How to Reduce the Damaging Effects of PCOS on Fertility Through Diet and Herbs

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An Unconventional Approach to PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
I having been trying to find something like this for a while! Vitamin D can also be obtained for free by sitting out in the sun for 15 to 20 minutes per day. But at the age of 22, I was increasingly suffering from unexplained weight gain, acne, depression, anxiety, and loss of my menstrual cycle—and I suspected this was unusual. What a thorough and well written article. The endometrium is the innermost layer of the uterus that is shed during menstruation. Brown rice is also an excellent source of two very important antioxidants, selenium and manganese, which, among other things, prevent free radical damage, attack cancer cells and repair DNA. Hopefully America would realize to educate their own would benefit America more than relying on other countries to come in and do the work for us.

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Above all, I wanted to treat myself naturally through diet, Ayurvedic methods like eating warming foods, adaptogen herbs, and an overall healthy routine to follow throughout this process.

Increasingly, my depression lifted, my skin cleared, my menstrual cycle became regular, and my energy increased. I had no cysts on my ovaries, my hormones were balanced, and my periods were regular! What did he say? I am now 24 years old and have stuck to this new lifestyle. This means clean eating, exercising yoga, walking my two dogs, and Pilates , using natural beauty products, and paying attention to my body.

As a certified health and wellness coach, I'm passionate about helping other people increase their quality of life too. So I'm sharing a few of the changes that I found very helpful on my journey to health:. Apple cider vinegar is considered helpful for improving the body's natural elimination system while also balancing pH levels in the body and helping to control bacteria, candida , and yeast build-up.

Whole foods are foods sourced straight from the earth that have not been altered or compromised in any way. That does not necessarily mean that your diet needs to be fully plant-based or vegan. Overall, I stick to a diet of 95 percent whole foods, enjoying lots of vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and leafy greens. I found I really loved how I felt eating this way. Our bodies thrive on foods rich in nutrients, especially when managing disorders like PCOS.

That means avoiding processed foods like white flour, corn syrup, processed meats, pasta, and other foods that may contain medium to high levels of sugar. At first, this change was hard when I realized some of my go-to crackers and snacks were highly processed. It took some time, but once my body adjusted to this new way of eating, I no longer craved the same foods.

Ever notice that you get chocolate cravings around the time of your period? Iron and magnesium are essential for building healthy blood, which we need in order to menstruate regularly. And cacao is a good source of iron and magnesium , two minerals women can be deficient in.

I found that a tablespoon a day of this superfood did wonders for my hormones as well as my skin and energy levels. We tend to associate iron with red meat, but there are also high levels of iron in many vegetables and plant-based foods, including spinach, kale, goji berries, lentils, chickpeas, and more. I recommend eating at least one vegetable a day that contains high levels of iron.

Ensuring your body has the proper vitamins is vital to healing. Supplements can help your body build its immune system, restore energy levels, balance hormones, and promote healthy blood flow.

I am sure this will be invaluable to many in our little community here. Keep up the great work! For conditions like these it is always about sticking with the plan long-term. I took them for 10 years. Finally, I saw a doctor who recommended I treat it naturally with acupuncture and get off all the pills. I eventually went back on all the meds.

I came across this page and ordered much of what you recommended. I was so thankful and hopeful that it was not just a fluke.

All this without my acne coming back. Before the pill and during my first time off the pill, I got a period only every 6 months or so and it was brutal.

Having had 4 periods now, I know that something here is working. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to you, because this article is the reason why I am achieving all of these results.

I went in for blood work to check out my hormones and all my hormones had normalized. I could go on and on, but I just had to take a moment to thank you. You have truly changed my life and given me hope that I can still conceive in the future.

Thank you so much! What a beautiful note to wake up to. I too experienced such a remarkable change once using these supplements and it is always amazing how a little help from nutrition and herbs can give your body just what it needs to get back on track. The body is truly an amazing organism and we just need to work WITH it, not against it to heal.

Patience is always necessary as well, but I am so happy for you and the progress you have seen. My only advice would be to stick with it. Too many people drop off of their program as soon as they see results, but it can take a while for the body to fully heal and work on its own.

