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Effective Home Remedies For PCOS

By Dr Smita Barode +2 more

Introduction: 

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), also known as polycystic ovarian syndrome or Stein-Leventhal syndrome, is a complex disorder in which women experience irregular periods and/or the development of a few small cysts (fluid-filled sacs) on one or both ovaries. This is due to the overproduction of male hormone (which is also present in females but in lower quantities) in females. This disorder affects around 7% of women in the world. There are higher chances for women with PCOS to develop type-2 diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, heart diseases and cancer of the uterus. Diet, exercise and medicines help control the symptoms, but there is no cure for this disorder.1  

What Causes PCOS?: 

The exact cause of PCOS is not yet known, but it is known that it has some relation to insulin resistance (the body is either unable to generate insulin or is not able to utilise it). The other factors which are known are also in some way related to insulin resistance. The various factors for the development of PCOS include: 

  • Male hormones: Increased production of androgens or the male hormones play an important role, as it is responsible for the occurrence of symptoms like increased facial hair, acne and irregular menstrual cycle (as they prohibit the release of eggs from the ovary).2 
  • Increased body weight: The relationship between body weight and PCOS is not understood quite well; whether it is the cause or effect of PCOS, we do not know. However, there is definitely a relation between the two and weight management to a healthy level has shown significant beneficial effects.2 
  • Family history: It is seen that women having mothers or sisters with PCOS or diabetes type-2 are more likely to develop PCOS.2 
  • Insulin resistance: All of the factors are finally related to insulin resistance. However, the exact mechanism is still unknown.2 

PCOS is commonly associated with type 2 diabetes, prolonged infertility and miscarriage; getting a Gynecologist’s consultation is very important at an early stage if you experience any symptoms of PCOS.

Dr Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D. in Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology

Did you know?

  • Lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and increased physical activity, can help manage PCOS. Source: cdc.gov
  • Women with PCOS are often insulin resistant, increasing their risk for type 2 diabetes.Source: cdc.gov
  • PCOS affects 6-12% of US women of reproductive age, causing infertility and hormonal imbalances. source: CDC

Symptoms of PCOS: 

The proper diagnosis of the syndrome is to be done by a doctor. However, there are certain symptoms that you should be on the lookout for. They are as follows: 

  • Irregularity in the menstrual cycle (periods)3  
  • Sometimes people experience no periods, even for years together. This is called amenorrhea.4  
  • The skin may become oily, or there may be the appearance of acne.  
  • Excessive growth of hair on the face, chest, stomach or thighs 
  • Loss of scalp hair 
  • There might be patches of thickened skin.  
  • Pain in the pelvic region (the area below the abdomen, which contains the vagina, cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes)  
  • Increased body weight or obesity3 
  • Sleep apnoea, which is a condition in which there might be obstruction of your airway while sleeping, might be quite dangerous.4  
  • Even after repeated efforts, there might be difficulty in conceiving a baby (infertility).3 

Suggested Home Remedies for  PCOS: 

The remedies recommended for PCOS mainly include lifestyle changes and a few herbal remedies as well to manage the symptoms. Some of the remedies are as follows:  

1. Mulethi  

Mulethi is also known as liquorice. It was found that it may be beneficial for managing PCOS. It acts against androgens and also stimulates the production of an enzyme which converts androgen into estrogen (female hormone).5 You can take a cup of hot water, mix mulethi root powder in it and use it for two months. This brew can be used for even longer to have prolonged effects.    

2. Flaxseeds  

It was found in studies that flaxseeds contain a compound which aids in decreasing the level of androgen in the body. They caused a reduction of symptoms of PCOS that occur due to increased androgen levels, like abnormal growth of body hair. It was also found to help in weight reduction.6 The consumption of flaxseeds, by adding them into your daily diet in the form of milkshakes and smoothies or by directly consuming them, can be beneficial for your health.  

3. Cinnamon  

Image source: freepik.com

Cinnamon improves the function of insulin receptors, which provides a beneficial effect for women with PCOS. It was also found by researchers that supplementation of cinnamon in diet can correct menstrual irregularities.7 It can be consumed by adding it to the water while preparing tea and taking it daily. It can also be consumed in tablet forms, which are more concentrated, but you should consult your doctor before doing so.    

4. Omega 3 Supplements or Fish Oil  

Image source: freepik.com

Studies have shown that by taking omega 3 fatty acids supplements, the regularity of the menstrual cycle can be restored. However, there is no change in weight, bleeding, size of the ovary or number of ovarian follicles seen. Fish oil supplementation showed a decrease in the waist-hip ratio additionally.8  

5. Chamomile Tea  

Image source: freepik.com

Chamomile tea was found to reduce the symptoms of PCOS in animal studies. In the same study, when the tissues of the ovary were observed under a microscope after treating with chamomile extract, the signs of PCOS were decreased.9 However, more research on humans is required to ascertain it. We can consume it by using a bag of chamomile tea or a spoon of it in warm water and brewing it.    

6. Aloe Vera Gel  

Image source: freepik.com

Aloe vera is used along with certain other compounds to make formulations to manage PCOS, as they help in restoring the levels of a hormone in the ovaries. These were the findings of an animal study.10 The exact use of aloe vera gel is not known and requires further investigation.  

