on foods with a low glycemic index.
- Increase your protein intake to prevent fluctuating levels of the insulin. Studies show that a low carbohydrate high-protein diet helps manage insulin resistance, and the reverse is true.
- Increase the amount of fiber-rich foods in your diet. Fiber helps PCOS patients in two key ways: it slows down the digestive process so that sugars are absorbed steadily without sudden spikes that worsen insulin resistance. Secondly, fiber-rich foods enhance the proper metabolic processes to ensure hormonal balance.
- Add more low glycemic index foods to your diet. Glycemic Index (GI) is a measure of how high and how low blood glucose levels change. As such, foods with a low GI are those that are digested slowly and the absorption of glucose does not cause sharp rises and drops in the blood glucose levels. This helps with proper insulin function and eases the symptoms of PCOS. Foods in this category include beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, oats and apples.
In addition to these home remedies, it is important to increase one’s water intake to ensure the body’s detoxification. The process of detoxification eliminates toxins from the body and improves hormonal balance by sustaining proper hormone metabolism. Consult your doctor in case you have any doubts.