Treating PCOS Naturally: A Solid Diagnosis is the First Step back to Health
Women's Health & Empowerment
Treating PCOS Naturally: A Solid Diagnosis is the First Step back to Health
PCOS is a complex hormonal disorder that can take time to resolve. Your journey to hormonal re-balancing can be challenging, so seek out expert assistance
By Mark Zuleger-Thyss
The English word "womb" or "utero" in Latin translates into the Italian language as "matrix" and invites metaphors of female reproductive organs and the uterus more explicitly. The womb is a woman's energetic space, her power source, untamed, free, wild, and uninhibited.
The great Mayan people worshipped around 250 deities. Gazing at heavenly bodies not easily seen by the naked eye, the Maya were inspired to create their Goddesses in an art form that was both beautiful and ominous. Ix Chel, the Mayan Moon Goddess, is one of the most important goddesses in the vast Maya Pantheon. Like many Mayan gods, Ix Chel's powerful attributes and dual identities made her very popular.
Ix Chel embodied both the yin and yang of female power. She is at once a young and beautiful seductress who espouses fertility, marriage, and love - and a wizened old woman who could both create and destroy the earth. Ix Chel is celebrated as the goddess of harvests and weather due to her power over the lunar cycles.
These qualities made Ix Chel the Goddess of the moon, water, healing, childbirth, and rebirth. These characteristics depicted throughout history in all cultures remind every woman of her power, beauty, and meaning.
Your womb is what makes you divinely feminine. In the occult physiological practices of Hinduism and Tantric Buddhism, the womb chakra is beyond all other chakras – it is the highest and holiest energy place in the body. It is a divine creation point within you, a connection to the Divine Mother, and a resting place of your soul energy.
Don't fear the Great Mother inside you – merge with her. With all the power of the dark - the feminine that goes beyond the realms of ideas and fantasy.
In all cultures, the "Cave" has been the symbol of creation, the place of emergence of celestial bodies, of ethnic groups, and individuals. It is the great womb of earth and sky, a symbol of life and death.
The womb is the sum of all possibilities, all potentials; it is fertility and abundance. Throughout history, mankind has sought to sever this connection because its essence is of the dark and the mysterious, the void beyond rational explanation.
Just as science now knows that black holes – womb holes – birth galaxies, so all of existence was birthed through the Womb of Creation, our Prime Creator.
What you believe will bring you happiness is often based on false notions, which becomes the Great Spiritual pain manifesting as a collective imbalance in the womb. Hysterectomies, PCOS, infertility, fibroids, and menstrual pain are the most common ways this shows up in the physical.
Women these days have lost touch with their wombs. If you are this woman, you might be filling your body with toxins, have a poor diet, getting little to no rest, and you might be ashamed of your body, its needs, and its desires. The evolved female knows to walk the path of beauty. Her life and all life are sacred, and she relies upon her intuition and wisdom to forge ahead.
What a beautiful starting point to discuss the ova (from Ovum) found in your ovaries. Through the oogenesis' growth process, the primary egg cell becomes a mature ovum and, after fertilization, a baby.
Untamed, Free – and Smart | Get to Know Your Body Intimately
Today it is vitally important to know about and harness the knowledge and experience of your body. Learn about it from the inside out.
The human female reproductive system contains two main parts: the uterus and the ovaries, which produce a woman's egg cells. In addition, your womb nourishes and houses a fertilized egg until the fetus is ready to be delivered.
The human female reproductive system encompasses two main internal parts.
- Hosts the developing fetus
- Produces vaginal and uterine secretions
- Passes the anatomically male sperm through to the Fallopian tubes
- Produce the anatomically female egg cells
- Produce and secrete estrogen and progesterone
The vagina connects to the uterus through the cervix, and the uterus is attached to the ovaries via the fallopian tubes. The ovaries release an ovum at certain intervals, passing through the fallopian tube into the uterus.
The womb is sacred, the all-powerful, the seat of creativity, and the source of all potential life.
