Can I treat PCOS naturally?
PCOS can not be treated but its symptoms may be managed by following these healthy lifestyle habits:
1. Change of diet: A diet that is high in fat and sugar and low in protein can trigger ovulation.
2. Cut down on eating white potatoes, which can increase estrogen levels and leave your ovaries, unable to do their job.
3. Quit smoking and avoid any alcohol consumption.
4. Increase exercise: In people with PCOS, hormones can become imbalanced due to being physically inactive.
5. Exfoliation: Your body needs to regularly remove debris from the skin as it makes its way through your monthly cycles. This helps to maintain the health of your skin and regulate hormonal balances.
6. Processed foods and processed meats can trigger insulin resistance and PCOS. Consume unprocessed foods, like fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
7. Keep stress at bay. High levels of stress can affect the levels of estrogen and testosterone in the body. 8. Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help to balance hormones, helping with PCOS. Try to get 30 minutes a day.
9. Magnesium: Low levels of magnesium are linked to high levels of estrogen in the body. This can lead to infertility. Magnesium deficiency is another reason to take a multivitamin. It’s better to take magnesium in a bioavailable (more easily absorbed) form, such as magnesium citrate or magnesium glycinate chelate, rather than magnesium oxide.
10. Echinacea: Several studies have suggested that echinacea can reduce the symptoms of PCOS. It can be taken in pill or tea form.
11. Garlic: Garlic contains sulfur, which, studies show, may help reduce the amount of insulin produced in the body. Consuming between 1/4 to 1 teaspoon of crushed garlic per day is recommended.
12. Magnesium oil: An oil that can be taken in tablet or oil form and taken 1–2 hours before meals.
13. Aloe vera: Use aloe vera gel, taken orally, 2–3 times a day. It is anti-inflammatory and could be helpful for people with polycystic ovary syndrome.
14. Garlic tablets: An easy way to take garlic is by chewing a garlic tablet before each meal.
15. Tamarind seed: Inhalation of raw tamarind seed can cause coughing, while the seeds can be eaten. Tamarind seed may increase mucus production in the lungs and reduce sweating, which is a possible symptom of PCOS.
16. Turmeric: Turmeric, a spice in curry, is a source of curcumin. Studies have shown that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, can stimulate healthy hormones in the body.
17. Acupuncture: Acupuncture can help the body release calcium from the bones, helping reduce estrogen levels.
18. Milk thistle: Milk thistle has been found to help with fertility problems in women. Take 400–800 milligrams (mg) daily in supplement form, or add to your diet by adding milk thistle in tea or hot water.
19. Cardioprotective diets: A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, which is found in oily fish and coconut oil, may help support the ovaries and reduce PCOS symptoms. Just don’t overdo it. Read “foods to avoid” below for the reason.
20. Mediterranean diet: A diet that is high in oily fish, olive oil, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, such as brown rice and barley, may help reduce the symptoms of PCOS. It is not possible to cure PCOS. However, most women with the condition feel better as they follow a healthy diet, reduce stress levels, exercise regularly, and try other natural treatments.
Are there foods that I should avoid?
Eggs are one of the most common foods to blame for the production of excess androgenic (aka “male”) hormones. You’ll often see this in women, who have a higher risk of developing PCOS. It’s commonly believed that people with PCOS crave high-protein foods, which can lead to more insulin production and make symptoms worse. However, there’s actually some evidence that suggests low-protein, high-carbohydrate diets can reduce inflammation in the body, which can actually be beneficial for people with PCOS, according to Dr. Goltyapina. The one caveat: there’s not enough research to say that low-protein diets actually work for women with PCOS. There are lots of possible reasons why a woman might crave more protein, and so I’m not ready to say that low protein causes PCOS. The good news is that low-protein diets can be easier on your body in the long run, since protein-packed foods are more satiating than anything else. They can also help you maintain your ideal body weight if you are overweight, and they can help you control your hunger levels.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been touted as a potential remedy for PCOS, because they may reduce the abnormal estrogen production and irregular blood sugar levels that contribute to hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, in some women. There’s still some debate about whether or not omega-3s will reduce hyperglycemia in people with PCOS, but there are definitely things that women can do to lower their risk for hyperglycemia, including losing weight, being physically active, and eating smaller portions. While omega-3s may reduce the overall insulin levels in women with PCOS, they probably won’t actually improve the body’s insulin sensitivity—the process by which your body becomes less sensitive to insulin—which could actually be a cause of PCOS. The most consistent finding in women with PCOS is that they show high insulin sensitivity. They aren’t helped by omega-3 fatty acids.
Another ingredient that many researchers and health practitioners suspect is related to insulin sensitivity is oleic acid, which you’ll find in many foods like canola, corn, soybean, and safflower oils. The reason many people associate oleic acid with insulin sensitivity is that it’s part of a group of fatty acids called linoleic acid that our body can produce on its own. But according to the FDA, including large amounts of linoleic acid in your diet may actually increase insulin resistance, not improve it. A recent, large, trial conducted at the University of Southern California Medical Center in Los Angeles found no benefit of the consumption of an oleic acid-rich diet compared to a control diet. Omega-6 fats, as you might already know, are also thought to cause inflammation, which can lead to symptoms like excess body hair and acne. So it makes sense that your body might want to compensate by taking in more of them.
Sugar cravings often go hand-in-hand with diet. However, one food that seems to make its way into women’s diets more often than others is sweet potatoes. In a new study from the University of Missouri, researchers compared the use of low-carb and high-carb diets in pregnant women who experienced symptoms of PCOS. They found that women who ate sweet potatoes more often reported experiencing less weight gain and higher insulin sensitivity than those who ate other types of potatoes. However, since you’re eating them in moderation, there’s no reason to cut them out completely. Dr. Goltyapina: “I would always encourage my patients to limit the foods high in carbohydrates and high in sugar.”