17 Natural Treatments For Women Suffering From PCOS
I’ve talked recently about how I’m successfully living with PCOS. In the article, I talk about my experiences and what I’m doing to help myself. However, I don’t go into detail about some of the natural treatments that have helped other women who suffer from PCOS.
Before I get into detail about different treatments, I do want to disclaim that I am not a professional. You should always consult a doctor before starting any new treatments, even if they are natural. While I understand it can be challenging to find a doctor who will talk about different approaches with PCOS, it is not impossible.
If you have been to several gynecologists and are not happy with the results, I would suggest going to see an endocrinologist.
These doctors are experts in everything that deals with the endocrine system, which is correlated with hormonal imbalances like PCOS.
Also, I want to add that I don’t disagree with doctors when it comes to matters of birth control or any other medical treatment they offer. I know in my last article on facial hair and PCOS, I discussed that I don’t take birth control, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.
In fact, birth control has helped a lot of women dealing with PCOS. The syndrome, while having similar characteristics, is unique for each individual. You need to make sure you have all the facts, consult your doctor and do research to find what is best for you and your body. It could be a combination of medicine and natural treatments to help your PCOS symptoms.
So, what is PCOS?
To anyone who has never heard the term, PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. It is a hormonal disorder that can cause cysts to form on your ovaries. The exact cause of PCOS is not known, but most of the time, women get it genetically.
Symptoms and complications associated with PCOS include:
- hormonal acne
- irregular periods
- excessive androgens (I talk more about that here)
- polycystic ovaries
- anxiety or depression
- excess weight gain
- certain cancers
…and the list goes on. For each woman suffering from PCOS, they can have some, none, or all of these symptoms. Also, most women with PCOS usually gain weight around their lower abdomen region and have a difficult time getting rid of this excess weight.
While there is no cure yet for PCOS, it can be managed through proper diet, exercise, and health practices. I know it can be hard to see the good in this hormonal imbalance when you have a beard growing, can’t lose any weight, and haven’t had a period in months.
I was right there with you. For years I was depressed and had absolutely no self-worth. I felt ugly near constantly and, no matter how hard I tried, I could never get rid of the excess weight on my body. I tried every fad diet known to man, only to find that I would end up gaining weight from each attempt. It felt hopeless.
That is when I figured out I was suffering from PCOS. I did what I do best, overly obsessed about this new finding, and started doing as much research as possible.
I’ve read several books, hundreds of blogs, and every single health website out there that discusses PCOS. From my research, I found that there was a black hole of information when it came to PCOS. While, yes, there is plenty of people talking about natural ways to treat PCOS, there aren’t enough people getting it out in the open.
Most doctors do only suggest the three main ‘treatments,’ which include birth control, metformin, and spironolactone. While these can be extremely helpful, they don’t help all women. Not to mention, they come with their own list of complications that not every woman wants to deal with.
So I decided to take that first step to get these other treatments out into the open. Almost all of these changes are easy to implement, natural, and have studies to back up their legitimacy.
I want to let all women suffering from PCOS to know that there is something they can be doing to help them live a healthy life.
It is possible to have a successful life with PCOS.
Is it the easiest? Not necessarily. You have to work for a better life. You won’t be that girl who can eat whatever she likes and stay skinny. But that is okay! First off, your body is sexy just the way it is. Secondly, the harder your work at something, the more rewarding it is.
For instance, in high school, I spent SO many hours working to save up for my first car. While other teenagers were getting them for birthday presents, I had to work twice as hard. I thought it wasn’t fair, life sucked, etc. However, all of those feelings have changed now.
Now I look back and am immensely grateful. You hear that a lot and think, yeah, right, you’re just saying that. I wouldn’t believe me, but it’s the truth. I loved that car of mine so much that I cried when I finally gave it away. That car meant so much to me because I worked for it. No one handed it down to me, I had to work my @ss off.
This is the same with PCOS. It might not be an easy journey, but it is so rewarding when you finally get your period back or lose those extra pounds you’ve been trying to lose for years. When I got my period back after a year without one, it was one of the best days of my life.
Cheesy, I know. However, you’ll know that feeling if you’ve ever been through it.
