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A Naturopathic Approach to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

A Naturopathic Approach to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
By Dr. Marni Ross, ND

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, is one of the most common
causes of menstrual irregularities. Studies have shown that it
affects about 4%-10% of women of reproductive age. Other
symptoms of PCOS include multiple small cysts on both ovaries,
infertility, insulin resistance, obesity, excess hair growth and
acne. Women with PCOS might have regular periods, irregular
periods or no periods at all and often have problems with

PCOS can be diagnosed through an ultrasound, which would most
commonly show multiple small cysts on both ovaries. Further lab
tests might also be helpful in assessing the severity of the
condition. Blood tests that might be requested include
prolactin, LH, FSH, testosterone and glucose. Prolactin, LH and
FSH are hormones that are involved in a female’s menstrual
reproductive cycle. Glucose is affected by insulin which can be
abnormal in women with PCOS.  Another test that can be done at
home involves taking your basal body temperature. If your
temperature (taken immediately upon waking) is consistently low
throughout the month, it might indicate an elevated
estrogen/progesterone ratio, which could mean that there is a
problem with ovulation.

Conventionally, patients with PCOS are often put on the birth
control pill. This typically helps to eliminate many of the
symptoms. However, if a patient is trying to get pregnant and
depending on how severe the case, the patient might need to go
on fertility drugs.

Naturopathically, there is a lot that can be done to treat
PCOS. Naturopathic medicine addresses the root cause of a
condition, so rather than just removing the symptoms
temporarily, it would work to correct the underlying problem.
Simple diet changes, such as reducing sugar consumption can make
a huge difference. Increasing nutrients such as vitamin B6,
magnesium and essential fatty acids can also be beneficial.
Herbal remedies such as Vitex, Eleutherococcus, Dioscorea,
Mitchella and Saw Palmetto have shown to correct an imbalance of
the female hormones. Acupuncture is also an excellent treatment
option when it comes to addressing woman’s health issues,
especially PCOS. Acupuncture is based on the idea of energy
channels, whereby in a “healthy state”, energy is freely
flowing. It also helps to increase blood flow and nourish the
uterus and break down cysts.

Many women are not aware of their menstrual cycles and if they
are, they simply ignore the signs of a possible underlying
medical issue. Generally speaking, a “normal” menstrual cycle
should be between 26 to 35 days with ovulation in the middle of
the cycle. Extremely heavy periods with or without clotting,
light periods or spotting are all possible signs of a hormone
imbalance. Whether or not you want to get pregnant, it is
important to regulate your cycles as soon as possible. Untreated
PCOS is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular
disease, lipid metabolism abnormalities, insulin problems,
estrogen-associated cancers including breast and endometrial
cancer, type 2 diabetes and infertility. Therefore, it is
important to take matters into your own hands, get to know your
body and your menstrual cycles, so you can be as healthy as you
can be.

About the Author: Dr. Marni Ross, is a licensed Toronto
Naturopathic Doctor (ND) specializing in Digestive Disorders,
Allergies, Skin Disorders, Women's Health, Perinatal Care and
other chronic conditions. For more information visit


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