Your reproductive system's internal organs include the vagina, fallopian tubes, and cervix. Your ovaries are the female gonads — the primary female reproductive organs.
Ovaries have three essential functions:
- secreting hormones
- protecting the eggs you are born with
- releasing eggs for possible fertilization
PCOS is Ubiquitous, yet it goes Undiagnosed and Unmanaged
From this article, Treating PCOS Naturally: A Solid Diagnosis is the First Step back to Health, take a moment to consider the prevalence of polycystic ovarian syndrome in women's lives worldwide. It focuses on an unfortunate reality; PCOS is ubiquitous and remains undiagnosed and unmanaged in most women.
While the cause of PCOS is uncertain, complex, and variable, several conditions are present within the bodies of women with PCOS that lead to their often-distressing symptoms.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal endocrine disorder in which certain hormones are unbalanced. These typically include higher-than-normal levels of male hormones — particularly testosterone — lower-than-normal levels of the female hormone progesterone, elevated levels of the hormone prolactin in some cases, and abnormal insulin regulation.
This condition throws off the rest of the female body's ecosystem. Too much androgen hormone can lead to excess production of cortisol and insulin. Furthermore, these imbalances typically manifest through a spectrum of symptoms, including irregular or absent menstruation (amenorrhea), lack of ovulation, multiple cysts on the ovaries, acne, excessive facial hair (hirsutism), and obesity.
Of the women who have PCOS, about 7 in 10 may go undiagnosed, and it is the most common female syndrome worldwide.
In 2017, The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that over 116 million women (3.4%) are affected by polycystic ovarian syndrome worldwide. This diverse and complex female endocrine disorder primarily affects women and girls of reproductive age (15–49 years).
In the United States, polycystic ovary syndrome affects 5% to 15% of women and girls. This growing number makes health experts wonder if it will become a significant economic health burden as it expands together with obesity.
The dysregulation of hormones may affect several pathways and processes in the body, leading to risks for type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and infertility. In addition, as many body systems are involved in PCOS, this results in various health complications, including menstrual dysfunction, hirsutism, and metabolic syndrome.
These disorders also may point to PCOS:
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- Mood disorders like depression and anxiety
No Pharmacological Therapies Can Cure the Syndrome
The standard medical approach to treating PCOS is oral contraceptives (birth control pills) or metformin (brand name Glucophage®). These drugs decrease male hormone levels and normalize a woman's menstrual cycle.
Metformin is a drug commonly used to treat type II diabetes and has been found to help PCOS patients regulate insulin levels and support conception.
"Herbs are important as there are few truly effective pharmaceutical options," said Jillian Stansbury, ND, a Washington state-based naturopathic physician, and author of The PCOS Health and Nutrition Guide (Robert Rose, 2012).
Women with PCOS Require Holistic Care
PCOS is a long-term disease with greater chances of other comorbidities. Lifestyle modification is the most fundamental approach for women with this disorder.
Studies reveal that diet, exercise, and attitude changes positively impact body weight, insulin resistance, and testosterone levels. For example, a natural health and nutrition approach embracing functional medicine and herbal medicine might be more to your liking.
Author Angela Hywood, ND, writes about one PCOS patient who took six herbs during a five-month program:
- chaste tree berry
- white peony
In addition, eating a low-carbohydrate diet is recommended.
The report on this patient was glowing. After five months on the herbal protocol, her cycle was regulated to a 32-day length. Problematic symptoms such as breast pain, acne, and hirsutism diminished significantly during the program period. Her lipid profile improved to within normal ranges, and she lost a total of 12 percent body weight. Moreover, the woman became pregnant in her second month of actively trying to conceive.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is NOT a Disease of the Ovaries
PCOS is an endocrine and metabolic disorder that affects the body beyond the ovaries. Fortunately, not everyone with PCOS has ovarian cysts, and polycystic ovaries on their own don't meet the criteria for diagnosis. However, many concerned groups are pushing for a renaming of the disorder, arguing that the current name impedes progress in research and creates confusion. One suggestion for a new name is "Metabolic Reproductive Syndrome."