Cannot wait to hear of more successes from you in the future. I suffer from PCOS, have been trying to conceive for a few years now and just suffered a miscarriage. My main concerns are excessive hair growth and getting pregnant. Do you think the OvaBlend or MacaHarmony pills would be better for these two concerns? Hi Gabi, I think that is a great place to start.

Unfortunately it is a bit of a game to figure out which nutrients work best with your body, but those are great ones to begin with.

You might also want to add the Inositol as well. I would also suggest purchasing the book Taking Charge of your Fertility to learn more about your cycle and to ensure that you are ovulating and have a sufficient luteal phase.

If your luteal phase is too short which is common in those that have a miscarriage then the ovablend chaste tree vitex is very important.

Vitex along with B6 and vitamin can also help lengthen the luteal phase, thus helping to prevent miscarriage. It does this by boosting progesterone levels. Low Progesterone is typically the cause of luteal phase deficiency. You might consider getting your hormone levels checked after using the products for 2 months to see where you are.

Hi Lauren Thank you! What a thorough and well written article. It is obvious you did your research. My daughter is 14 and has been suffering with PCOS for over a year.

Finally disgnosed last October. She has cleaned up her diet now and incorporated some supplements but Acne and other issues still persist so going to try your recommendations.

One thing I would like to share that truly helped regulate her periods is the seed rotation diet. Recommended by her Holistic MD. Everyone can google it. Within 1 month she started to get her period regularly again after not getting it for 5 months. Hope this helps other girls and women who suffer with this. Thank you Mary for sharing. For anyone looking into the seed rotation you can learn more here. It is about boosting estrogen in the first part of your cycle using pumpkin and flaxseeds, then boosting progesterone using sesame and sunflower seeds.

As for the acne, have you tried the MacaHarmony supplement? I have had great success with that product. I am a long time PCOS sufferer — unable to lose weight and losing a lot of hair: I was on metformin till recently, which had regulated my periods to a great extent.

But I felt that it was wreaking havoc on my hair. So I thought to look up some natural ways to control my PCOS symptoms, which brought me to your website. I am in India and the supplements that you have suggested are either not available or prohibitively expensive. Pure encapsulations do not ship to India and even if they did the retail prices are beyond my means: I am able to find some NOW Foods supplements which are a little easy on my wallet.

So I was wondering if they can be used as substitutes. Hi Shirni, so happy that you found this post. Yes, go ahead and try to find supplements that best replace the ones listed. Hi Lauren, your post has been amazingly written. Thanks so much for all of the insightful guidance and your support with your knowledge and experience.

I suffer from PCOs finally diagnosed about 6 yrs ago. I have been taking Metformin to regulate my periods, and have managed to have regular periods with it since the therapy started. Nevertheless, I still suffer from incredible hair thinning. Furthermore, the last few years my libido has been extremely low and this only continues to get worse and is now having a negative effect on my relationship. A few of my questions, I would like to follow your recommendation and start with the recommended supplements to help restore my hair and my libido.

However, I am also vegan, and I would like to find a vegan supplement that covers your recommended Omega 3 recommendations EPA mg and DHA mg dosage, but most vegan supplements that I find do not even come close to this daily value. Is there any vegan supplement that you would recommend? Also, are there any specific supplements that could help me restore my libido? Furthermore, I am schedule to have an insulin resistance test next week. At which point the Dr.

What are your thoughts on such a change? Should I be concerned about taking Spiraloctane? Hi Maria, thank you so much for writing in. I would also make sure that you are following a hormone supportive diet, and that you are getting enough protein. Hair is made of protein so if you are deficient, that can affect your hair growth.

I see that you are vegan, and as being a former vegan myself I know how hard it is to get enough accessible protein. Check out my article on being a healthy vegetarian this applies for vegan too , and see how you can ensure that you are getting enough protein.

Depending on your reasons for being vegan, adding in eggs might be a helpful tool in hair regrowth. Make sure you are counting your protein calories and adding in a protein powder daily too. I explain my journey with being a vegan and getting enough protein here. In addition, make sure you are using non toxic shampoos and conditioners. I like Avalon Hair Thickening Shampoo and their conditioner. Also, avoid heat styling your hair curling, blow drying etc. Both of these things add to hair loss.

