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Natural remedies and some lifestyle changes can help reduce PCOS symptoms

Posted Jul 17 2013 9:23am

Polycystic ovary syndrome (aka PCOS) is a common illness, caused by the overproduction of androgens by the adrenal glands, which results in anomalies in ovulation including the development and the release of eggs. Resulting from these irregularities, sacs and cysts filled with fluids can develop. PCOS though causes a number of other symptoms and side effects, apart from the obvious problems with ovulating and conceiving.

The menstrual cycle is irregular, and in most cases the hormonal imbalance causes the increase of production of male hormones in the body. This, on the other hand leads to the development of “male-like” features, including an increased facial and body hair, male type baldness of the hair. Other symptoms often associated with PCOS are: increased body weight and obesity, the development of oily skin and acne, as well as dark skin patches on the body – around the breasts, neck, legs and arms, mood swings, miscarriages and in some cases infertility.

Also, recent studies found that there is e correlation between PCOS and type 2 diabetes, and that the polycystic ovary syndrome can cause insulin sensitivity, which leads to the increase of insulin levels, which triggers the overproduction of androgens in the body.

Getting the right diagnosis, may often happen after visiting various doctors, including: gynecologists, endocrinologists, dermatologist, etc. Once diagnosed, PCOS as well as diabetes is not curable, but it is definitely manageable.

Apart from hormonal medication, insulin sensitizing substances and other pharmaceuticals, PCOS can be managed and the symptoms reduced by following the appropriate diet and leading a healthy lifestyle.

  • Increase the intake of Vitamin B, which is predominant in whole unprocessed foods. There is a large concentration of the Vitamin B’s in meat, poultry, tuna, salmon and liver.  Also found in legumes – lentils and beans, whole grains and whole grain products, nuts, oats, brewer’s yeast and wheat germ.  Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and turnip greens are also an excellent resource of Vitamin B. Skimmed milk, yogurt and avocado are also good resources of Vitamin B for your body as well.
  • Choose brown rice instead of white rice, and whole wheat bread and products instead of refined white bread and pasta.
  • Limit the intake of caffeine and sugar, which cause spikes in the blood sugar levels.
  • Cook with coconut or olive oil, and avoid margarine and canola oil.
  • Consume more iodine, which induces the production of Thyroid hormones, which on the other hand regulate the basal metabolic rate of the organism. Iodine is naturally found in sea vegetables, kelp, cranberries and dairy products.
  • Increase exercise, walking, jogging, cardio, swimming, yoga or other training to 4 or 5 days a week, which will help loose excess weight and ease mood swings, which are usually associated with PCOS.
  • Spearmint tea is said to lower free testosterone levels in the body – so drink at least 2 cups a day. Raspberry tea and liquorices are great for balancing the reproductive system too.
  • A suggested diet is the low glycemic diet, which helps with the blood sugar spiking, and may reduce PCOS symptoms. This means eating foods with a low glycemic index, such as fruits and veggies, whole grains, oats, etc.
  • Try eating more good quality proteins, which are found in dairy products, eggs, fish, legumes and soy products.
  • Remember to drink a lot of water – your daily water intake should be 10-12 glasses.
  • Stay away from saturated fats found in cream, red meat and butter.
  • Limit the intake of salty, fried and canned foods.
  • Cinnamon is a great spice, which is known to reduce PCOS symptoms, by managing the insulin sensitivity and blood glucose levels.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are excellent for reducing androgen levels and improvement of insulin sensitivity, so eat salmon, mackerel, sardines, flax seeds, nuts and soy.
  • Use sandalwood powder to treat oily skin resulting from PCOS.
  • Get a mineral supplement to provide your body with the necessary zinc, magnesium, chromium and vanadium, which regulate insulin levels.
  • Soy isoflavones are excellent for regulating ovulation.
  • Cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli reduce testosterone levels in the woman’s body.
  • Herbs, including Aloe Vera and basil also help balance hormone levels.
  • Stay away from sugar, soda, candy, chips and other junk food , which affects the insulin resistance of the body.
  • Chiropractic therapy – often a misalignment in the spine or hips may be a cause for the infertility and reproductive problems.
  • Try a liver cleansing diet, so that the liver can release the toxins in the body and remove the extra estrogens thus restoring the hormonal balance in the body. Liver cleansing will include: drinking a lot of water, especially a cup of hot water in the morning, which is known to have a cleansing effect. Stop the intake of coffee and beverages with caffeine, which may interrupt your normal adrenal gland function.  Eat a lot of dark leafy greens and cabbage.  Take baths with magnesium sulphate for further detoxification of the body.  Try some herbal teas, there are some especially designed for body detox.
  • Eat dinner at least 3 hours before going to bed, to reduce cravings and regulate insulin levels.
  • Join an online community of women with the same problem as yourself, find a support group to share your stories and find understanding – this can help with the mood swings, and will also give you inspiration to continue managing your PCOS and the related symptoms.

Remember, if you have PCOS, you are not alone, but rather one of the millions of girls and women affected.  Of course, you should seek medical attention to relieve your symptoms and resolve some of the side effects, also get some laser therapy for the extra hair and cosmetic treatment for the acne, but most of all keep in mind that keeping yourself fit and healthy will help your body regulate the hormones, insulin levels and other functions better. Smile, and be inspired – it is in your hands now, you just need to get started with your new lifestyle.

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