I’ll stop talking your ear off and get to what you came here for; natural treatments for PCOS. Just keep in mind that all of these should be double-checked with a doctor for you and your body.
Natural Treatments and Remedies for PCOS
You might be sick of hearing it, but exercise really is one of the best natural treatments for PCOS (well, everyone for that matter). Working out, especially for us cysters, can help reduce insulin resistance, improve skin, reduce hair loss, increase fertility, and so much more.
However, I know it can be confusing what types of workouts are best for us cysters. I’ve seen people talk about high intensity, low intensity, and everything in between. Honestly, a combination of everything works well for hormonal imbalance.
This means getting in a walk, jog, or yoga session each week along with high-intensity training sessions and strength training.
This doesn’t mean you have to spend an hour at the gym either. A high-intensity session can burn plenty of calories in 10 minutes while you can save your walks on days you have more time to devote.
I’ll use my walking days to listen to an audiobook or podcast, while my mornings will be devoted to a 10-20 minute strength training or HIIT session. By mixing it up, you are more likely to burn more calories, feel better, and grow a healthy lifestyle.
Since most women with PCOS have an increase in testosterone, this means strength and resistance training can be extremely beneficial. It helps boosts your metabolic rate, which in turn aids in burning more calories.
Now, this isn’t necessarily for everyone. Again, consult a doctor before changing anything in your diet. I also don’t think you need to eliminate dairy from your diet COMPLETELY, just reduce your intake. There have been some studies done that show nonfat milk to be linked to androgen as well as insulin level increase.
Milk more often than not contains human growth hormone, which can potentially be damaging for women with PCOS. From what I’ve researched, the problem more lies with milk than other dairy products such as cheese, but there aren’t too many studies to know for sure.
It’s also possible that, due to PCOS, you potentially have a sensitivity to dairy.
You can figure this out by doing an elimination diet or talking with a doctor to get tested.
Either way, do your research before eliminating anything from your diet. For me, I switched to dairy-free milk and have found a difference in my gut health. I also advise almost everyone to, at the very least, switch out dairy for a dairy-free alternative because:
- it helps the planet
- dairy-free alternatives usually contain more nutrients
- it usually has fewer calories than regular milk
Again, this tip is one you should talk to a professional about. About two years ago, I did an elimination diet and found out that I was extremely gluten sensitive. For years I had horrible constipation problems, never realizing it was due to gluten intolerance.
In fact, there is a certain percentage of women with PCOS who have gluten sensitivity. For me, eliminating gluten helped regain my energy, made my bloating go away, and helped regulate my digestive system. It was one of the natural treatments that really did help my PCOS.
While there isn’t enough information about the link between gluten and PCOS, it has been said to cause inflammation and autoimmune diseases potentially. Hopefully, there will be more information in the future, but for now, base it on you and your needs.
Personally, I think everyone should eliminate gluten from their diets. After watching this incredibly informative video on gluten, I realized that it isn’t the best thing for our bodies.
It might seem hard to change your diet, but it isn’t impossible.
When I first went gluten-free, I struggled with finding substitutes for my favorite foods. Fortunately, people are becoming more accommodating to this diet restriction and, if you don’t know how to make it, look it up online.
Once you start learning different substitutes, you’ll become a pro. Honestly, I don’t even notice a difference anymore. I still get to enjoy gluten-free pasta and bread and get to go to bed without that feeling of bloat and stomach pains.
Eliminate or Add Soy to Your Diet
Soy is my third diet recommendation for anyone looking for foods to avoid (or add). Now, soy is a little different in the fact that it could be beneficial for women with PCOS. When it comes to health benefits, soy doesn’t mess around. It is low in fat, is packed with vitamins and minerals, and is an excellent protein source.
It also is a phytoestrogen, which means that it mimics estrogen in our bodies (weakly, but it still works in this way). Now, for some women, this is what they need. For others, not so much. PCOS means you have a hormonal imbalance.
This means that you have an imbalance in your testosterone and/or estrogen levels. Sometimes your doctor will even prescribe one or the other to help balance your body back to normal. Therefore, soy could be fantastic or not so great. As always, ask a doctor about you and your body and what diet would be right for you.