The oil is derived from algae and it has comparable levels. As for libido, you can try MacaHarmony , a maca root concentrate. It helps to balance out the body and hormones while reducing stress. This is a great place to start and see how you react. If after a couple months you see no difference, you might want to try Ginseng, in particular Ginseng Sublime by dragon herbs.

Ginseng is a root that is a well known adaptogen. An adaptogen helps the body function at a higher level despite its current levels of stress. So it can help to promote energy, sexual desire, focus and concentration, and boost mood while combating stress and promoting sleep. Ginseng can also be helpful in blood sugar balance. But, my hair is still falling out, some days more than others.

Hi Danielle, have you gotten your hormones tested lately? If your testosterone is high than that can be the reason, in particular, DHT. If so, then taking Saw Palmetto would be a good supplement to start taking. Amazing deep knowledge and guidance. I really feel as if I have a good overview over these issues and most of all a way to implement changes.

A lot of the information you said I can attest to — however, you mentioned a couple of products I have never come accross and new approaches! You are so very welcome! I do hope those new tools can help you get on track. Please check back in and let me know how you respond! I have always had regular periods and unless on birth control pills were they irregular at times and I had a hard time getting pregnant because of the absent periods. Last time I went on a 3 month birth control pill and then stopped again because the medicine was not curing my pcos nor making me get pregnant.

I actually thought at a point that i was cursed that there is no cure for it, i was prepared to live like that till i read a testimony of a patient who suffered from pcos whose case was even worse than mine and how she was cured completely, I was amazed and at thesame time anxious and curious so i had to contact the doctor with the contact details that she left on the note. The doctor gave me so much hope and confidence with her kind words of encouragement to believe in myself and i was lifted because no one has ever given me hope like that before.

I ordered the medicine, took it for 8 weeks and to my complete surprise, all the facial hairs, weight gain and all disappeared within 4 weeks and I ended up getting pregnant within a few weeks of completing the treatment!

I was in shock. I think the main reasons it happened was that I never gave up and was ready to try alternative treatment so my body was back to normal.

Before now i never enjoyed sex because it was very painful but now i do and my husband is the best thing that ever happened to me.. I hope this inspires some of you because I never in a million years would have thought that I would get pregnant and was getting frustrated and now our baby is due next month!

You too can reach her on [aletedwin gmail. Thank you so much for sharing your story and journey with us. It will certainly help others in their quest to find answers and natural solutions. But as you mentioned, believing that there is an answer, and a way out is the key. Congratulations on your precious child and enjoy motherhood!

Im starting a list of supplements for my pcos and type 2 diabetes issues.. My question is can taking Chromium once a day at above dosage allows me to stop taking Metformin or either Januvia? Im not able to go higher than mg Metformin due to the GI distress its giving. Also, I started feeling a bit dizzy and disorienteed when i started taking Milk Thistle..

I understand that Saw Palmetto will reduce sebum level as well…so if i take SP…perhaps i can stop taking Optizinc as my multivits as 15mg Zinc as well. The vitex dosage on the bottle says to take 2 x mg capsules per day…but i dare not take such a high dosage..

Appreciate your reply on above as I really want to straighten out my PCOS supplements that I can easily get in Malaysia which is only above.. Can you reply to my inquiry to my email directly?

Lauren, this was so very helpful. My husband and I want to start trying to have a baby as well, once my cycles get a little more regular. I have done a lot of research over the years and have the diet and exercise part down, but your supplement suggestions have helped me round things out.

In just a few days, the DIM Detox has made a huge impact on my acne as well as improved my sleep. The first day I did have some migraine-like symptoms, but I imagine that was just my body dealing with the detox. Thanks again for this article and resources. Hi Jessica, I am so glad to hear you have been seeing improvements! Yes — the migraines are usually a detox sign. Epsom salt baths, infrared saunas and drinking lots and lots of mineral-rich beverages like coconut water and fresh green veggie juices will help ease them.

In addition, I would suggest tracking your cycle to see where your hormone levels are. This will be very important when trying to get pregnant as it will target your fertile days when you are ovulating and make sure you are having a proper post-ovulation stage to ensure a successful impregnation.

