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10 Ways to Treat PCOS Infertility Naturally

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PCOS – What is it?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome aka Polycystic Ovarian Disease manifests in multiple cysts covering the ovaries, filled with immature follicles (eggs) accompanied by hormonal abnormalities and irregularities in ovulation and menstruation. This is a metabolic condition associated with insulin resistance and glucose intolerance.

What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms are failure to ovulate, acne, obesity, menstrual irregularities and hirsutism (hair growth on skin). Severe cases manifest with all of the symptoms while mild and moderate cases only have some.

How does PCOS lead to Infertility?

Infertility is caused by the inability to ovulate due to excess production of androgens (testosterone) and insufficient oestrogen and progesterone production by the ovary. Due to an insufficient amount of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) androgens cannot be converted to oestrogen, and follicles can not mature and ovulate.

How to treat PCOS Naturally?

Studies have found that the majority of cases of infertility due to ovulatory disorders may be prevented with dietary and lifestyle modifications. Therefore that’s where you should start. There are several key factors that play a role in PCOS. Depending on which one is most characteristic for you will determine the first line of treatment.

1. Balancing Insulin

Insulin resistance has been found to contribute to excess production of androgens by the ovaries. Insulin resistance goes hand in hand with obesity or being overweight especially around the middle (visceral fat = fat around the organs). However insulin resistance can also be found among people who are not obese or overweight. If you are overweight and have PCOS it is advisable that that you loose weight and correct insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance means that the cells are not reacting to insulin when it knocks with a new batch of glucose. This is usually due to saturation of insulin at the receptor sites of the cells from a diet high in refined and simple carbohydrates. This leads to excess glucose in the blood stream and not enough in the cells. This in turn leads to fatigue and lethargy and increased risk of bacterial infections (due to excess glucose outside the cells) and diabetes.

2. Addressing Testosterone & Promoting Ovulation and Menstruation

Excess androgens (testosterone) stem from too much LH (lutenizing hormone) being produced by the body over FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). This in turn results in immature eggs which never reach the ovulation stage and end up forming small cysts on the ovaries. A type of estrogen can be converted to testosterone in fat tissue which is another reason for making sure you loose weight if you are overweight. Normalizing your hormones and getting your body to produce sufficient amount of hormones to ovulate and maintain pregnancy is the key and the end result of all the treatment strategies for PCOS.

What to do?

1. Avoid coffee, alcohol, soft drinks, sugar and juices containing sugar, refined carbs (white bread, biscuits, chocolate, lollies etc…).

2. Eat small protein rich meals every 3 hours to balance your blood sugar.

3. Exercise regularly – cardio and weights (the more muscles you have the more fat you’ll burn).

4. Add cinnamon to your cooking. It has been found to improve insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS. Porridge is a great way to get some cinnamon into your diet as well as apples baked in the oven sprinkled with some cinnamon and crushed nuts.

5. Minimize your intake of dairy and animal products (even if they are organic) altogether. This is due to the high content of hormones, pesticides and herbicides which are known endocrine disruptors (they play havoc with your hormones and this can lead to anovulation). Vegetarian diets and diets rich in fibre have been shown to be very beneficial in conditions where hormonal balance is disturbed such as PCOS. Even though the animal was not given synthetic hormones it produced its own hormones which will still be reflected in the dairy or meat.

6. Excess androgen production has been shown to favorably react to intake of licorice so include some fresh licorice from an organic store.

7. Eat more: adzuki beans, basil, cayenne, chestnut, chives, eggplant, garlic, ginger, kohlrabi, leek, nutmeg, pepper, rice, rosemary, spearmint and turmeric.

8. Reduce stress with yoga, mediation, breathing exercises, 8 hours of sleep, regular exercise, lavender, lemon balm and chamomile tea.

9. See a naturopath or a herbalist as many herbal treatments have been shown to address PCOS successfully.

10. Take a good quality multivitamin and fish oil.

Copyright 2009 Iva Keene and Natural Fertility Prescription

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