Affecting one in 10 women of childbearing age, the polycystic ovarian syndrome is becoming more and more common these days. If you suffer from this, you know exactly how this ailment can affect your physical and mental state. While treatment options recommended by doctors are often what we resort to, we can also give certain home remedies a try to treat this condition.
In this article, we shall talk about the syndrome, its causes, and symptoms, the different home remedies that you can try, and also certain precautionary measures that you can undertake. Give it a read! You never know what remedy might actually click for you and offer some relief.
As women age, various genetic and hormonal disorders affect their lives and health. One such hormonal imbalance related disorder that affects women is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). In this syndrome, due to an imbalance of the reproductive hormones, fluid-filled cysts fill the ovary. The ovaries get enlarged and stop functioning normally (1, 2).
The exact reason causing the hormonal imbalance is not known. However, genetic predisposition is considered as one of the leading causes for PCOS. Characteristic underlying conditions seen in PCOS are high levels of male hormones and insulin that lead to the various symptoms associated with this syndrome.
There is no fixed medication available in the market to prevent PCOS. Medical experts suggest that affected women should resort to some vital lifestyle and dietary changes to cope with it. Since this is primarily a hormone-related disorder, eradicating the roots of hormonal imbalance can bring the desired result. Some natural remedies control the underlying factors while some others aim at eliminating the symptoms. Find below the home remedies to treat PCOS.
This might come across as a revelation for you—vitamin D is essential for optimum reproductive system functioning in women. It plays key roles in various ovarian processes and also affects glucose homeostasis. In women with PCOS, about 65-85% of them suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. Supplementation with vitamin D (and calcium) can regulate the metabolic and reproductive processes and help reestablish menstrual regularity and ovulation (4). Get tested for vitamin D levels in your body and start the supplements as soon as possible if your serum levels of this vitamin are low.
Mix the vinegar in water and drink this.
Have this first thing in the morning. You can slowly increase the frequency to 2-3 times in a day (before meals).
ACV exerts anti glycemic effect when ingested on a regular basis. The insulin levels in the body are regulated, and this can help control the symptoms of PCOS (5).
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
Consume this as it is or by adding it to smoothies.
Ingest coconut oil every day.
This oil is one of the healthiest oils to consume as it contains medium chain fatty acids and antioxidants that help regulate blood sugar levels and insulin secretion. It also promotes cardiovascular health by reducing levels of bad cholesterol in the blood (6).
The flannel piece soaked in oil can be stored in a ziplock and re-used a few times. Throw away the piece when it starts to smell or change color.
Repeat this for 3-4 consecutive days in the week and rest for the remainder of the week. Do this for a month and see the difference.
Castor oil pack is an excellent way to let the oil penetrate to deeper layers of the skin and even to the organs and heal them. It enhances circulation, and lymph flow in the area applied to and regulates hormonal and nutrient delivery and waste removal from the body (7).
Evening primrose capsules
Take one tablet daily.
This remedy works best if you start taking the supplement on day one of your cycle and continue till ovulation.
Evening primrose is useful for PCOS as it helps decrease the high cholesterol levels in the body (8). This occurs by improving metabolic function. It also gives relief from symptoms that are similar to PCOS and menopause/premenstrual syndrome (9).
Have 2-3 cups of green tea in a day.
The potent antioxidants present in green tea, namely catechins, are responsible for bringing down the levels of the hormones that are causing ovarian cysts and related symptoms. Insulin levels are also brought under control by the green tea antioxidants. Drinking green tea every day also impacts the weight gain that is commonly seen in PCOS and helps you to shed this excessive weight (10, 11).
1-2 teaspoon royal jelly
Take this honey-like liquid either by itself or mixed in with your breakfast.
Do this every day.
Royal jelly is the food that is fed to the queen bee in a beehive. It contains a rich concentration of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that help the queen bee to become healthy and be able to lay more than 2000 eggs per day. It is said to support ovarian function. Experiments have shown that royal jelly exerts estrogen effects and helps to regulate the abnormalities in the menstrual cycle. Using this herbal supplement can aid your ovaries in performing their functions optimally (12).