This is based on progesterone levels. A really useful book to learn how to do this is called Taking Charge of your Fertility. I highly recommend reading this and following the charts for tracking your cycle. Hello , do you think maca will reduce excess hair not increase it? What do you mean think? The maca helps to normalize hormones by supporting the body. The product that directly affects unwanted hair growth is Saw Palmetto.

I would not be afraid to take the maca, it is one of my favorite products for PCOS. Inositol and turmeric should not have any direct affect to unwanted hair growth. It could be a coincidence occurrence. If your unwanted hair growth is not improving, it might be worth it to get your hormone levels tested, esp.

Hi Lauren and thank you for a very informative and straight forward post. I have two questions: I would like to follow your regime above since I have many of the symptoms of pcos but not the diagnosis. However I am currently nursing my babyboy and I am thus wondering what of the recommendations above I can follow and not follow that is, wait until Im done with nursing? Do you know any smooth way for me to get hold of these?

Thank you in advance for your answer. I would wait on the DIM Detox as it can influence hormones and promote detox which you do not want when breastfeeding. The good news is that you can support the same pathway naturally by eating lots of cruciferous vegetables and avoiding xeno-estrogens plastic water bottles, chemicals in personal and household care products, BPA liner in canned foods etc. As for getting the supplement in Norway, you can always contact the manufacturer directly from their website to see if they have any international distributors.

If not, the second best thing would be to find a multi in Norway that matches up to it. Hope that helps and best of luck! This article is so thorough and so well written. When I started Whole30 in I noticed the correlation between my diet and my period. I got my period 28 days later, lost lots of weight and felt better overall. I then decided I wanted to try and do a bikini competition and all my hard work went out the window. Which I think was due to stress and opening my business.

Yesterday I decided to go back to my natural curls and stop straightening my hair and I noticed how thin my hair is. It scared the crap out of me. I am hoping to be able to get my hair to start growing with the recommendations you have given.

Thanks for the hope! My question is — which of the products that you recommend should I use? Make sure to start tracking your ovulation. That is the first step. The macaharmony and the inositol should be great ones for you.

You have put so much research and love into this. I was diagnosed with PCOS this week, but have dealt with the symptoms for years now. Your links and supplement recommendations have come in a moment where I felt like I hit a wall with research.

Who would take the kind of time and put this together…other then out of love and wanting to help. Thank you again and I look forward to this journey I am about to embark , with the help of several of your suggestions you have provided. Hi Summer, I am so glad you found this post and at the right time.

It is very empowering to know that you can do something to help yourself and improve your health. I look forward to hearing about your progress!

Thank you so much for all this useful information. I really want to come off the pill so with the help of my doctor I will follow these recommendations. Some places say otherwise, but considering you can keep all the fibre and add useful food like chia, coconut water etc. And I love them haha Thank you! Fruit is okay but stick to low glycemic fruit such as berries. These have the lowest impact on blood sugar. As for how much, I would say one serving a day so that would be one piece of fruit or 1 cup of berries.

If you are doing smoothies, do low sugar smoothies like this one and this one. I was diagnosed with PCOS about 4 years ago, and after a year of torture on birth control, this post saved me—it was the first piece in learning what PCOS actually is and how I could heal my body naturally.

Since then, ive accumulated countless resources, but i always find myself returning to this post. My question now is—I went to the gynocologist today i have pain in my right thigh crevice, pain i.

My right side during sex, and dull pain there most of the time. In November, I had terrible pain on my right side, and my doctor assumed it was from a cyst bursting and a minor infection.

This time, my doctor told me there were NO cysts! I was so happy to hear both of these things. BUT—I still get cystic acne. My eczema is worsening. Ive taken all the supplements and vitamins. Thank you again for everything! Hi Danielle, thanks so much for writing in.

I think at this point it might be more of a digestive issue than hormone issue. It might be a good idea to try doing the easy intestinal cleanse and then follow it with the intestinal cleanse for leaky gut. That would be my suggestion for now. Oftentimes acne and especially eczema are digestive. As for hair, it could be due to poor nutrient absorption because of poor gut health. Hi Lauren, thank you so much for all of this information.

