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Natural ways to reduce your symptoms of PCOS

Dealing with PCOS can be challenging, but remember, you’re not alone! PCOS impacts around 10% of women in the UK!1https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos/#:~:text=Polycystic%20ovaries,-Polycystic%20ovaries%20contain&text=It’s%20difficult%20to%20know%20exactly,10%20women%20in%20the%20UK. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) describes a complex disorder with a range of symptoms. The main feature is the presence of multiple underdeveloped follicles on the ovaries. Often these are unable to release an egg which means ovulation doesn’t take place. 

There are 3 different types of PCOS:

  1. Insulin-resistant PCOS – is the most common type. In this form, your body’s cells don’t respond well to insulin, leading to higher insulin levels in your bloodstream. This can result in increased production of androgens (male hormones) in your ovaries, disrupting your menstrual cycle and causing symptoms like acne and excess hair growth.
  2. Adrenal PCOS – is linked to an overproduction of androgens by the adrenal glands, which are responsible for producing hormones like cortisol. Adrenal PCOS may not always present with cysts on the ovaries, making it trickier to diagnose.
  3. Inflammatory PCOSInflammation plays a key role in this type of PCOS. Chronic inflammation in the body can disrupt hormone production and cause irregular periods, weight gain, and other PCOS symptoms. It’s often associated with other inflammatory conditions like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Typical symptoms of PCOS

PCOS is complex and difficult to diagnose, often missed completely. There is no single known cause and is likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

The good news is that diet and lifestyle changes can be of significant help to women affected by PCOS –

  • Avoid inflammatory triggers such as processed foods, caffeine, alcohol and excess sugar. 
  • Include good quality protein (poultry, meat, tofu, tempeh, beans, chickpeas, eggs) and fat (nuts, seeds and their oils, oily fish, avocados, olives, grass-fed butter) with each meal.
  • Avoid a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugars to help manage insulin. 
  • Eat a varied and rainbow coloured diet – plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables daily.
  • Support gut health with plenty of fibre-rich foods such as beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. We also recommend our Gut Health Protocol – Kefir, Prebiotic & Collagen.
  • Sufficient intake of Omega 3 fatty acids is important for hormone balance. We recommend consuming 2-3 portions of oily fish per week. 
  • Support liver health with supportive foods and drinks in your diet such as fresh parsley, artichokes, nettle tea and green tea. Include a portion of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli & cauliflower daily.
  • Add freshly ground flaxseeds to your diet.  They work well in smoothies or sprinkled on top of salads for a crunchy, nutty texture. They are a great source of fibre and phytoestrogens.
  • Managing stress is very important. Imbalanced cortisol and damaged adrenals can have a harmful cascade of effects on all your other hormones. Incorporate some yoga, meditation, and even simple deep breathing exercises to improve your PCOS symptoms.
  • Therapeutic herbs like Shatavari can also help reduce symptoms. Shatavari is known as an adaptogenic herb. This means it helps normalise hormones and brings everything back into balance, whether high or low. Emerging research on shatavari suggests it can improve hormonal imbalances and PCOS.2https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29635127/

Read more about how gut health can influence your hormones here.

Please note: As always, check with your GP or pharmacist before starting any new supplements. If you suspect that you have an ulcer, please seek the advice of your GP/consultant. 

Any questions? Contact one of our Nutritional Therapists via live chat, weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm.

References

Questions? Talk to a Nutritional Therapist on live chat!

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