First things first, please come to terms with the fact that PCOS cannot be cured. Having said that, it is not the end of the world. You can can lead a perfectly normal life as it can be controlled. PCOS is a hormonal disorder and hormones are mostly affected by stress and poor diet.
Indulge in activities that interest you – reading, writing, drawing, play a sport. The reason I’m hammering on focusing on activities that interest you is because most women who suffer from PCOS (myself included) spend endless hours stressing about the syndrome. Stressing about it is not going to make it go away. So quit doing it.
If, like me you’ve visit multiple gynecologists and have been told the only solution to PCOS or irregular periods is Metformin thrice a day for the rest of your life and have walked out thinking – ‘there’s clearly an alternate solution out there’. Fret not. There is. Both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda have attributed PCOS to inflammation in the body. Therefore, if you tackle the causes of inflammation, PCOS can be controlled. From one poly-cyster to another, here are 4 natural ways to treat PCOS and to get Aunt Flo to visit every month.
1. Add good fats and low-starchy vegetables to your diet to stay fuller for longer
Add low-starch vegetables to every meal. They’re not only low in carbs but also help you stay fuller for longer. Click on the low-starch veggies below for pictures of each. If you’re eating out, the best way to add in more vegetables is by asking for veggies instead of rice or potatoes.
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Bamboo shoots
- Beans (green, Italian, yellow or wax)
- Bean sprouts
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Chinese cabbage
- Chinese spinach
- Green onions
- Greens (beet or collard greens, dandelion, kale, mustard, turnip)
- Hearts of palm
- Herbs (parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary, thyme, etc.)
- Lettuce (endive, escarole, romaine or iceberg)
- Peppers (green, red, yellow, orange, jalapeño)
- Snow peas or pea pods
- Summer squash
- Swiss chard
- Water chestnuts
Your body gets energy from 2 food groups – carbs and fats. Since a PCOS diet requires you to restrict carbs, you need to substitute carbs with good fats to ensure you have enough energy to last you throughout the day. Contrary to popular opinion, fats are good for you – the only thing is you should know the difference between good fats that are healthy and aid hormonal growth and bad fats that lead to inflammation.
Good fats include the below:
Oils (see point 3)
Nuts – walnuts, pistachios, almonds
Butters – Almond, Hazelnut and grass fed
Full fat milk
Full fat yoghurt
2. Eat more good carbs
For optimal health, it’s best to have carbs during breakfast or lunch. Carbs digest faster than protein or fats and therefore makes you feel hungry quickly. All carbs whether simple or complex, turn into sugar which spike insulin levels. There’s a direct co-relation between PCOS and insulin resistance. Link. This then affects your hormones and creates inflammation in your body. Notice how I’ve said ‘restrict carbs’ and not ‘give up’ because I know how difficult it is giving up something you’ve grown up eating.
Opt for healthier carbs that take a while to spike up your insulin and make you feel fuller for longer like sweet potatoes. Beware of products with hidden sugar like fructose, sucrose and aspartame. Most store-brought juices advertised as ‘natural’, ‘pulp’, ‘organic’ are in actuality filled with sugar so pay close attention to food labels.
Tip – Swap white rice with brown or red rice – Swap colas with sparkling water – Swap sugar with honey or brown sugar – Swap juices with water or actual fruits – Swap chocolates with dates or sweet fruits like mangoes, bananas and strawberries – Swap cornflakes with chia seeds or oats – Swap white bread with whole wheat bread or rice-based bread
3. Cook with coconut oil, grass-fed butter and ghee
Canola, Sunflower, Soybean, Safflower and Corn oils are chemically manufactured in a lab. As they are not naturally produced, our bodies are not equipped to digest them. In addition, they are also high in Omega 6 which is pro-inflammatory which is essentially the root cause of PCOS. Our bodies need a fine balance of both Omega 3 and 6 for optimal health and using oils of poor quality disturbs hormonal balance.
Over 50% of the fat in coconut oil is lauric acid which makes it the richest source of lauric acid after breast-milk. Hence similar to breast milk, it is proven to build immunity. It is also an excellent laxative (helps you poo better), helps you think better and most importantly helps you lose weight.