Also I was looking at the DIM detox the only thing that concerns me is the fact that it contains soy ive noticed that ever since I stopped eating soy the cycles are more regular so again would you still recommend this for me or do you have any other product in mind. Hi Lauren, this post was so great that I am translating it to spanish because I want to show it to my mom!

Do you know any other brands for this supplements that are reliable and good quality? I can purchase in USA in Iherb. Thank you so much for your work and your help!! That is so great to hear! New Chapter and Garden of Life are alternatives for the multivitamin. Doctors Best is good for saw palmetto.

As for the maca, I would try the maca by Gaia. You can find all of those on the Gaia website. Wow thank you for bringing that to my attention.

I will definitely have to look into how nestle has influenced the products. I just have a few quick questions- what are your thoughts on ovasitol to restore periodsl? Also i started on Nature Made ultra omega 3 2x per day for general health purposes, is this an ok source of omega 3? So sorry for the delayed response. Feel free to email me at lauren theholykale.

Hi Lauren, I have read through all of the comments and I am blown away. Thank you for helping me connect the dots in a way no other doctor has yet to do. This post and others on your site are powerful resources for women like me.

This made me tear up with gratitude. To say the least I have my fair share of health issues.. I am too a nurture by nature type of person, so reading this post that talked about actual healing and guidance towards how to begin healing was truly refreshing. Thank you for taking the time to write out such a helpful, anxiety relieving, mindful, informative entry. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome may be one of the most complex female health issues of our time.

It is the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age. PCOS is accompanied by a variety of different health issues, many of which directly impact fertility. Classic PCOS presents with obesity, polycystic ovaries multiple ovarian cysts that look like a strand of pearls , elevated levels of androgens and absent or irregular menstrual cycles.

Not all women who will go on to be diagnosed with PCOS will have these issues though. Doctors are unsure of what causes PCOS, but information suggests there are several links including genes, possible abnormal fetal development, insulin resistance and inflammatory response contributing to the cause. We know that insulin resistance plays a key role in PCOS, but what leads to the development of this has not been pinned down.

PCOS is also negatively affected by diet, lifestyle and exposure to certain environmental toxins. PCOS directly impacts fertility, but has serious health implications as well, especially if left untreated. Research suggests that exposure to excessive amounts of male hormones androgens by the developing fetus may alter proper gene expression.

The researchers also found one region of susceptibility in the DNA of Chinese women. This finding provides evidence of disruption of the pathway that regulates FSH and in turn ovarian function which plays a crucial role in the development of PCOS.

The human genome project has allowed researchers to pool more than , genetic markers from the DNA of thousands of women with PCOS. This is what helped them identify regions of genes associated with PCOS. This is a new way of thinking about the biology of PCOS. Doctors plan to use all of this research to identify girls who may be at-risk for developing PCOS and create a medical treatment protocol to cure it. Another interesting study of women with PCOS sought to discover if there is a link to the development of PCOS later life that may be influenced by factors beginning in the womb.

The women were divided into two groups. The groups were categorized by: The women in group 1 had above-average birth weight and were born to obese mothers. The women in group 2 were born after 40 weeks gestation. The conclusion was that events occurring during fetal development may have long-term effects on endocrine function later in life.

Insulin Resistance Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas and is responsible for signaling cells in the body to function correctly, most importantly to convert glucose to energy and to control their growth.

It also plays a key role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. When this happens, higher levels of insulin are needed so that insulin can have the proper effects. At this point, the pancreas must overcompensate, working harder and harder to produce more insulin. Insulin drives glucose into the cells and promotes fat storage that leads to obesity and difficulty losing weight in PCOS. Insulin signals the ovaries to secrete testosterone and inhibit hepatic sex-hormone binding globulin SHBG production which leads to an increased level of circulating testosterone.

This is why many women with PCOS experience acne, facial hair growth and male pattern baldness hirsutism. Excess insulin in the bloodstream also signals the ovaries to release more estrogen which can suppress ovulation, and can lead to excessive irregular periods. Low-grade Inflammation It has also been found that women with PCOS have low-grade inflammation, which may be a cause for insulin resistance. White blood cells produce substances to fight infection, this is known as inflammatory response.