Getting Diagnosed and Treated for PCOS
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is UNDER-diagnosed and UNDER-treated. Because symptoms can be mild or unrelated, many women do not realize they have it. Yet, women with PCOS are more likely to experience anxiety and depression than the general population.
The lack of self-esteem due to concerns about body image and appearance aggravated by fears of infertility can lead to eating disorders, psychosexual issues, and relationship problems.
Early diagnosis and treatment can be a lifesaver as PCOS is a disorder of two elements. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a complex life-long endocrine condition with ...
1) short-term features and 2) long-term consequences.
Get Diagnosed | Please, No Guessing Games
PCOS is a clinical diagnosis. This means it is primarily diagnosed based on having some – or all – of the classic symptoms, with other medical conditions having been ruled out. Healthcare providers can often diagnose after a short assessment or simple tests.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome symptoms are caused by an imbalance in hormones, higher-than-normal 'male' hormones in the body, such as testosterone and DHT. These male hormones can lead to common signs like acne, excess hair growth, ovulation issues, irregular periods, and infertility.
PCOS is diagnosed based on the Rotterdam Criteria
Women must have two of the following three symptoms of PCOS:
- Oligo-ovulation or anovulation – meaning you either ovulate less often than you should, or you don't ovulate at all. This usually shows up as menstrual irregularities like very long cycles
- Signs of hyperandrogenism – meaning high levels of male hormones, including extra hair growth, particularly on your upper lip, chin, and around your nipples, and acne around your jawline
- Polycystic ovaries – when there are one or more cysts on your ovaries, which are visible by ultrasound
How is PCOS Diagnosed?
A doctor or specialist like an endocrinologist will use screening tests that may include the following: a physical exam (to look for acne, excess hair growth, male-pattern hair loss, or weight gain), pelvic exam (to check the ovaries), pelvic ultrasound (to look for cysts and at the uterine lining), and blood tests (to examine hormone levels).
Common signs and symptoms of PCOS
These symptoms differ from woman to woman, but to be diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome, you need to have at least two of the following issues:
o Acne and/or oily skin and hair
o Hair thinning or hair loss on the head
o Excessive hair growth
o Irregular periods
o Absent periods
o Ovarian cysts
o Heavy or prolonged periods
o Difficulty getting pregnant/ Infertility
o Irregular periods or no periods
o Weight gain or trouble losing weight
o Menstrual pain
o Fluid retention
o Darkening of the skin
o Mood swings
It is crucial to get an early diagnosis because PCOS can lead to type 2 diabetes, infertility, heart disease, endometrial cancer, high blood pressure, and breast cancer.
4 Types of PCOS | How to Know Which One You Have
To effectively treat PCOS and reverse symptoms naturally, you need to know the type of PCOS you're dealing with.
- Insulin-resistant PCOS is the most common type of PCOS, affecting around 70% of women; insulin resistance is higher than usual in the body (hyperinsulinemia).
- Post-pill PCOS – This type occurs in some people after they stop taking the oral contraceptive pill. Symptoms like acne, irregular periods, and excess hair growth were not present before starting the drug.
- Adrenal PCOS - is due to abnormal stress response and affects around 10% of those diagnosed. Typically, DHEA-S (another type of androgen from the adrenal glands) will be elevated alone, and high testosterone and androstenedione levels are not seen. This type of androgen isn't often tested unless you go to an endocrinologist or other specialist.
- Inflammatory PCOS - In this type, chronic inflammation causes the ovaries to make excess testosterone, resulting in physical symptoms and issues with ovulation. Signs of inflammation for this type of PCOS include headaches, joint pain, unexplained fatigue, skin issues like eczema, and bowel issues like IBS.
A Natural Approach to Healing PCOS | Find a Specialist
PCOS can be difficult to navigate alone. It is a complex hormonal disorder that can take time to resolve. The central mechanism is challenging to understand and state. There is no magic bullet. Alternative drugs such as herbal or medicinal plants should be considered only after understanding their mechanism of action. Improvising your lifestyle is most effective in easing PCOS-related symptoms.