A glass of aloe vera juice
Drink this in the morning, before breakfast.
Have this juice every day.
Aloe vera’s constituents have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels leading to restoring the ovarian steroid status. This positively impacts ovarian function and helps relieve PCOS symptoms (13).
Dilute the amla juice with water and drink it.
Repeat this once every day.
Amla is a wonderful detoxifying and cholesterol reducing agent. Its free radical scavenging and anti-inflammatory effects can help to restore the hormonal balance in the body (14).
Palm jaggery or palm sugar is considered a healthier option than regular white sugar because of its properties to regulate insulin and blood sugar levels. It also possesses a low glycemic index and boosts energy levels. Higher levels of insulin are common in PCOS patients, and this unrefined type of jaggery (or sugar) can significantly impact your health when included in your diet.
Mix the jeera powder in the water and drink it.
Repeat this twice a day.
Jeera or cumin reduces blood sugar levels and also has antioxidant properties. These antioxidants can remove free radicals from the body and regulate body processes (15).
Mix the two together and have it in the morning.
Repeat this every morning, as soon as you wake up.
Kalonji seeds are considered a panacea by many and rightly so as it possesses a plethora of beneficial properties. Its anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and estrogenic properties are the ones that are beneficial for treating PCOS (16).
Chia seeds are considered a superfood as it is a rich source of dietary fiber, healthy fats, protein, and minerals. Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is present in chia seeds. Heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure can all be brought under control by this healthy form of fat. Chia seeds also contain antioxidants in the form of phenolic compounds (17). Add them to your smoothie, muffins or simply some yogurt and have them every day.
Do this every day in the morning and then 5-10 minutes before lunch and dinner.
A commonly used Indian spice known as methi seeds in India, fenugreek is a potent remedy to reduce the effects of PCOS. This spice promotes glucose metabolism that in turn helps regulate the hormones in your body (18).
Drink 1-2 cups in a day.
Sesame seeds contain nutrients beneficial for PCOS patients. Its healthy fats help to regulate blood glucose levels. It also contains minerals like calcium, magnesium, and zinc (19, 20).
You can soak and boil fennel and fenugreek seeds together to avail the combined benefits of these spices.
Have fennel infused water every day in the morning, on an empty stomach.
Fennel seeds are said to help in treating PCOS as they have anti hirsutism properties and help decrease androgen (male hormones) levels (21).
Like chia seeds, pumpkin seeds also contain the healthy omega-3 fatty acids that can help manage the high cholesterol and high insulin levels seen in PCOS (22). They also contain beta-sitosterol that can remove excess androgens and treat the hirsutism, acne and weight gain symptoms of PCOS (23).
Saw palmetto extract
Depending on the concentration of the extract, take about 150mg – 200mg equivalent of it.
Take this supplement daily.
The excess levels of testosterone seen in PCOS is brought down by this herb. It prevents testosterone from turning into dihydrotestosterone, which leads to excessive hair growth (24).
Women who breastfeed or are pregnant should not use this herb.
Combine the two and ingest it.
Repeat this once every day.
Cinnamon is a herb that is used widely in kitchens. It is known to increase insulin sensitivity and boost calorie burning. It reduces lipid and cholesterol levels in the body (25).
Have a cup of licorice tea every day.
The root of this well-known herb licorice can reduce the serum testosterone in women who suffer from PCOS. The root promotes ovulation and inhibits an enzyme required for the production of testosterone (26).
Take the supplement as recommended by the manufacturer.
The frequency would depend on the dosage of the supplements you have. Usually, one capsule per day is recommended.
Chasteberry, which is scientifically known as Vitex agnus-castus, is useful for treating symptoms of PCOS as it regulates the activities of the pituitary gland and thus balances hormonal activities (27).
While home remedies can be an excellent option for the treatment of PCOS, seeking medical help is also essential most of the time. Speak to your doctor about your plans to give home remedies a try so that the best possible combination of treatments can be devised for you. Also, PCOS is often associated with an unhealthy lifestyle and diet. For this, we have compiled a list of precautionary measures that you can follow to combat this condition.
Apart from using home remedies, you should also follow certain precautionary measures to prevent PCOS.