One of the natural treatments for PCOS is to lower Caffeine Intake
I’m a lover of coffee, everyone knows that. While I don’t need the caffeine, I do love the taste of coffee and the lifestyle that goes with it. Coffee is such a staple in our society that it is normal to write my blog posts in a coffee shop or enjoy a nice hot cup of jo while spending time with my fiance.
I recently started making at-home tea lattes and fell in love with them. Therefore, I stopped drinking coffee every day. That’s when I first noticed a change. I was more awake than usual, felt less anxious, and simply felt better.
This doesn’t mean that coffee doesn’t have fantastic benefits for our bodies. Coffee contains essential nutrients, potentially lowers your risk for type 2 diabetes, and so much more. However, it can also spike your insulin levels, something we don’t want when it comes to PCOS.
Higher caffeine levels have also been linked to levels in our estrogen and testosterone levels. Basically, there is good and bad with that delicious drink.
What I suggest is to, at the very least, lower your caffeine intake. You can get your caffeine from herbal teas and switch out to a decaf coffee if you miss the taste.
Cinnamon is not just a yummy addition to certain foods, but a PCOS staple in your diet. This is one of the natural treatments for PCOS you probably already take to some extent. Several studies have shown that cinnamon extract can help improve insulin resistance, menstrual cycles, and helps those with type 2 diabetes.
The studies showed that cinnamon extract helped reduce glucose levels as well as cholesterol levels. Sounds like a win/win in my book! You can add it to your morning breakfasts, smoothies, or coffee drinks. Cinnamon not only has PCOS benefits but is a great way to sweeten foods without adding the extra sugar.
Evening Primrose Oil
While I have personally never used evening primrose oil, I have heard a lot of great studies that show it benefits PCOS cysters. In general, evening primrose oil has been used for:
- high cholesterol
- heart disease
- …and so much more!
When it comes to PCOS, the oil is used for menstrual pains, fertility, and irregular periods. It has also been used for years to help women with hot flashes.
Zinc (with copper)
For those who don’t know, zinc is a trace mineral that is essential for our health. Since our bodies don’t store it in excess, it is necessary to make sure we are consuming it in our regular diets. The reason why I have copper added to this list is that they both have an odd relationship in the body.
Copper is another essential nutrient that keeps your heart, brain, and bones healthy. Intake of zinc can lower our copper levels and vice versa. This is why it is recommended to have both in our everyday diets.
When it comes to benefits for PCOS, zinc has been shown to reduce hair loss, reduce unwanted hair, improve ovulation, lower anxiety levels, and boost our immunity and fertility.
Currently, the recommended daily intake of zinc is 8 mg a day for women and 10 mg of copper a day (again, see a doctor to know for your body).
When it comes to supplements, I try to take as little as possible. For me, zinc and copper is an easy enough nutrient to get in my food without taking another pill. Foods high in zinc and copper include:
- Nuts & Seeds
- Dark Chocolate
- Cod Liver Oil
By adding these foods to your diet, you are not only getting your daily intake of zinc and copper but also adding healthy whole foods to your meals, a plus for us cysters out there.
I started taking inositol about six months ago and have definitely seen an improvement in the regulation of my period. While I know some people who have tried this and saw no change, I also know inositol has helped a lot of PCOS women.
Inositol, a B vitamin, has been shown to help with insulin resistance, fertility, period regulation, mental health, and reduce triglyceride levels.
When it comes to purchasing inositol, it can get a little tricky to find a decent brand for your budget. From what I’ve read, it is best to find one that is in a powder form and contains both Myo and D-Chiro, although if you only can choose one, it should definitely be Myo-Inositol.
I do want to point out that some people might have digestive problems when they first start taking this. I know for me I did. If you find this happening, make sure to take a probiotic, and that should help combat those pesky symptoms.
For me, I’ve been using Jarrow Formulas Pharmaceutical Grade Inositol Powder. It has 600 mg of myoinositol per ¼ teaspoon, and one $15 jar will last around four months. However, make sure you are taking folate with this, which leads me to my next bullet point.