In some predisposed people eating certain foods, or exposure to certain environmental factors may trigger an inflammatory response. When inflammatory response is triggered, white blood cells produce substances that may contribute to insulin resistance and atherosclerosis. When PCOS was first discovered it was named Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome because of the presence of polycystic ovaries seen by ultrasound.

Over time doctors began to realize that PCOS was a complex array of health issues. To date there is a push by doctors to change the name of this condition. This led to certain criteria that must be recognized to be diagnosed with PCOS, rather than just the presence of polycystic ovaries. In fact some women with PCOS do not have polycystic ovaries.

In order to be diagnosed with PCOS the following should be evaluated by your healthcare practitioner: Endometrial Biopsy usually reserved for women 35 and older with menstrual irregularities or complete lack of menses for over 6 months Glucose Tolerance Test Thyroid Panel Blood Lipid Profile. Are you wondering what your test results mean?

Please talk to your doctor in detail about what your test results mean for your fertility. Some doctors may tell you that you have mild PCOS. Women may have some or all of the symptoms of PCOS, and some may have normal menstrual cycles and some may not. Testing is the best way to find out if you have PCOS for sure or not. In very simple terms the hypothalamus produces GnRH gonadotrophin-releasing hormone which signals to the pituitary to produce LH luteinizing hormone and FSH follicle stimulating hormone.

The release of GnRH is pulsatile in women with regular menstrual cycles. The normal pulsatile release of GnRH signals some of the follicles in the ovary to begin maturing and for the ovaries to release estrogen and progesterone. As the follicles begin maturing they release and increase the hormone estrogen over time.

The rising estrogen level signals the pituitary gland to curb the release of FSH. This communication allows for ovulation to occur. In women with PCOS the menstrual cycle follows a different pattern of endocrine function and communication.

In women with PCOS the menstrual cycle starts off irregular, with the hypothalamus releasing GnRH in a higher than normal pulsatile frequency. This allows for increased LH and decreased FSH, which in turn leads to excessive production of the androgens androstenedione and testosterone. This causes the follicle to only mature some, but not enough to achieve full maturity in order to be released for ovulation.

This also allows for continued increase of estrogen, primarily estrone. The higher levels of androgens and estrogen create a chronic state of low to very low progesterone and anovulatory cycles.

Classic polycystic ovaries are a result of chronic anovulation. Endocrine function is imbalanced from the very beginning of the menstrual cycle causing mild to severe hormonal imbalance, depending on the individual. Excessive levels of estrogen may also cause uterine hypertrophy, also known as endometrial hyperplasia. Unopposed estrogen may cause excessive cell proliferation of the endometrium.

The endometrium is the innermost layer of the uterus that is shed during menstruation. Endometrial hyperplasia may cause heavy menstrual bleeding or prolonged bleeding during menstruation.

The uterus may become bulky and larger than normal. Endometrial hyperplasia can lead to uterine cancer. Other hormonal medications may be commonly used as well. This is determined by case. Clomid is commonly used for women with PCOS to stimulate the ovaries to ovulate. Once again the problem we encounter here is that Clomid does not resolve PCOS, though it may help a woman to get pregnant.

Ovarian drilling done by laparascopic surgery. This is done with the intent to stimulate ovulation. Long-term treatment with Metformin has been shown to cause malabsorption of vitamin B 12 in some patients.

Before choosing to use this medication, talk to your doctor about the long-term goal and duration of treatment. There are a variety of other medications prescribed depending on the symptoms of PCOS. There are medications for hirsutism or alopecia, weight gain and more. Your doctor can provide you with specific information on medications. It takes at least months of consistent lifestyle and diet changes, along with natural therapies to bring about real change in the body when living with PCOS.

In addition to eating the PCOS diet, supplements have shown to be effective in helping those with PCOS boost their fertility and give birth to healthy babies. The overall goal with PCOS is to balance blood sugar levels, maintain hormonal balance, promote healthy digestion for improved estrogen metabolism, while also working to promote regular ovulation and menses. Adaptogen herbs are also important, this is because adaptogens increase resistance to mind-body stress and enhance overall vitality and health through non-specific adrenal known as stress glands support.

Herbs and supplements are not meant to be a substitute for dietary and lifestyle changes!

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