A natural approach to PCOS means taking an inventory of your lifestyle habits. Your overall goals should be keeping your blood sugar in balance, reducing stress, and nourishing your adrenals, reducing your environmental hormone exposures, supporting your body's natural detoxification pathways, and reducing inflammation.
Can Naturopathic Medicine Help?
Natural solutions for PCOS work well. Diet and lifestyle modification are imperative, and your naturopathic doctor can help you develop a diet and exercise plan that works for you. Naturopathic doctors are trained in supplementation and herbal medicine, and there are options from each that can help.
In PCOS, the ovaries become less sensitive to insulin, and targeting the ovaries seems to help women ovulate again. Inositol is one supplement that helps make this possible. Natural non-pharmaceutical options also help regulate blood sugar that works similarly to metformin.
Several supplements, including vitamins, minerals, and herbs, have been shown in scientific studies to help reverse PCOS. The real benefits come from a combination of making the dietary and lifestyle changes it takes to prevent and reverse insulin resistance, along with taking the supplements.
Herbal medicine can help regulate hormone levels, and one of the best herbs for help with PCOS is chaste berry. Many other herbs can reduce symptoms, and your ND can help you choose the perfect ones for you.
Additional Supportive Therapies for PCOS
Alcohol plays a significant role in women with PCOS. Reduce consumption to just a few alcoholic drinks per week. The best advice is to cut out wine and other alcoholic beverages entirely. These elevate blood sugar.
Nurture your liver back to health — the liver is an organ crucial to breaking down excess hormones — mainly through limiting alcohol intake and ingesting liver-supportive herbs such as milk thistle (Silybum marianum, Asteraceae).
Food Interventions | Real Change Begins here
- Don't eat after 7 pm
- Eat only whole, natural, fresh foods
- Eat regular, blood sugar balanced meals that include good quality protein, healthy fats, and vegetables
- Aim for a pound of fresh vegetables daily, and make sure to eat a rainbow of color in your vegetables, from reds to greens to yellows, oranges, and blue purples
- Eat breakfast every day and make sure breakfast includes protein
- Don't go hungry; keep an emergency food stash in your bag, your desk drawer, your glove compartment – wherever you might get hungry
- Run from sugar and white flour products, soda, and fruit juices. Cut out potatoes and rice, too
- Removing dairy from your diet can be beneficial in reducing insulin resistance and helping with hormonal imbalances
Seven Key Points | Summary
- Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common, complex endocrine disorder with short- and long-term consequences
- The condition can be diagnosed by history and examination using the Rotterdam criteria
- Women with PCOS require psychological assessment and support
- Cases of PCOS are usually a consequence of insulin resistance, and in most cases, symptoms and effects are aggravated by weight gain
- Support groups for women with PCOS and other helpful information resources empowers them to understand their condition and the importance of lifestyle choices
- Infertility is a frequent presenting concern and can usually be improved by weight reduction. Current evidence does not, however, support the use of metformin for this indication
- Long-term insulin resistance is characteristic of PCOS, so patients need regular screening for potential complications of insulin resistance; particularly type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease
Take Time to Heal | Emotionally & Spiritually
The womb is the portal from the spiritual world to the physical world, and the cervix is the gatekeeper. Just as the heart chakra is the transition point from the physical body to the light body, the cervix transitions light bodies to the physical realm.
The heart chakra and your cervix are mirrors of the vulnerability, openness, and compassion you carry for yourself.
Many therapies can help heal the emotional energetic bodies of the cervix, and in doing so, can be preventative measures to physical diseases, increase fertility, and better birth outcomes.
Although women with PCOS are understandably eager to improve their symptoms, enjoy an improved quality of life, and start a family, they must consider that herbal, nutritional, and lifestyle therapies can take time.
Women with PCOS hoping to have children should take several months, even a year, to prepare themselves, improve fertility, and decrease the chance of miscarriage by improving their diet and by taking essential supplements.
© 2021-2022 Mark Zuleger-Thyss, Garden of Healing. All rights reserved.