It is important to stop eating processed foods and snacks to cope with PCOS. The chemicals used to make processed foods can make the symptoms worse.
Chromium is present in the human body in minimal amounts, and it enhances the ability to soak up insulin. A woman affected by PCOS can become resistant to insulin, and she can tackle this situation by consuming foods containing chromium. Few examples are broccoli, red wine, and green beans. You can also take chromium supplements.
Simple calorie-burning activities like walking, swimming or cycling can be helpful too. These activities can help you shed off excess weight. It also promotes sensitivity to insulin. Just keep in mind not to resort to activities that can cause excessive strain on your body and/or exhaustion.
Smoking can enhance the androgen levels in your body and cause damage to cardiovascular and respiratory health. Abstain from it to ensure your overall health improves.
A lot of women resort to yoga as it has healing effects on the mind and body. However, practicing specific yoga postures can be helpful in dealing with hormone-induced disorders including PCOS. You can resort to expert yoga gurus who can guide you about specific yoga poses that can ease the stressed, hormonal glands in the body. Yoga will also help you stay relaxed and stress-free.
It is essential to keep your liver in good shape. If it does not perform well, excess hormones start accumulating in the body. So enhance the intake of liver-friendly foods such as green leafy vegetables, garlic, turmeric, beets, sweet potatoes, lemons, apples, and onions.
Nutrients like magnesium and B vitamins play a vital role in dealing with PCOS. Magnesium deficit is linked to insulin resistance. The B vitamins are needed for hormone imbalance regulation and burning fats. If these are lacking in your diet, have them in the form of supplements.
These measures aim at maintaining healthy functioning of all the organs in the body. Healthy organs lead to optimum functioning of the endocrine system and no hormonal imbalance.
Some frequently asked questions about PCOS have been answered for you below.
Long Term Effects Of Untreated PCOS?
What Should I Eat If I Have PCOS?
A. Choose High-Quality Carbs
You need to eat foods replete with high-quality carbs to cope with PCOS. Low-quality carbs found in sugary foods, cookies, candy, and white refined flour foods can elevate blood sugar levels.
B. Eat Lean Protein Sources
It helps to eat foods with lean protein to cope with PCOS. It can help control blood sugar levels. You can try eating turkey meat, fish, lean cuts of beef and pork, and eggs.
C. Eat Foods With Healthy Fats
Just because you have put on some weight due to the onset of PCOS, does not mean you should discard all sources of fatty food from your meals! The fact is that without the intake of healthy fats your body cannot produce hormones in desired amounts. You may include butter or olive oil in your meals.
D. Fruits And Vegetables
Add some color to your diet with 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables in the day. These supply the body with essential vitamins and minerals that are required for various metabolic processes.
What Is PCOS Pregnancy & How Does PCOS Affect Pregnancy?
PCOS implies sub-optimal functioning of the reproductive organs. Conceiving a child is deemed difficult under such circumstances. And even if the woman does conceive, chances of complications of the pregnancy and delivery are high. Miscarriage, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and preterm birth are very common. Proper care and right medications can help the pregnancy to be a smooth journey. Consult your doctor if you are planning to conceive and follow his/her recommendations carefully.
Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Dangerous?
The cysts seen in PCOS are not exactly harmful but have been seen to cause severe pain in some women. Long term untreated PCOS does pose health risks such as heart disease and diabetes.
How Do You Know If You Have PCOS?
Look out for any irregularities in your periods, abnormal hair growth, pain in the lower abdomen, and other symptoms of PCOS to know if you have it. A simple ultrasound test can confirm the presence of the cysts.
Genetics does play a role in PCOS, and this factor is obviously not under our control. But many of the other factors are, and these changes can be easily incorporated into our lifestyle. If you notice any of the symptoms of PCOS, get it diagnosed by a gynecologist. Apart from conventional treatment options, you can include these home remedies for polycystic ovary to find relief. But don’t forget to discuss your plans with your doctor. Remember that he/she is the expert!
Do you have PCOS? Have you tried any natural cure for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome? Did it work? Share your experience with us in the comments section below.