Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS affects thousands of women, with debilitating symptoms and often infertility as a result. It is vitally important to handle PCOS before damage is done. Herbal and nutritional options can really make improvement, but often it is diet, lifestyle and stress issues that are the true issues to be dealt with. Where to begin? Take a look... Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS is a condition where more than one follicle becomes dominant during the estrogen-powered growth cycle of ovulation. Normally all follicles will atrophy and only one will become dominant enough to release an egg. But often these follicles are stimulated in such a way that there are multiple follicles that become dominant and atrophy does not occur as it should. This can be due to a disruption in the hormonal signals that are essential for mastering the cycle, particularly estrogen. The lack of atrophy causes these follicles to become cystic and they can enlarge with the continued increase in estrogen and even rupture. This can become a chronic problem causing pain, excessive bleeding and damage to the structures of the female reproductive system. Pulsatilla seems to be the only herb I have found that can really make a difference with ovarian pain. There is also a problem with continually challenging the immune system with this damaged tissue which can create a weakness in handling other challenges such as infection, illness and stress.
Typical symptoms of PCOS are cystic formation and ovarian enlargement, excessive facial hair, cystic acne, dysglycemia (sugar imbalance), obesity, heavy and lengthy menstrual bleeding. Often the signals from the thyroid, pitutiary, hypothalmus and pancreas are part of the issue. It is in fact a complex endocrine system disorder that may even begin as a side-effect of lengthy insulin resistance. Then, if there is concurrently with this an elevated level of androgens, such as testosterone and Luteinizing Hormone (LH), then FSH will be inhibited preventing proper development and maturation of the follicles. In fact serum total testosterone can be up to twice its normal range. There will also be high DHEA levels which then converts to androgens, a common response to stress and dragging the adrenals into the mix as well. Good antiadrogenic herbal choices are White Peony, Licorice, Chaste Tree, Saw Palmetto and Tribulus.
If there is a delay in ovulation, then stimulating the FSH levels may be necessary. I use a combination of White Peony, Chaste Tree, Tribulus, False Unicorn Root and Blue Cohosh. At the same time it may be necessary to try reducing Luteinizing Hormone, for which Black Cohosh is great. It may even be necessary to lower prolactin levels for which Chaste Tree and White Peony can do double duty.
Begin a true assessment of your diet, ensuring that you have a healthy balance between protein, fat and carbohydrates, so that sugar intake is modulated with essential fatty acids. Often the worst cases are women who have been sugar dominant for quite a while and have avoided proper fat consumption in their diet. Rebalancing insulin response with herbals such as Gymnema, Fenugreek, Codonopsis and Coleus can be vital. At the same time increasing essential fatty acids is necessary to give the body alternative metabolic sources. Also, key nutrients such as zinc, vitamins E & C, magnesium and inositol are important.
Handling the endocrine imbalance is also essential. First iodine for the thyroid is very important, especially if there are also cystic issues in the breast tissue. Formulas for the hypothalmus, Rehmannia, Eleuthero and Licorice for the adrenals and Standard Process Ovatrophin PMG are all important elements to include. If there is an adrenal involvement which can raise prolactin levels, then focusing on the adrenals in lifestyle is essential. Removing caffeine, eating every few hours, increasing essential fats and proteins, and finding ways to modulate stress can all produce long-lasting results.
It is vitally important to handle PCOS before damage is done. Herbal and nutritional options can really make improvement, but often it is diet, lifestyle and stress issues that are the true issues to be dealt with.