Folate (Vitamin B9)
When you hear about inositol, it is usually followed by folic acid. This is because both work together to potentially help ovulation, insulin resistance, and regular menstruation in women suffering from PCOS.
When it comes to folate, you do want to keep a few things in mind. Firstly, you’ll want to look for methyl folate, also known as the active form. This is especially important to keep in mind if you have a defect in your MTHFR gene.
When it comes to where to get a budget-friendly product, I would either go with Jarrow Formulas Methyl B12 & Methyl Folate at $10 or Rituals Essential for Women at $30 a month.
The Jarrow Formulas bottle contains 1,000 mcg of B12, 1.5 mg of B6, and 400 mcg of folate per 1 lozenge. Rituals capsule, on the other hand, contains:
- 600 mcg folate
- 90 mcg Vitamin K2
- 50 mcg Vitamin D3
- 1 mg Boron
- 6.7 mg Vitamin E
- 8 mcg Vitamin B12
- 330 mg Omega-3 DHA
- 30 mg Magnesium
- 8 mg Iron
Both, in my opinion, are fantastic options. I would say that, if I had to choose one, it would be Ritual for the simple fact that it contains a lot more nutrients that are extremely helpful for women with PCOS.
Curcumin (found in turmeric)
First off, let’s get something straight when it comes to turmeric. When I talk about the benefits it has with PCOS, I’m referring to curcumin. Most powders you buy in the spice aisle of your grocery store only contain about 3% of the needed supplement. This being said, it is still beneficial to add to your diet, but I’m more interested in curcumin for PCOS.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, plays a vital role in inflammation. For a lot of women suffering from PCOS, inflammation is a serious problem. It causes weight gain, hair growth, infertility, and all other sorts of issues.
Curcumin has been proven to lower our inflammation levels, which in turn helps with so many other cyster symptoms we have. The best way to ingest it? If it’s possible, try to get this in a pill supplement to receive the most results. However, if you cannot do this, turmeric is still a perfectly fine way of getting this nutrient into your system.
Vitamin D and Calcium
Vitamin D and calcium are absolutely necessary for a healthy body. The reason these are on the list is mainly that PCOS women usually are Vitamin D deficient. Combining this with calcium has been shown to improve periods, moods, and metabolic rate, which is why it’s one of the natural treatments for PCOS.
Want a fun fact? Vitamin D is actually a vitamin and a hormone. This means that being deficient in Vitamin D can wreak serious havoc on our bodies, especially hormonally.
When it comes to the best way to get both Vitamin D and calcium in your system, you should be eating foods high in both as well as taking a supplement.
As I’ve repeated, talk with a doctor to see how much you and your body need. For me, I eat one to two Viactiv Calcium plus D chewable’s a day with my breakfast.
Another tip to remember is to make sure you are taking in Vitamin K with your Vitamin D (the Viactiv chewable’s have both). Vitamin K helps direct calcium to the right places as well as helps your body absorb Vitamin D better without any potential toxicity.
For all of my low libido gals out there, this one is for you! I know people are indifferent when it comes to low and high sex drive with PCOS. For me, I have always suffered from low sex drive. While my fiance has been the most gracious man ever about it, I have always felt guilty for not being in the mood. First off, I’ve seen a lot of controversy around this topic.
If you are with someone who makes you feel guilty for not having sex, then you need to reassess the relationship. While it can definitely be frustrating (I get that), it does not mean you deserve to be mistreated or forced into a situation you don’t want to be in.
Now that I’ve got that out of the way let’s talk about maca powder. Besides raising your sex drive, this fantastic powder helps:
- improve mood
- boost energy
- increase fertility
- fights free radicals
- lowers blood pressure
- …and more
I personally take this powder for my low sex drive, and I can say without a doubt it has helped. I usually add 1 teaspoon into either a coffee, tea, or smoothie each day. It does have a nutty flavor as opposed to the tasteless inositol flavor. However, I personally like the added taste.
If you are just starting off with maca powder, I would suggest starting with ½ teaspoon and working your way up to a teaspoon. Trust me, a little goes a long way.
Ashwagandha (Indian Ginseng)
This is an herb I recently started taking and absolutely love. Since I’ve only been using it a month, I can’t honestly say if it is a placebo or actually working, but I know the studies show it to work. Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, is an ancient medicinal herb known as an adaptogen.