7. Nirgundi or Chasteberry  

Nirgundi is a herb that has many medicinal properties. It acts against insulin resistance of the body, decreases androgen levels, and has similar activity to estrogen. Therefore, it may have beneficial effects on women with PCOS.11  

You can eat bitter gourd as a vegetable or drink its juice. This will help control blood sugar levels. Amla or Indian gooseberry also has a similar effect.
Fenugreek leaves and tulsi or basil will help maintain insulin levels. PCOS patients have high levels of insulin, as it remains unused in the body, increasing blood sugar levels.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka – MBBS, MD(Pediatrics)

Other Lifestyle Modifications For PCOS: 

  • Balanced diet: Adopting a healthier lifestyle with a balanced diet can prove to be beneficial for PCOS as it can help in reducing the symptoms.4 A balanced diet containing all the necessary nutrients in healthy proportions will be recommended by your doctor. Kindly consult your physician for guidance.  
  • Weight management: Weight management leads to the reduction in symptoms of PCOS, such as loss of scalp hair, increased body hair and acne. An improvement in mood due to the restoration of normal hormone production can also be seen, which in turn might lead to the regulation of periods and improved fertility. Weight management in the case of PCOS also showed a decrease in risk for diabetes and heart diseases. All of this can be achieved by the loss of just 5-10% of weight in those for whom the occurrence of PCOS is due to increased weight.4 

When to Seek Medical Help?  

When you observe some symptoms of PCOS, a doctor should be consulted for proper examination and diagnosis. This will prevent the worsening of the condition.  

Also Read: Inositol Benefits: A Comprehensive Research-Based Overview

Conclusion: 

PCOS is a complex condition, and there is a need for further research to know the exact mechanism and cause of it. There is no cure discovered yet for it; therefore, management of symptoms plays an important role in preventing the condition from worsening. Lifestyle modifications, attainment and management of optimum weight are the most important measures. Additionally, diligent use of certain herbs has also shown great results. Let’s put our faith in science and hope for a cure to PCOS; until then, we must do what we can and stay healthy.      

Also Read: 10 Effective Home Remedies For Irregular Periods

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Is PCOS communicable?  

No, PCOS is not a communicable disease. There is a chance for the disease to occur in families, but the exact mechanism and reason for the occurrence are unknown. 2  

Can honey cure PCOS?  

There is no cure for PCOS. You need to manage the symptoms that are associated with it. There are no reports stating the beneficial effects of honey on the symptoms of PCOS.  

Is chamomile tea good for PCOS?  

Yes, chamomile tea has an anti-inflammatory action and is said to reduce period pain as well. Therefore, it can be beneficial for PCOS. It is also said to prevent premature labour pain, which can occur in pregnant women with PCOS.1,9    

Does PCOS cause hair loss?  

Yes, the loss of hair from the scalp can occur in PCOS. Other symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods, infertility, excessive hair growth on the face, stomach, thighs etc.3        

Also Read: Natural Home Remedies For Hair Fall

References: 

1. Ndefo UA, Eaton A, Green MR. Polycystic ovary syndrome: A review of treatment options with a focus on pharmacological approaches. P T [Internet]. 2013;38(6):336–55. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23946629/  

2. CDC. PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and Diabetes. Centers Dis Control Prev [Internet]. 2020;1–2. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/pcos.html 

3. Weiss JM, Hadžiomerović D, Kreienberg R. Polycystic ovary syndrome. Gynakologe [Internet]. 2008;41(3):179–88. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/polycystic-ovarian-syndrome-pcos 

4. Pal L, Pathy S. Polycystic ovarian syndrome. Evidence-based Obstet Gynecol [Internet]. 2018;117(129):1–7. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/polycysticovarysyndrome.html#:~:text=Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) happens,Irregular menstrual periods 

5. Shamsi M, Nejati V, Najafi G, Pour SK. Protective effects of licorice extract on ovarian morphology, oocyte maturation, and embryo development in pcos-induced mice: an experimental study. Int J Reprod Biomed [Internet]. 2020;18(10):865–76. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7569710/pdf/ijrb-18-865.pdf 

6. Nowak DA, Snyder DC, Brown AJ, Demark-Wahnefried W. The effect of flaxseed supplementation on hormonal levels associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome: A case study. Curr Top Nutraceutical Res [Internet]. 2007;5(4):177–81. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2752973/pdf/nihms93691.pdf 

7. Dou L, Zheng Y, Li L, Gui X, Chen Y, Yu M, et al. The effect of cinnamon on polycystic ovary syndrome in a mouse model. Reprod Biol Endocrinol [Internet]. 2018;16(1):1–10. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6194596/pdf/12958_2018_Article_418.pdf 

8. khani Behnaz, Mardanian Farahnaz F jafari sajadeh. Omega 3 supplementation in polycystic ovarian syndrome and metabolic syndrome. J Res Med Sci [Internet]. 2019;24(1). Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5461594/pdf/JRMS-22-64.pdf 

9. Farideh ZZ, Bagher M, Ashraf A, Akram A, Kazem M. Effects of chamomile extract on biochemical and clinical parameters in a rat model of polycystic ovary syndrome. J Reprod Infertil [Internet]. 2010;11(3):169–74. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23926485%0Ahttp://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=PMC3719301 

10. Maharjan R, Nagar P, Nampoothiri L. Effect of Aloe barbadensis Mill. Formulation on Letrozole induced polycystic ovarian syndrome rat model. J Ayurveda Integr Med [Internet]. 2010;1(4):273–9. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21731374/#:~:text=Aloe vera gel formulation exerts,components present in the extract. 

11. Kakadia N, Patel P, Deshpande S, Shah G. Effect of Vitex negundo L. seeds in letrozole induced polycystic ovarian syndrome. J Tradit Complement Med [Internet]. 2019;9(4):336–45. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcme.2018.03.001 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

Links and product recommendations in the information provided here are advertisements of third-party products available on the website. PharmEasy does not make any representation on the accuracy or suitability of such products/services. Advertisements do not influence the editorial decisions or content. The information in this blog is subject to change without notice. The authors and administrators reserve the right to modify, add, or remove content without notification. It is your responsibility to review this disclaimer regularly for any changes. 

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