PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome is an endocrine condition that affects many aspects of a woman's life from metabolism to gut health to fertility.
It involves sugar imbalances and gut dysbiosis (where your gut has more “bad bacteria” than “good bacteria). It can also affect your mood, your skin, and make you feel overall crappy and tired.
It’s estimated that around 5-10% of women in their reproductive years have PCOS.
And there are probably a number of undiagnosed women who don’t even know they have PCOS because the symptoms are so widespread.
If you’re frustrated because you’re not sure about your symptoms or if you want tips to heal PCOS holistically, this article is for you.
In this article, we’ll go over what these symptoms are, possible causes of PCOS, and 5 tips to help heal your PCOS naturally.
So we mentioned that PCOS involves having a variety of different and widespread symptoms. A lot of these symptoms come from hormonal imbalances within the body.
These symptoms can be part of 3 major groups: gut health, hormone imbalance, and mood.
PCOS related gut symptoms:
- Constipation and/or diarrhoea
- Abdominal pain or digestive upset
- Gas and/or burping
PCOS related hormonal symptoms: this is a major pillar of PCOS.
- Slow metabolism
- Weight gain and trouble losing excess weight
- Insulin resistance: excess weight in belly
- Loss of head hair
- Acne (from imbalances of testosterone and estrogen)
- Inflamed skin
- Oily skin
- Excess facial hair
- PMS symptoms that reduce quality of life or interfere with day to day tasks (from imbalances of testosterone and oestrogen)
- Absence of ovulation and/or infertility (from imbalances of testosterone and oestrogen)
PCOS related mood symptoms:
- Depression or low mood
So what causes hormonal imbalances that leads to these symptoms?
Well, the exact cause is still a little unclear but various factors such as stress, poor nutrition, lifestyle habits and environment contribute to the development of PCOS.
There 4 types of PCOS that illustrate the different factors influencing PCOS:
- Inflammatory PCOS: there is excess inflammation in the body either from diet, environment, or stress that is contributing to hormonal imbalances and preventing ovulation from happening.
- Insulin resistant PCOS: your body is resistant to insulin so glucose can’t get inside your cells. That leaves glucose levels to remain high in the blood wreaking havoc on your other hormones.
- Post pill or pill induced PCOS: this happens as a result of long term use of the birth control pill. In some cases, this is resolved after some months. But in other cases, women struggle with the symptoms for years.
- Hidden cause PCOS: unknown factors or factors that do not fit the above 3 categories are contributing to your PCOS symptoms.
Tips to Heal PCOS Naturally
1. Eat a nutritious, healing diet to heal PCOS naturally
Maybe you’ve already done some research on what you should be eating if you have PCOS.
But the truth is that it might look different for every woman.
But it’s important to make sure you’re having a balanced meal of protein, carbs and fats at every meal for a nutritious diet.
- Experiment with different carbs such as legumes, grains, root vegetables to see what suits your body best
- It may be best to get a lot of your carbs from root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes, as well as from some fruits
- Berries in particular will help support the liver, an important organ for hormone regulation
- Make sure to include different coloured veggies because they all contain different micronutrients
- Cutting gluten out can help in a lot of cases as it's usually hybridised in a lot of food and contributes to inflammation
- Try to get high quality protein sources from grass fed beef, pasture raised chicken, shellfish
Try adding in high quality dairy to see how your body responds
- High quality dairy such as organic parmesan cheese or raw milk can be a great source of protein and an excellent of B vitamins, which are essential for hormones and fertility
- You can try opting for dairy from goats and sheeps as they can be less inflammatory than dairy from cows
- If you notice symptoms popping up, you can discontinue. Listen to your body.
- Limiting processed food: if a product has inflammatory omega 6 PUFAs, limit it. This is especially important if you have inflammatory PCOS.
- Adding in medium chain triglycerides or MCTs from sources such as organic, virgin coconut oil will not only help stabilize blood sugar but will strengthen your gut and immunity due to its antimicrobial properties
2. Change your lifestyle habits to heal PCOS naturally
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle where you feel good is so important for PCOS. Believe it or not, emotional and mental health is just as important as physical health in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and healing PCOS.
How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle? Here are our best tips:
Decrease stress: we cannot stress this enough (pun intended)! Stress will worsen inflammation, encourage weight gain, and make you feel blah.
- Meditate for even as short as 2-5 minutes.
- Get fresh air and sunlight whenever possible.
Get enough sleep: 7-9 hours a night is important.
- Your body needs to restore and undergoes so many processes during sleep.
Engage in your community:
- Spend quality time with your girlfriends, go on weekly dates with your partner, have more dinner parties!
- Make it a point to include more fun activities.
- We are social creatures and bonding with others releases oxytocin and creates positive chain responses in our bodies.