What does this mean as far as natural treatments for PCOS?
In basic terms, ashwagandha is known to help your body manage stress. It has been proven to improve brain function, lower cortisol levels, and blood sugar, and help combat anxiety and depression. PCOS is known to cause stress, anxiety, and depression in women.
I know for me I have a hard time managing my stress and anxiety. In fact, I lost my period for an entire year because of this. With the combination of exercise, diet, meditation, and herbs, I finally got my period back and have kept it regular for close to a year.
You can take this herb in a pill, powder, or tea. I’ve been drinking it each morning in my Yogi Perfect Energy tea. Not only does this contain ashwagandha, but it also has green tea, cinnamon bark, licorice root, and other herbs that have been known to help lessen symptoms in PCOS. I believe 16 tea bags cost around $5, and it’s in a vanilla spice flavor that tastes delicious.
Not only is this great for de-stressing, but a hot drink in the morning filled with nutrients is great to wake up your body and start your digestive system!
Holy Basil (Tulsi)
Tulsi is another herb that I drink within my teas every day. I’ll switch between my Yogi Perfect Energy and Yogi’s Positive Energy each morning. Tulsi, also known as holy basil, is another herb that is known to help lower our cortisol levels. You see, most people who have stress (which is everyone in this day and age) typically have higher cortisol levels.
This herb helps naturally lower that. Holy basil is also known to be:
- help with diabetes
- protects the heart and brain
The tea I drink to get holy basil each morning is in a tangerine flavor and contains lemongrass, ashwagandha, and other herbs. Again, it is around $5 and includes 16 tea bags. Therefore, if you buy both teas and alternate each day, you’ll not only get enormous benefits, but it will last you an entire month.
Probiotics Are one of the best natural treatments for PCOS
Lastly, but most importantly out of the natural treatments for PCOS, is our probiotics. Gut health is so crucial for women with PCOS. While there isn’t much research on this new finding, it is said that women with PCOS commonly suffer from the leaky gut syndrome. So far, this syndrome has been shown to affect the lining of the intestinal wall, allowing bacteria and other toxins to enter the bloodstream through gaps in the lining.
Some symptoms include fatigue, headaches, digestive issues, and intolerances to certain foods. Even if you don’t have these symptoms, our digestive health is correlated with bloating, anxiety, and so much more.
Therefore it is essential to take a probiotic. It is also necessary to find a combination of prebiotics with our probiotics. A prebiotic is basically fiber, which helps aid our probiotics to do the job that was intended for them.
When it comes to the right one for you, it really depends on your symptoms.
I would definitely do your research and ask a professional to find one that works best for you. For me, I try to find things that aren’t in pill form as much as possible (I hate taking large pills every day).
I’ve been using a gummy pre/probiotic that contains fiber and Bacillus coagulans, a typical bacteria found in a lot of probiotics.
While these are, to me, the most essential and helpful natural treatments out there, that does not mean this is the only list to follow. Other natural treatments that help women suffering from PCOS include:
- Vitamin A
- Cod Liver Oil
- Saw Palmetto
- Licorice Root
- Low GI diet
- Lower Sugar Intake
You’ll also want to make sure you avoid toxins in your cosmetics as well as toxins like BPA that can affect your hormonal level. If you don’t know if your beauty products have toxins, you can download ThinkDirty to your phone and quickly scan each product. They will show you what is in it, if it is toxic, and why you should avoid it.
Let me know in the comments below or on my contact page if you take any of these supplements/suggestions and if they have helped you. Are there any other natural treatments you’ve heard of that help PCOS? Also, what would you like me to talk about next? I have already planned on discussing different diets that help with weight loss and PCOS, but let me know any other topics you would like me to talk about.
Want to stay caught up with everything going on here? You can sign up for my weekly newsletter so you never miss a second of action!!
**While I do research and find reliable information to share for each article, I am by no means a professional. Make sure to speak with a healthcare professional before changing anything in your health. Also, I do have affiliate links that, if used, will give me a small commission. While I do make a profit, I will never share a product/service that I do not 100% stand behind.