Both butter and ghee are pure fats and contain of Butyric Acid which helps boost immunity and reduces inflammation in the body.
Alternative – Switch to healthier options like coconut oil (go for cold pressed refined version if you can’t stand the smell of coconuts). Ghee (clarified butter) or grass-fed butter (like Kerry Gold) that are naturally produced and sourced from grass-fed cows. Excess of anything is bad for you so use the healthier options moderately and wisely.
4. Get 30 minutes of exercise everyday
Ladies, there’s no easier way to say this but health is truly wealth. And this coming from one of the laziest person you’d come across, says a lot. Obesity and PCOS have an interlinked vicious cycle. Get active for a minimum of 30 minutes every day. We’re all not built the same way, our energy levels are not the same. So if going to a gym bores you – walk, cycle, swim, play a sport, take the stairs, start a at-home cardio workout – there are a gazillion ways to get your heart racing on a daily basis.
Tip – Short, high intensity workouts give better results than longer, slower workouts. So for my fellow lazy folks out there here’s a simple yet effective 30 minute home workout that breaks me into a sweat every time. Or you could try this 10 minute cardio fix or this lazy workout if you want to start simple. Use Google Fit to track the number of steps you’re taking everyday and MyFitnessPal to track the food you’re eating. Both apps can be interlinked so you can see how much you’re eating and the total number of calories you’re consuming – all in one go.
5. Supplements, herbs and remedies
Due to poor farming practices, the soil that is used to grow the food we eat is depleted of nutrients. Link. When plants are repeatedly grown on the same soil, it loses vitamins and minerals that are essential to our well-being. Thus, supplements and herbs come in handy as we cant obtain essential nutrients from nature. Given that the vitamin industry isn’t well-regulated, please do your research and consult with your doctor before supplementing yourself.
These are the supplements/herbs I take regularly. The list might seem overwhelming at first but the fact that I’ve managed to not skip a period with this regiment proves that something is working. Please keep in mind these aren’t magic pills so don’t expect results overnight. Take them for a minimum of 3 months to see effective results. I probably sound like a broken record but please consult your doctor before popping any of these vitamins.
Vitex – Available in pill form. Powerful herb that regulates the pituitary gland which is known as the master gland for hormone production. I take one pill in the morning post breakfast.
Red Raspberry Leaf – Available in pill form. High in iron, magnesium, potassium and b-vitamins which boosts fertility. I take one pill in the morning post breakfast.
Udo’s oil 3.6.9 blend – Available in capsule form. Omegas need to be taken in a specific ratio for it to be beneficial and combat inflammation. I take 2 pills 3 times a day with meals.
Magnesium Oil – Helps control insulin, regulates blood sugar, prevents body odour (I use it as a deodorant) and produces hormones that aid pregnancy. I apply magnesium oil all over my body before I hit the bed which I find far more effective than magnesium supplements as its absorbed directly into the skin and body.
I usually purchase my products from iherb as their prices are economical. Even with shipping costs added in the price falls cheaper than local purchases. Use the rewards ID LCW996 at the checkout stage to get a discount on your iherb purchase.
If you can’t be bothered doing all of the above do this: 1. Reduce the amount of sugar you’re consuming. A chocolate or dessert here and there is fine but don’t let sugar take over your diet. If you’re craving something sweet, have a date or a sweet fruit. 2. Get some exercise at least upto 3 hours a week 3. Take Vitex once a day
From being told by one (rather insensitive) female doctor that she ‘couldn’t see my ovaries’ during an ultra sound test to being completely cyst-free, this regiment has given me great results. Please ensure you periodically have ovarian ultra-sound tests done to monitor any improvements or setbacks. Our bodies have an amazing power to heal itself despite the crap we put it through. Stay consistent, have faith and you will see results sooner than laeter.
IMPORTANT: Please read my disclaimer
How do you manage PCOS and do you know of any natural methods to treat it? Let me know in the comment section below.